The scenarios presented in this document are based on the Syria scenariosworkshop, held on February 7-8, 2013 at New York University’s Center orGlobal Aairs (CGA). This was the eighth in a series o workshops organized bythe CGA Scenarios Initiative, which aims to reduce surprise and illuminate U.S. oreignpolicy choices through scenario-building exercises. Previous events ocused on Iraq, Iran,China, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and, Pakistan. The workshops on China, Russia, Turkey,Ukraine, Pakistan, and Syria were unded by the Carnegie Corporation o New York.In both ofcial and academic policy debates, the uture is oten expected to parallelthe recent past. Potential discontinuities are dismissed as implausible, inormationthat conicts with prevailing mindsets or policy preerences is unseen or viewedas anomalous, pressure or consensus drives out distinctive insights, and a ear obeing “wrong” discourages risk-taking and innovative analysis. This conservatismcan obscure, and thus reduce, oreign policy choice. Our experience, throughseveral workshops, is that experts tend to underestimate the degree o uturevariability in the domestic politics o seemingly stable states. This was the casewith the Soviet Union, as it is now in the Middle East and, suddenly, in Turkey andBrazil. Globalization, nancial volatility, physical insecurity, economic stresses, andethnic and religious conicts challenge governments as never beore, andrequire that Americans think seriously about both risk and opportunity in suchuncertain circumstances.The CGA Scenarios Initiative aims to apply imagination to debates about pivotalcountries that aect U.S. interests. The project assembles the combination oknowledge, detachment, and utures perspective essential to inorming decisionstaken in the presence o uncertainty. The project comprises long-term research onorces or change in the international system and workshops attended by experts andpolicymakers rom diverse elds and viewpoints. The workshops examine the resultso current research, create alternative scenarios, identiy potential surprises, and testcurrent and alternative U.S. policies against these utures.Michael F. Oppenheimer, the ounder o the project, has organized over thirty suchprojects or the State and Deense Departments, the National Intelligence Council,the Central Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Institute o Peace, the Brookings Institution,the Council on Foreign Relations, and the President’s Science Advisor. He is a ClinicalProessor at the Center or Global Aairs at New York University.