Christopher Phillips


Queen Mary, University of London Queen Mary, University of London

Christopher Phillips is Reader in International Relations at Queen Mary, University of London and an Associate Fellow at the Chatham House Middle East and North Africa programme and the Imperial War Museum. He was co-curator of ‘Syria: Story of a Conflict’, a public exhibition at the Imperial War Museum and IWM North in 2017-18. He has a PhD in International Relations from the London School of Economics, and was previously the deputy editor for Syria and Jordan at the Economist Intelligence Unit. 

He lived for several years in Syria and conducts frequent research trips to the US, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and the Gulf. He regularly consults UK and foreign government agencies and NGOS, and has appeared on BBC Newsnight, BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, BBC News, Al-Jazeera, Sky News, Bloomberg and Channel 4 News. He has published academic articles in International Affairs, Third World Quarterly, Middle East Policy, Small Wars and Insurgencies, Orient, Nations and Nationalism and Mediterranean Politics and op-eds in The Guardian, The Washington Post, Newsweek, CNN, The Huffington Post and Prospect among others.

His first book, Everyday Arab Identity: the daily reproduction of the Arab World was published by Routledge in 2012. His new book, The Battle for Syria: International Rivalry in the New Middle East, was published by Yale University Press in September 2016, with a paperback update in 2018.

Recent Publications

  • Phillips, C., The Battle for Syria: International Rivalry in the New Middle East (London: Yale University Press, 2016 [Paperback update 2018])
  • Phillips, C., Everyday Arab Identity: The daily reproduction of the Arab World (London: Routledge, 2012)
  • Phillips, C and Valbjorn, M (2018) ‘What is in a Name?’: The Role of (Different) Identities in the Multiple Proxy Wars in Syria' Small Wars & Insurgencies Volume 29, Issue 3, pp.414-433. 
  • Phillips, C (2017) 'Syria after IS' Orient, Issue IV, September 2017 pp.16-23.
  • Phillips, C (2017) Eyes Bigger than Stomachs: Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in Syria’ Middle East Policy, Volume 24, Issue 1, Spring 2017
  • Phillips, C, 'Intervention and non-intervention in the Syria crisis’ in F. Kühn and M. Turner (eds.), The Politics of International Intervention. The Tyranny of Peace (London: Routledge, 2016) 
  • Phillips, C (2015) 'Sectarianism and conflict in Syria.' Third World Quarterly 36.2, pp. 357-376.
  • Phillips, C (2015) ‘Gulf Actors and the Syria Crisis’ in The New Politics of Intervention of Gulf Arab States, London School of Economics and Political Science Middle East Centre, Collected Papers Vol. 1, 41-51
  • Phillips, C (2014) ‘The Arabism Debate and the Arab Uprising’s, Mediterranean Politics, 19:1, pp. 141-144 
  • Phillips, C , 'Into the Quagmire: Turkey's Frustrated Syria Policy', Chatham House Briefing Paper, December 2012 


  • ‘Idlib’s fate looks more likely to be decided in Moscow than in Ankara’ Middle East Eye30 August 2018
  • ‘The World Abetted Assad’s Victory in Syria’ The Atlantic, 4 August 2018
  • ‘Will the south by Syria’s next battlefield?’ Middle East Eye, 19 June 2018
  • ‘Syria War: Trump’s chemical dilemma’ Middle East Eye, 13 April 2018
  • ‘Assad and Putin are the real winners in Turkey’s Afrin operation’ Middle East Eye, 27 February 2018
  • ‘Syria’s war is far from over’ Middle East Eye, 10 January 2018
  • ‘Jordan’s Smart Syria Strategy’ Middle East Eye, 24 June 2017
  • ‘Trump’s strike is more of the same in Syria’ Washington Post, 7 April 2017
  • ‘Syria was never America’s to lose’ Middle East Eye, 6 January 2017
  • ”Unknown unknowns’: What Trump means for Syria’ Middle East Eye, 9 November 2016
  • ‘The Ever-Evolving Battle for Syria’ Yale Books Unbound, 8 November 2016
  • ‘Battle for Syria, Part Two: US Foreign Policy & the Syrian Conflict,’ Yale Books, 3 October 2016
  • ‘Battle for Syria, Part One: The Impact of International Involvement’, Yale Books, 29 September 2016
  • ‘Turkey’s Syria Intervention: a Sign of Weakness not Strength’, Newsweek, 22 September 2016
  • ‘The US and Russia could help end the Syria conflict. But are they hurting enough?’ Prospect, 26 August 2016