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Dominic Johnson

Dominic Johnson is the Alastair Buchan Professor of International Relations in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford.

The attacks in Paris have elevated both the desire and the case for a full-scale war against Islamic State in Syria. French President Francois Hollande has vowed not just to fight IS, but to destroy it. The US and Russia are poised to significantly up their stakes, and Prime Minister David Cameron has begun laying out the argument to extend British airstrikes into Syria as well. The war is already underway and likely to escalate into an even greater coalition of military power than already exists. However, wars are unpredictable. This is especially so in the case of Syria, with multiple non-state armed groups interacting with each other, multiple foreign state actors, and no legitimate government. Even the vast asymmetry …