INCA Analysis of Syrian National Capacity 

This page gives an overview of INCA, the Inclusive Nationalism Country Adaptivity matrix. INCA is a lens through which 27  organizations have assessed the country over 3 rounds and 18 months. These organizations are local, regional, and international, and rated by their peers as among the 100 most influential organization engaged in the life of the country. We refer to these organizations as "prime actors."


INCA is a tool for influential local, regional, and international actors to assess the sovereign, economic, political, social, and cultural capacity of Syria.

INCA is comprehensive. Note the 17 dimensions listed on the x-axis.

INCA measures capacity. Each higher level represent an increase in the ability of the country to adapt to an existential threat. Note the 8 levels of the y-axis.


Each of the following pages shows you the current state of Syria, through the eyes of 27 influential local, regional, and international organizations engaged in the life of Syria. A page is dedicated to each of the 17 dimensions, and are organized thusly:

  • Representative statements by prime actors about the capacity of Syria in that dimension. The statements reveal an aligned, or common view of the dimension; or they are misaligned, and reveal isolated, different perspectives of the dimensions.
  • A chart that represents the range of disagreement, with a brief explanation of the chart and dimension. 
  • The question we pose to prime actors in face-to-face interviews regarding the dimension. 
  • An exercise in understanding the perspective of prime actors who see the situation differently from ourselves ("read closely, imagine, learn"). 
  • A table of contents
  • A chart that represents the most conservative assessment of the capacity of Syria at this moment in time in that dimension.
  • An explanation of the thick brown line that represents the current capacity of the country in that dimension, the dominant mode of the country.
  • An explanation of the gray space beneath the brown line. Based on our methodology, projects in this range are not taking advantage of the infrastructure of the country. Development projects in this range serve to reinforce current capacity, rather than to initiate or foster new capacity. 
  • The green line represents the realistic ceiling for any initiative likely to succeed in the next 5-20 years. The history of development show unequivocally that building national sovereign, economic, political, social, or cultural infrastructure is a profound, massive task. Capacity emerges organically, or is built methodically. Either path is slow. Based on our methodology, we argue that projects in the range between the brown and green lines are most likely to succeed, be fully adopted locally, sustain themselves, and spread over time. 
  • The red area, above the green line, represents the range of initiatives for the country that assume more sovereign, economic, political, social, or cultural infrastructure than actually exists in the country. It represents unrealistic goals for national development initiatives. Based on our methodology, these initiatives are likely to fail because they attempt too much too quickly.
  • All statements by prime actors in the most recent, and previous, rounds of interviews and feedback since we began building a shared information platform for Syria in January, 2016.