The IUP Journal of International Relations
The Great Syrian Civil War: A Realist Approach to the Syrian Conflict

Article Details
Pub. Date : Jan, 2020
Product Name : The IUP Journal of International Relations
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJIR40120
Author Name : Nicos Panayiotides
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Management
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 12



The aim of this paper is to explain the Syrian Civil War through the prism of the Realist theory of international relations. Although up till now there have been many analyses of the conflict, only a few sought to analyze it by using the tools of the realist school of thought. The author firmly believes that besides Walt’s Balance of Threat theory, neorealism and neoclassical realism are to a lesser extent adequate instruments that can sufficiently address and shed light on the causes of the behavior of the major powers and regional powers involved in this protracted war. As it is well known to scholars of international politics, major powers possess the greatest capabilities in the international system and therefore their actions are considered systemic (relative distribution of material capabilities). More analytically, great powers’ actions regarding the conflict take the place of the independent variable,1 while the adaptive strategies of regional and non-state actors become the dependent variable.


In March 2020, the Syrian Civil War—the “Great Syrian Civil War,” as I call it—will enter its tenth year. The conflict was sparked in April 2011 by the general wave of massive protests against the former regional order in the Middle East that swept over the region and led to the overthrow of autocratic leaders: Ben Ali in Tunisia (Jasmine Revolution) in January 2011, Muammar Gaddafi in Libya in October 2011 and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt in February the same year.


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