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Syrian Civil War: Origins and Geopolitical Consequences Essay


Introduction

The war, which has engulfed Syria, continuously attracts the attention of journalists and diplomats. It has already taken lives of at least 76000 people (Gladstone and Ghannam 4). Moreover, this confrontation has turned millions of Syrian citizens into refugees who need to seek asylum in various countries. To some degree, this conflict illustrates the instability of countries located in the Middle East. One cannot easily identify a single underlying cause of this war.

Instead, much attention should be paid to the combination of factors that are related to the political landscape of the country, its religious tensions, economic recession, and geographic peculiarities. At this point, it may be too early to make predictions about the outcome of this conflict and its geopolitical consequences.

However, one can conjecture that Syria may remain under the control of terrorist groups such as the Islamic States of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). This outcome can be possible if there is no full-scale intervention of other countries into this war. Moreover, Syria may suffer from economic isolation. These are the main issues that should be discussed more closely.

The origins of this conflict

At first, one should mention that Syria is a country in which citizens have long been unable to influence the policies of the state (Yoo 199). For instance, the government of the country has been controlled by the Assad family for more than five decades. In particular, one should speak about Hafez al-Assad and his son Bashar al-Assad (Yoo 199).

In many cases, they brutally suppressed every form of opposition to their rule. As a result, many people began to perceive violent protests as the only possible way of changing the political life of the country. Apart from that, the government used firearms during the protests that took place in 2011 (Yoo 199). This event provoked this war and polarised the society. This is one of the issues that should be taken into account.

The discontent with the policies of the state intensified because the government failed to develop mechanisms that could contribute to economic growth. One should keep in mind that the country was affected by such problems as declining oil production and increasing unemployment (Winckler 94). Additionally, the economic policies of the state lacked transparency and consistency.

In many cases, new economic policies implemented by the Assad government benefited only those people who could establish close relations with government officials. The representatives of the government stated that they wanted to deregulate the economy; nevertheless, this deregulation was not achieved because too many bureaucratic barriers remained.

Moreover, unemployment affected primarily young adults who were more likely to take part in the protests against the government. These economic challenges became more acute due to the growing population of Syria and increasing inequalities.

It is also important to discuss the geographical peculiarities of this country because they contributed to the economic inequalities and discontent with the policies of the state. Syria is characterised by the sharp contrast between desert and sea climates. In turn, many areas are more likely to be affected by draughts. The main issue is that the protests against the government were stronger in those regions where draughts deprived many farmers of their earnings.

These people believed that the government had left them to their own devices. For instance, one can mention such rural areas as Homs and Daraa. Additionally, only a small part of the country’s territory is arable, and it is not sufficient for the growing population of Syria. This problem was very acute because the water supplies were very limited (Winckler 94). To some degree, these difficulties can be explained by the lack of infrastructure that could facilitate the development of the agricultural sector.

This is why many people tended to settle in the Valley of the Euphrates River. They acted in this way, because they did not want to struggle with the shortages of water supply. Furthermore, those people, who lived along the coastal line, had more opportunities for participating in trade. This is why these parts of the county were overpopulated.

The discussion of geographic peculiarities is important for understanding inequalities within the Syrian society. To some degree, they intensified hostilities within the society.

These problems became even more aggravated due to conflicts between people who represent different movements of Islam; in particular, one should speak about Sunni and Shia Muslims. In particular, many Sunni Muslims believed that they were underrepresented in the government (Leverett 2). Yet, they comprised about 74 percent of the population (Leverett 2). In contrast, the members of the Assad government were mostly Shias.

Furthermore, many Sunni Muslims believed that the government had been a “heretical regime” and one had to struggle against it (Teller 60). At the present, people, who fight against the Assad government, are mostly Sunnis. It should be mentioned that the divide between Sunni and Shia Muslims often manifested themselves in various countries of the Middle East.

However, they tend to become more acute at the time when a society is influenced by economic hardships and political oppression. These are some of the details that should be taken into account.

Overall, each of these factors contributed to violent confrontations and eventual war between the governmental forces that supported the Assad administration and the opposition which is known as Syrian Revolutionary Command Council (SRCC). It is important to remember that the opposition was initially represented by different groups, movements, or factions (Commins 250).

In turn, the formation of SRCC was supposed to make the activities of these groups more coordinated. Nevertheless, the war gave rise to other groups that had their own agendas. Much attention should be paid to the role because they can profoundly influence the outcome of this war.

Possible geopolitical consequences

At this point, it is difficult to identify how the conflict can evolve because Syrian war is a part of the larger conflict. One should not overlook the war in Iraq and the activities of the group named ISIS. It is a fundamentalist terrorist organisation and the members of this group are firmly convinced that their understanding of the Quran is the most accurate one (Thompson 61). At present, this terrorist organisation controls many provinces of both Syria and Iraq.

Moreover, the outcome depends on the willingness of other states to intervene in this conflict. Admittedly, the United States launched air strikes against ISIS. Furthermore, the Iraqi government received military assistance. Nevertheless, these protective measures may not be sufficient. This is one of the aspects that should be considered.

It is quite possible that significant parts of Syria and Iraq will remain under the control of ISIS. Admittedly, this territory may not be recognised as the state. Furthermore, this military group will never be accepted as the legitimate government. Nevertheless, this organisation will remain the dominant force in this region.

This result can be possible provided that the democratic opposition to the Assad government does not prevail. It is quite possible that these groups may not coordinate their actions. Moreover, they may not receive sufficient support from advanced countries. Unfortunately, these risks cannot be eliminated.

In this case, this region may become economically isolated. The economic situation is more likely to aggravate because there are millions of people who fled Syria. Many of these people could be skilled professionals or entrepreneurs. Some of them could significantly contribute to the economic growth of the country.

Furthermore, the infrastructure of the country is on the verge of complete destruction and it will be difficult for the economy to recover. These are the main aspects that can be identified. Overall, the development of the country can be possible if there is a legitimate and functioning state. If this element is absent, the economic growth of Syria will be impossible.

Conclusion

Overall, this discussion shows that Syrian war was trigged by a combination of factors within the country. Much attention should be paid to the failure of the government to reduce inequalities within the society. Moreover, the state did not create the inclusive environment for the representatives of various religious groups. Admittedly, one should not disregard objective factors, especially peculiarities of the climate and lack of water supplies.

The main issue is that people did not have tools for influencing the work of government. The outcome of this war can be shaped by various external forces that cannot be easily predicted. In this case, much depends on the willingness of advanced countries to offer support to the democratic opposition fighting against the Assad government. This support is important for preventing fundamentalist terrorist organisations from controlling Syria.

Works Cited

Commins, David. Historical Dictionary of Syria, New York: Scarecrow Press, 2013. Print.

Gladstone, Rick and Mohammad Ghannam. “Syria Deaths Hit New High in 2014, Observer Group Says.” The New York Times 1 Jan. 2015: 4. Print.

Leverett, Flynt. Inheriting Syria: Bashar’s Trial by Fire, New York: Brookings Institution Press, 2005. Print.

Teller, Neville. The Search for Détente: Israel and Palestine 2012-2014, New York: Troubador Publishing Ltd, 2014. Print.

Thompson, Grahame. Globalization Revisited, New York: Routledge, 2014. Print.

Winckler, Onn. Arab Political Demography: Population growth and natalist policies, London: Sussex Academic Press, 2005. Print.

Yoo, John. Point of Attack: Preventive War, International Law, and Global Welfare, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2020, May 6). Syrian Civil War: Origins and Geopolitical Consequences. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/syrian-civil-war-origins-and-geopolitical-consequences/

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"Syrian Civil War: Origins and Geopolitical Consequences." IvyPanda, 6 May 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/syrian-civil-war-origins-and-geopolitical-consequences/.

1. IvyPanda. "Syrian Civil War: Origins and Geopolitical Consequences." May 6, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/syrian-civil-war-origins-and-geopolitical-consequences/.


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IvyPanda. "Syrian Civil War: Origins and Geopolitical Consequences." May 6, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/syrian-civil-war-origins-and-geopolitical-consequences/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Syrian Civil War: Origins and Geopolitical Consequences." May 6, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/syrian-civil-war-origins-and-geopolitical-consequences/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Syrian Civil War: Origins and Geopolitical Consequences'. 6 May.

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