Implications for world peace of the conflict in Syria

Research Paper (undergraduate), 2016
11 Pages



1. Introduction

2. The Nature of Recent Syrian Conflict

3. Regional & World Players, Hezbollah, and Al-Qaida in Syria

4. Russian and US Strategic Interests

5. The Iranian Dimension

6. Arms Supplies , Chemical Weapons and War Economy of Syria

7. Conclusion


ABSTRACT "Uprising of Tunisia and then the uprising in Egypt have shaken the internal political stalemate of Arab countries. On the same pattern, revolution in Syria started against the authoritarian regime that soon caught the attention of the global audience including important international powers. This paper presents the conflict in Syria as a crisis that is complex, multidimensional and has critical implications for world peace. Different important dimensions of Syrian conflict are presented and explored briefly to establish the fact that Syrian conflict is not a mere conflict of an Arab country but it has evolved into a complex political and strategic problem that have serious strategic concerns and implications for world peace. "

1. Introduction

Since long, the Arab peninsula has experienced a turbulent political environment. However, every country in this region has its own complex political dynamics. Be it Arab-Israel war, Israel-Palestinian conflict or the Israel-Lebanon issues, the implications of these regional political conflicts have had multiple global implications and they have always captured an important place on the global agenda.

After the end of cold war, globalization have undoubtedly either influenced or reshaped almost every dimension of domestic, regional and international political agenda. Globalization and political change have its own dynamics for 21st century politics. Though, terrorist events of 9/11 can be considered a critical political event at the dawn of 21st century that overshadowed the global political agenda for almost a decade but it is important to consider that political development does not happen in a single dimension. Therefore, World has witnessed an increase in domestic, regional and international defining political events or crisis that have and are re-shaping our world.

Embarrassing defeat of Israel's armed forces against Hezbollah, a militia with regional backing and support, Iran nuclear issue, its development into new relations between US and Iran, Uprisings in Tunisia, the events of Egypt and Bahrain all are key regional hot spots that have an important place on the global political agenda.

As explained above, conflict in Syria has been considered as the same classical political example of a domestic political crisis that evolved into regional crisis and now it has captured the attention as well as involvement of major world powers and international humanitarian agencies such as the UN.

This paper employs the view that conflict in Syria has evolved into a complex political crisis that have critical implications for world peace. I have explained my view through presenting different dimensions of Syrian conflict to establish the importance of Syrian conflict in the context of world peace.

This paper is organized into following important sub-headings.

The nature of recent Syrian Conflict

Regional & World Players, Hezbollah, and Al-Qaida in Syria

Russian and U.S strategic interests

The Iranian dimension

Arms supplies, Chemical Weapons and War Economy of Syria


2. The Nature of Recent Syrian Conflict

Syria's 23 million population is facing the martial law since 1963. The country is ruled by Baath Party. Political ideology of the Baath Party can be understood as a shape of secular Arab Nationalism.

Uprising in Syria emerged from the grass root level. There were no politicians who have led the recent uprising in the beginning. In fact, there was no proper opposition present in the start who could have planned or lead the movement. It was an uprising begun by mostly the young lot of Syrians who shared a particular thought or ideology against the dictatorship regime that had treated the masses inhumanly for decades.

Revolutions that were sparked in Tunisia and Egypt were inspired by the masses as an inspiring model for their own ideology and struggle. The pattern of success of revolutions in Tunisia and afterwards in Egypt thrilled the youth of Syria with a practical possibility of political change through revolution. It is important that the struggle was started and strengthened in the small rural communities at first in a non-violent way mostly through protests and then it spread throughout the country as an ideological campaign against the regime.

Armed struggle was emerged in August 2011 after the formal announcement of Free Syrian Army in July 2011. Since the emergence of armed struggle, the nature of the whole uprising got more complex, bloody and gradually out of control. Different political segments entered the armed struggle and eventually it became more and more complex to control. On the similar patterns, a political movement was formed outside Syria that captured the attention of world population.

According to leading scholars of political science who have worked on civil wars agree that Syrian conflict is one of the most difficult conflicts for comparison due to its complexity, fragmentation and therefore closest examples are Afghanistan in 1980s and Congo in 2000s that gives an idea of the horrible outcomes of this conflict for the future domestic, regional and international politics(Lynch, 2013, p. 3).

3. Regional & World Players, Hezbollah, and Al-Qaida in Syria

Since the armed revolution and uprising started in Syria, the conflict has become more and more brutal in the context of human losses. The regime of Bahar ul Asad has launched counter-offensives against the militant opposition. Given to the involvement of masses at large that have geographically scattered support throughout the country, the civil war has become very dangerous. Conflict in Syria has presented a complex and difficult question to tackle for Obama administration (Sharp & Blanchard, 2013).

Syria is a Sunni majority country where more than 60% are Sunni Muslims. However, Hezbollah, a deep rooted militia backed by Iran and having credible insurgency and gorilla war experience in Lebanon has long been the supporter of the Asad regime. Hezbollah have involved in the conflict with following key objectives including;

a. Protection of Asad Regime against militant rebels that are perceived as pro-Israel since receiving US and international weaponry support.

b. To protect the Shiites that are living in nearly 20 villages situated alongside the border with Lebanon.

c. To protect the shrine of the granddaughter of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), Sayyida Zainab situated near Damascus.

Recently, Sheikh Hassan Nassarullah has announced through media serious repercussions if the shrine is attacked by the militant rebels.

On the other hand militant rebels are comprised of major Sunni militants that are not only from inside Syria but are flowing from around the Arab and international world and are backed by the Saudi Arabia, U.S and its allies in Europe. Al-Qaida militants are also included.

Recent Air Strikes by Israel in Syria have further complicated the situation not only for the regime but also for U.S and all other players. In other words, all players of Syrian conflict have their own agenda and therefore a non-violent revolution has evolved into a complex regional and international proxy war.

4. Russian and US Strategic Interests

Intervention of major powers in Syrian conflict is an important dimension that has made this crisis an issue that has global implications. This is the dimension that introduces us to the complex involvement of major regional and international players in this conflict. Since this requires a detailed presentation of the strategic interests and concerns of all such regional and international players, it is only possible for me to highlight some of those core interests that will justify the understanding of my presentation of Syrian Conflict as an important consideration for world peace.

United States has three major strategic interests in the controlled outcome of Syrian Conflict (Lyengar & Fishman, 2013).

a. To Limit the scope of regional instability.
b. Containment of Iran.
c. To protect/safeguard biological and chemical weapons.

There is a longstanding relationship between Russia and Syria that was established in the era of Hafiz al Asad, the father of current regime. It is argued that relationship between the two was actually driven by the need for Syria to get weapons and powerful allies(Gaub & Popescu, 2013). It has become more strengthened in the wake of Russia re-asserting itself as a major power broker in the international arena. However, it is worth researching that why Russia is aligning itself to a regime that is almost isolated in terms of powerful international players. One answer to this question is the Russian rejection of western intervention to her allies (Allison, 2013). But according to my understanding, re-assertive formation of Russia and current crisis in Ukraine logically explains Russian intentions that are to re-integrate and to re-gain the position of a super power in 21st century. According to (Kreutz, 2010) Russia has remained successful in having good relations with Israel and Syria at the same time. However, this has to be tested that for how long this balance will remain applicable. It can be said safely that there is a fine thin line for Russia in terms of relations with Syria. So far, Russia has shown an assertive approach that is different from the approach it had in the Libyan crisis.

It is however, clear from the above mentioned three U.S strategic concerns that all three are very well aligned with the Israeli interests. This point is very important for our understanding and discussion. U.S - Israel complementary relationship exists in the Palestine issue. It is argued that Israel is protected in U.N by the veto of U.S and this relationship is the major cause of anti U.S sentiment and hatred against the U.S in the region. This logically implies that all those regional players as well as non-state actors should go against the U.S and Israeli interests and consequently they should oppose the militant rebels and should support the regime. Interestingly, this is not the case on the ground. Sectarian dimension and Iranian as well as Russian alignment with the regime can be taken as a proof of the complexity of the situation.

Saudi Arabia and the militants from the banned terrorist outfits are inflowing and aligning with the militant rebels in Syria that are supported by U.S and western forces. Therefore, as explained above, there is a situation on ground in which Al-Qaida terrorists are fighting alongside militant rebels or Free Syrian Army with the arms and ammunition supplies of U.S and the West. On the other hand, Russia, Iran and the Syrian Regime along with Hezbollah make the other side.

5. The Iranian Dimension

Iran has multiple strategic interests in Syria. Complexity of the situation cannot be understood completely until we explore the Iranian Dimension of this conflict. It is well established that Syria is a longstanding ally of Iran in Middle East. Critical supply line for Iran backed Hezbollah runs from Iran through Syria. Iranian security and strategic perception of Israel is also well-understood by the security analysts. Asad's regime has provided Iran with the required critical access through the Syrian territory and in return Iran has complemented Syria with technical and material aid required for the development of Chemical weapons (Fulton, Holliday, & Wyer, 2013). Strategically speaking, this relationship is far beyond simple. It is argued that Iran uses Syria as a deterrent and front line of defence for its own nuclear programme against Israel that has time and again openly expressed its intentions about attacking Iranian nuclear installations. Iranian dimension clearly explains the sensitivity of the Syrian conflict in the context of world peace.


Excerpt out of 11 pages


Implications for world peace of the conflict in Syria
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
579 KB
implications, syria
Quote paper
Akram Zaheer (Author), 2016, Implications for world peace of the conflict in Syria, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


  • No comments yet.
Read the ebook
Title: Implications for world peace of the conflict in Syria

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free