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Syria as a Case Study of an Authoritarian Regime Undergoing Conflict

Conflict
Democracy
Foreign Policy
International Relations
Political Leadership
International
Aneta Hlavsová
Prague University of Economics and Business
Aneta Hlavsová
Prague University of Economics and Business
Kristýna Tamchynová
Prague University of Economics and Business
Katerina Vlckova
Prague University of Economics and Business

Abstract

This article looks at the Syrian authoritarian regime and tries to establish to what extent its future development is dependent on the domestic political systems of major foreign actors involved in the ongoing conflict. Given its graveness the Syrian conflict became one of the focal points of international community – and it is absolutely crucial for its observers to understand the deep complexities of the relationships and interests the various parties to the conflict project. More specifically, the objective of this article is to explore and to analyze the political and geopolitical interests of Russia, Turkey and the USA in the conflict torn Syria by examining the three players’ domestic establishments. Arguably, the domestic political scene of the three actors to certain extent shapes and influences their interests, thus may be pivotal to their involvement in Syria. Moreover, this analysis allows us to propose a short-term prediction about the impact of the involvement of the three above mentioned countries on the Syrian conflict and its new potential political leadership. Therefore, the main research questions the paper poses are: To what extent does the domestic political system of the biggest stakeholders determine the internal situation in Syria? Given this analysis, what is the most probable short-term outcome? Is there any possibility for the interests of the main stakeholders to converge? Methodologically, the paper applies a stakeholder analysis in order to determine the most relevant actors and their respective interests they are pursuing through and within the engagement. The article is certainly highly beneficial because it provides its readers with a timely analysis of a current conflict and based on its findings it attempts to develop at minimum a short-time prediction of future outcomes. It is the detailed breakdown of the respective player´s national explicit and latent interests which allows for a precise forecast of the future developments concerning the Syrian conflict and the corresponding balance-of-power in the Middle Eastern region. The article emphasizes the proxy relationship the US, Russia and Turkey have developed throughout the Syrian conflict – specifically accentuating the democratic/authoritarian struggle versus the authoritarian cooperation path of foreign policies.