The Syrian crisis is in its fourth year, despite several efforts by the international community for reconciliation. Over the four years of the crisis, Russia and Iran have continued to openly support the position of the Syrian government that is led by Assad. For instance, Russia showed its influence in Syria during the planning and organization of the second Geneva conference in the year 2012. Unlike the United States, which failed to bring all the Syrian rebel factions to the negotiation table, Russia was very successful in accomplishing its role in convincing the Syrian government to attend the peace negotiation. In fact, the Syrian government side was represented by a high ranking team consisting of the powerful Minister of Foreign Affairs called Walid Muallem and other top government officials. Russia has played a double role of being a facilitator and a wrecker in the Syrian crisis.
Russia blocked the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council but is currently part of the team facilitating the removal and destruction of the chemical weapons in Syria. This research proposal will attempt to establish the underlying factors which have made Russia to command a strong influence in the Syrian crisis. The paper will explore the economic, ideological, and political relationship between Russia and Assad’s government.
Statement of significance
Understanding geopolitical, social, and economic relationships between countries is important, especially when handling crisis. For instance, establishing the reasons for the strong influence which Russia has in the Syrian crisis might help the global community to draw a strategic approach towards ending the half decade long war. This paper will attempt to explicitly analyze the factors which have made Russia to command a strong influence in the Syrian crisis.
Why does Russia have a strong influence position in the Syrian crisis?
- Null hypothesis: Russia has a strong and legitimate social, political, and economic partnership with the government of Syria without sinister political motives.
- Alternative hypothesis: Russia has a strong and legitimate social, political, and economic partnership with the government of Syria because of sinister political motives.
Russia and Syria have had a strong political, social, and an economic relationship which is deep rooted in the more than two decades of close cooperation. The relationship can be traced to the end of the Second World War (Putin, par. 7). Besides, Damascus was the main ally and strategic military base for Russia during the Cold War. At present, the city of Tarsus in Syria hosts the only naval facility of Russia, which serves their interest in the entire Mediterranean region. In fact, the Russian economic and military support to President Assad and his regime is what has kept the Syrian government in authority for the last four years (Lea 23).
The veto powers of Russia in the United Nations Security Council have been exercised by the Moscow leadership to avert the proposed airstrike and UN sanctions in Syria. Interestingly, Russia was the only member of the United Nations Security Council to object to “the publication of the proposal as an official Security Council document” (Baetz, par. 5). Russia stood in the way of the proposed condemnation of the use of excessive force in Syria. In its official statement, the government of Russia stated that “the situation doesn’t present a threat to international peace and security since Syria is a very important country in the Middle East and destabilizing Syria would have repercussions far beyond its borders” (Seib, par. 13).
Russia has been skillful in acting as “as both a wrecker and a facilitator; blocking Security Council resolutions, but also assisting in the removal of Syria’s chemical weapons” (Brodsky, par. 11). The government of Russia has used the crisis to strengthen its position in the Middle East political and economic affairs to promote its strategy of being an alternative powerhouse to the western block (Lea 29).
Politically speaking, strengthening Assad’s regime is the same as strengthening the position of Russia as the regional superpower (Kreutz 18). Moscow has been in the forefront in supporting the actions of Assad in sustaining the crisis. For instance, Russia has been accused by the US and NATO of supporting Assad in “starving the rebellious areas of Homs into submission, buying time on the slow-moving dismantlement of chemical weapons, or parading aircraft carriers along the Syrian coast just to remind everyone what an unfortunate idea aerial strike would be” (Barry, par. 7). In addition, Russia has a massive military supply contract with Syria. The contract is estimated at over one and a half billion dollars. The Russia-Syria military contract consists of almost ten percent of the total weapon exported from Russia (Chaney 401).
The research will be carried out through quantitative research using secondary data. A sense of neutrality will be maintained and the researcher will conduct research as an explorer whose goal is to establish the link between the Syrian crisis and activities of Russia. The quantitative approach was informed by the fact that the research is focused, subjective, dynamic, and discovery oriented. This approach is best suited to gain proper insight into the situation of the case study. Besides, quantitative data analysis will create room for further analysis using different and divergent tools for checking the degree of error in the assumptions.
Validity and reliability determine the accuracy of collecting data in research. In order to achieve validity in the question to be answered within the research topic, it is essential to carry out pre-testing of questions (Lea 21). On the other hand, reliability quantifies the magnitude of consistency of research instruments and the outcome created by the same. The way in which an event is experienced is related to the way in which the person who has experienced this event can give it a perspective. However, in this quantitative study, the researcher will have the opportunity to get the perspective of different secondary data. Utilizing these experiences as a framework from which to develop the study, the work is likely to reflect the unique understanding of the personal experiences in research.
Dependability will be assured by providing clear, detailed, and sequential descriptions of data collection and analysis procedures. It is a quality that relies on the study design being congruent with clear research question, having an explicit explanation of the status, and roles of the researcher. Besides, quality involves providing findings with meaningful parallelism across data sources, specification of basic theoretical constructs and analytical frameworks, and data collection across a range of settings. This study seeks to fulfill these criteria as much as possible. A full effort will be made to accurately and faithfully transcribe data from the secondary sources.
Baetz, Juergen 2011, Medvedev: Syria must not go the same way as Libya. Web.
Barry, Anya 2012, Adding fuel to Syria’s fire. 2014. Web.
Brodsky, Mathew 2012, Russia’s show of Syrian force. 2014. Web.
Chaney, Eric. “Democratic Change in the Arab World, Past and Present.” Harvard Review 23.1 (2012): 363-414. Print.
Galpin, Richard 2012, Russian arms shipment bolster Syria’s embattled Assad. 2014. Web.
Kreutz, Andrej. Russia in the Middle East: friend or foe? Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007. Print.
Lea, David. A Political Chronology of the Middle East, London, United Kingdom: Europa Publications, 2011. Print.
Putin, Vladimir 2013, A plea for caution from Russia. 2014. Web.
Seib, Gerald 2013, Russia, China take on expansionary roles. 2014. Web.