International relations: The war in Syria

The rising deaths of civilians in the Syrian war as well increasing population of internally displaced people is raising questions as to whether foreign involvement or lack of it has escalated the war against ISIS in Syria. There are concerns as to how a protest against the governance of Syria’s President Basher Assad has resulted in civil war in the country. Consequently, there are quite some countries involved in the war in Syria. These countries either have security interests or other objectives to directly or indirectly support the different groups engaging in the war in Syria. Examples of such countries include Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Russia among others (Forsythe and Monshipouri par. 4). This research proposal intends to find out the relationship between prolonged war in Syria and foreign involvement. Further, it examines the different policies of the Russia and the United States that have stalled integrated efforts to bring to an end the civil war in Syria.  In general, the research suggests that different international power stances can stop or escalate the war.

This research proposal will use qualitative research method to observe the ongoing war in Syria and derive conclusions based on data of how much involved foreign countries are in the war in Syria. Consequently, the research proposal will use a case study of the political phenomenon of the war in Syria. The project will sample data from secondary sources such as journals, online statistics of death tolls and government records of different countries. Also, the research will conduct interviews with Syrian nationals both in the country as well as those who have immigrated to other countries and the various groups fighting in Syria.  The main finding is the correlation between foreign involvement and increasing intensity of war in Syria. In the journal article ISIS and the civil war in Syria: the challenge for US foreign policy by Forsythe and Monshipouri (par. 4), it is stated that divided international involvement has prolonged the war in Syria.

Introduction

The war in Middle East countries has intensified over the 21st century with Syria being the most affected since 2011. The protracted war in Syria has been attributed to conflicting interests from international committees shown by divided support to different groups fighting in Syria. Russia’s strategy to support ally Syrian President and the United States’ policy to take President Assad out of power has fuelled the ongoing civil war in the country (Segun, Joshua and Olanrewaju, 23).  The United States is particularly at fault for failing to engage directly in Syria, sparking anxiety in the country. Further, other countries like Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are expressing their political preference of anti- Assad governance but lack in resource commitment to see through to their campaigns. On the other hand, Egypt’s President Sisi, Shite of Iran and Hezbollah are for Assad, but their efforts are insignificant in fighting ISIS. It is inevitable that a research is conducted on the role of international powers in these wars and recommends ways to reverse negative political influence. Also, there is lacking in consolidated information on how much global influence has contributed to prolonged civil war in Syria. Consequently, this research explores the different types of support given to groups fighting in Syria, the interests of international players and if economic sanctions against Russia have any effect on its influence in Syrian civil war.

Literature review

There are studies other research studies on the civil war in Syria such as the Sage journal article, The Diplomatic dimensions of Syrian conflict by Olenarewaju and Segun  ( 1). However, the article focuses only on the United States and Russia’s role in the escalation of the war in Syria. Also, the article the political science of Syria’s war by Briefings (par. 5) analyses the war from the fighters’ groups’ in Syria’s perspective. There isn’t yet a research study that gives an in-depth analysis of the contribution of each country involved, to the increasing intensity of the war in Syria. Further, the research study is inspired by my teacher who is dedicated to ensuring I develop analytical skills of each country’s relations with another, no matter how insignificant the links might seem. The prevalence of the war in Syria and the related consequence of mass immigration that has since put my Country in the spotlight has also triggered my interest to research on the war.

Research methods

The study will use qualitative analysis as a research approach. Qualitative analysis gives an explanation or description to an occurrence on a natural setting making it the most suitable method to describe the international forces behind the war in Syria (Williams 17). Subsequently, the case study qualitative analysis is ideal for the war in Syria because it focuses on a certain population niche, in this case, the country Syria. Also, the case study is best to describe the escalating war activity in Syria as a result of international influence (Williams par. 21).

The study will use both primary and secondary sources of information. Secondary sources will comprise of journals, statistics data and different government records on their input regarding support to the groups fighting in Syria. Secondary sources will be key in gauging if Russia’s involvement in the war has declined, increased or not changed after economic sanctions were imposed on it by the West (Berman  4). On the other hand, primary sources will include interviews and to a certain extent questionnaires to the different groups in Syria. The study will sample 100 people of each group of fighters and 2200 of Syrian civilians. 1200 civilians still living in Aleppo and 1000 who have immigrated to the other countries. Aleppo is particularly ideal because of its strategic placement as the ISIS stronghold. Also, it has experienced many Russian Airstrikes in the recent past. The samples will be a representation of the 22M Syrian population as at the eve of civil war (Fakih and Marrouch 1). The sampling strategy is to get a considerable amount of different views of 100 fighters that are substantial to validate a finding. On the other hand, 2200 Syrians will represent a hundredth of the approximate population of Syria before the war.

The sample interview to groups fighting in Syria will include questions such as

How have you managed to support yourselves through a five year war period?

Which country provides you with financial support?

Which country gives your military support or weapons?

In which country can you seek medical treatment or flee to incase you are injured?

What is the interest of the country in question in Syria?

How has the trend of the war been, over the years regarding civilian causalities?

Has the war escalated since the country in question drummed up their support to you?

On the other hand, questionnaires will be sent to Syrian refugees in foreign countries and will consist of questions such as

What was the trend of the war over the years regarding civilian deaths?

What triggered you to leave your country in 2015 or 2016 as opposed to 2011-2014 when the war began?

Did you see increasing foreign militants in your country before you left?

From which Country do you think they came?

Do you think other Countries are playing a significant role in escalating the war?

Are fewer efforts being made to end the war?

What would you tell the international community to do?

Which country would you like to see more involved in efforts to stop the civil war in your country?

The study variables will consist of country, military support, financial support, political support, and death tolls over the years. Also, the intensity of Russia’s involvement in Ukraine compared to Syria will be evaluated (Berman  4).

Data analysis

The data collected will be numerically analyzed as well as theoretically. Numerical analysis entails the volume of support by each country. The data for statistical analysis comes about when fighters answer to the question of which country gives you support. In that case, it is possible to gauge which was mentioned the most to the least said country. Also, the numerical analysis will be used in tabulating the number of deaths of civilians over the years. In addition content analysis will apply to sampling interviews, fighters groups, and interests of countries in supporting different groups of soldiers. Content analysis will facilitate tabulation and summary of verbal answers from the oral interviews. Similarly, content analysis will be useful in determining if Russia has intensified their support for the war after the sanctions or not (Berman  4).

Results

The results will indicate the names of different foreign countries and the kind of support they are giving to Syrian fighters. It will consist of death toll trend over the years highlighting the death tolls after Russia used airstrikes in Aleppo. Similarly, it will show the difference between when there was little to no foreign involvement to when more international countries came in to support different group of fighters. Data will be mainly collected from fighters in Aleppo as well as Civilians living in Aleppo or migrated from Aleppo. All participants will have proven to a certain degree, their level of sanity before engaging in the study.

Secondary findings will back up statistics on death tolls. Similarly, it will show to what extent United States is involved in the war in Syria.  Some of the foreign countries pledges and commitment to supporting fighters in Aleppo can also be retrieved from secondary sources. Also, the magnitude of Russia involvement in the war in Syria as compared to Ukraine will be gauged.

Discussion

The findings in the proposed research are important in determining if foreign involvement in civil war escalates the war pattern or reduces the intensity of civil war. Similarly, it is imperative to find out what interests other than humanitarian and security concerns attracts foreign countries to civil war in Middle East Countries. Also, it is about time that knowledge on the prevalence of war in the Middle East in the 21st century is available to learn. Further, the Western countries need to be informed if economic sanctions against Russia has worked in limiting its interest to engage in civil war in other countries or not.

The research study will provide in-depth analysis as to how countries relate to each in times of war and the bad support that has escalated the civil war in Syria. Importantly, the knowledge from the study is essential in advocating for effective global relations and the need to integrate into policies to defeat ISIS without causing a humanitarian crisis as in the case of Syria. The world needs to be informed of the importance of U.S direct engagement in war, and if its policies in Syria compared to the policies, it undertook in Iraq and Afghanistan have yielded better or worst results. The question as to whether global powers must engage in every civil war to end quickly or if it is better left to regional powers to help their neighbor in war will be answered.

Limitations of research

The different fighting groups from various countries are characterized by diversity in language, creating a language barrier when conducting research. Also, the current insecurity in Aleppo makes it near impossible to go there to carry out research. Engaging with militants and ISIS fighters can equally pose a security threat especially if they mistake the researcher for an enemy. Similarly, there is a high probability of financial constraint in reaching as much Syrian as 2200 to interview. Further, the fact that Syrian refugees are scattered all over the globe makes it difficult financially, and accessibility wise to reach most of them.

Weaknesses

The research findings are samples of the views of a portion of Syrians hence making it difficult to conclude the interests and views of a whole country based on a small sample of the study. Also, it is easy for participants to lie in their answers given that there is no record to prove otherwise. Fights involving militants and ISIS are usually characterized by high level of confidentiality to curb giveaways of intelligent information making it difficult to obtain data on which country is supporting which fighter group.