Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of Politics and Government: Political Science
The United States’ involvement in the Syrian conflict remains rather contentious and unclear. The world is currently experiencing the worst refugee crisis since World War II due to the ongoing Syrian conflict which has produced approximately 6 million refugees. The United States’ actions in the Syrian conflict may have prolonged this refugee crisis by refusing to take a more hardline stance in the conflict against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime. While the United States has acted in Syria, it is much more limited in comparison to that of the recent Libyan intervention. The Libyan intervention serves as a basis for contemporary U.S. military interventions rooted in humanitarian concern and helps shed light on U.S. decision-making and foreign policy with regards to Syria. Both the Libyan and Syrian conflicts were explored through the theoretical framework of social network theory in order to identify networks within each conflict, the actors within said network, and how their behavior and decision-making processes are influenced. Four criteria found in the Libyan intervention, namely altruism, an international legal basis, the involvement of NATO, and domestic public support were applied to the Syrian conflict to determine if humanitarian intervention will take place in Syria. The four criteria were not found to be present in the Syrian conflict and it appears humanitarian intervention is unlikely to happen going forward. Inferences may be made arguing that since the invasion of Iraq, U.S. interventions have adhered to realism and self-serving interests in comparison to past interventions born of liberalism and humanitarian concern.
Kernan, Caroline A., "Redline Erased: U.S. Foreign Policy in Syria and the Criteria for Humanitarian Intervention" (2019). Theses and Dissertations. 1081.