Acta Universitatis Danubius. Relationes Internationales, Vol 12, No 1 (2019)

Why Russia is Involved in the Syrian Civil War: One Issue, Many Views.

Clement Ndidi Oligie

Abstract


The paper analyzes Russia’s role in Syria’s civil war, and indicates that while Russia’s military intervened in the civil war to prevent the overthrow of the Bashar al-Assad-led Syrian government, it has remained difficult to really understand the ends Russia seeks to achieve from the war. This necessitated inquiry into the question of why Russia’s military intervention in Syria’s civil war is aimed at keeping President Bashar al-Assad in power. Consequently, the paper discovered six different scholarly explanations of this question, which include that: Russia’s military activity in Syria aims to protect its geopolitical and geostrategic interests and sphere of influence in the Middle East from western encroachment, to advance the conservative orientation of Russia’s ruling elite, to defend the United Nations laws on non-intervention and State sovereignty and prevent the institutionalization of a wrong interventionist precedent the West will readily exploit in the future, to crush Islamist fundamentalism and Jihadist ideology, to pursue realist ambitions, and to implement self-help measures that will guarantee its survival. The paper concludes that, of these six explanations, the realist explanation offers the most compelling answer to Russia’s goal in Syria’s civil war because it forms the basis other explanations are built upon.


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