Acta Universitatis Danubius. Relationes Internationales, Vol 12, No 2 (2019)

A protracted civil war in Syria defies all concerted efforts to end it

Clement Ndidi Oligie


The paper critically analyzes the reasons for the protraction and intractability of the Syrian civil war despite several concerted efforts to resolve it. This leads to identifying seven schools of thought that proffer different explanations each of which addresses an aspect of the problem. The explanations are that Syria’s civil war is prolonged and intractable due to the institutional weakness of the United Nations and the infighting in the United Nations Security Council, the sectarianization of the civil war by Islamist extremist rebel groups, the deployment of violent approach by the Syrian opposition instead of sticking to non-violent approach, the Syrian rebels’ abundant profits from Syria’s illicit economy, the West’s reluctance to use military action against the Syrian government because such action will be unprofitable, internal factors which include the peculiar nature of the dynamics of the civil war, the internal politics and institutional power structure of the major internal players in the war, and external factors regarding the obstructive behaviour and activities of external players, especially great powers. While all the explanations are important, the paper concludes that the last account is most likely the truest reason why the Syrian civil war continues up to now in its eighth year.


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