First Advisor

Birol Ali Yeşilada

Term of Graduation


Date of Publication

Winter 3-23-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Political Science


Political Science




Syria -- History -- Civil War (2011-), Russia -- Foreign relations, Turkey -- Foreign relations, Iran -- Foreign relations



Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 84 pages)


In 2018, the Syrian Civil War will enter into its ninth year of conflict. From an international relations perspective there are few, if any, studies on state actors in regional sub-state systems. What can an intrastate conflict teach us about future dynamics of the regional interstate hierarchy? It is worthwhile to examine The Syrian Civil War for three reasons. First, Syria lies in the heart of the Middle East lending proximity to regional actors. Second, the breakdown of order in Syria represents a microcosm of the global anarchic environment. Third, Syrian Civil War is an intrastate war that encapsulates both state and non-state actors. This paper intends to provide a clear regional hierarchical analysis with future possibilities and perspectives.

For the last century realism then neorealism dominated the field of international relations, yet they are unfit theories for analyzing the Middle East's hierarchy. To address anomalies realists and neorealists incorporated preference and satisfaction, which undermined the core tenets of their theories. Power Transition Theory (PTT) incorporates satisfaction while maintaining structural organization. The addition of power and satisfaction give PTT the necessary tools to assess regional hierarchies and estimate the likelihood of conflict. This PTT theoretical framework will be used to assess the global hierarchy, the status quo set by the United States, and Syria's relation to the status quo. A synopsis of the Syrian Civil War will be provided to contextualize the actors and dyadic comparisons between actors before and after the Iranian-Russian-Syrian victory in Aleppo. The dyadic comparison indicates power and satisfaction among interested parties and if they change during the course of the conflict.

Conclusions indicate that the actors and the environment in the Syrian theater are suitable for Power Transition Theory and the data acquired by researching the Syrian Civil War affirms Yeşilada and Tanrikulu's assessment that Russia tops the Middle East's hierarchy with Turkey and Iran following at near parity. The findings reveal the veracity of Lemke's claim that PTT can be utilized for intrastate conflict. The findings substantiate my claim that intrastate conflict can inform us of a region's hierarchy.


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