Constructing State, Territory, and Sovereignty in the Syrian Conflict

El Menshawi, Mustafa (2018) Constructing State, Territory, and Sovereignty in the Syrian Conflict. Politics, 39 (3). pp. 332-346. ISSN 0263-3957

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The article argues that sovereignty claims and counterclaims are still very much at work in international and civil conflicts involving state actors. Focusing on the case of the Syrian conflict, the article engages in methodological triangulation using Critical Discourse Analysis and international relations theories. It finds that the sovereignty-first narrative adopted by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, and its external allies such as Russia, has built an ‘effective’ discourse that has been adopted in a coherent, consistent, and resonant manner, as well as a ‘credible’ discourse which combined words with actions (i.e. performatives and constatives of sovereignty). The effectiveness and credibility of the sovereignty-first narrative is also judged by the absence of effective and credible contending narratives demonstrated by the tepid application of concepts like the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) by the United States and its European allies. In making these comparisons, the Syrian conflict can be contextualised by relating it to the Arab Spring and geopolitical shifts in international affairs. It is within this contextualisation that the article demonstrates broader claims about the endurance of the ‘territorial state’ in the Middle East.

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Journal Article
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?? syriasovereigntypolitical discoursepolitical science and international relations ??
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12 Jan 2021 14:15
Last Modified:
15 Jul 2024 21:19