The Changing Dynamics of the Perception of U.S. Foreign Policy towards Kurds in Syria: Developing Relations in Light of Ignorance, Cooperation and Desertion (2011-2020) [védés előtt]

Khidhir, Zainaddin Mawlood (2024) The Changing Dynamics of the Perception of U.S. Foreign Policy towards Kurds in Syria: Developing Relations in Light of Ignorance, Cooperation and Desertion (2011-2020) [védés előtt]. PhD thesis, Budapesti Corvinus Egyetem, Nemzetközi Kapcsolatok és Politikatudományi Doktori Iskola.

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Abstract

Kurds have played an significant role in the Syrian conflict since the 2011 crisis, mainly through their strong participation in the fight against ISIS. During the war against ISIS, the U.S. made significant gains both under President Obama and President Trump’s administrations but did not strive to establish long-term strategies about Syria, especially the Syrian Kurds. After the collapse of the ISIS caliphate in 2019, Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. forces from Syria left the Syrian Kurds with tough domestic and external challenges. This decision raised the question of whether the United States has a clear policy and strategy for dealing with the Kurds in Syria. Thus, the objectives of this study are to find reasons and factors that have led to shifts in US foreign policy towards Syrian Kurds. In addition to exploring the outcomes of changing USFP dynamics post-2011, this research also investigates the ramifications and implications of ISIS's rise for the US-Syrian Kurdish strategy. Through employing a qualitative methodology, this research examines the application of the neoclassical realism theory on the relations under study. In this regard, semi-structured interviews were conducted with politicians, policy makers, academics, and journalists, mainly in Syria and Iraqi Kurdistan. It can be inferred that changes in the US foreign policy from direct military intervention to “no boot on the ground” and “America First'' alternatives arose from accomplishing the primary objective of defeating ISIS. Under the presidencies of Obama & Trump, Washington has tactically used Syrian Kurds to maintain regional hegemony and combating ISIS. This is the main reason behind the absence of a coherent American policy for Kurds. The withdrawal of US forces left the Kurds exceedingly vulnerable. They were trapped between Assad's regime and Turkey's desire for vengeance without the presence of US troops to act as a buffer. Deserting Kurds has possible ramifications for other American allies throughout the world. It is vital for the United States to regain its reputation as a reliable partner. Indeed, if the US does not want to serve as the world’s policeman, it will need allies.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD thesis)
Supervisor:Rostovanyi Zsolt, Zuber Rasool
Uncontrolled Keywords:Syrian crisis, US foreign policy, Syrian Kurds, ISIS, Neoclassical Realism
Subjects:International relations
ID Code:1329
Date:2024
Deposited On:05 Oct 2023 14:21
Last Modified:08 May 2024 08:47

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