Russian and American Securitization in the Syrian War: How Combatting Terrorism Justifies Policies of War

Bernheim, Camille. Russian and American Securitization in the Syrian War: How Combatting Terrorism Justifies Policies of War. 2022, Master Thesis, University of Basel, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

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This paper critically examines President Putin’s and President Obama’s framing of their respective military involvement in the Syrian war. Drawing on the Copenhagen School of securitization theory, it studies how Russia and the USA legitimized their involvement in the war and what actions followed. Thus, this paper contributes to answering the question how does a discourse create a scope of action? Or put differently, how does war become acceptable? The discourse analysis shows that Putin framed the Russian engagement in the war in the name of counterterrorism, very much in line with the ‘War on Terror’ doctrine and an Orientalist discourse. This in turn legitimized his use of force in the Syrian war. Obama in contrast framed both the threat from chemical weapons and from terrorism as existential threats. But only the terrorist threat was a successful securitization, paving the way for military engagement. Obama relied on an Orientalist discourse on terrorism known from the Bush era too. However, his framing made his military response more ambiguous, which ultimately played into Assad’s hands in the course of the war, because Assad was not targeted under the terrorist threat narrative.
Advisors:Goetschel, Laurent
Committee Members:Hellmüller, Sara Anna
Faculties and Departments:04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement Gesellschaftswissenschaften > Fachbereich Politikwissenschaft > Politikwissenschaft (Goetschel)
UniBasel Contributors:Goetschel, Laurent and Hellmüller, Sara Anna
Item Type:Thesis
Thesis Subtype:Master Thesis
Thesis status:Complete
Last Modified:03 Jul 2022 04:30
Deposited On:02 Jul 2022 14:58

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