Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Government and International Affairs

Major Professor

Harry E. Vanden, Ph.D

Committee Member

Earl Conteh-Morgan, Ph.D

Committee Member

Abdelwahab Hechiche, Ph.D


Arab Spring, ISIS, Opposition, Revolution, Social movements, Syria


This thesis examines the turn to conflict in Syria during 2011 to see if it is revolutionary in nature and if so, why has it not succeeded? This thesis aims to analyze the anatomy of Syria's "revolution" in order to determine the causes behind the initial popular mobilization and transition to conflict. Then, further analysis of the essential elements of successful revolutionary movements will be undertaken to reveal what conditions remain unmet for Syria to culminate in a full revolutionary transformation. Special attention will be paid to the revolutionary Opposition itself, since, to date, it has proved unable to generate the power necessary to destroy the old order and rebuild a new system. The significant role of external intervention will also be addressed, since these forces have simultaneously helped cause the conflict, prolong the conflict and prop up the regime. Finally, the negative consequences of undertaking a revolutionary process, especially when left only partially complete, will be highlighted throughout the study. Syria's own "rise of the radicals," has manifested itself in the phenomenon of ISIL or ISIS, which has proven the strongest and most violent Opposition group to emerge from Syria's revolutionary environment.