Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Political Science

Committee Chair(s)

Colin Flint


Colin Flint


Robert Nalbandov


Abdulkafi Albirini


The Arab Region faced a wave of massive public demonstrations in 2011. People across the region demanded freedom, justice, and equality. That movement overthrew some of the region’s dictatorship regimes that had been in power since decades. In Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen the regimes collapsed in the face of the people’s revolution. However, public demonstrations and opposition could not overcome the Al-Assad regime in Syria. This thesis seeks the reasons behind the survival of the Syrian regime when other regimes collapsed. The thesis analyzes the case of Syria by comparing it to the case of Libya, since Libya went through almost the same features during its revolution, using the case-by-case methodology. The main data of the thesis are newspaper and TV statements of individuals who had roles in the conflict. The dogmatic conflict between Sunni and Shia, the Syrian regime’s alliances, and the role of Al-Gaddafi and Al-Assad are among the variables of analysis. The thesis evaluates four main reasons that allowed the Syrian regime to resist the revolution: the character of the Syrian dictator, the role of the Syrian military institution, the structure of the Syrian society, and the role of foreign intervention. The thesis explains why, in the case of Syria, a people’s movement became a civil war.