Document Type : Research Paper
Ph.D. Graduate in Political Geography at University of Tehran and Lecturer at Imam Ali University
This study presents a structural model to investigate the most important geopolitical concepts and categories influencing Russia’s relations with America and the European Union in the Syrian crisis considering these concepts and categories’ importance and relevance with each other.
The Syrian crisis, which began in 2011 as a result of disputes between the Assad government and his internal opposition, has had a profound impact on the conditions of the world geopolitical system. The purpose of the present study is to identify the geopolitical concepts and categories influencing the model of Russian geopolitical relations as a supporter of the Assad government with the US and the European Union as supporters of groups opposed to the Assad government in the Syrian crisis. For this reason, this study tries to find the most important geopolitical concepts and categories influencing the model of trans-regional power relations in this crisis, considering the importance and relevance of these concepts and categories to each other. To answer the research question, we will proceed with the following hypothesis the basis of which will be explained in the research methodology section.
The model of Russia's geopolitical relations with the US and the European Union as trans-regional powers present in the geopolitical crisis of Syria seems to be influenced by geographical factors, ideological factors, geopolitical codes, geo-strategic factors, geo-economic factors, conditions of regional geo-economic system and the conditions of the world geopolitical system.
The method of this study is mixed in nature (qualitative-quantitative) and exploratory in terms of purpose. Also taxonomy and modeling was the basis for methodology of this study. The qualitative part of the research is carried out using the grounded theory based on the emerging themes of Strauss and Corbin. Structural equation modeling with partial least squares method (PLS-SEM) and Smart PLS 3 software have been used in the quantitative phase.
Results and discussion
The World Geopolitical System
The world geopolitical system with a path coefficient of 0.823 in the tested model has the greatest impact on the competitive model of Russian interference with the US and Europe in the Syrian geopolitical crisis, which includes concepts of Syria's importance in the geopolitical strategy of world powers and world powers competition.
Geostrategic factors with a path coefficient of 0.812 in the tested model of the model of trans-regional power relations in the Syrian geopolitical crisis are considered to be the second important factor that includes the concepts of Syria's military importance and the importance of its communication route.
The geopolitical codes in the model tested with the path coefficient of 0.789 are the third factor influencing the formation of competitive geopolitical models of trans-regional powers intervention in the Syrian geopolitical crisis; this factor, in the qualitative model of geopolitical relations of Trans-regional powers in the Syrian geopolitical crisis, includes concepts of domestic policy and foreign policy.
The regional geopolitical system
The regional geopolitical system with a path coefficient of 0.768 is the fourth influential factor in the model of Russia’s relations with America and the EU in the Syrian geopolitical crisis, which includes concepts of trans-regional powers' relations with regional powers as well as the competition of the regional powers in the Syrian geopolitical crisis.
Geographic factors with path coefficient of 0.747 are the fifth effective variable in the tested model of trans-regional power relations in the Syrian geopolitical crisis, which includes the geographical and relative position of Syria, the migration concepts, the boundary and territorial concepts and the ethnicity concepts.
According to the tested model of research, the sixth effective variable in the model of competitive geopolitical relations of trans-regional powers interventions in the Syrian geopolitical crisis are ideological factors with path coefficient of 0.741 which are formed of religious and discourse concepts.
According to the tested model of the research, geo-economic factors with path coefficient of 0.732 are the last effective factor in the model of competitive-geopolitical interference of trans-regional powers in the Syrian geopolitical crisis; this variable, in the qualitative research model, includes Energy sources and economic concepts.
The geopolitical concepts and categories influencing the research model are the result of the reciprocal relations of geographical factors and values, the factor of politics and power, which are related to the geopolitical interests of the trans-regional powers present in the Syrian crisis. These geographical concepts and categories, in addition to having a direct impact on the model of Russia’s relations with America and the European Union in the Syrian crisis, are also interconnected and affect one another. Understanding these concepts and categories are possible within a structural model taking into account their importance and relationship with Each other. It should be noted, however, that over time, the importance of geographical and geopolitical categories in the model of regional and trans-regional power relations in the Syrian geopolitical crisis may be reduced or increased, and their order may change.
The geographical and geopolitical concepts and categories influencing the relations of Russia, American, and the European Union in the Syrian crisis show that in addition to being an internal crisis between the Assad government and his internal opponents, this crisis has become a geopolitical crisis and a context of power relations between foreign powers which is influenced by Russia’s relations with America and European Union at the level of trans-regional powers. Also, given the importance of these geographical concepts and categories for these powers, they seek to manage and control the crisis rather than resolve it in order to maximize their use of the Syrian crisis for their geopolitical purposes and interests; This crisis has become one of the longest contemporary geopolitical crises in the world geopolitical system, and political and diplomatic efforts have failed to find a solution for it.