Document Type : Original Article
Ph.D. student of Political Geography, Faculty of Geography, University of Tehran
Assistant Professor of Political Geography, Faculty of Geography, University of Tehran
Associate Professor of Political Geography, Faculty of Earth Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran
Recent geopolitical revolution in the Middle East called Arab spring; especially the start of Syrian geopolitical crisis in 2011 has led to another conflict and crisis in Levant security subsystem in the Middle East. In addition to being an internal crisis as a result of the special situation of this country and its conflicts between the governance and its opponents as the internal role players, the crisis in Syria has become a geopolitical crisis and a context of geopolitical relations between the regional and trans-regional powers.
The purpose of the present study is to identify the reasons for forming a competitive-intervening relations model of the geopolitical relations between Iran as a supporter of Assad's governance and Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Israel as supporters of the opposition group. For this reason, we intend to find the most important geographical and geopolitical categories in forming the competitive-intervening relations model of regional powers in this crisis based on the significance and relations of these categories with each other. To this end, we proceed with the following hypothesis the formation basis of which will be elaborated in the methodology section.
It seems that the competitive-intervening relations of Iran with Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Israel as the regional powers present in the geopolitical crisis of Syria has been formed under the influence of geographical factors, ideological factors, geopolitical codes, geostrategic factors, geo-economic factors, regional geopolitical system conditions, and world geopolitical system conditions.
The present study is a mixed methods approach with an exploratory purpose using a model formation and taxonomy approach. The Grounded theory was used for the qualitative part of the study. As to the quantitative part, the study used Structural Equation Modeling in addition to Smart PLS software in order to strengthen the findings.
Result and Discussion
Geographical factors,As identified in the examined model of the study, geographical factors with a path coefficient of 0.830 has the most impact on the competitive-intervening model between Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Israel in the geopolitical crisis in Syria and these factors are ethnical, borderline and regional, emigrational, hydro political, and environmental categories.
Geostrategic factors, Geostrategic factors with a path coefficient of 0.819 in the examined model of the study are the second influential factors in the competitive-intervening geopolitical relations model of regional powers in the geopolitical crisis of Syria. This includes the two categories of geographical situation of Syria and partial situation of this country.
Geopolitical codes, Geopolitical codes with a path coefficient Of 0.812 in the examined model of the study are the third factors to influence the competitive-intervening geopolitical relations model of regional powers in the geopolitical crisis. This factor, in the qualitative model of the study, includes the two categories of internal and foreign policies.
Ideological factors, According to the examined model of the study, the fourth influential variable in competitive-intervening geopolitical relations model in the Syrian crisis is the ideological factors with a path coefficient of 0.794 embracing religious categories, sacred places, and discourse categories.
World geopolitical system, The fifth factor influencing the competitive-intervening geopolitical relations model in the Syrian crisis is the world geopolitical system conditions with a path coefficient of 0.773 including the categories of world powers’ interventions in the crisis, and the wolrd powers’ relations with the regional powers in geopolitical crisis of Syria.
Regional geopolitical system, Regional geopolitical system with a path coefficient 0.743 is the sixth influential factor in the competitive-intervening geopolitical relations model in the Syrian crisis. It includes the two concepts of regional competition of the powers present in the geopolitical crisis of Syria and partial equality of power levels of these countries in this crisis.
Geo economic factors, According to the examined model of the study, geo economic factors with a path coefficient of 0.719 are the last influential factors on the competitive-intervening geopolitical relations model in the Syrian crisis. These factors include energy resource categories and economic interests.
At the level of regional powers, the crisis in Syria is influenced by the relations between Iran as the most important regional ally of Bashar al-Assad's governance, and Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Israel as the regional opposition of Assad’s governance. These relations are in place in a competitive-intervening way and are under the influence of different geographical and geopolitical categories. The study of the impact of each of these categories on the regional power relations in the Syrian geopolitical crisis cannot provide a complete understanding of the relations between these powers in the Syrian geopolitical crisis. Therefore, explanation of the regional powers’ relations in this crisis must be provided concerning the relation of these categories as well as their importance and in the framework of a single structural model.
Influential categories in regional powers relation’s model in the Syrian geopolitical crisis are geographic and geopolitical stable factors that are directly related to national and long-term national interests as well as the national life of these countries. Each of the Syrian crisis regional parties seeks to excel in its geographical and geopolitical factors and to prevent the dominance of their rivals over these factors; therefore, none of the regional parties involved in the current crisis come into terms from their positions regarding the geopolitical crisis in Syria. This situation has led to the formation of a competitive-intervening model in the Syrian geopolitical crisis as to Iran's relations with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel. This has complicated the situation in Syria and led to the continuation of the crisis thereby making the efforts and negotiations to resolve the crisis and the end of the conflict pointless and unavailing.