Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Global Studies
My thesis explores the causes of the Syrian Civil War. I survey the economic changes during the reign of Hafez Al-Assad and his son, Bashar Al-Assad, who ruled the state since 1970. I explore the role of sectarianism, economic divisions and commitments. Specifically, I highlight the economic liberalization that led to the Arab Spring and the civil war, and the resulting commitment problem that led the Assad regime to start a war to protect its economic and political interests. I show that the war was largely due to the commitment problem and the economic liberalization rather than sectarianism.