Date of Graduation

Fall 2017


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Iian Berman


nation-state, Iraq, Syria, France, Britain, Sunni, Shia, Kurd, sectarian, Sykes-Picot

Subject Categories

International Relations | Near and Middle Eastern Studies


After the carnage of World War One and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire a new form of political organization was brought to the Middle East, the Nation-State. Based on European ideas of Sovereignty and equality between countries; the nation-state was thrust upon these areas that had no history or interest in adopting a foreign form of governance and served the primary purpose of safeguarding the imperial interests of Europe. Compounding their error, the regions of these new nation-states contained populations that had long resented and mistrusted each other. While these countries could be held together by repressive dictatorships for decades, the first decade of the 21st century showed that time was ending for that model of governing. This thesis will show that the glue that held together both Syria and Iraq for decades has frayed and that it will not be put back together. The distrust and hatred between various ethnic groups is so great that there is very little chance that they can ever be brought together in the same country.


© Zachary Kielp

Open Access