discourse analysis

The United Nations Security Council’s decisions on when, and if, to intervene, economically or militarily, in conflicts and humanitarian crises is profoundly influenced by the policy conceptualizations of its members. Individual members adopt policies based on a number of rationales including national interest (strategic and economic); the relationship with other states (as friend, rival or foe), economic, political and social pressures both domestic and international. The diplomatic representatives of states involved in SC debates are charged with presenting the policy position of their respective governments and justifying this position to the wider international community.

A transcript of the debate in the UNSC that led to the veto of draft resolution S/2012/77 by Russia and China, together with the text of the draft resolution itself and the press release related to the meeting will be supplied to you. Reflecting on the transcript and the draft resolution you should undertake an analysis of five of the speeches made by the representatives of the SC members participating in the meeting. You must analyse the speeches made by the diplomatic representatives of USA, China, Russia and Syria . You should then choose one other speech to analyse from those made by the representatives of the other member states participating in the meeting.

The limit is 2000 words. As part of the assignment you will be required to demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the background to the conflict in Syria and the context in which the debate was held, notably the policy positions adopted by the participating states and the reasons for these, and the process that led to the drafting of the resolution and its veto. Some source material is indicated below but you should also undertake your own research using databases and search engines such as Locate, government and inter-government reports available online, and credible media sources.

There is insufficient space for you examine each speech in detail. Instead you should concentrate on key themes, comparing and contrasting discourse in order to emphasise how diplomacy is used to achieve desired goals. At a minimum, you should analyse the following aspects of each speech:

• What are the key arguments being made in each speech?

• How do these relate to the foreign policies of the states represented by the speakers?

• How does the content of each speech relate to the wider foreign policies of the respective states including membership of inter-governmental organisations and international alliances?

• How does the use of rhetoric further the diplomatic aims of the state?

Be aware of plagerism

Useful resources

Below are some useful sources to begin the research process. You also need to undertake your own extensive research.

International Crisis Group, ‘Popular Protest in North Africa and the Middle East: The Syrian Regime’s Slow-Motion Suicide’, Middle East/North Africa Report, No.109, 13 July 2011

‘Syria Unrest: Arab League Adopts Sanctions in Cairo’, BBC News, 27 November 2011, available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-15901360.

R. Abdulrahim, Raja, ‘Syria unrest: a popular uprising or civil war?’ LA Times, 6 December 2011, available at http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2011/12/syria-unrest-a-popular-uprising-or-civil-

Development of Conflict in Arab Spring Libya and Syria: From Revolution to Civil War war-.html

L. Debieuve, ‘Syria and the rising risk of civil war’, Gulf News, 9 November 2011, available at http://gulfnews.com/opinions/columnists/syria-and-the-rising-risk-of-civil-war-1.926328.

S. Kaplan, ‘A New US Policy for Syria: Fostering Political Change in a Divided State’, Middle East Policy, Vol. 15, No. 3, Fall 2008.

H. Khashan, ‘The View from Syria and Lebanon’, Middle East Quarterly, Vol. 18, No. 3, Summer 2011.

S L Myers, ‘US Joins Efforts to Equip and Pay Rebels in Syria’, The New York Times, 1 April 2012, available at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/02/world/middleeast/us-and-other-countries-move-to-increase-assistance-to-syrian-rebels.html

M. Rafizadeh, ‘Is Syria Descending into Civil War?’, Huffington Post, 12/4/11, available at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/majid-rafizadeh/syria-civil-war_b_1127586.html

S. Shaikh, ‘Preventing a Syrian Civil War’, New York Times, 12 October 2011, available at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/13/opinion/preventing-a-syrian-civil-war.html

M. Zenko, ‘By overreaching in Libya, NATO has left Syria to fend alone’, Council on Foreign Relations, 11 October 2011, available at http://www.cfr.org/nato/overreaching-libya-nato-has-left-syria-fend-alone/p26153

Learning outcomes assessed:

• Demonstrate an understanding of the significance of diplomacy in international relations and its development both in terms of processes and institutions

• Analyse the linkages between domestic and international politics in the context of changing policy processes.

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