The US Responsiveness towards the Kurdish Strategic Framing of fighting ISIS in Syria during the Obama Administration

Creative Commons License

Demir T.

BRISMES Annual Conference 2021 (Online): Knowledge, Power and Middle Eastern Studies at University of Kent, Coventry, United Kingdom, 5 - 09 July 2021, pp.51

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Coventry
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Page Numbers: pp.51
  • Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University Affiliated: Yes



Since the rise of ISIS in 2014, the Syrian Kurds (PYD) had been lobbying the US by strategically framing their fight against ISIS in Syria through the “protection of Europe/West” and “only effective force against ISIS” frames. Through content analysis of parliamentary debates and mainstream newspapers in the US and interviews with US policymakers from the rise of ISIS in 2014 until the end of the Obama administration in 2017, the paper examines the framing efforts of Syrian Kurds in the context of Benford and Snow’s (2000) concept of strategic framing and the responsiveness of the US to this framing by reconceptualising the concept of responsiveness in ethnic lobbying through Benford and Snow (2000), Snow and Corrigall-Brown (2005) and Kornprobst’s (2019) explanations for framing success. The paper argues that compared to the protection of Europe/West strategic frame, the US was more responsive to the “only effective force against ISIS” strategic frame of the PYD and its responsiveness towards the protection of Europe/West frame increased following the interest-based military alliance between the US-led global coalition and the YPG since the ISIS siege on Kobane in September 2014, which can be explained through the changing policy objectives of US in Syria after the rise of ISIS.

Keywords: Ethnic Lobbying, Strategic Framing, Responsiveness, Syrian Kurds, Kobane, Fighting ISIS