Framing Conflict in the Middle East: The Case of Yemen and Syria Wars in the European Media

By Moosa Elayah
Submitted to Session P6237 (Patronage, Resistance, and Representation in Yemen's War, 2020 Annual Meeting
Pol Science
Yemen;
Conflict Resolution;
LCD Projector with Audio Patch or Speakers;
Yemeni and Syria have been devastated for years since the Arab Spring in 2011. The international intervention in the two cases can be assumed the reason for media attention on wars between Saudi-led coalition and the Houthi militias in the case of Yemen and Al-assad forces and the forces of the opposition parties backing the two sides by international military intervention. These wars have drastically pushed the two countries towards social, economic and institutional collapse as the world keeps ignoring. The aim of this study is to identify and analyze the amount of coverage devoted on the Yemeni and Syrian wars by four prestigious European online English news, The Independent, France24, SWIswissinfo.ch, and NRC Handelsblad. This study also examines the news frames used in the coverage of the two cases. The second level of agenda setting was used as a theoretical guide to understand what news frames were used to report on both wars. Results indicate that Yemen war for the two years as a time frame of this study did not have an adequate coverage especially the humanitarian side of the war comparing to Syrian which gained huge international regional coverage. Conflict and consequence frames were the most prominent frames respectively in both cases. The four media rely more on presenting violence, air strikes, death, injuries caused due to the action of the opposing party. Although it is not the focus of this study, it is found that in the case of Yemen these media portrayed this conflict as a sectarian issue, framing it as a Shia-Sunni conflict or proxy war between Iran and Saudi. To sum up this study, it is without a doubt that the war in Yemen and the crimes committed by both warring sides were underreported or ignored by the media although it is on scale as serious as the conflict in Syria.

Keywords: Syria war, Saudi Yemen war, framing theory, News frames.