The wars in Iraq and Syria have changed the course of international relations in the 21st century. During these conflicts, hundreds of thousands have died and millions have been displaced. After 13 years, these conflicts continue with no end in sight. The central question of this course is: How do political science theories and methods help us understand the course of these wars? In this course, you will answer this question by integrating three elements: theory, data/description, and application of theory to data/description. The primary goal of this course is to bolster students’ skills in using various social science methods to explain important variations in violent conflict.