[The Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative (MESPI) brings you the eighteenth in a series of “Peer-Reviewed Article Reviews” in which we present a collection of journals and their articles concerned with the Middle East and Arab world. This series will be published seasonally. Each issue will comprise three-to-four parts, depending on the number of articles included.]
American Ethnologist (Volume 48, Issue 4)
A transit state: The ambivalences of the refugee resettlement process for Iraqis in Cairo
By: Nadia El-Shaarawi
Abstract: For Iraqi refugees in Cairo, third-country resettlement offers a possible alternative to conditions of exile that they describe as “living in transit.” Yet resettlement—in which refugees are “selected and transferred” by a third country that offers them residence and, usually, citizenship—is available to less than 1 percent of refugees. A scholarly focus on already-resettled refugees obscures the resettlement process's larger social and political effects in places where seeking resettlement may take years, shaping life in exile and simultaneously rendering mobility, and citizenship, both possible and unlikely. Ethnographically, this article follows refugees from the US-led war in Iraq as they navigate the resettlement process, a process that places contradictory demands on them and evokes its own ambivalences. Centering Iraqis’ experiences of seeking resettlement troubles its designation as a “durable solution” and reveals ambivalence not only about bureaucratic processes but also about the very possibility of humanitarian solutions to displacement. [refugees, resettlement, humanitarianism, displacement, ambivalence, Iraq, Egypt]
American Political Science Review (Volume 115, Issue 4)
Can Exposure to Celebrities Reduce Prejudice? The Effect of Mohamed Salah on Islamophobic Behaviors and Attitudes
By: ALA’ ALRABABA’H, WILLIAM MARBLE, SALMA MOUSA, ALEXANDRA A. SIEGEL
Abstract: Can exposure to celebrities from stigmatized groups reduce prejudice? To address this question, we study the case of Mohamed Salah, a visibly Muslim, elite soccer player. Using data on hate crime reports throughout England and 15 million tweets from British soccer fans, we find that after Salah joined Liverpool F.C., hate crimes in the Liverpool area dropped by 16% compared with a synthetic control, and Liverpool F.C. fans halved their rates of posting anti-Muslim tweets relative to fans of other top-flight clubs. An original survey experiment suggests that the salience of Salah’s Muslim identity enabled positive feelings toward Salah to generalize to Muslims more broadly. Our findings provide support for the parasocial contact hypothesis—indicating that positive exposure to out-group celebrities can spark real-world behavioral changes in prejudice.
Reexamining the Effect of Refugees on Civil Conflict: A Global Subnational Analysis
By: Yang-Yang Zhou, Andrew Shaver
Abstract: A large literature suggests that the presence of refugees is associated with greater risk of conflict. We argue that the positive effects of hosting refugees on local conditions have been overlooked. Using global data from 1990 to 2018 on locations of refugee communities and civil conflict at the subnational level, we find no evidence that hosting refugees increases the likelihood of new conflict, prolongs existing conflict, or raises the number of violent events or casualties. Furthermore, we explore conditions where provinces are likely to experience substantively large decreases in conflict risk due to increased development. Analysis examining nighttime lights as a measure of development, coupled with expert interviews, support our claim. To address the possibility of selection bias, we use placebo tests and matching. Our research challenges assertions that refugees are security risks. Instead, we show that in many cases, hosting refugees can encourage local development and even conflict reduction.
Comparative Political Studies (Volume 54, Issue 10)
Mobilizing From Scratch: Large-Scale Collective Action Without Preexisting Organization in the Syrian Uprising
By: Wendy Pearlman
Abstract: Core social movement research argues that large-scale challenges to authority build upon preexisting organization and civil society resources. How do dissenters mobilize masses in repressive settings where, given curtailment of civil society, autonomous associations scarcely exist and norms discourage trust more than encourage it? Testimonials from the Syrian uprising illustrate how protest can become widespread under such conditions, yet occurs through processes different from what dominant theory expects. Activists get demonstrations off the ground by planning around awareness of their organizational deficits. Once in motion, contention propels both organization and increasing organizational sophistication. To be effective, mobilization sometimes evades or obscures established social relationships, even as it produces new forms of sociability. Bridging literatures on mass and clandestine mobilization, this research reconsiders the assumed sequential logic of movement development from organization to protest, rather than vice versa. It also shifts attention from movement antecedents toward the resourcefulness and strategy that enable mobilizing both from scratch and at grave risk.
Critical Studies on Terrorism (Volume 14, Issue 4)
Reflection: the “war on terror”, Islamophobia and radicalisation twenty years on
By: Tahir Abbas
Abstract: Not available
Still just victims or villains? The “jihadi brides” and the representation of politically violent women
By: Leonie B. Jackson
Abstract: Not available
Critical junctures in terrorism studies: the Arab Spring and the new twenty-first century security environment
By: Michael J. Schumacher
Abstract: Not available
From television to the internet: from the reality of terror to reality terrorism
By: William Merrin
Abstract: Not available
9/11 and Critical Terrorism Studies – the emotion, culture, and discourse of the “War on Terror”
By: Jack Holland
Abstract: Not available
World of statues: the “war on terror,” memorialisation, and colonial violence
By: Fahad Ahmad, Jeffrey Monaghan
Abstract: Not available
A European Guantanamo for Swedish children in Syria? A media analysis on the narrative of repatriation
By: Jennie Sivenbring
Abstract: There are around 50 Swedish children interned in Syrian refugee camps due to their parents? affiliation with the Islamic State. Swedish authorities have a strict policy towards repatriating individuals who have joined the terrorist organisation. Therefore, these individuals, along with their young children, are left in these camps. This is noteworthy since the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) has been enshrined in Swedish law since 2020 with the purpose of strengthening children?s rights. In this article, media narratives concerning these children and the process of repatriation are explored in relation to the CRC. The findings suggest that the media narrative contributes to the representation of a ?new kind of child? that is both in danger and dangerous, a narrative configuration that may affect the public?s way of reacting to their situation.
The dispositive of terrorism during the war on terrorism: the UNSC’s approach to concrete terror emergencies in the Middle East
By: Chen Kertcher
Abstract: This study adopts a constructivist approach to reveal the function of the dispositive of terrorism in the UN Security Council. While some CTS studies focus on genealogies of terrorism at the UN based on a general ?global terrorism? discourse, this study focuses on concrete emergencies. The methodology compares 652 states? deliberations and resolutions during a surge in violence between 2006 and 2009 in four cases: Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel-Palestinian, and Israel-Lebanon. This study argues that the UN discourse in the Security Council on terrorism functions as a way of reifying states, by employing a dyad of self-other, terrorists, and counter-terrorism, which in practice is constructive for state stability and state-building. It bypasses concrete instrumental disputes in favour of a comprehensive approach centred around the sovereign state. This construction sidelines global terrorist organisations such as al-Qaida, and state-terrorists such as Iran.
Defence and Peace Economics (Volume 32, Issues 5-7)
The Impact of Military Expenditure on External Debt: The Case of 35 Arms Importing Countries
By: Lubna Khan, Imtiaz Arif, Sundus Waqar
Abstract: This study aims to empirically test the effects of military expenditure on external debt of 35 arms importing countries by using the annual panel data from the year 1995 to 2016. The panel was divided into two income classes (upper-middle and lower-middle), and the basic sample was also divided into five different regions (Middle-East and North Africa, South and East Asia, Latin America, Europe and Central Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa) to achieve further robustness in the study. The empirical results of pooled mean group estimators suggest that military expenditure generally increases the external debt burden in the studied countries. More specifically, it was noted that military expenditure decreases external debt in Europe and Central Asia. Moreover, it was found that the interaction term of military expenditure and growth rate is positive and significant in all of the sub-samples, except upper-middle class, the Middle East and North Africa, and Latin American regions. Thus, it may be concluded that military expenditure often increases external debt burden in countries where the debt management system is weak. Countries with weaker debt management systems need to devise economic policies that curtail their military expenditure, reduce their external debt and improve their economic condition.
Strategic Interaction of Governments and Terrorist Groups in Times of Economic Hardship
By: Efe Tokdemir, Graig R. Klein
Abstract: When governments? ability to maintain power is threatened, they use any tool at their disposal to re-establish or boost their survival. In this paper, we theorize dyadic strategic choices and interactions between governments and domestic terrorist groups in times of economic turmoil. We contend that governments are more likely to increase their targeting of domestic terrorist groups, which provides legitimate opportunities to divert public attention from economic concerns and rally individuals around the flag. Meanwhile, observing such incentives, domestic terrorist groups make strategic decisions similar to those of interstate actors by either decreasing their attacks (strategic conflict avoidance) or increasing them (strategic conflict seeking) to add an inability to provide safety and security to the government?s existing struggles. We test these competing hypotheses by leveraging two recently released event datasets focusing on the Turkey-PKK conflict. Our findings contribute to the terrorism studies literature on decision-making and strategic choices, and broader scholarship about conflict processes by testing conflict dynamics at the domestic level.
Military Expenditure Economic Growth Nexus in Jordan: An Application of ARDL Bound Test Analysis in the Presence of Breaks
By: Ourania Dimitraki, Sandar Win
Abstract: The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a nation that has persisted through turbulent times. The country?s leaders have long attempted to balance the allocation of resources between a strong military and a developing economy in their quest for stability, peace and prosperity. This paper examines and sheds further light on the relationship between Jordan?s military expenditure and its economic growth during the period 1970?2015. Using the Gregory -Hansen cointegration technique allowing for structural breaks, and the ARDL methodology this paper tests the short ? and long?run equilibrium relationship between military expenditure and economic growth in Jordan. Furthermore, with the error correction model (ECM) and the CUSUM and CUSUMSQ tests, we examine the stability of the above relationship. The results reveal positive short ? and long?run relationships between military expenditure and economic growth in Jordan, during the period under study. This finding has important policy implications for the Jordanian state, as it justifies the transfer of resources to the military, showing that it has not had a negative impact on economic growth.
Democratization (Volume 28, Issues 6 & 7)
Authoritarian resilience through securitization: an Islamist populist party’s co-optation of a secularist far-right party
By: Ihsan Yilmaz, Erdoan Shipoli, Mustafa Demir
Abstract: This article tackles the puzzle of how Turkey?s ruling Islamist populist Justice and Development Party (AKP) was able to co-opt the secularist far-right Nationalist Action Party (MHP) and to ensure the MHP?s support in creating an authoritarian regime, despite their previous antagonistic relations and ideological opposition. We investigate this puzzle through the combination of authoritarian resilience/stability theory and securitization theory. The article develops an empirically grounded account of how co-optation has happened in Turkey. In a novel way, it shows that the ruling party?s successful securitization of the MHP?s antagonists (pro-Kurdish opposition) has facilitated the co-optation of the MHP by the ruling party. This article contributes to the authoritarian stability theory by introducing securitization theory to this literature. It also contributes to the co-optation literature by showing a novel phenomenon: a powerful incumbent party?s ideological move towards the smaller to be co-opted party. The article also contributes to the securitization theory debates about the role of securitizing actors and their audiences, as well as the ?right? of functional actors in securitizing an issue, despite their initial non-decisive authority.
The coercive power and democratic transition in the post-uprising Middle East and North Africa
By: Mehmet Hecan, Fouad Farhaoui
Abstract: Time has shown that attempts to transition to democracy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) following the Arab Uprisings were no minor feat. In their experiments with democratization, MENA countries faced a number of challenges that remain underexplored. Even though each county?s path towards democratic transition is multifaceted and multicausal, in this article we set out to understand why attempts to transition to democracy have largely failed in post-uprising MENA with the unique exception of Tunisia. We do so by examining four post-uprising cases ? Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and Yemen ? from a comparative perspective focusing on the coercive power of the state. Our findings suggest that in the presence of weak state institutions that lose their monopoly over coercive means that constrain non-state actors, democratization tends to fail. Yet, even if state mechanisms are strong, challenges to democratic transitions can still persist, especially if such states house politically motivated security institutions, such as influential militaries, that favour authoritarian rule. Within the larger picture, this work also provides further inferences about the relationship between structural aspects of the state and processes of democratization.
Resilience, conflict and areas of limited statehood in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria
By: Daniela Huber, Eckart Woertz
Abstract: In a context of areas of limited statehood and contested order, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria have been affected by similar diffuse global and more specific regional and local risks over the past two decades. Yet they differ in outcomes. Lebanon has not descended into civil war despite fears that the one raging in Syria might spill over to its territory and Iraq has coped better over the past decade than Syria has ? despite having been subject to various forms of conflict since 1980. We analyse this variance by asking to what extent resilience might buffer against violent conflict and governance breakdown. Through a comparative discussion of sources of resilience ? social trust, legitimacy and institutional design ? we find that limited input and threatened output legitimacy are harmful to resilience, while collective memory and reconciliation, as well as flexibility of institutions are crucial factors of resilience. Nonetheless, our findings caution that resilience should not only mean the capability to adapt to crises but also needs to set the stage for comprehensive and inclusive transformations that are locally rooted.
The EU's effectiveness in the Eastern Mediterranean migration quandary: challenges to building societal resilience
By: Saime Ozcurumez
Abstract: Under what conditions does the EU contribute to the prevention of governance breakdown and violent conflict in areas of limited statehood and contested orders by fostering societal resilience? This study seeks answers to this question by examining the EU's effectiveness in fostering societal resilience in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey while they have coped with risks emerging from cross-border mobility, mass influx, and prolonged stays of the forcibly displaced due to the Syrian crisis since 2011. The study argues that the EU has been constrained in building societal resilience. The findings suggest that the EU's effectiveness is limited by context-specific social, political, and economic risks in host countries; divergence among policy actors? often contradictory preferences; and the impact of the EU's policies in outsourcing management of forced displacement. The study concludes that the EU needs to link the implementation of its short-term pragmatic programmes that primarily enable state resilience in crisis contexts with its long-term liberal vision for fostering high level societal resilience with democratic principles and institutions.
European Journal of International Relations (Volume 27, Issue 3)
The postcolonial migration state
By: Kamal Sadiq, Gerasimos Tsourapas
Abstract: The evolution of migration policymaking across the Global South is of growing interest to International Relations. Yet, the impact of colonial and imperial legacies on states’ migration management regimes outside Europe and North America remains under-theorised. How does postcolonial state formation shape policies of cross-border mobility management in the Global South? By bringing James F. Hollifield’s framework of the contemporary ‘migration state’ in conversation with critical scholarship on postcolonialism, we identify the existence of a ‘postcolonial paradox,’ namely two sets of tensions faced by newly independent states of the Global South: first, the need to construct a modern sovereign nation-state with a well-defined national identity contrasts with weak institutional capacity to do so; second, territorial realities of sovereignty conflict with the imperatives of nation-building seeking to establish exclusive citizenship norms towards populations residing both inside and outside the boundaries of the postcolonial state. We argue that the use of cross-border mobility control policies to reconcile such tensions transforms the ‘postcolonial state’ into the ‘postcolonial migration state,’ which shows distinct continuities with pre-independence practices. In fact, postcolonial migration states reproduce colonial-era tropes via the surveillance and control of segmented migration streams that redistribute labour for the global economy. We demonstrate this via a comparative study of post-independence migration management in India and Egypt, which also aims to merge a problematic regional divide between scholarship on the Middle East and South Asia. We urge further critical interventions on the international politics of migration that prioritise interregional perspectives from the broader Global South.
International Affairs (Volume 97, Issues 5 & 6)
How ‘making the world in its own liberal image’ made the West less liberal
By: Benjamin Miller
Abstract: How did the attempt to make the world more liberal end up making the West less liberal? Following the end of the Cold War the US tried to promote liberalism in various parts of the world. This promotion took place under the liberal belief in its universality. A few of these attempts succeeded, most notably the integration of China into the global economy. Many other liberalizing endeavours failed, notably democracy-promotion in China, Russia and the Middle East. Yet, both the successes and the failures resulted in the rise of illiberal elements in the West as reflected in Brexit and Trumpism. The article shows how the outcomes of the attempts at liberalization—both the failures and the successes—generated these populist forces. The Chinese economic success took place at least partly because of the US-led integration of China into the international order. Yet, this success produced adverse economic effects in the West. Such outcomes led to the rise of economic populism. The American liberal interventions in the Middle East affected the rise of terrorism and of Muslim migration to the West. These developments influenced the rise of cultural populism in the West, which advances resentment of foreigners, migrants and minorities.
Our bodies, their battlefield: what war does to women
By: Faye Curtis
Abstract: Our bodies their battlefield is an extraordinarily powerful account of women's suffering in war. Bringing together testimonies of abuse from wartime rape survivors around the world, renowned foreign correspondent Christina Lamb exposes the history of this most neglected war crime. Lamb approaches her subject in a way that still seems radical to the study of war: that is, to write about conflict in a way that centres women rather than men. Having spent years reporting on conflicts from across the globe, Lamb laments the infrequency with which women's voices are heard, and sets out to rectify this by recounting stories that tell the forgotten history of women's experiences, women's pain and the role of women as agents of change.
Somaliland's authoritarian turn: oligarchic–corporate power and the political economy of de facto states
By: Claire Elder
Abstract: Somaliland's endurance as Africa's longest de facto state has for decades preoccupied scholarship on state formation and democratization. The prevailing democratic success narrative has, however, downplayed the complex internal political dynamics and crises that have characterized Somaliland's independence since 1991. Relying on a number of robust resources, including 110 interviews and archival work conducted in Somaliland from 2015 until 2021, this article examines at close range Somaliland's political economy and provides a more cautious assessment of Somaliland's democratization trajectory. It argues that the political authority of cross-border oligarchic–corporate structures and the securitization of aid created an ‘oligopolistic state’ and ‘peaceocracy’ rather than a national, democratic government. This analysis highlights how de facto states struggle to balance political control and financial hardship generating creative and uneven governance structures. This study also raises important questions about how donors in the Gulf and in Asia provide new opportunities for recognition through Islamic finance and business that may affect de facto states' commitments to democratization. Finally, it contributes to theorizing about the ideologies of privatized governance that emerge in peripheral and developing economies and the political consequences of perennial non-recognition.
Djiboutian sovereignty: worlding global security networks
By: Elizabeth Cobbett, Ra Mason
Abstract: The research problem this article addresses is whether the unique confluence of overseas security forces in a single territorial space through the leasing of land for foreign military bases compromises the state's sovereignty. We study Djibouti's practice of renting land to military powers from an analytical position that is diametrically opposed to the literature on the ‘scramble’ for Africa and often erroneous assumptions of an erosion of sovereignty. Using the concept of ‘worlding’, we argue in this article that instead of reading ‘military base diplomacy’ as eroding and undermining Djibouti's sovereignty, this case demonstrates the ways in which ‘the art of being global’ underpins new forms of territoriality and unexpected forms of locality in Africa. Consequently, we maintain that African experiences of sovereignty offer the challenges, along with the rewards, of greater analytical depth to International Relations scholarship while expanding our understanding of different empirical cases beyond the western-centric accounts of sovereignty in line with an abstract ideal that does not tell us much about the world, postcolonial experiences and global politics. Through a case-study approach, we focus specifically on the stark distinctions between Japan and China, which both have their respective first postwar overseas military bases in the country, and the Djiboutian state itself, in terms of how each are interpreting and practicing sovereignty to fit their own national narrative, international status and domestic legal frameworks. The findings challenge simplistic analyses of African states as victims of exploitative Great Powers, gradually and repeatedly being stripped of their sovereignty.
‘What have the Ottomans ever done for us?’ Why history matters for politics in the Arab Middle East
By: Daniel Neep
Abstract: Scholars of Middle East politics have been reluctant to explore how the long nineteenth century has shaped the region's political development. The reason for this neglect, I argue, is a common understanding of Ottoman decline and failed modernization, which suggests that the story of modern politics in the Middle East commences with colonial partition after the First World War. But what if political scientists are getting the story wrong? In this article, I argue that our background assumptions about the political development of the Middle East reflect outdated understandings that historians themselves have long left behind. Drawing on this revisionist Ottoman historiography, I show that key dynamics in Middle East politics today—such as state-building and sectarian identities—originate not in the era ushered in by the Sykes–Picot Accord, but in the transformations of the long nineteenth century. By overlooking the evolution of late Ottoman politics and their historical legacies, political scientists risk misdiagnosing key dynamics in the region's political development. ‘Bringing the Ottomans back in’ highlights to policy-makers the importance of the extra-institutional dimensions of statebuilding in the Middle East, and opens up new vistas for research in comparative–historical political science.
Conflict and cooperation in the age of COVID-19: the Israeli–Palestinian case
By: Lior Lehrs
Abstract: How do disasters influence conflict and diplomacy in conflict areas? The scholarship shows that while they can provide opportunities for cooperation and ‘disaster diplomacy’ between parties to a conflict, they can also intensify tension and hostility. This article uses the Israeli–Palestinian conflict during the COVID-19 pandemic as a case study, exploring the impact of the crisis on relations between the rival parties and examining the conditions under which an ongoing pandemic might lead to either conflict or cooperation in a conflict area. The research is based on within-case analysis, comparing three conflict arenas: Israel–Palestinian Authority relations in the West Bank; relations between Israel and the Palestinian community in East Jerusalem; and Israel–Hamas government relations in the Gaza strip. The article outlines the possibilities and limitations of ‘disaster diplomacy’ in intractable conflicts and contributes to the literature by identifying how different contexts, relations and actors in each conflict arena affect the development of patterns of conflict and cooperation with regard to the pandemic. The study analyses the factors that shape how the pandemic affects the conflict, and the COVID-19-related diplomacy, in each sub-case, with attention to three main variables: the structure of the conflict arena, domestic politics and the developments in the pandemic. The analysis addresses the unique conditions of an ongoing global pandemic, as opposed to an isolated disaster event, and traces the changing impact of the pandemic on the conflict and on disaster-related cooperation at various stages.
International Interactions (Volume 47, Issues 4 & 5)
Crowding out the field: External Support to Insurgents and the Intensity of Inter-rebel Fighting in Civil Wars
By: Arthur Stein, Marc-Olivier Cantin
Abstract: How does external support to insurgents influence the likelihood that the latter will get involved in violent clashes against other rebel groups? In this article, we outline a theoretical framework which contends that, in multiparty civil wars, rebels sponsored by foreign states are more likely to participate in high-intensity inter-rebel conflicts than rebels receiving no support from external states. We argue that this is because external support creates strategic incentives for insurgent leaders to target other rebel contenders in order to signal resolve to their sponsors and to crowd out the battlefield ahead of the post-conflict period. External support, moreover, tends to activate potent socio-psychological mechanisms among rank-and-file combatants that may remove restraints on the use of violence against other rebel fighters. Using data on inter-rebel conflicts from 1989 to 2018, we test these hypotheses with a set of large-N regressions and find strong support for our theory. Further analyzes inductively reveal that our statistical results are likely, to some extent, to be driven by the prevalence of religious insurgencies in contemporary conflicts. Religious insurgencies display organizational features that could reinforce vertical strategic incentives and horizontal socio-psychological dynamics, thereby increasing their involvement in inter-rebel fighting. To further probe the ‘meso-foundations’ of inter-rebel fighting following rebel sponsorship, we then provide qualitative evidence on the Syrian Civil War. Our article contributes to scholarship by highlighting the consequences of external support on conflict processes beyond the insurgent-incumbent dyad.
Competing authorities and norms of restraint: governing community-embedded armed groups in South Sudan
By: Naomi Pendle
Abstract: International humanitarian actors and academics continue to struggle to understand armed group conduct and how to restrain this conduct when it violates moral, legal and humanitarian norms. Armed groups that lack a visible, explicit formal hierarchical command structure, equivalent to those found in state militaries, have proved a particular puzzle. A growing body of scholarship on the strategic functions of patterns of violence and restraint has usefully moved beyond assumptions that extreme violence is indicative of an absence of authority over armed actors. However, literature has tended to ignore the potential plurality and complexity of authority figures that shape violence and the constraining, conservative nature of certain moral orders. This article makes use of qualitative and ethnographic research in South Sudan to understand patterns of restraint among the gojam and titweng cattle-guarding defense forces from 2014 to 2017. The analysis documents how public authorities gained legitimacy within these groups by renegotiating a group’s social order, moral boundaries, and restraint through their own reinterpretations of meta-ethical ideals and histories. Cultural norms of restraint were manipulated by elites but were also remade into acts of creative refusal against these same elites. The article specifically focuses on how the life-giving work of children, women and old friends was used to protect life as well as incite violence. The article has implications for how international humanitarians can engage with the remaking of custom to enhance armed group restraint and better protect civilians.
International Organization (Volume 75, Issue 4)
Crude Calculations: Productivity and the Profitability of Conquest
By: Andrew J. Coe, Jonathan N. Markowitz
Abstract: For many centuries, conquest was commonplace, and its attractiveness was central to the character of international politics. Why has it declined? Existing theories cannot explain why powerful countries no longer conquer states with easily extractable wealth. We develop an explanation based on the relationship between a potential conqueror's economic productivity and its ability to profit from conquest. Productivity has opposing effects on conquest's profitability: it raises the opportunity cost of each asset diverted to conquest, but also reduces the quantity of assets required for conquest. The net effect is determined by the composition of investment in innovation. We document that since at least 1950 investment has been predominantly aimed at civilian, not military innovations, so that rising productivity should reduce conquest's net profitability. Using cost analyses of comparable wars, we estimate bounds on the profitability of conquering the oil and gas reserves of the Persian Gulf, a very tempting target, for the United States and Iraq, two potential conquerors of widely differing productivity. Though both mechanisms operate, we find that the net effect of higher productivity is to reduce the profits from conquest. Moreover, this net effect is large enough to render conquest generally unprofitable for contemporary high-productivity states.
International Political Sociology (Volume 15, Issue 3)
Foodways and Foodwashing: Israeli Cookbooks and the Politics of Culinary Zionism
By: Ilan Zvi Baron, Galia Press-Barnathan
Abstract: The paper explores the political narratives produced in English-language Israeli cookbooks. We examine an understudied, yet central component of everyday international relations, everyday nationalism, and identity contestations as practiced through gastronomy, and highlight the dilemma between the different political uses of popular culture in the context of conflict resolution and resistance. Our argument identifies different narratives represented in what we term Culinary Zionism. One narrative is explicitly political, discusses Israeli cuisine as a foodway, and contributes to creating a space of, and a path for, coexistence and recognition of the Other. A second narrative is found in tourist-orientated cookbooks that offer a supposedly apolitical story of culinary tours in Israel. We problematize the political and normative implications of these narratives by exploring the potential role of these books to open space for dialogue and to increase the familiarity and interest of foreign audiences of Israel and the conflict. We contrast this possibility with their potential to what we term foodwashing, namely the process of using food to symbolically wash over violence and injustices (the violence of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict in this case).
International Studies Perspectives (Volume 22, Issue 4)
What Are the Challenges to Peace? A Workshop on Conflict Analysis to Understand Middle East Politics
By: Ángela Suárez-Collado, Javier Sierra
Abstract: This article presents an innovative teaching and learning method based on collaborative and inquiry-based learning implemented in a Middle East Politics course. It consists of a series of online workshops in which students work in teams to analyze three different current conflicts in the region: Libya, Syria, and the Israeli-Palestinian. The aim of this method was twofold: on the one hand, to create a reflexive setting to help students acquire the most comprehensive possible knowledge about the conflict's causes and dynamics, the concerns and priorities of the main actors involved or affected by the conflict, and major obstacles to its resolution; on the other hand, to enhance a set of key cognitive, skill-based, and affective learning outcomes, which are essential skills in Political Science and other related areas such as International Studies. This study shows that teaching and learning methodologies based on collaborative and inquiry-based learning are suitable tools to facilitate the understanding of multifaceted, complex realities and to generate new perspectives and views on unfamiliar contexts. This research also suggests that facilitating the active involvement of students in their self-learning can contribute to successful online teaching and to foster the acquisition of key cognitive, skill-based, and affective learning outcomes.
International Studies Quarterly (Volume 65, Issue 3)
The Intractability of Islamist Insurgencies: Islamist Rebels and the Recurrence of Civil War
By: Desirée Nilsson, Isak Svensson
Abstract: There is a large research field focusing on the recurrence of civil wars, yet this literature has omitted to seriously consider religious dimensions and ideational features of armed conflicts. To address this gap, we provide the first global study exploring whether, and why, Islamist civil wars—armed conflicts fought over self-proclaimed Islamist aspirations—are more or less likely to recur compared to other conflicts. We argue that civil wars fought over Islamist claims are more likely to relapse because the ideational features of these conflicts increase the uncertainty regarding the capabilities of the warring actors in terms of the extent and nature of transnational support that may be forthcoming, for rebels as well as the government. In line with our argument, we find that Islamist civil wars are significantly less likely to be terminated and more likely to recur once ended. Thus, our results demonstrate that Islamist civil wars represent a particular challenge with regard to the goal of achieving durable peace.
International Studies Review (Volume 23, Issue 3)
Global Autocracies: Strategies of Transnational Repression, Legitimation, and Co-Optation in World Politics
By: Gerasimos Tsourapas
Abstract: How, when, and why does a state take repressive action against individuals residing outside its territorial jurisdiction? Beyond state-led domestic forms of control over citizens living within their legal borders, autocracies also seek to target those abroad—from African states’ sponsoring violence against exiled dissidents to Central Asian republics’ extraditions of political émigrés, and from the adoption of spyware software to monitor digital activism across Latin America to enforced disappearances of East Asian expatriates. Despite growing global interconnectedness, the field of international studies currently lacks an adequate comparative framework for analyzing how autocracies adapt to growing cross-border mobility. I argue that the rise of global migration flows has contributed to the emergence of “transnational authoritarianism,” as autocracies aim to both maximize material gains from citizens’ “exit” and minimize political risks by controlling their “voice” abroad. I demonstrate that governments develop strategies of transnational repression, legitimation, and co-optation that transcend state borders, as well as co-operation with a range of non-state actors. Bringing work on the international politics of migration in conversation with the literature on authoritarianism, I provide illustrative examples drawn from a range of transnational authoritarian practices by the fifty countries categorized as “Not Free” by Freedom House in 2019, covering much of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and South America. I sketch an emerging field of international studies research around the novel means that autocracies employ to exercise power over populations abroad, while shedding light on the evolving nature of global authoritarianism.
Choosing to Fight, Choosing to Die: Examining How ISIS Foreign Fighters Select Their Operational Roles
By: Tyler Evans, Daniel J; Milton,Joseph K Young
Abstract: Understanding why and how individuals participate in militant organizations has been the focus of an increasing amount of scholarship. Traditionally, these studies focus at either the individual or organizational level of explanation. This article advances the discussion on individual participation in militant organizations by combining primary and secondary sources at both levels to explain how the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) attracted individuals into its organization as either suicide bombers or frontline fighters. First, at the individual level, we analyze a primary source dataset of over 4,000 personnel files from foreign fighters who went to Syria to join ISIS between 2013 and 2014. Second, at the organizational level, we examine trends in Islamic State propaganda and messaging to see how the recruitment of individuals into the organization placed them on certain operational paths. Two specific takeaways emerge. First, foreign fighters in 2013–2014 volunteered to become suicide bombers with relatively less frequency than in past iterations of the conflict in Iraq and Syria. Second, fighters from Western countries and fighters from countries undergoing a civil war were especially less likely to volunteer for a suicide role. More broadly, this analytical essay makes a case for the value of looking inside an organization as well as at individuals to get a more complete picture about group-level behavior.
Journal of Democracy (Volume 32, Issue 4)
How Authoritarians Win When They Lose
By: ultan Tepe, Ayça Alemdaroğlu
Abstract: What happens when authoritarian populist parties lose elections despite a tilted playing field? Postelection capture might be their new tool: Confronted with losses in the 2016 and 2019 local elections, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) set about undoing the results by dismissing over 150 democratically elected mayors—mostly in predominantly Kurdish cities—and replaced them with state-appointed trustees or kayyums. These political captures expand the AKP’s patronage networks through what we call forced clientelism and further polarization, thereby undermining the formation of a stronger prodemocratic coalition.
Why Sudan Succeeded Where Algeria Failed
By: Sharan Grewal
Abstract: In April 2019, mass uprisings in Algeria and Sudan toppled their longtime dictators. Yet the two countries’ paths soon diverged. Protesters in Sudan secured a pact with the regime’s remnants and embarked on a democratic transition. Protesters in Algeria, however, rallied until May 2021 but could not compel a regime transition. This divergence stems from: 1) the level of organization among protesters; 2) the degree of unity of the regime’s security forces; and 3) the extent of international mediation. A comparison of Algeria and Sudan points to the importance of pacted transitions and sheds new light on the factors that facilitate such pacts.
Journal of Peace Research (Volume 58, Issue 5)
Contesting narratives of repression: Experimental evidence from Sisi’s Egypt
By: Scott Williamson, Mashail Malik
Abstract: Authoritarian regimes frequently attempt to justify repression by accusing their opponents of violent behavior. Are such claims successful at persuading the public to accept state-sponsored violence, and can these claims be contested effectively by human rights organizations seeking to publicize evidence contradicting the regime?s narrative? To evaluate these questions, we conducted a survey experiment in Egypt using Facebook advertisements to recruit respondents safely. The experiment evaluates the persuasiveness of competing information provided by a human rights organization and the Egyptian security forces in shaping attitudes toward an incident of state-sponsored violence in which security forces killed several leaders of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood. We find evidence for the ability of Egyptian security forces to increase support for this repression when they control the narrative about why violence was used. However, we also find that the effects of this propaganda disappear when paired with information from Human Rights Watch that counters the security forces? justifications. These findings provide experimental evidence that propaganda can help authoritarian regimes to increase public support for repression, but they also indicate that human rights organizations can play some role in mitigating this support when they succeed at disseminating countervalent information in these contexts.
Feels like home: Effect of transnational identities on attitudes towards foreign countries
By: Efe Tokdemir
Abstract: How do people react to foreign actors? involvement in a conflict in a third party? Many studies have explored how individuals react to their country?s foreign policy choices, as well as how they react to the policies targeting their countries. Yet, we know less about how they form their attitudes regarding the policies not directly aiming at their own countries, and hence, their well-being. Building on intergroup relations and employing a social psychological approach, this article argues that identity serves as a heuristic through which individuals evaluate foreign actors, and their policies targeting in- and out-group members living abroad. Conducting a survey experiment in Turkey, I test my claims in the context of the Syrian Civil War. The findings of the experiments reveal that transnational identity ties have an impact on attitude formation: Turks and Kurds express positive/negative attitudes towards the USA and Russia conditional on whether their involvement to the conflict favor/disfavor their in-group/out-group across the border. Broadly speaking, the results show that domestic cleavages are of importance in predicting the public?s reaction to the developments in international politics, which implies a necessity of taking domestic politics in designing soft power promotion and public diplomacy strategies for many global and regional powers in attempting to win hearts and minds abroad.
The problem of the missing dead
By: Sophia Dawkins
Abstract: This article examines what scholars can learn about civilian killings from newswire data in situations of non-random missingness. It contributes to this understanding by offering a unique view of the data-generation process in the South Sudanese civil war. Drawing on 40 hours of interviews with 32 human rights advocates, humanitarian workers, and journalists who produce ACLED and UCDP-GED?s source data, the article illustrates how non-random missingness leads to biases of inconsistent magnitude and direction. The article finds that newswire data for contexts like South Sudan suffer from a self-fulfilling narrative bias, where journalists select stories and human rights investigators target incidents that conform to international views of what a conflict is about. This is compounded by the way agencies allocate resources to monitor specific locations and types of violence to fit strategic priorities. These biases have two implications: first, in the most volatile conflicts, point estimates about violence using newswire data may be impossible, and most claims of precision may be false; secondly, body counts reveal little if divorced from circumstance. The article presents a challenge to political methodologists by asking whether social scientists can build better cross-national fatality measures given the biases inherent in the data-generation process.
Political Studies (Volume 69, Issue 4)
Russian Intervention in Syria: Exploring the Nexus between Regime Consolidation and Energy Transnationalisation
By: David Maher, Moritz Pieper
Abstract: Interpretations of Russia’s military intervention in Syria overwhelmingly focus on Russia’s political motivations. An alternative view foregrounds Russia’s economic motivations, namely, the construction of a multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline traversing Iran, Iraq and Syria. This article examines the salience of Russia’s economic motivations and considers two related aspects: First, if Russian intervention aims to secure areas of strategic importance for the proposed pipeline. Second, if Russian intervention realises longer term political and commercial interests that include proposed future pipeline projects. The evidence suggests Russian military policies towards Syria are unlikely to be motivated primarily by the prospect of a proposed gas pipeline, but that regime consolidation is a more immediate policy goal. This article then posits that Russian intervention has a distinct ‘dual logic’ aimed at integrating the interests of key regional actors into a transnational energy network, while stabilising Russia’s regional dominance within this network.
Review of Radical Political Economics (Volume 53, Issue 3)
Turkey’s Sub-imperialism in Sub-Saharan Africa
By: Gönenç Uysal
Abstract: The growing economic and political roles of the so-called emerging powers in sub-Saharan Africa have attracted particular attention following the apparent decline of Western powers in the face of the global economic crisis of 2007?2008. The AKP?s ?proactive? foreign policy has manifested Turkey?s burgeoning role in the region. This paper draws upon Marxism to explore the diffusion of Turkish capital and the enhancement of military relations in the region in harmony and in contradistinction with Western and Gulf countries. It discusses the AKP?s proactive foreign policy vis-à-vis sub-Saharan Africa as a particular sociohistorical form of sub-imperialism that is characterized by and reproduces economic and geopolitical rivalries and alliances among Turkey and Western and Gulf countries.JEL Classification: F5, P1, O1
Studies in Conflict & Terrorism (Volume 44, Issues 9-11)
The Battle for Algeria: Explaining Fratricide among Armed Nonstate Actors
By: Barak Mendelsohn
Abstract: Unity among a rebel movement is associated with positive returns, yet rebel groups often fail to come together and even fall into fratricide infighting. Focusing on a rebel field in which one group enjoys primacy, I present three pathways that are likely to produce rebel fratricide: first, power shifts within the rebel movement; second, spillover from internal conflict within the dominant group; and third, disagreements over targeting noncombatants. I explore the role these mechanisms played in fratricidal violence among the Islamist opposition in Algeria during the 1990s civil war.
Local Minorities in Counterinsurgency: U.S. Approaches to Baghdad and Saigon Regarding Marginalized Populations
By: Barbara Elias
Abstract: In counterinsurgencies, minority groups such as the Sunnis in Iraq are important elements of the ?population,? the social?political terrain where population-centric counterinsurgency is battled. Yet there has been little systematic analysis of minority groups in unconventional warfare and no investigation of the ways intervening forces, like the United States, have approached in-country allies in an effort to get host nations to address the strategic importance of minorities. Examining new data on alliance politics between the United States and local partners in Vietnam and Iraq, I find that while existing scholarship would suggest that in-country allies will resist U.S. pressure to engage with minority groups, local allies are surprisingly likely to comply, at least in part, in order to avoid U.S. unilateral engagement with local minorities and to influence the policies adopted. This process slowly undermines U.S. counterinsurgency efforts, speaking to the complexities of population-centric approaches and working through local proxies.
ISIS’s Clash of Civilizations: Constructing the “West” in Terrorist Propaganda
By: Stephane J. Baele, Gregorio Bettiza,Katharine A. Boyd,Travis G. Coan
Abstract: Depictions of the West abound in the propaganda produced by the self-proclaimed ?Islamic State,? presenting to potentially sympathetic audiences an overwhelmingly negative image of a supposedly homogeneous political entity. Combining quantitative and qualitative language and visual analysis, we systematically expose the various facets of this image and analyze the overall picture. Drawing on the ?clash of civilizations? literature as well as on research on extremist language, we conceptualize this presentation of the West as a powerful radicalizing voice shaping today?s global civilizational politics.
Terrorism and Political Violence (Volume 33, Issues 5-7)
A Battle of Names: Hamas and Israeli Operations in the Gaza Strip
By: Ofir Hadad
Abstract: This paper addresses the phenomenon of military operation-naming, that is, the act of giving names to war practices. Based on the four strategies of War Normalizing Discourse theory, I argue that, like nation-states, violent non-state actors also use the tool of naming to disseminate their wartime perceptions and mobilize public opinion for their own interests. Moreover, I argue that in its war-naming efforts the violent non-state actor seeks to defy and undermine the official names of its enemy state, using its own names to expand the physical battlefield to other fields of war and to present itself as an equal and legitimate player. To establish the above arguments, the article presents the case study of Hamas?specifically, the movement?s naming of rounds of fighting against Israel since the beginning of its rule in the Gaza Strip in 2007.
The Diffusion and Permeability of Political Violence in North and West Africa
By: David B. Skillicorn, Olivier Walther, Christian Leuprecht, Quan Zheng
Abstract: This article explores the spatial and temporal diffusion of political violence in North and West Africa by endeavoring to represent a group leader's mental landscape as he contemplates strategic targeting. We assume that this representation is a combination of the physical and social geography of the target environment, and the mental and physical cost of following a seemingly random pattern of attacks. Focusing on the distance and time between attacks and taking into consideration the transaction costs that state boundaries impose, we wish to understand what constrains a group leader to attack at a location other than the one that would yield the greatest overt payoff. We leverage functional data from the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data project (ACLED) dataset that catalogs violent extremist incidents in North and West Africa since 1997 to generate a network whose nodes are administrative regions. These nodes are connected by edges of qualitatively different types: undirected edges representing geographic distance, undirected edges incorporating the costs of crossing borders, and directed edges representing consecutive attacks by the same group. We analyze the resulting network using spectral embedding techniques that are able to account fully for the different types of edges. The result is a representation of North and West Africa that depicts its empirical permeability to violence. A better understanding of how location, time, and borders condition attacks enables planning, prepositioning, and response.
Individual Exposure to Terror and Political Attitudes: A Physiologically-Based Model of Militancy
By: Daphna Canetti, Amnon Cavari,Carmit Rapaport,Hadar, Shalev Stevan E. Hobfoll
Abstract: How does exposure to terrorism affect political attitudes? This paper presents a new individual-level psychobiological model of political attitudes. Using a unique individual-level data of personal exposure to terrorism, a physiological marker of inflammation (CRP) and a psychological measure of perception of threat to an ongoing conflict?the Israel-Palestinian Conflict?we assess the effect of personal exposure to terrorism on militant attitudes concerning the conflict. Our data of physiological (blood samples), psychological, and attitudinal factors were collected in Israel during a military escalation along the Gaza Strip border. The findings reveal that among people personally exposed to terrorism, the perception of threat mediates an association between physiological conditions and militant attitudes. These findings contribute to the emerging literature on the biopolitics of political violence, suggesting a renewed focus on the dynamic interplay between physiological, psychological, and political factors.
“Now Is the Time to Wake Up”: Islamic State’s Narratives of Political Awareness
By: Nadia Al-Dayel
Abstract: Terrorist organisations are increasingly seeking to attract transnational membership. In particular, the Islamic State proudly displays transnational support in its propaganda. As a result, academics have established that themes of belonging, religious fulfilment, victimhood and utopia are important recruitment devices. This article reveals additional themes that encourage a critical reasoning of the power dynamics in the citizen-state relationship, questioning the strength of religious ideology that is assumed to attract and bind transnational membership. These themes are revealed through an innovative, blended method of critical discourse analysis, interpretivism and securitisation that examines the narratives and influence of the recruitment actor on an international scale. After a review of the Islamic State?s media operations, this method is applied to a prominent video featuring a top recruiter and UN designated terrorist, Australian citizen Neil Christopher Prakash. Then, it details how Prakash?s migration to the Islamic State led to securitisation discourses from both Australia and the U.S., affecting citizen-state relations. It concludes with a discussion on implications, suggesting directions for research on transnational extremist organisations.
Legitimating Extremism: A Taxonomy of Justifications for Political Violence
By: Robert J. VandenBerg
Abstract: Terrorism is an inherently communicative enterprise in that it attempts to convey messages using violent means. Furthermore, the effective use of rhetoric is fundamental to the sustainment of militant campaigns. Nevertheless, the literature on terrorism currently lacks a comprehensive blueprint for analyzing terrorist discourse. This paper proposes a framework for classifying narrative frames that serve to justify acts of political violence. Drawing on the social movements literature, it utilizes the jihadist organizations Al Qaeda and the self-proclaimed Islamic State as primary examples to show how militants utilize defensive, moralistic, legalistic, imperialistic, and apocalyptic framing to legitimate acts of terrorism. It also demonstrates how these same categories can be applied to extremists animated by ideologies other than jihadism.
The Online Caliphate: Internet Usage and ISIS Support in the Arab World
By: James A. Piazza, Ahmet Guler
Abstract: Experts argue that the internet has provided expanded opportunities for violent extremist groups to propagandize and recruit. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, is an exemplar in that it has heavily invested in an online presence and uses online communities and social media to attract and retain supporters. Does ISIS?s online presence translate into a higher probability that individuals in its target audience will become supporters? In this study we analyze over 6,000 individuals in six Arab countries to find if those that use the internet to follow political news or to express political views are more likely to support ISIS. We find that respondents who get their news online are significantly more likely to support ISIS than those who follow the news on television or print media. Moreover, those who use online fora for political expression are also more likely to express support for ISIS. Indeed, individuals who engage in online political discussion are more likely to support ISIS than those who engage in conventional political activity, though less than those who engage in contentious political behaviors such as attending a political protest. We conclude with a brief discussion of the academic and policy implications of these findings.
The Case of Islamic State as a Renovative Totalist Movement
By: Mihai Murariu, George Anglitoiu
Abstract: This paper uses the concept of totalism to analyze the main features of Islamic State and thus the implications of containing and confronting it and its potential future offshoots. The first part of the paper deals with the origins and concept of totalism, depicting its main features and types. This part begins by briefly showing the main features of totalism, why it must be ultimately differentiated from totalitarianism. The second part of the paper explores the extent to which Islamic State conforms to the model of a renovative totalist movement and why terms such as political religion are unsuited for explaining Islamist and Salafi-Jihadist movements, including Islamic State. Due to the overall direction of its ultimate ideological aims and the way in which it pursues the total reconstruction of public and private life, Islamic State is then found to contain the main features of a militant, renovative totalist movement. Lastly, the paper argues that it is primarily this totalist nature of the movement which, together with total commitment to emulating what it sees as the essential early Islamic traditions and examples, contributes to its long-term resilience even in the face of overwhelming odds and military reversals.
Dynamic/Static Image Use in ISIS’s Media Campaign: An Audience Involvement Strategy for Achieving Goals
By: Carol Winkler, Lindsey Dewick,Yennhi Luu, Wojciech Kaczkowski
Abstract: The rebound of ISIS in the online environment in the aftermath of the coalition force liberation of Mosul and Raqqa has reinvigorated the need to understand the strategic choices of the group’s media campaign. This study explores ISIS’s use of dynamic vs. static imagery, with a particular focus on how the image form helps facilitate the group’s goals. Experimental studies document that the use of dynamic imagery heightens viewer attention, recall, and reaction to visual content, while fMRI studies add that audiences process dynamic still images as imagined movements. Using a content analysis of 3745 images in Dabiq, Rumiyah, and al-Naba’ from July 2014 to September 2018, we found that ISIS relies heavily on dynamic imagery in its print media campaign. The deployment of the visual strategy, however, displays significant variation based on the language of the target audience, the primary message content displayed in the photographs, and level of military force opposition the group is facing when it disseminates magazines and newsletters.
The Algerian State, Islamist Insurgents, and Civilians Caught in Double Jeopardy by the Violence of the Civil War of the 1990s
By: C. R. Pennell
Abstract: During the Algerian Civil War of the 1990s responsibility for both targeted assassinations of prominent politicians and political activists and largescale massacres was frequently ascribed to both the government and the Islamic insurgents of the GIA. The same was true of the more mundane but much more numerous level of individuals who fell foul of both sides in the conflict and were frequently the targets of both. Using material from the asylum tribunals of several western countries this article describes how the widespread fear among the Algerian population was the result of the strategies of the government and GIA that both sought to intimidate, punish and exact revenge at a personal level leading to a widespread social dislocation.
Assessing the Impact of the Global War on Terrorism on Terrorism Threats in Muslim Countries
By: Peter S. Henne
Abstract: After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the United States called on Muslims to join it in its struggle against the attacks’ perpetrator, Al Qaeda (AQ). U.S. officials argued that Muslim states’ participation in these efforts could help the United States defeat AQ, but it could also benefit the states themselves by undermining the threat they faced from terrorism. As we are now over ten years out from the beginning of this global war on terrorism, it is possible to both ask and answer the question posed by U.S. demands: did it work? That is, did majority-Muslim states who implemented counterterrorism policies in line with America’s counterterrorism priorities benefit from this, through a reduction in the threat of terrorism? In this article, I argue that Muslim states that adopted policies in line with US priorities would accomplish their primary goal: disrupting Al Qaeda’s ability to carry out attacks. I use a quantitative analysis to demonstrate that states implementing the counterterrorism policies preferred by the United States experienced significantly fewer deaths from terrorist attacks than those that did not. These findings can contribute to debates over the global war on terrorism, as well as broad debates on effective counterterrorism and counterinsurgency tactics.
The Developing Economies (Volume 59, Issue 3)
Growth Spillovers for the MENA Region: Geography, Institutions, or Trade?
By: Merve Aksoylar Baysoy, Sumru Altug
Abstract: We examine the role of spatial spillovers in economic growth for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. We explicitly model spatial interactions that may arise from geography, bilateral trade, or institutional similarities, and ask how much they are likely to matter for growth externalities and spillover effects. We find that the economic growth of a MENA country is positively affected by the economic growth of countries that are geographically close and that have similar institutional characteristics. The spillover effects of growth are due to economic activities in countries that trade primarily in oil, which accounts for the gap in spillover effects due to institutional similarity between resource-rich and resource-poor countries in the MENA region. However, trade linkages matter less. Where they do have an effect, it is through the local range effects of a spatially lagged explanatory variable capturing the effects of the trade balance on growth.
The European Journal of Development Research (Volume 33, Issues 5 & 6)
‘I Dream of Going Home’: Gendered Experiences of Adolescent Syrian Refugees in Jordan’s Azraq Camp
By: Jude Sajdi, Aida Essaid, Clara Miralles Vila, Hala Abu Taleb, Majed Abu Azzam, Agnieszka Malachowska
Abstract: Although the influx of Syrian refugees in Jordan initially attracted considerable international humanitarian support, funding has declined recently, and labour market restrictions have tightened. Adolescents in Azraq refugee camp face particular challenges due to its unique characteristics, including strong surveillance and security measures and a remote desert location, which affords only limited mobility and income-generating opportunities. Instead of offering protection and security for displaced Syrians, the camp has become a ‘violent space’. This article explores the experiences of younger (10–12 years) and older (15–17 years) adolescent girls and boys in Azraq camp. It provides insights into their gendered experiences in four capability domains—education, voice and agency, bodily integrity and freedom from violence, and psychosocial wellbeing—highlighting key vulnerabilities that need to be addressed to deliver the Leave No One Behind agenda. The findings suggest that when planning programmes and services, the government, international community and civil society actors working with adolescent refugees in Azraq need to take into consideration spatial dimensions of vulnerability. Such efforts should ensure that programmes are designed and implemented in an inclusive and accessible way so that male and female adolescents in specific camp settings can overcome the constraints that they uniquely face.
‘No One Should Be Terrified Like I Was!’ Exploring Drivers and Impacts of Child Marriage in Protracted Crises Among Palestinian and Syrian Refugees
By: Bassam Abu Hamad, Samah Elamassie, Erin Oakley, Sarah Alheiwidi, Sarah Baird
Abstract: Exacerbated by 9 years of conflict and displacement, child marriage among Syrian refugees appears to be increasing, while in Gaza, the noticeable reduction in child brides over the past two decades has recently plateaued. This comparative study explores drivers and consequences of child marriage in protracted crises, drawing on mixed-methods research from Gaza and Jordan with married adolescent girls and their parents. Our findings suggest that conflict reignites pre-existing drivers of child marriage, especially conservative norms around family honour and clan inter-marriage. Poverty is a strong driver of child marriage among Syrian refugees, while social protection programmes and educational opportunities for girls have played a protective role in Gaza. In both contexts, our findings underscore the multiple and intersecting negative effects of child marriage on girls’ health and bodily integrity, and point to the urgency of tackling this harmful practice to ensure that no adolescent is left behind.
‘I Wish Someone Would Ask Me Questions’: The Unheard Voices of Adolescents with Disabilities in Jordan
By: Kifah Bani Odeh, Nicola Jones, Kate Pincock, Agnieszka Malachowska
Abstract: The Sustainable Development Goals and the Leave No One Behind agenda involve a commitment to ensure the participation of persons with disabilities in all aspects of family and community life. This article explores the experiences of Palestinian and Syrian refugee adolescents with disabilities in Jordan in two domains of life: access to education, and their capacity to exercise voice and agency. The findings show that disability intersects with citizenship status and place of residence (camp vs village or city alongside the host community) to reinforce marginality for certain groups of adolescents with disabilities. Across the board, we find low educational aspirations and learning outcomes among adolescents with disabilities, and markedly lower social connectivity—but greater risk of violence by peers. To address these unequal outcomes, we reflect on the importance of developing more inclusive formal and non-formal education services to promote the participation of adolescents with disabilities, and investments in better training and awareness raising for parents, teachers and peers alike.
Do Slum Upgrading Programmes Improve Employment? Evidence from Djibouti
By: Sandrine Mesplé-Somps, Laure Pasquier-Doumer, Charlotte Guénard
Abstract: Slum upgrading programmes are high on the international community’s agenda. Yet their impact evaluations remain few and far between, especially when the programmes include different components such as roads, water supply, electricity, and community facilities. In addition, employment is rarely considered as an outcome in the evaluation of slum upgrading programmes, although it is often one of the main priorities of slum upgrading policies. This article analyses the effects on employment of such a programme in a Djibouti slum. It uses a difference-in-difference approach to evaluate the average impact and heterogeneous effects of the programme. We find that the project is unlikely to have improved access to employment in general and to formal wage jobs in particular, as was expected at the start of the project. It has also failed to increase earned income. Nonetheless, we show that self-employed activities have developed, more particularly in places adjacent to the project roads.
Is Economic Empowerment a Protective Factor Against Intimate Partner Violence? Evidence from Turkey
By: Yasemin Dildar
Abstract: This paper analyzes the relationship between women’s economic empowerment and the incidence of intimate partner violence (IPV) using data from the National Survey on Domestic Violence against Women in Turkey (2008, 2014). Two hypotheses are tested: (i) women’s economic independence reduces the risk of partner violence as suggested by household bargaining models; (ii) women’s vulnerability to IPV increases when their economic situation improves relative to their partner’s as suggested by a male backlash model. Women’s employment has a positive effect on the exposure to IPV but it is not statistically significant after controlling for the simultaneous causality between employment status and IPV. Earning more income than their partners, on the other hand, lowers the risk of IPV by 9.3%, providing evidence for the household bargaining model. The protective effect of income differs according to class positions of women. Earning more income than their partners lowers the risk of physical (7.5%) and sexual violence (6.4%) for women in poor households while it lowers the risk of psychological violence (11.5%) for women in medium-wealth and rich households.
Typology of Women’s Collective Agency In Relation to Women’s Equality Outcomes: Case Studies from Egypt and Beyond
By: Mariz Tadros
Abstract: There is a rich body of scholarship recognizing the important role of women’s collective agency and mobilization for gender equality, inclusive development, and politics. In this paper, we interrogate the relationship between women’s collective agency on the one hand, and its contribution towards women’s equality outcomes on the other, drawing on empirical work undertaken during over 20 years’ fieldwork on women’s collective action in Egypt and complemented with a literature review of women’s collective action globally. A typology is proposed for analyzing women’s collective agency in terms of women’s movements, women in movements, feminist, anti-feminist movements, and gender justice movements, which inform an interpretive framework that explores collective agency and women’s equality outcomes. First, while recognizing the need to avoid reductionist understandings of women’s collective agency exclusively in terms of their agenda on gender equality, this paper argues that collective agency and equality outcomes cannot be entirely disentangled. Second, it suggests that women’s membership and leadership in collective action can have highly varied implications on women’s equality outcomes, both positive and detrimental. The paper concludes with reflections on the implications of the analysis of the relationships between women’s and men’s collective agency for praxis.
Third World Quarterly (Volume 42, Issues 9-11)
A Thirdspace approach to the ‘Global South’: insights from the margins of a popular category
By: Sebastian Haug
Abstract: The increasing popularity of cursory references to the ?Global South? across disciplines and issue areas asks for an in-depth engagement with ?South?-related terminology. I employ Edward Soja?s Thirdspace as a heuristic for investigating different meanings of the ?Global South? with reference to concrete empirical realities in international development. To examine and illustrate what Soja?s trialectics of material, imagined and lived spatialities has to offer, I focus on evidence from Mexico and Turkey. Located somewhere at the boundaries ? or the conceptual margins ? of the ?Global South?, Mexico and Turkey sit right where an investigation promises to be particularly fruitful. With a Firstspace perspective, I focus on the mappings of development indices and the material boundaries of the ?Global South?. With a Secondspace perspective, I analyse the imagined geographies of alliances in multilateral negotiations and the arena of South?South cooperation. With a Thirdspace perspective, I engage with the lifeworlds of public officials and unpack the ways in which the ?Global South? appears via individual strategies and practices. Insights from Mexico and Turkey provide evidence for the diversity of meanings attached to the ?Global South? and illustrate how Soja?s three-legged heuristic offers a framework for critical engagement with popular taken-for-granted categories.
Kurdish women’s struggles with gender equality: from ideology to practice
By: Nadje Al-Ali, Latif Tas
Abstract: The article explores the relationship between theory and practice in terms of gender-based equality and justice within both the armed units and the political?legal movement linked to the Kurdistan Workers? Party (PKK) in Turkey and transnationally. An analysis of the historical developments of both political ideology and mobilisation reveals the radical shift towards a stated commitment to gender-based equality that has taken place within a wider political transformation from a nationalist independence movement to a movement pursuing radical democracy. The article focuses on the dialectical relationship between the writings of the founder of the PKK, Abdullah Öcalan, and the struggle of Kurdish female militants and political activists to challenge male hegemony and patriarchal gender norms. We recognise the centrality of Öcalan?s writings in the shift away from the emphasis on national liberation to the idea of radical democracy with gender equality at is centre. However, our main argument developed in the article is to recognise the importance of women?s resistance and struggle to implement gender-based equality while we also highlight gaps between ideological pronouncements and everyday practices. Throughout the article we refer to Kurdish women fighters? and activists? personal experiences within the movement.
Everyday peace and conflict: (un)privileged interactions in Kirkuk, Iraq
By: Dylan O’Driscoll
Abstract: Taking as a starting point the conviction that everyday interactions carry the potential to be either conflictual or peaceful, this article examines people?s everyday behaviour in the deeply divided city of Kirkuk, Iraq. Using the historic bazaar in Kirkuk city as a site of analysis, and through a research survey of 511 people, it focuses on interactions between Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen. The article draws on Bourdieu?s theory of symbolic capital and takes an intersectional approach to analyse the everyday interactions in the bazaar to create a better understanding of the role of space and privilege. The results demonstrate that for the most part, at the everyday level people carry out acts of everyday peace rather than conflict. However, when everyday conflict does occur, those with the highest symbolic capital are the most likely actors. Additionally, although gender does influence people?s actions, ethnosectarian identity has greater influence in many areas related to everyday peace and conflict. On a practical level, the article argues that such an understanding can connect better to policymaking and peacebuilding as it can point to where and how peacebuilders should focus their attention in order to promote and enhance peace within people?s everyday lives.
How do refugees navigate the UNHCR’s bureaucracy? The role of rumours in accessing humanitarian aid and resettlement
By: Derya Ozkul, Rita Jarrous
Abstract: In conflict situations, rapid changes can occur in the conditions in both host and home countries. In the context of such uncertainty, how do refugees navigate the bureaucratic apparatus of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to obtain humanitarian aid and resettlement? We carried out fieldwork in 2019 in Lebanon and found the UNHCR?s bureaucracy to be a ?black box? for refugees in relation to the provision of information on humanitarian aid and resettlement. In this context of limited information, we found that rumours ? widely considered to be uncertain truths ? contributed to shaping participants? understanding of the UNHCR?s decisions on the provision of aid and resettlement. In this article, we highlight the interpretive aspect of rumours and argue that refugees engage in interpretive labour as a result of the unequal relationship between themselves and the UNHCR?s opaque bureaucracy and provision of information. While refugees have to provide the UNHCR with detailed and highly personal information in interviews and household inspections, officers provide refugees with only generic responses, leading refugees to make their own interpretations of the bureaucratic decision-making processes. We conceptualise this interpretive labour as a collective process that contributes to generating rumours among refugee groups.
The 2017 independence referendum and the political economy of Kurdish nationalism in Iraq
By: Nicola Degli Esposti
Abstract: In September 2017, the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq held a referendum for independence despite the high likelihood of heavy retaliation. In contrast to the narrative that presents that decision as the result of gross miscalculation, this article offers an alternative explanation highlighting the role played by Kurdish nationalism in upholding the structures of power of the region. The current class structure, institutional framework and rentier economy of Iraqi Kurdistan had their origins in the 1990s when Kurdish forces gained permanent control of the region. The new ruling class that developed in that decade had a profoundly extractive character and based its power on a strategy of appropriation of the public resources pursued through the control of the political institutions and security forces. The 2017 independence referendum must be understood as an attempt to thwart the threat to this social arrangement represented by a wave of popular protests. These events reveal the profound connection between Kurdish nationalism and the region?s class structure. They also allow us to appreciate the ? often neglected ? political agency of the subaltern classes in a rentier society.
Martyrs as a conduit for legitimacy – explaining Iran’s foreign policy towards Syria
By: Hanlie Booysen
Abstract: What explains the Islamic Republic of Iran?s considerable financial, military and diplomatic support for the nominally secular Bashar al-Asad government in the wake of the 2011 Syrian uprising? Iranian foreign policy is subject to realist considerations (security and power). However, realism does not adequately explain Iran?s Syria policy since 2011, given the price Iranian citizens are paying in casualties on the Syrian battlefield. This paper uses a constructivist framework to examine the role of identity in Iran?s foreign policy towards Syria. Moreover, it sketches Eid al-Ghadir as an identity marker for Twelver Shia Muslims. The aim of this paper is to show that Iranian martyrs are not only a consequence of Iran?s foreign policy towards Syria, but that martyrdom serves as a conduit for legitimacy.
Orientalism in a globalised world: Said in the twenty-first century
By: Ahmad H. Sa’di
Abstract: From its publication in 1978, Edward Said?s magnum opus Orientalism has generated fierce and unrelenting debates regarding its epistemology and scope, and the interpretive validity of its Western cultural representations of the self and other. Since then, however, the world has become increasingly governed by different sets of assumptions, ideologies, relations of production and reproduction, and matrixes of power relations. This article considers whether orientalism has kept its hold on Western public opinion, media presentations, political elites, and sections of the scholarly community?s mode of thinking in the current neo-liberal, globalised, digitalised and securitised world. It also considers whether its mutation has shifted to engender a paradigmatic change and argues that alongside the old-style orientalism, a more sophisticated, subtle, and up-to-date perspective has appeared. Although its emphases, concerns and methodologies might represent a certain departure from old orientalist dogmas, its objective seems to remain largely intact.
Reclaiming partnership – ‘rightful resistance’ in a Norths/Souths cooperation
By: Alena Sander
Abstract: Over the past few decades, the development discourse has been subject to various criticisms. Instead of rejecting these criticisms, however, the discourse absorbed at least parts of them. This led to discursive incoherencies. These appear as new concepts that seem incompatible with the initial development discourse and the power relations on which it relies. The notion of partnership, which refers to mutual trust and respect, is one of the discourse?s most prominent incoherent features. In the everyday cooperation between Jordanian women?s organisations and their North-based donors, however, partnership is an ideal, rather than an actual practice, and is frequently arbitrarily misinterpreted and misused by the donors. Through a case study grounded in a two-month participant observation of one Jordanian women?s organisation and a series of qualitative interviews with their staff members and donor representatives conducted in Jordan in 2017 and 2018, the paper explores how the organisation and their staff members intentionally resist their donors? behaviour by performing acts of rightful resistance.
Behind the scenes of science in action: a ‘replication in context’ of a randomised control trial in Morocco
By: Florent Bédécarrats, Isabelle Guérin, Solène Morvant-Roux,, François Roubaud
Abstract: This article is a ?replication in context? of a flagship randomised control trial (RCT) conducted in Morocco on microcredit. ?Replication in context? consists in combining the quantitative replication of an RCT with a contextualised analysis of its implementation and its political economy, in the sense of the interplay between different stakeholders with divergent and potentially conflicting interests, constraints and powers. ?Replication in context? draws on quantitative and qualitative data and uses the tools of statistics, political economy and sociology of science. This method allows us to describe the entire RCT production chain, from sampling, data collection, data entry and recoding, estimates and interpretations to publication and dissemination of the results. We find that this particular RCT does not respect the key principles of randomisation (imbalanced sampling and contamination) nor those of statistics (coding and measurement problems, poor-quality data and arbitrary trimming procedures). The qualitative analysis highlights the difficulties of implementing a randomised protocol in the real world. Beyond this particular case study, our analyses call into question the supposed superiority of randomised methods, echoing the growing unease in an academic field increasingly struggling to enforce the basic rules of ethics and scientific deontology.