Ph.D. candidate at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, Department of Political Sciences. Her research interest concerns political and social dynamics in the MENA region, with a focus on humanitarian and development aid implemented by Islamic actors and the Gulf States in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. She is also interested in the migration phenomenon in Northern African countries, especially in Morocco, and models of integration financed by the European Trust Fund for Africa. She is a Teaching Assistant in History and Institutions of the Muslim World and visiting researcher at Durham University Business School and Vienna University, Department of Near Eastern studies. She studied Policies for International Cooperation, and she was Advocacy Assistant for an Italian NGO, Cesvi Onlus.
Considering the changing nature of humanitarian crises in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa, this paper aims to understand the role of emerging actors, such as the Gulf states, in providing humanitarian and development aid in fragile and conflict-affected countries. Specifically, this paper is focused on Qatar’s role in addressing crises and its approach to humanitarian diplomacy in the region. By analyzing the main actors involved in Qatar’s foreign aid, it will describe the approach of the Qatari state, especially in the Syrian context. The Syrian case illustrates the interaction between different international and regional actors and Qatar’s Humanitarian Diplomacy in supporting the reconstruction of Syrian sovereignty. Through a quantitative approach, an analysis of data and annual reports of the three main Qatari actors - Qatar Fund for Development, Qatar Red Crescent Society and Qatar Charity - the paper aims to provide an understanding of Qatar’s bottom-up approach and the pragmatic impact of humanitarian diplomacy in the Syrian context.
PhD candidate in history and Middle Eastern studies at New York University (NYU) where he researches the history of socialist and Islamist movements in Iran and the Arab world and their role in the making of the global Cold War. He is the author of The Shadow Commander: Soleimani, the U.S., and Iran›s Global Ambitions (Oneworld, 2020.)
This paper presents an overview of the strong alliance between Iranian and Iraqi communists, respectively organized in the Tudeh Party of Iran and the Iraqi Communist Party. It argues that inter-party links between political parties in the Global South were as crucial an element in the dynamics of the Global Cold War as were the more-studied role that superpowers (US and the USSR) played in their Third World interventions. Presenting the alliance between the two parties, the paper focuses on moments where the relationship played a major role such as in the communist-supported Iraqi revolution of 1958 which enabled Tudeh to organize a base in Baghdad; the anti-communist Iraqi coup of 1963 which led to Tudeh networks in the USSR helping to smuggle Iraqi communists to safety; and in 1980 when Iranian and Iraqi communists stood together even as their two nations became engaged in a deadly war. The paper bases itself on archival material and printed press from Iraq, Iran, US and the UK.
PhD candidate at New York University in the Middle East & Islamic Studies Department. He received his honors BA in History from the University of British Columbia, and an MPhil from the University of Oxford in Modern Middle East Studies. He has taught Middle Eastern history, literature, and Islamic studies courses at NYU, and his current project is an ethnography of contemporary Iraqi state commemorative politics. His work sits amongst digital studies, anthropology, and cultural studies, and he is interested in the intersections of culture, religion, and social practice.
This research investigates how Iraqis navigate a sectarian political system that depends not only on discriminatory conceptions of citizenship or identity, but also on restrictive concepts of whose lives can be sacrificial. It details how the Iraqi Martyrdom Foundation, a public institution founded in 2006 and tasked with regulating and reforming the Iraqi state’s legal and bureaucratic definition of martyrdom, abrogated the status of all pre-2003 martyrs by restricting martyrdom solely to those civilians killed by the Ba’ath. The author asks first what empirical strategies have been employed by the Iraqi state to manage processes and structures of segregation and alterity in the country. How is martyrdom embedded in these lineages of displacement, segregation, and economic and social reform that sought to broadly privatize state resources and embed sectarianism? Second, how have militant and civil society organizations, as well as ordinary Iraqis, resisted the state’s definition of martyrdom? What alternative visions of sacrifice have these groups presented to their constituents? Finally, how do changes in the aesthetics and visual representations of martyrdom reflect and affect the narrative structure, meaning, and practices associated with it, including memorial posters, funerary practices, and biographies?
Ph.D. candidate in the Communication Department and a Presidential Fellow in the Transcultural Conflict and Violence Initiative focused on the mechanisms of propaganda and persuasion used by violent extremist organizations and how they manipulate institutions and resources, such as monetary economics and gender, to create proto states. She works as a research assistant on six grants conducting research on social media of extremist organizations. Lokmanoglu earned her M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University and her B.A. in Economics and Near Eastern Studies from Cornell University. She has published in journals including Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Cambridge Review of International Affairs and edited volumes including Islamist Approach to Governance, Radicalization and Counter-Radicalization, and others.
This paper examines how the monetary economy in violent extremist propaganda serves as rebel governance within the virtual world of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). It argues that the rebel governance of ISIS functions and performs in spaces beyond the control of states in the digital world, and asks how monetary economic messaging content relates to sovereignty and legitimization. To do this, a mixed methodology was used combining qualitative content analysis with quantitative regression analysis. The dataset consists of 2,678 images appearing in issues 1-229 of the Arabic weekly newsletter al-Naba’ (from October 2015 to April 2020) and territorial control calculated from Liveuamap Isis.liveumap.com (Isis.liveuamap.com, 2020). In examining the multi-modal monetary economic content directed to a global citizenship across time and geography, this paper argues that ISIS’ media campaign asserts economic sovereignty, connecting it to past caliphates’ economic systems. ISIS is thus challenging existing financial systems, reinforcing for a global audience international recognition of its sovereignty , with the overall theme of negation of Westphalian Sovereignty being connected to state-building through monetary economics.
Ph.D. candidate instructor and graduate research assistant at Georgia State University (Atlanta, US). She received her MS from Middle East Technical University (Ankara, Turkey) in Middle East Studies with a thesis titled “Israel’s Policy Responses to Egypt in the Post-Mubarak Era.” Ozguler Aktel is currently an editorial board member at FeniksPolitik, an independent opinion platform that publishes analyses on Turkey and international politics. Previously, she worked as a researcher at International Strategic Research Organization (USAK), an Ankara-based think-tank in 2013-2016. As a researcher, she conducted fieldwork in Palestine (2015) and Egypt (2016). In collaboration with others, she has written a policy brief, “Tunisia’s ‘Muslim Democrats’: A New Stage for Political Islam?”
Scholars from various backgrounds study the importance of institutions and the detrimental effects of foreign aid in both peacekeeping and state-building processes. However, emphasis on the effect of threatening exogenous shocks such as pandemics or epidemics is generally absent in such analyses. Focusing on the significant existential threat of a pandemic, this paper argues that pandemics can increase institutionalization in fragile, aid-dependent, post-war countries by lessening hostility among ethnic/religious groups and increasing the cost of elite corruption. When it comes to such crises, elites invest in institutionalization by providing necessary and essential distribution of aid in order to respond to the immediate needs of the public rather than enriching their clients. Moreover, the “conditionality” dimension can be more effective since donors and aid agencies want to prevent the infection as much as possible and as quickly as possible. Otherwise, they know that it will create economic and security threats in the medium and long term. This research suggests a counter-intuitive perspective may be useful, one in which pandemics may lead to institutionalization and relative stability in post-conflict countries.
PhD student at Georgia State University and guest researcher at the Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo. He also holds an MA in Contemporary Arab and Islamic Studies from the Autonomous University of Madrid, where he wrote a thesis about identity and post-territoriality in the Palestinian Museum, Birzeit. His current research focuses on the relation between the built environment and indigenous modernity in the Gulf, new urban developments in the Middle East, and Israeli-Khaleeji relations. His latest publications have appeared in Foreign Affairs, the Maydan, and the Georgetown Journal of International Relations.
The smart city of Rawabi, close to the de facto capital of the West Bank, Ramallah, was inaugurated in 2010, and its adjacent tech hub presented in 2017. It aims at developing the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector in the West Bank and housing and creating jobs for 25,000 to 40,000 Palestinians. Following an urban regime approach, this paper proposes that the coalition of powers that governs Rawabi is formed by the Israeli tech sector and foreign capital. It then discusses if Rawabi can be considered part of the Zionist expansionist plan, due to its economic dependence on the Israeli business landscape. It also problematizes Israeli settler colonialism, due to the neoliberal turn it has taken after Binyamin Netanyahu’s ‘economic peace’, a framework for the Israel/Palestine conflict under which Rawabi can be understood as part of.
PhD candidate in Human Geography. Her current research project focuses on identity and mobility in the Sultanate of Oman. Since April 2019, she has been working as a research associate in the Human Geography team at the Institute of Geography of Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. where she obtained a Master of Education degree in French and Geography. From September 2013 to January 2015, she studied at Université de Bourgogne Franche-Comté in Dijon (France) , graduating with the «Licence en géographie».
The paper aims to explore the changing life and work aspirations and strategies of the younger, internationally exposed generation of Omanis (born after 1970). These are currently expanding from the biased and transforming spheres of a globalized and internationalized world order on one hand and the ongoing endeavor of national policy to nationalize the country’s workforce on the other. The research is based on the observation that Oman looks back on long-existing cosmopolitan capital – rooted in an Indian Ocean tradition of maritime trade– to respond to challenges of globalization including new lifestyles, globalized values and consumption patterns, and increasing global mobility. Especially for young Omanis, new struggles for a sense of place, identity and belonging are emerging in a daily balancing act of modern lifestyles, with study visits abroad and usage of digital media on the one hand and traditional social patterns on the other. Qualitative interviews are conducted in this study to analyze the impact such transformations have on the sense of belonging and national identity as these are perceived and lived by young Omanis, and to provide insights into the changing aspirations of Omani society.
PhD candidate in Arab and Islamic Studies at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid focusing on the Palestinian presence in Lebanon. She holds a M.A. in Peace, Security and Defence (Instituto Universitario General Gutiérrez Mellado) and has worked at United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). Her recent publications include: The Capacity of Endurance of the Lebanese Sectarian System in its Most Challenging Year (Instituto Español de Estudios Estratégicos, 2020), Political Islam Inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood: the cases of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine (Fundación Alternativas, 2020) and Palestinian refugees: Between integration and return (in Puell de la Villa, F. (Ed.) War and Population Displacement, Sussex Academic Press, (2018).
In 1948, more than 100,000 Palestinians arrived in Lebanon after they were expelled from their homes in the aftermath of the establishment of the state of Israel. Even though the majority of them and their descendants obtained refugee status, there is a minority who were granted citizenship in the 1940s and 1950s, and also after the civil war, in the 1990s. The situation of impasse and lack of rights of the refugees has always been blamed primarily on the sectarianism that characterizes the consociational political system in Lebanon. The official narrative for the exclusion of Palestinian refugees lays fundamentally on the grounds that their integration would adversely affect the balance of power. While extensive research on Palestinian refugees in Lebanon has been conducted and their situation heatedly debated, naturalized Palestinians have tended to be overlooked. The aim of this paper is to provide an answer to the following question: How can we explain the difficulties experienced by naturalized Palestinians who seek full political and social integration within the local society? The theoretical framework of this research will rely on the concept of political familism. The methodology is primarily based on qualitative data obtained through interviews with naturalized Palestinians to learn about their personal experience.
Assistant Professor, Assistant Dean (International Collaborations) and Assistant Director, Centre for Human Rights Studies at the Jindal Global Law School, O.P Jindal Global University. Rohini had obtained an LL.M. in International Law from the University of Leeds and an Undergraduate Degree of B.Sc LLB Law from Gujarat National Law University. She is pursuing her PhD from the School of Law, University of Warwick as a Chancellor›s Scholar. Rohini teaches as a visiting faculty member in various institutes in India and has been a recipient of the VLIR-UOS Scholarship to work with the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies in the EU and Human Rights FRAME project. She is an editorial Board member of the Emerging Scholars Forum (ESF) of Global Perspectives.
Modern statehood is an act of erasure and a product of colonial boundary making. It is an account of violence in which law and artificial frontiers came together to create a disembodied sense of belonging through ideas of ‘territorial sovereignty’ and ‘citizens’. In Eurocentric international law, the sovereign state came to be through colonial expansion, positivism, homogenization and locating borders in abstract ideas of security and containment. Post-colonial states were trapped in a strange inheritance of borders that destroys identities and effaces non-European people. With law came the question of identity, belonging and legitimacy – all of which were inherently connected to state-making processes in a region. However, the language of international law ably dissociated this enquiry from its deep-seated roots in the ‘state’. This work seeks to reimagine the relationship between law, land and the state by revisiting various sites and forms of sovereignty (land, water) to reengage with the most significant stakeholders of state-making – the people. To do this, it engages with Kashmir as a site of legal unpacking. While most TWAIL arguments contend with the oppressive heuristics of the colonial and postcolonial state, Kashmir may be a challenge to modern statehood itself.
PhD candidate at the University of Leeds. His project focuses on the state of exception and its relationship to sovereignty in the Middle East. Other research interests include but are not limited to the application of emergency government in times of Covid management, the impact of non-physical spaces such as the internet on territorial models of sovereignty, and broader aspects of political theory and politics including R2P, the application of liberalism and the politics of recognition.
How does the state of exception claim to provide for sovereignty? And how does the state of exception undermine sovereignty? This paper addresses these questions. The model of sovereignty used in this paper is based on Caporaso’s model of sovereign features. Caporaso (2000) locates his sovereign features within the Westphalian framework, i.e., states possessing ultimate sovereignty inside their own territorial borders and argues that in order for states to possess sovereignty they need to exercise authority, power, citizenship, and territoriality. The state of exception relying upon power undermines sovereignty according to Caporaso’s wider claim: when power is exercised without the other sovereign traits, it not only fails to create or uphold sovereignty but ultimately undermines the very power the state is attempting to exercise. This paper uses a theoretical analysis and critique of the concept of state of exception to examine its fundamental flaws when applied to an exercise of sovereign power. It also adopts a comparative approach to the case studies of Syria and Bahrain to support its assertion that the state of exception undermines sovereignty.
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