The second day of the ACRPS Strategic Studies Unit conference, “Protracted Arab Civil Wars: Causes and Challenges,” launched this afternoon with a panel on “Women at (Civil) War”, chaired by the Doha Institute’s Executive Director of Administration and Finance Division, Mariam Al-Misnad. The first speaker, Ora Szekely, Associate Professor of Political Science at Clark University, presented her paper, “Unlikely Allies: Women, Privilege, and Participation in the Syrian Uprising”, in which she discussed the grievances at the root of the 2011 Syrian uprising, and the key features of women’s participation in it as well as the advantages that some women obtained due to their gender and sectarian identities.
Muhanad Seloom, Assistant Professor at the Critical Security Studies program at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, followed with his paper on “YPJ in Syrian Civil War: An Intersectional Inquiry into Kurdish Female Fighters.” Seloom examined the objectives and roles of YPJ Kurdish women fighters in the Syrian civil war while adopting the principle of intersectionality as a method of inquiry, taking into consideration the multiple interlocking identities and live experiences of Kurdish women fighters.
The third and last paper of this panel “Undoing the Caliphate: Women's Roles in ISIS and Repatriation Efforts,” was presented by Jessica Trisko, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Virginia Commonwealth University and Duenya Hassan, Project Manager at the William & Mary’s Global Research Institute. Trisko and Hassan presented the challenge of reintegrating women and children associated with the Islamic State in the Middle East and North Africa, where women were an integral part of the traditional family structure within the group, and their involvement extended beyond the private sphere, as they served as educators, propagandists and enforcers of the Islamic State’s interpretation of Shari’a law.
The last panel of the day, “Roles of Regional Powers: Spoilers, Guarantors or Resolvers”, was chaired by the director of the Qatar Armed Forces Strategic Studies Unit, Rashid Hamad Al-Nuaimi. Imad Mansour, Assistant Professor at the Critical Security Studies Program at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, and William R. Thompson, Distinguished Professor and Donald A. Rogers Professor Emeritus at the Department of Political Science at Indiana University, presented their paper on “The Rivalry-Civil War Farrago in the MENA”, in which they discussed the interaction between interstate rivalry and civil wars onset in the Middle East and North Africa, summarizing it as a farrago. Mansour and Thompson argued that due to internationalization of civil war, it has become apparent that external interference in domestic warfare has become a substitute for conventional interstate combat. Thus, they suggested a model that integrates domestic grievances and international rivalries, in order to explain this farrago.
The final speaker on this panel, Emadeddin Badi, advisor for Libya at the Geneva Centre for Security Sector Government (DCAF), spoke on “The Russian and Turkish Intervention in the Libyan Civil War and the Ramifications”. In his paper, Badi examined the Russian and Turkish intervention in Libya following the launch of Khalifa Haftar’s offensive on Tripoli in April 2019 and presented their different approaches to interventionism. Badi argued that both countries have adopted starkly distinct approaches to security assistance and developed vastly different models of cooperation (or lack thereof) with local “partners.”
* Conference Agenda.
** Conference Booklet.