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  • Author: Ammar A. Malik, Hamutal Bernstein, Edward Mohr, Yasemin Irvin-Erickson
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: As the Syrian refugee crisis enters its eighth year, leveraging the private sector’s financial capital and capacity for innovation has emerged as an attractive solution to protracted displacement. But little evidence exists on the feasibility and effectiveness of this approach. This case study highlights a unique type of private-sector engagement in which mainstream business interests align with the needs of refugees and host communities. The IKEA–Jordan River Foundation (JRF) partnership demonstrates how diverse stakeholders can identify synergies, overcome legal and practical barriers, and sustain collaborations through effective management structures.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, Refugees, Business , Displacement, Private Sector
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria, Jordan
  • Author: Bassma Kodmani, Hana Jaber
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Before 2011, the Syrian diaspora worldwide was estimated at 18 million people who migrated over more than a century and have mostly contributed actively to their host communities. This old diaspora has now increased with the wave of Syrian refugees who fled - and continue to flee - Syria because of the ongoing conflict. Over the past seven years, seven million Syrians - not all registered refugees – have fled the country out of a total population of 24 million before the conflict. The Arab Reform Initiative (ARI) conducted a research project between Spring 2017 and 2018 to study Syrian diaspora around the world after the 2011 uprising, map its features and explore the interactions of Syrian migrant communities with the conflict in Syria. To draw a map of these interactions, ARI commissioned a group of researchers to prepare studies on Syrian diaspora in North America, Latin America, and Europe. Regarding the Middle East, researchers conducted studies on the presence of Syrians in Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, and Egypt as well as Gulf States, with Qatar and the UAE as case example. Furthermore, ARI prepared three papers on the experiences of other diaspora groups in the region, namely the Armenian, the Palestinian, and Lebanese, with a view to comparing them with the Syrian case and draw lessons from them. Finally, ARI shared a questionnaire with the researchers to use with Syrian personalities (academics, businesspeople, engineers, etc.) so as to explore the motives that could encourage or deter them from contributing to channel the potential of the Syrian diaspora to help in the recovery of the Syrian society in Syria and abroad. Researchers also focused on the living conditions of Syrian communities, new and old, in diaspora countries. The ensuing report draws a new globalized network of relationships characterized by the following:
  • Topic: Globalization, Diaspora, Refugees, Revolution
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Latin America, Syria, North America
  • Author: Nora Ragab, Amer Katbeh
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: This research was commissioned by Danish Refugee Council’s (DRC) Diaspora Programme as part of a project with the Durable Solutions Platform (DSP) joint initiative of DRC, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). This study seeks to explore Syrian diaspora mobilisation in six European host countries: Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The report focuses on the organisational framework, transnational links and practices of Syrian diaspora groups, by taking into account both internal dynamics and potential lines of conflict as well as the contextual factors in the country of origin and destination. The mapping and study seek to provide a basis for further engagement with the most relevant group of Syrians (associations and individuals) across Europe for consultations on future solution scenarios for Syrian refugees, as well as to enable DRC’s Diaspora Programme to develop activities specifically targeting the Syrian diaspora looking towards the reconstruction and development of Syria.
  • Topic: Globalization, Diaspora, Refugee Issues, transnationalism
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, Middle East, France, Germany, Denmark, Syria, Switzerland, Sweden
  • Author: Kheder Zakaria
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The paper begins with a review of the stages of Syrian emigration to the Arab oil-producing countries, before and after the outbreak of the Syrian revolution, as well as the trends of Syrian emigration to the Gulf states, and size of Syrian immigrant communities in each. Despite the lack of sources on the number of Syrians in these countries, and the lack of accuracy of the sources that are available, the paper estimates the number of Syrians in these countries at fewer than 600,000 immigrants in 2011. The figure rose to between one million and 1.5 million across years of conflict. About 14% of these work in the top professions, and 11% as specialists and technicians. The study also examines the characteristics of the Syrian emigration to the Gulf states (the temporary nature of the immigration, the difficulty of organization, and having to work in other areas of specialties than their own, etc.). The study concludes with the presentation of the most important results of a questionnaire in which seven Syrian elites took part.
  • Topic: Refugee Issues, Immigration, Revolution
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries, Syria, OAPEC
  • Author: Maher Al Junaidy
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: This paper addresses the situation of Syrians in the UAE, and their readiness to contribute to the reconstruction of Syria. It has two parts: The first part begins with a look at the history of the Syrian community in the UAE, and then examines the influx of “new Syrians” into the UAE after 2011. It also sheds a light on Syrian groups and organizations assembled by Syrians in the UAE before and after the 2011 Revolution in response to political change in Syria. Finally, it examines the cracks within the Syrian community and its organizations. It concludes by examining the volume of Syrian capital in the UAE, and the economic sectors in which it is located. The second part is based on a survey, conducted by the researcher on a selected sample of Syrian economic, academic, and professional elites residing in the UAE, that conveys their views on the issue of reconstruction in Syria.
  • Topic: Reconstruction, Arab Spring, Revolution, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria, Damascus, UAE
  • Author: Hana Jaber
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: This paper addresses the dynamics generated, since 2011, by the influx of 673000 people who have fled the repression of the Syrian regime, and the deterioration of living and security conditions in Syria. By focusing on the new representation of Syrians in Jordan as situation deteriorated into a civil war, the study targets three main topics: 1) the rooted presence of Damascene presence in Transjordan, and its historical role in the Jordanian administration, polity, and economy; 2) the emergence of “Syrian refugees” as a new social category, stigmatized by public policies and discourses, that plays an significant role in the political and social equations of host countries; 3) the vital input of Syrian investors, skilled and/ or qualified people, and manpower, in transforming Syrian tragedy into dynamic opportunities that impacts positively both host and newcomer societies, these opportunities being meant to play an key role when the conflict in Syria will come to an end.
  • Topic: Civil War, Refugee Issues, Immigration, Repression
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria, Jordan, Damascus
  • Author: Sasha Al-Alou
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: This paper describes Syrian emigration to Turkey since 2011, and the forms of organization in which Syrian refugees have engaged. It provides figures on the number of Syrian refugees in Turkey inside and outside the camps and the places of their distribution in Turkey, by province. The paper also studies this distribution according to three factors: the nature of asylum (individual/group), the ethnic factors for the groupings, and investment associations. It examines the fissures in the relations between the Syrians in Turkey (based on the region, class, or profession within the Syrian institutions). In addition, it addresses forms of solidarity within Syrian communities in Turkey and inside Syria. These forms of solidarity are classified into three categories: economic, relief, and cultural and political. The paper concludes that the Syrian elite, with its various specializations, was not immune from the situation in Syria; rather the elite also continues to provide support within Syria, and looks forward to the post-conflict phase, in which it can participate in all aspects of reconstruction.
  • Topic: Civil War, Immigration, Refugees, Revolution
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Syria, Damascus
  • Author: Rayan Majed
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: This paper is an attempt to monitor the situation of the Syrian diaspora in Lebanon from 2011 until today, without claiming full coverage of all aspects of the subject. It focuses on four diaspora categories as well as the reflection of the Lebanese-Syrian historical relationship and the internal political situation in Lebanon on the Syrian diaspora there. The paper relies on reports from international and human rights organizations and articles on Syrian asylum in Lebanon, and on interviews with Syrian residents living in Lebanon from a variety of backgrounds.
  • Topic: Civil War, Regional Cooperation, Diaspora, Immigration
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, Syria, Beirut, Damascus
  • Author: Basma Alloush
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The Syrian American diaspora has been actively engaged in the Syrian uprising through the provision of humanitarian assistance and the entry into political advocacy work. Yet, the Syrian diaspora in the U.S. does not represent a homogenous population group nor a unified political position. On the contrary, assessing the dynamics of the diaspora since 2011 reveals important transformations within diasporic groupings, with the 2011 uprising acting as a catalyst for the emergence of new fractures. Through a mixture of desk research and interviews with key members of the Syrian American diaspora, this paper investigates the evolution of the community and discusses the potential role of the diaspora in a post-conflict Syria. By assessing current and evolving trends within the diaspora from 2011, it is possible to shape future reconstruction plans to effectively include the Syrian American diaspora.
  • Topic: Civil War, Diaspora, Immigration
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Syria, North America, Damascus
  • Author: Kheder Khaddour
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: For decades, the Assad regime rallied support and crushed dissent in Syrian society through mobilizing networks of local intermediaries. Since 2011, the varying relationships between the central authorities in Syria, these local inter- mediaries, and the country’s different localities have played a fundamental role in shaping the outbreak of protests and descent into armed conflict. While six years of war have left the state’s administrative structures in tatters, Bashar al- Assad’s regime has focused on maintaining, reviving, or renewing its network of local intermediaries to keep control in its areas and retake lost territory. However, the conflict has crucially and irreparably changed local politics in Syria, and a return to the pre-2011 status quo is impossible. For any negotiated settlement to be sustainable, these changes will need to be incorporated into a new, decentralized power-sharing bargain, which will shape Syria’s economic and physical reconstruction and postconflict recovery.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Civil War, Political Power Sharing
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Kheder Khaddour
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: In 2012, when Bashar al-Assad’s regime withdrew most of its security forces from the Jazira in northeastern Syria, it ceded local power to the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military wing. The PYD replicated past regime behavior, focusing on maintaining a secure hold of this strategic geographical area at the expense of effective governance. This approach has hindered the prospect of building a self-sustained administration. At the same time, outside actors such as Iraqi Kurdistan, Turkey, and the United States have inadvertently reinforced the PYD’s security-focused rule while pursuing their own security concerns. Exploring potential avenues to peace and stable governance in Syria requires carefully identifying the interrelated nature of these various actors’ security concerns in the Jazira.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Civil War, Political Theory, Governance
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Kheder Khaddour, Kevin Mazur
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: With all eyes on western Syria, developments in eastern Syria, which is populated mainly by tribal communities, will be just as important for the country’s future. Numerous parties involved in Syria’s conflict—including the Assad regime, radical Islamists, Turkey, and the Kurds—have sought to integrate tribal leaders into their political agendas, believing their tribes would follow. However, these leaders no longer have the authority they once did. Syria’s conflict has forced tribal communities to turn inwards, and such localization has further undermined tribal solidarities.
  • Topic: Political structure, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Salam Kawakibi
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: In this new research paper, ARI’s Deputy Director, Salam Kawakibi analyses the Assad regime’s exploitation of sectarian and confessional divisions and deconstructs the myths used in its political rhetoric to gain power and present itself as the ultimate line of defence for minorities.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Dina Smeltz, Craig Kafura, Kelhan Martin
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: Two million Aleppo residents are trapped in the city because of accelerating fighting between the Syrian government forces and opposition fighters from various factions. The resulting humanitarian catastrophe has prompted the United Nations to put aside Syria peace talks in favor of gaining agreement on a cease fire to deliver humanitarian aid. The Chicago Council Survey shows that while Americans favor targeted military action against violent extremist groups like the Islamic State in Syria, they are less supportive of US involvement in the internal conflict in Syria between the Assad regime and anti-government forces.
  • Topic: International Relations, Civil War, Humanitarian Aid, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Isam al Khafaji
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The Syrian revolt, which has disintegrated into a bloody attrition war, has been largely viewed as that of a majority Sunni population trying to depose a regime belonging to the minority Alawite sect. While this view may present a partially true explanation, it fails to explain why the involvement of different Sunni regions in the revolt varied to a large extent and the rising gap between the anti-Assad urbanites on the one hand and the armed militants on the other. It further fails to account for the wide diversity within the rebellion camp and the hostilities among the mushrooming opposition groups.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Popular Revolt
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Fred H. Lawson
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: By the autumn of 2013, the Middle Eastern regional security complex (RSC) had taken on a new configuration, which was substantially different from—and much more explosive than—the one that existed prior to the large-scale popular uprisings that broke out across the Arab world in the winter of 2010-11. Foreign policies adopted between 2000 and 2010 by the Ba‘thi regime in Damascus, the leaderships of Hizbullah and HAMAS, and the Israeli government to parry overlapping internal and external threats created an unprecedented patchwork of strategic rivalries and alignments. Large-scale popular unrest in Iraq and Egypt in early 2011, along with the outbreak of full-scale civil war in Syria later that same year, generated an even more intricate web of interstate security dynamics. The reconfigured RSC that emerged out of the “Winter of Arab Discontent” is only beginning to be explicated, and can best be addressed by tracing the connection between domestic political conflicts and shifts in external belligerence and alignment across the region.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Murhaf Jouejati
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Under the Assad regime, Syria acquired a well-deserved reputation as a repressive mukhabarat state dominated by vast, overlapping internal security agencies that operated with near impunity, reporting directly to the president. Having presided over so much destruction and division, however, it is likely that the Assad regime will eventually be replaced by a government with a better claim to legitimacy. Security sector reform will be a key challenge for establishing the legitimacy of any post-Assad political order, but what would such a system look like and how could it be constructed?
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Syria