Search

You searched for: Content Type Special Report Remove constraint Content Type: Special Report Publishing Institution Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations Remove constraint Publishing Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations Political Geography Middle East Remove constraint Political Geography: Middle East Publication Year within 25 Years Remove constraint Publication Year: within 25 Years Publication Year within 3 Years Remove constraint Publication Year: within 3 Years Topic Conflict Remove constraint Topic: Conflict
Number of results to display per page

Search Results

  • Author: Engin Yüksel
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: This report assesses the impact of Turkish-Qatari cooperation between 2002 and 2020 on conflict and geopolitical competition across the Middle East, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa based on close examination of its drivers. The report notes that neither ideological nor economic drivers adequately explain the recent blossoming of Turkish-Qatari relations. Converging political interests and pragmatism offer a more compelling explanation. On the one hand, Turkey aspires to play a regional leadership role and uses its cooperation with Qatar to strengthen its soft power claim to leadership of the Sunni world. On the other hand, Qatar seeks to ensure its territorial and dynastical safety from Saudi Arabia and its allies – the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain (the Quartet) – by working with Turkey, the recent thaw of the Al-Ula declaration notwithstanding. Turkish-Qatari collaboration is therefore best seen as a pragmatic partnership enabled by compatible geopolitical perspectives, particularly regarding the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, Partnerships, Geopolitics, Conflict, Muslim Brotherhood
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates
  • Author: Erwin van Veen, Nancy Ezzeddine
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: Engaging in the conflict cycle in other countries to gain outcomes favourable to one’s own interests is akin to playing in the champions league of foreign policy. Doing this effectively and responsibly requires a coherent and full-spectrum political strategy as well as the diplomatic, financial, developmental and military means to deliver it. It is clear from the scope of the security interests articulated in the European Union’s (EU) Global Strategy (2016) and its many associated foreign policy statements that the EU intends to meet these requirements. However, study of EU institutional policies and interventions in the Syrian and Iraqi civil wars highlights that it falls well short of doing so. As a result, EU institutions are not well placed to intervene effectively in high intensity conflicts with existential features such as these two civil wars. With this problem in mind, the core recommendation of the paper is to increase the effectiveness of EU interventions in high-intensity conflicts by institutionalising full-spectrum decision making, policy implementation and force deployment modalities for the EU as a whole, as well as for EU coalitions of the willing. The parallel existence of such tracks will enable the EU to act jointly in conflicts where Member States have more or less compatible foreign policy preferences with matching intensity preferences, and to act in part in conflicts where Member States have more or less compatible foreign policy preferences with a mixed distribution of intensity preferences (like Iraq or arguably Syria). EU foreign policy inaction, including institutional paralysis, will continue to occur where Member States’ foreign policy preferences are largely not compatible and have high-intensity preferences.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, European Union, Military Intervention, Conflict, Institutions
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Europe, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Erwin van Veen
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: This report analyses the role of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the associated Democratic Union Party (PYD) during the Syrian civil war. The purpose of our research is to obtain a better understanding of the nature, objectives and methods of the YPG/ PYD as a combined paramilitary and rebel force that is involved in a quasi-statebuilding project during an internationalised civil war. We start by examining the critical factors that enabled the swift rise of the YPG: informal arrangements with the Assad regime, support from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and a pragmatic partnership with the US against Islamic State. This sets the scene for an inquiry into how core YPG strategies to maintain its dominance once it was established – coercive, deal-making, identity and basic service strategies – both shape the group’s behavior and result from its current organization. Finally, we dissect a number of major challenges to future YPG rule, such as its relation with the PKK, intra-Kurdish reconciliation, the US presence in northeast Syria and its interaction with the Arab populations over which it rules. Based on our analysis, we anticipate a scenario of ‘muddling through’ in which unconditional support from the US will continue at current levels, combined with an abiding US military presence. This will provide the YPG/ PYD with a security umbrella against both regime forces and Turkey, continue the status quo of the YPG/ PYD ruling northeast Syria in authoritarian fashion, make the civil war more ethno-sectarian in nature and prolong the conflict. While such a scenario is arguably more attractive for northeast Syria than a return of the regime, it is also unlikely to improve the area’s current underdevelopment. It will keep other external actors, like the EU, away and allow the PKK to continue to take its share of the area’s revenues. The primary audience of the report are Western opinion-, policy- and decision-makers engaged with the Syrian civil war and we hope it will help them to craft policies and initiate interventions that are feasible and appropriate to the situation in northeast Syria.
  • Topic: Conflict, Syrian War, YPG
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Samar Batrawi
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: During 2019, the original Syrian conflict entered its closing phases, except for the battlefields of Idlib and in the north east. As a result, conflict dynamics have become somewhat easier to read, as the regime and its key allies have shifted towards a triumphalist ‘post-war’ narrative and corresponding governance styles, deal-making and decision-making. These developments can be witnessed in three interlinked spheres: security, civil, and political economic practices. Together, they largely form the Assad regime’s political economy, which – although poorly understood due to limited access – is crucial to understand to assess the negative externalities likely to result from its wartime survival and re-entrenchment. The paper analyses six such externalities: 1. risk of conflict relapse due to economic pressures 2. the politics of refugees 3. risks and instrumentalisation of terrorism 4. regional instability 5. humanitarian culpability 6. deterioration of the international legal order. These externalities are interconnected and emerge from the political economy of the regime – the accumulation of its security, civil and political economic practices. Their nature and volume suggest that the Syrian civil war will plague its neighbors, as well as Europe, for a long time to come. These externalities also focus our attention on the fact that adequate containment strategies should be designed as a matter of urgency, to limit their negative impact.
  • Topic: Security, International Law, Political Economy, Terrorism, Refugees, Conflict, Syrian War, Bashar al-Assad
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria, Idlib
  • Author: Erwin van Veen
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: As 2020 draws to a close, the conflicts in Syria, Libya and Yemen have been ongoing for nearly a decade. Conflict and political crisis in Iraq have alternated non-stop since 2003. The Middle East also witnesses growing tensions between the Gulf States, Iran and the US, as well as more engagement of Turkish and Russian forces. In contrast, the European Union has often been passive and divided. This has resulted in missed windows of opportunity for conflict prevention, a loss of credibility and growing externalities that reach Europe unfiltered. This wide-ranging volume by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung offers detailed analysis of conflicts in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Libya in search of options for Europe to help bring them to a close. Powerfully, it brings a rich set of regional, and some international, perspectives together to contribute to smart thinking on what Europe can do. What is in Yemen for Iran: Research associate Maysam Behravesh gives a realistic assessment of Tehran's strategic calculus in the Arabian peninsula. A time for principled pragmatism: In the volume’s analysis of the Syrian conflict, Clingendael’s senior research fellow Erwin van Veen explores possibilities for EU-Russian collaboration, together with Alexey Khlebnikov, on humanitarian aid diplomacy and fighting extremism. Although the EU and Russia are mostly at loggerheads in Syria, the authors seek to deconstruct the current political stalemate in a bid to identify the least controversial issues on which joint initiatives might be possible. In turn, this might lay a foundation for further dialogue. The alternative is ongoing confrontation.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Europe, Iran, Middle East, Yemen, North Africa, Syria