Reports & Papers

21 Items

Report - International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence

Will ‘We Won’ Become ‘Mission Accomplished’? A US Withdrawal and The Scramble for Northeastern Syria

| Dec. 16, 2019

This report charts some of the major developments in northeastern Syria from the December 2018 withdrawal announcement up until the start of Operation Peace Spring on 9 October 2019. It describes and notes the significance of the bitter dispute between Ankara and Washington over a proposed "safe zone," analyses how the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have sought to navigate the crisis and gauges the strength of the so‑called Islamic State (IS) in Syria. Providing this context enables this report to selectively incorporate more limited analysis on the latest and most pertinent developments in northeastern Syria at the time of this writing.

(MENARA)

(MENARA)

Paper

The Implications of the Syrian War For New Regional Orders

| Sep. 12, 2018

This paper argues that the impact of the eight-year war in Syria will reverberate across the region for years to come, and explores, in particular, four noteworthy legacies. First, it examines the series of interventions in Syria by regional and foreign powers (including Russia, Turkey, Iran, the United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) that reconfigured the role of such powers across the region. Second, it reveals the emergence of two opposing alliances in the region, each comprising Arab states, regional Arab and non-Arab powers, global powers and local nonstate actors. These or similar alliances may well reappear in other Middle Eastern conflicts. Third, it analyses the striking number and variety of foreign forces that either directly fought in Syria or indirectly supported warring factions. Since 2012, these forces have included at least twenty states and major non-state players, alongside hundreds of smaller tribal, Islamist and secular rebel and pro-Assad groups. Finally, the paper suggests that the international community’s weak response to the untold war crimes on both sides, and its apparent de facto acceptance of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s incumbency, portend continuing regional authoritarian and violent political systems for the foreseeable future.

Refugee migrants queue as they board a ferry from Mytilene, Lesvos to Kavala, Northern Greece as they continue their journey through Europe. September 2015.

Getty Images/Malcolm Chapman

Paper

Who are the million migrants who entered Europe without a visa in 2015?

| April 2016

In 2015, more than a million migrants were smuggled to Greece and Italy, and a similar
number of asylum claims were lodged in Germany. Presenting an overview of available
statistics, MEI Associate Philippe Fargues addresses three questions: Is this a migrant or a refugee crisis? What triggered the crisis? And last, how can the crisis be resolved?

Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Putin's Choice for Russia

    Author:
  • Stephen R. Covington
| August 2015

This paper was written by Stephen R. Covington, with a Foreword written by Kevin Ryan.

In Putin’s view, any solution short of changing the European security system—including full integration, separation by erecting new walls, freezing the status quo around Russia, or partnering with other countries to counter-balance the powers in the European system—only means Russia’s inevitable loss of great power status and the loss of his personal power at home.

Report - Middle East Initiative, Belfer Center

The Crisis of the Arab State

August 11, 2015

During the spring 2015 semester, Professor Michael C. Hudson assembled eight leading Middle East scholars under the auspices of the Middle East Initiative at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs to participate in a study group titled Rethinking the Arab State: the Collapse of Legitimacy in Arab Politics. Over the course of the semester these experts used a variety of interdisciplinary approaches to  analyze the crisis of legitimacy of the Arab state in the wake of the 2011 uprisings.

Caitlin McMurtry (HSPH) presents research to her peers during the Winter Field Study course in Jordan.

Anaide Nahikian

Paper

Harvard Field Study Course: International Response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis

| January 29, 2014

The Syrian refugee crisis represents one of the greatest humanitarian challenges the international community has faced over the recent years, prompting record-high levels of international aid. In view of the complexity of the political and social environment in which these challenges arise and the historical scale of the population affected, innovative and creative programmatic responses are essential to address the short and middle-term needs of refugees and reducing instability in the Middle East region.

Discussion Paper - International Security Program, Belfer Center

NATO in Afghanistan: Democratization Warfare, National Narratives, and Budgetary Austerity

| December 2013

This paper explains changes in NATO's nationbuilding strategy for Afghanistan over time as an internal push-and-pull struggle between the major NATO contributors. It distinguishes between he "light footprint" phase, which had numerous problems connected to limited resources and growing insurgency (2003–2008), NATO's adoption of a comprehensive approach (CSPMP) and counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy (2009–2011), the transition and drawdown (2011–2014), and the Enduring Partnership (beyond 2014). The paper explains NATO's drawdown, stressing both increased budgetary strictures compelling decisionmakers to focus on domestic concerns nd predominant national narratives connected to a protracted stabilization effort in Afghanistan.

Report - Norwegian Institute for International Affairs

Obstacles to a Resolution of the Syrian Conflict

| November 2013

The Harvard-NUPI-Trinity report Obstacles to a Resolution of the Syrian Conflict explores the Syria crisis from the broad range of actors involved in it. Through interviewing representatives of the internal and external opposition, the Syrian regime, the regional states as well as the wider international community, the authors hope to generate a more comprehensive understanding of the Syrian conflict, and to begin to identify areas of potential common ground. Obstacles to a Resolution of the Syrian Conflict compares the actors' varying interpretations of the origins of the conflict, their biggest concerns for the future are, as well as their thoughts on the possibilities for a solution.

Egyptians celebrate the news of the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, who handed control of the country to the military, in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo, Egypt.

AP Images

Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

The Long Hot Arab Summer

March 2013

"The so-called Arab Spring has ushered in a great deal of hope that a number of Arab states might begin to develop and engender more socially responsive, economically prosperous and politically progressive indigenous conditions," writes Nawaf Obaid.

"Unfortunately, in the nine Arab nations I analyze here -Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, Sudan, Jordan and Iraq - this does not seem to be the case. Indeed, one might say that some or all of these nations are far worse off than they were before their social upheavals."

A young Timorese girl walks through a refugee camp crowded with people still too afraid to go home due to the ongoing communal violence

Ed Wray - AP Images

Report - United States Institute of Peace

Wartime Sexual Violence: Misconceptions, Implications, and Ways Forward

| February 2013

Wartime rape is neither ubiquitous nor inevitable. The level of sexual violence differs significantly across countries, conflicts, and particularly armed groups. Some armed groups can and do prohibit sexual violence. Such variation suggests that policy interventions should also be focused on armed groups, and that commanders in effective control of their troops are legally liable for patterns of sexual violence they fail or refuse to prevent.