skip to primary navigationskip to content

Syria series: Humanitarianism, state sovereignty and authoritarian regime maintenance in the Syria conflict.

Part of the Public Policy Syria Series, a talk by Reinoud Leenders, Kings College London
When May 09, 2016
from 04:00 PM to 05:00 PM
Where SG2, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road
Contact Name Dr Adam Coutts
Attendees All welcome
Add event to calendar vCal

The seminar is based on a forthcoming paper by Reinoud Leenders and Kholoud Mansour. The paper argues that the Syrian conflict countered, and perhaps aborted, the emergence of contingent or diluted state sovereignty in the less developed world as it catapulted state sovereignty claims firmly back into the humanitarian realm through the regime’s projection of its categorical state sovereignty assertions onto and through the largest UN-led humanitarian assistance effort in decades. Accordingly, the Syrian regime obtained access to benefits and resources critical to its survival. These were accrued endogenously to the humanitarian aid, and by way of the benefits associated with the regime’s reinforced claims on state sovereignty more generally. We maintain that the illusory claims of the Syrian regime about its qualities and achievements since 2011 no longer draw in a large domestic audience now its naked and brutal repression of Syrian citizens has become ubiquitous; in its place the regime’s claim-making and consensual pretence has shifted to external audiences comprised of UN humanitarian agencies and donor states as the latter reinforced and sustained the Syrian regime’s empirically implausible claims on state sovereignty.

Reinoud Leenders (PhD SOAS ) is Reader in International Relations and Middle East Studies in the War Studies Department at King’s College London. His work deals with the political economy of corruption, authoritarian governance, refugee issues, and conflict in the Middle East including Syria. He authored Spoils of Truce: Corruption and State Building in Post-War Lebanon (Cornell University Press 2012) and co-edited (with Steven Heydemann) Middle East Authoritarianism: Governance, Contestation and regime Resilience in Syria and Iran (Stanford University Press 2013). He formerly worked for the International Crisis Group based in Beirut, and for the University of Amsterdam.


RSS Feed Latest news

All in a day’s work

Jun 14, 2018

Simon Deakin, Catherine Barnard and Brendan Burchell of the Cambridge Public Policy SRI are helping to understand the world of work – the good, the bad, the fair and the future.

Labour, Finance and Inequality: The Insecurity Cycle in British Public Policy

Jun 14, 2018

Following the 2008 "global" financial crisis, the viability of globalised financial capitalism was called into question. The resulting fear and uncertainty produced a momentary return to "Keynesian" policies. But as soon as emergency stimuli – and bank bail-outs – appeared to stabilise the situation, there was a sharp reversal; and successive British governments and the financial sector have since attempted to return to business as usual.

Inaugural Social Science and Law Interdisciplinary Conference

Mar 12, 2018

The recent Inaugural Social Science and Law Interdisciplinary Conference, held at Jesus College in Cambridge, brought together leading academics from law and the social sciences, including economics, to discuss inequality and the rule of law in the global north and the rising powers, particularly China.

View all news

About Us

We aim to support public policy research across Cambridge University, working with colleagues in science, social science, the arts and humanities, to apply new thinking to public policy problems and promote research and analysis into the public policy process. We hope to connect and raise the profile of existing public policy related work across the University and support collaborative research that includes policy development in a range of subject areas. 

Contact us if you are interested in joining the initiative or would like to know more.