Authors
Rhiannon Neilsen
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How states join coalitions affects the extent to which they are perceived as blameworthy – or praiseworthy – for the outcome of that coalition. By extension, states’ moral reputations can be a contributing factor that dissuades those states from volunteering to join humanitarian interventions, despite the ethical imperative to do so. To highlight this argument, this article considers the Australian and the United Kingdom (UK) governments’ initial reluctance to join yet another United States-led intervention in Iraq to combat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Continue reading at tandfonline.com.

Please connect directly with Rhiannon Neilsen if you do not have access.

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How states join coalitions affects the extent to which they are perceived as blameworthy – or praiseworthy – for the outcome of that coalition.

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Asfandyar Mir
Ramzy Mardini
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On Wednesday night, U.S.-led coalition forces based out of Camp Taji north of Baghdad came under intense rocket fire. The attack killed three coalition personnel, two American and one British. It also injured nearly a dozen more personnel.

While rocket fire on U.S. military bases in Iraq is not new, this attack is the first time U.S. personnel have been killed by suspected Iranian-backed Iraqi groups since the United States killed Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani in early January. The attack is likely to anger the Trump administration, which has pursued an aggressive strategy against Iran. It also catches the White House in the middle of another ballooning international crisis — the coronavirus pandemic.

Why did this attack happen now? And will this incident spark more hostilities in the Middle East?
 

 

Read the rest at The Washington Post

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Seminar Recording: https://youtu.be/XFFT74SvaCM

 

Abstract: Pro-government militias have become a regular dimension of counterinsurgency operations, serving governments in fighting rebels locally. The level of violence employed by these irregulars, which often seems to exceed that of the regular army, but also the fascination with civilian fighters, have motivated students of counterinsurgency to pay more considerable attention to such actors in recent years. Much of this body of work has focused on the battlefield and tactical utilities of pro-government militias. However, these militias have other functions, which most of the studies tend to overlook, and that are socio-political in nature. Most notably, militias serve governments in their endeavors to divide societies, mainly by playing up parochial identities, such as tribalism and sectarianism, and playing up old rivalries. This function of militias has been particularly visible in cases of “defector militias,” namely militias composed of defectors from the rebel constituency to the government ranks. At least in some cases, these socio-political functions of militias have played no less significant role in governments’ decision to employ these forces than short-term battlefield needs. My study of pro-government defector militias uses two case studies: That of Iraq under the Ba‘th regime and its counterinsurgency efforts against Kurdish separatists in the north; and that of the Sudanese governments and their war against Southern rebels during the First Sudanese Civil War. Based on extensive archival, my work seeks to substantiate the argument about the strategic socio-political function of defector militias.

 

Speaker's Biography:

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yaniv voller
Yaniv Voller is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in the Politics of the Middle East at the School of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent. His research focuses on counterinsurgency, rebel governance and regional diplomacy in the Middle East. His book, The Kurdish Liberation Movement in Iraq: From Insurgency to Statehood, was published in 2014. His articles have appeared in International Affairs, Democratization, the Middle East Journal and the International Journal of Middle East studies, among others. He is currently working on projects relating to militia recruitment in counterinsurgency, ethnic defection, the impact of anti-colonial ideas in shaping post-colonial separatist strategies, and the role of diaspora communities as a transnational civil society. In 2018-2019 he was a Conflict Research Fellow at the LSE-based Conflict Research Programme, funded by the Department of International Development. Before moving to the University of Kent, he taught and held fellowships at the University of Edinburgh and the London School of Economics, where he obtained his PhD in International Relations.

Yaniv Voller University of Kent
Seminars
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*Due to space constraints, space is limited. If you have RSVP'd for this event and can no longer attend, please notify Emilie Silva (emilieds@stanford.edu).

 

Agenda

8:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.      Light pastries 

 

9:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.        Introductions

 

9:15 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.       The Historical Evolution of the Iraqi State

Moderator: David Patel, Brandeis University Crown Center

Panelists: Lisa Blaydes, Stanford University; Michael Brill, Princeton University; Alissa Walter, Seattle Pacific University

 

10:45 a.m.  - 11:00 a.m.     Break

 

11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.     Iraqi Politics and the State

Video recording: https://youtu.be/LyXS3nbeJqM

Moderator: Marc Lynch, George Washington University

Panelists: Maria Fantappie, International Crisis Group; Samuel Helfont, Naval Postgraduate School; David Patel, Brandeis University Crown Center

 

 

 

Speaker Biographies

Lisa Blaydes is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Stanford University.  She is the author of Elections and Distributive Politics in Mubarak’s Egypt (Cambridge University Press, 2011).  Professor Blaydes received the 2009 Gabriel Almond Award for best dissertation in the field of comparative politics from the American Political Science Association for this project.  Her articles have appeared in the American Political Science Review, International Studies Quarterly, International Organization, Journal of Theoretical Politics, Middle East Journal, and World Politics. During the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 academic years, Professor Blaydes was an Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies.  She holds degrees in Political Science (PhD) from the University of California, Los Angeles and International Relations (BA, MA) from Johns Hopkins University.

 

Michael Brill a doctoral student in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, where he focuses his research on modern Iraq, investigating the Sunni Islamist opposition to the Baʿth regime and the history of Iraq’s Salafi movement. 

He previously obtained his MA in Arab Studies from Georgetown University and BA at Westfield State University. He previously obtained his MA in Arab Studies from Georgetown University and BA in History and Political Science at Westfield State University. He received two summer Critical Language Scholarships (CLS), studying Arabic in Muscat, Oman and Amman, Jordan, followed by a full-year fellowship in the Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) program in Amman, Jordan.

 

Maria Fantappie is Senior Adviser at the International Crisis Group. Maria first joined Crisis Group in 2012.  In 2018, she was seconded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the EU mission in Iraq where she advised the Office of the National Security Advisor (ONSA) on the implementation of the security sector reform program with special focus on Iraq’s national security legislation.

Before joining Crisis Group, Maria was a Visiting Scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut and associate researcher at the Institut français du Proche-Orient (IFPO). She has taught at American University of Iraq in Suleimani and Sciences Po Paris. Maria completed her PhD at King’s College London, Department of War Studies, and earned an MA and MPhil with distinction from Sciences Po Paris, Department of Middle Eastern Studies.

 

Samuel Helfont is an Assistant Professor of Strategy and Policy in the Naval War College program at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He is also an Affiliate Scholar in the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies at Stanford University and a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia. His research focuses on international history and politics in the Middle East, especially Iraq and the Iraq Wars. He is the author of Compulsion in Religion: Saddam Hussein, Islam, and the Roots of Insurgencies in Iraq (Oxford University Press, 2018). His work has been published by Foreign AffairsThe International History ReviewThe Middle East JournalOrbisThe New RepublicThe American InterestWar on the Rocks,  and the Moshe Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University among several other outlets.

Helfont holds a PhD and MA in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University. Prior to moving to Monterey, he completed a three year post-doctoral lectureship at the University of Pennsylvania. He has served as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Haverford College, and was the recipient of US Scholar Research Support Fellowship from the Hoover Library and Archives at Stanford University. He is a veteran of the Iraq War.

 

Colin H. Kahl is co-director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation, the inaugural Steven C. Házy Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and a Professor, by courtesy, in the Department of Political Science at Stanford University. He is also a Strategic Consultant to the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.

From October 2014 to January 2017, he was Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to the Vice President. In that position, he served as a senior advisor to President Obama and Vice President Biden on all matters related to U.S. foreign policy and national security affairs, and represented the Office of the Vice President as a standing member of the National Security Council Deputies’ Committee. From February 2009 to December 2011, Dr. Kahl was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East at the Pentagon. In this capacity, he served as the senior policy advisor to the Secretary of Defense for Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel and the Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen, and six other countries in the Levant and Persian Gulf region. In June 2011, he was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service by Secretary Robert Gates.

From 2007 to 2017 (when not serving in the U.S. government), Dr. Kahl was an assistant and associate professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. From 2007 to 2009 and 2012 to 2014, he was also a Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a nonpartisan Washington, DC-based think tank. From 2000 to 2007, he was an assistant professor of political science at the University of Minnesota. In 2005-2006, Dr. Kahl took leave from the University of Minnesota to serve as a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where he worked on issues related to counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, and responses to failed states. In 1997-1998, he was a National Security Fellow at the John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University.

Current research projects include a book analyzing American grand strategy in the Middle East in the post-9/11 era. A second research project focuses on the implications of emerging technologies on strategic stability.

He has published numerous articles on international security and U.S. foreign and defense policy in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, International Security, the Los Angeles Times, Middle East Policy, the National Interest, the New Republic, the New York Times, Politico, the Washington Post, and the Washington Quarterly, as well as several reports for CNAS.

His previous research analyzed the causes and consequences of violent civil and ethnic conflict in developing countries, focusing particular attention on the demographic and natural resource dimensions of these conflicts. His book on the subject, States, Scarcity, and Civil Strife in the Developing World, was published by Princeton University Press in 2006, and related articles and chapters have appeared in International Security, the Journal of International Affairs, and various edited volumes.

Dr. Kahl received his B.A. in political science from the University of Michigan (1993) and his Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University (2000).

 

Marc Lynch is a professor of political science and international affairs at the George Washington University and director of the Project on Middle East Political Science. He served as the director of the Institute for Middle East Studies at GW from 2009-2015. Lynch is also a nonresident senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a contributing editor at The Monkey Cage blog for the Washington Post. He is the co-director of the Blogs and Bullets project at the United States Institute of Peace. In 2016, he was named an Andrew Carnegie Fellow.

He is the author of The New Arab Wars: Anarchy and Uprising in the Middle East, (2016), The Arab Uprising: The Unfinished Revolutions of the New Middle East (2012), Voices of the New Arab Public: Al Jazeera, Iraq, and Middle East Politics Today (2006), and State Interests and Public Spheres: The International Politics of Jordan’s Identity (1999) and edited The Arab Uprisings Explained: The New Contentious Politics of the Middle East, (2014).

Lynch blogged as Abu Aardvark for seven years before joining Foreign Policy as a blogger and columnist. In 2010 Lynch, launched the Middle East Channel on Foreign Policy, which he edited until March 2014. He can now be found online at The Monkey Cage.

 

Brett McGurk is the Frank E. and Arthur W. Payne Distinguished Lecturer at the Freeman Spogli Institute and Center for Security and Cooperation at Stanford University.

McGurk’s research interests center on national security strategy, diplomacy, and decision-making in wartime.  He is particularly interested in the lessons learned over the presidencies of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump regarding the importance of process in informing presidential decisions and the alignment of ends and means in national security doctrine and strategy.  At Stanford, he will be working on a book project incorporating these themes and teaching a graduate level seminar on presidential decision-making beginning in the fall of 2019.  He is also a frequent commentator on national security events in leading publications and as an NBC News Senior Foreign Affairs Analyst.

Before coming to Stanford, McGurk served as Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS at the U.S. Department of State, helping to build and then lead the coalition of seventy-five countries and four international organizations in the global campaign against the ISIS terrorist network.  McGurk was also responsible for coordinating all aspects of U.S. policy in the campaign against ISIS in Iraq, Syria, and globally.

McGurk previously served in senior positions in the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, including as Special Assistant to President Bush and Senior Director for Iraq and Afghanistan, and then as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran and Special Presidential Envoy for the U.S. campaign against the Islamic State under Obama.

McGurk has led some of the most sensitive diplomatic missions in the Middle East over the last decade. His most recent assignment established one of the largest coalitions in history to prosecute the counter-ISIS campaign. He was a frequent visitor to the battlefields in both Iraq and Syria to help integrate military and civilian components of the war plan. He also led talks with Russia over the Syria conflict under both the Trump and Obama administrations, initiated back-channel diplomacy to reopen ties between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and facilitated the formation of the last two Iraqi governments following contested elections in 2014 and 2018.

In 2015 and 2016, McGurk led fourteen months of secret negotiations with Iran to secure the release of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezain, U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, and Pastor Saad Abadini, as well as three other American citizens.

During his time at the State Department, McGurk received multiple awards, including the Distinguished Honor Award and the Distinguished Service Award, the highest department awards for exceptional service in Washington and overseas assignments.

McGurk is also a nonresident senior fellow in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

McGurk received his JD from Columbia University and his BA from the University of Connecticut Honors Program.  He served as a law clerk to Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist on the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Denis Jacobs on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2d Circuit, and Judge Gerard E. Lynch on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

 

David Siddhartha Patel is the Associate Director for Research at the Brandeis University Crown Center for Middle East Studies. Patel’s research focuses on religious authority, social order, and identity in the contemporary Arab world. He conducted independent field research in Iraq on the role of mosques and clerical networks in generating order after state collapse, and his book, Order Out of Chaos: Islam, Information, and Social Order in Iraq, is being prepared for publication by Cornell University Press. Patel has also recently written about the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood; ISIS in Iraq; and dead states in the Middle East. He teaches courses on Middle Eastern politics, research design, and GIS and spatial aspects of politics. Before joining the Crown Center, Patel was an assistant professor of government at Cornell University. Patel received his BA from Duke University in economics and political science and his PhD from Stanford University in political science. He studied Arabic in Lebanon, Yemen, Morocco, and Jordan.

 

 

Seminars
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Abstract: We have learned a great deal about Iraq since the fateful decision to invade the country in 2003. Given academic research on Iraqi society and politics over the past 16 years and hard won lessons from U.S. intervention in Iraq, what what are the lessons learned for contemporary U.S. policymakers? And, crucially, what role should Iraq play in current U.S. foreign policy and its regional strategy toward the Middle East?

 

Seminar Recording: https://youtu.be/4OBQOshr-gs

 

Speakers:

Colin H. Kahl Co-director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation, the inaugural Steven C. Házy Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and a Professor, by courtesy, in the Department of Political Science at Stanford University.

Brett McGurk Frank E. and Arthur W. Payne Distinguished Lecturer at the Freeman Spogli Institute and Center for Security and Cooperation at Stanford University.

With moderator: Lisa Blaydes
Professor of Political Science at Stanford University and a Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

 

Speaker's Biography: 

Image
colin kahl
Colin H. Kahl is co-director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation, the inaugural Steven C. Házy Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and a Professor, by courtesy, in the Department of Political Science at Stanford University. He is also a Strategic Consultant to the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.

From October 2014 to January 2017, he was Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to the Vice President. In that position, he served as a senior advisor to President Obama and Vice President Biden on all matters related to U.S. foreign policy and national security affairs, and represented the Office of the Vice President as a standing member of the National Security Council Deputies’ Committee. From February 2009 to December 2011, Dr. Kahl was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East at the Pentagon. In this capacity, he served as the senior policy advisor to the Secretary of Defense for Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel and the Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen, and six other countries in the Levant and Persian Gulf region. In June 2011, he was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service by Secretary Robert Gates. 

From 2007 to 2017 (when not serving in the U.S. government), Dr. Kahl was an assistant and associate professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. From 2007 to 2009 and 2012 to 2014, he was also a Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a nonpartisan Washington, DC-based think tank. From 2000 to 2007, he was an assistant professor of political science at the University of Minnesota. In 2005-2006, Dr. Kahl took leave from the University of Minnesota to serve as a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where he worked on issues related to counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, and responses to failed states. In 1997-1998, he was a National Security Fellow at the John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University.

Current research projects include a book analyzing American grand strategy in the Middle East in the post-9/11 era. A second research project focuses on the implications of emerging technologies on strategic stability.

He has published numerous articles on international security and U.S. foreign and defense policy in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, International Security, the Los Angeles Times, Middle East Policy, the National Interest, the New Republic, the New York Times, Politico, the Washington Post, and the Washington Quarterly, as well as several reports for CNAS.

His previous research analyzed the causes and consequences of violent civil and ethnic conflict in developing countries, focusing particular attention on the demographic and natural resource dimensions of these conflicts. His book on the subject, States, Scarcity, and Civil Strife in the Developing World, was published by Princeton University Press in 2006, and related articles and chapters have appeared in International Security, the Journal of International Affairs, and various edited volumes.

Dr. Kahl received his B.A. in political science from the University of Michigan (1993) and his Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University (2000).

 

 

 

Image
mcgurk brett holden   official dos photo copy
Brett McGurk is the Frank E. and Arthur W. Payne Distinguished Lecturer at the Freeman Spogli Institute and Center for Security and Cooperation at Stanford University.

McGurk’s research interests center on national security strategy, diplomacy, and decision-making in wartime.  He is particularly interested in the lessons learned over the presidencies of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump regarding the importance of process in informing presidential decisions and the alignment of ends and means in national security doctrine and strategy.  At Stanford, he will be working on a book project incorporating these themes and teaching a graduate level seminar on presidential decision-making beginning in the fall of 2019.  He is also a frequent commentator on national security events in leading publications and as an NBC News Senior Foreign Affairs Analyst. 

Before coming to Stanford, McGurk served as Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS at the U.S. Department of State, helping to build and then lead the coalition of seventy-five countries and four international organizations in the global campaign against the ISIS terrorist network.  McGurk was also responsible for coordinating all aspects of U.S. policy in the campaign against ISIS in Iraq, Syria, and globally.

McGurk previously served in senior positions in the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, including as Special Assistant to President Bush and Senior Director for Iraq and Afghanistan, and then as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran and Special Presidential Envoy for the U.S. campaign against the Islamic State under Obama.

McGurk has led some of the most sensitive diplomatic missions in the Middle East over the last decade. His most recent assignment established one of the largest coalitions in history to prosecute the counter-ISIS campaign. He was a frequent visitor to the battlefields in both Iraq and Syria to help integrate military and civilian components of the war plan. He also led talks with Russia over the Syria conflict under both the Trump and Obama administrations, initiated back-channel diplomacy to reopen ties between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and facilitated the formation of the last two Iraqi governments following contested elections in 2014 and 2018.

In 2015 and 2016, McGurk led fourteen months of secret negotiations with Iran to secure the release of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezain, U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, and Pastor Saad Abadini, as well as three other American citizens.

During his time at the State Department, McGurk received multiple awards, including the Distinguished Honor Award and the Distinguished Service Award, the highest department awards for exceptional service in Washington and overseas assignments.

McGurk is also a nonresident senior fellow in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

McGurk received his JD from Columbia University and his BA from the University of Connecticut Honors Program.  He served as a law clerk to Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist on the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Denis Jacobs on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2d Circuit, and Judge Gerard E. Lynch on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

 

Colin Kahl Stanford University
Brett McGurk Stanford University
Seminars
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Seminar recording: https://youtu.be/A9ptoz_r0HY

 

Abstract:

Images of children on the battlefield or posing for a ‘last will and testament’ poster before a suicide operation suggest the extent to which ISIS has weaponized children. The use of children in terrorist propaganda has become a regular feature of their strategic messaging and has accelerated over time. While tasking children with a variety of support functions – scouts, drummers, or couriers is not new, the ways in which terrorist organizations have deployed children has evolved. The exploitation of children represents a relatively new development, both tactically and strategically. Attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Syria show that the median age of suicide bombers is decreasing. This presentation will provide evidence that terrorist groups have increased their use of children on the front lines despite assertions to the contrary and that important variation exists across groups based on location, country of origin, and the gender of the children with a particular emphasis on ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

 

Speaker's Biography:

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mia
Mia Bloom is Professor of Communication at Georgia State University. She conducts ethnographic field research in Europe, the Middle East and South Asia and speaks eight languages. She has authored books and articles on terrorism and violent extremism including Dying to Kill: The Allure of Suicide Terror (2005), Living Together After Ethnic Killing (2007) and Bombshell: Women and Terror (2011). Bloom is a former term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has held appointments at Princeton, Cornell, Harvard and McGill Universities. Bloom’s newest book is Small Arms: Children and Terror (2019). Bloom has a PhD in political science from Columbia University, a Masters in Arab Studies from Georgetown University and a Bachelor’s degree from McGill in Russian, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies.

Mia Bloom Professor of Communication Georgia State University
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Abstract: This paper explores Iraqi signaling after the 1991 Gulf War. The conventional wisdom argues that Iraq sent mixed signals to the outside world due to Saddam’s desire to balance deterrence and compliance with Security Council resolutions. Drawing on Iraqi primary sources, I explore how Iraqi officials debated their options, crafted signals, and how they interpreted the reception of these signals in the outside world. I argue that Iraqi regime was more rational, but also more dysfunctional, than previous work suggests.
  
Speaker bio: Målfrid Braut-Hegghammer is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Oslo. She has previously been a Junior Faculty Fellow at CISAC, Stanford University, and a pre- and post-doctoral fellow at the Belfer Center, Harvard University. She received her doctoral degree from London School of Economics in 2009, which received the Michael Nicholson Thesis Prize from BISA in 2010. She recently published Unclear Physics: Why Iraq and Libya failed to build nuclear weapons (Cornell University Press, 2016), which was reviewed in The New York Review of Books, Foreign Affairs, Survival, International Affairs, HDiplo, Babylon, and Internasjonal Politikk. Her work has been published in International Security, The Middle East Journal, the New York Times (online), International Herald Tribune, Monkey Cage and War on the Rocks.

Not in residence

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Braut-Hegghammer,_Malfrid.jpg

Målfrid Braut-Hegghammer is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Oslo. She first joined CISAC as a visiting associate professor and Stanton nuclear security junior faculty fellow in September 2012, and was a Stanford MacArthur Visiting Scholar between 2013-15. Between 2008 and 2010 she was a predoctoral and postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Braut-Hegghammer received her PhD, entitled “Nuclear Entrepreneurs: Drivers of Nuclear Proliferation” from the London School of Economics in 2010. She received the British International Studies Association’s Michael Nicholson Thesis Prize that same year for her work.

 

CV
Associate Professor of Political Science University of Oslo
Seminars
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 In Unclear Physics, Malfrid Braut-Hegghammer tells the story of the Iraqi and Libyan programs from their origins in the late 1950s and 1960s until their dismantling.

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Abstract: From the Trent Affair of 1861, to Yasser Arafat’s speech at the United Nations in 1974, to Syrian opposition lobbying today, acts of insurgent diplomacy have defined some of the most memorable and important events in international politics. International diplomacy is a ubiquitous feature of insurgent politics because it is intrinsically linked to how groups pursue third-party political and military support. However, although war-time diplomacy is central to insurgent politics, scholars still cannot explain the substantial and puzzling variation in insurgent diplomatic strategies over time. The fact is that rebel groups can choose to engage with different types of actors, solicit different types of assistance, and have a diverse set of political-military objectives motivating their diplomatic strategies abroad. This article examines the varying grand strategies of insurgent diplomacy, and more specifically, when and why rebel groups focus their diplomatic attention on certain international actors over others. This framework is then applied to the international diplomacy of the Iraqi Kurdish liberation movement from 1958 to 1990.

 

About the Speaker: Morgan L. Kaplan is a CISAC Predoctoral Fellow for 2015-2016. He is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago.

Kaplan’s dissertation examines the strategic use of international diplomacy by insurgent groups to solicit help from third-party actors. The primary empirical focus of his research is on the Iraqi Kurdish and Palestinian national movements from the 1960s to 1990s. In addition to his work on insurgent diplomacy, he also studies the politics of intra-insurgent competition and cooperation in multi-party civil wars.

His research has been supported by the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Project on Middle East Political Science, and the Nicholson Center for British Studies, among others. He has conducted field work in Iraqi Kurdistan, Israel/Palestine, Jordan, and the United Kingdom. He holds a B.A. in International Affairs from the George Washington University, and an M.A. in Political Science from the University of Chicago. 

Predoctoral Fellow CISAC
Seminars
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Martha Crenshaw
Lisa Blaydes
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David Ignatius calls for reconciliation among Iraqi Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds. But this oversimplifies the bargain that needs to be struck.

David Ignatius is right to recognize the importance of historical legacy to the rise of ISIS. He is also right to criticize the embrace of an “80-percent solution” to the reconstruction of Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, whereby, as he puts it in his recent Atlantic essay on the roots of the Islamic State, “Kurds and Shiites would build the new state regardless of opposition from the 20 percent of the population that was Sunni.” Exclusion probably did encourage some Sunnis to first support the Islamic State of Iraq and then its successor, ISIS.

U.S. President Barack Obama has praised Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s “commitment to an inclusive government where Shia, Sunni, and Kurds” are unified. The mechanism that would make something like this work, Iraq’s ambassador to Washington, Lukman Faily, tells Ignatius, is a federal system that could give Sunnis some “skin in the game.”

But the emphasis on the Sunni-Shiite-Kurd divide obscures divisions within the Iraqi Sunni population. In doing so, it oversimplifies the political bargain that has to be struck in order to win the war against ISIS, given that there is no single “Sunni” perspective toward central governance in Iraq. Much will depend on how a future system is administered. Iraq isn’t so much innately divided along ethnic and sectarian lines as it is fractured within ethnic and sectarian lines. Understanding these divisions is critical to defining political solutions that will produce meaningful inclusion of tribal and regional interests, whether in a federal system or some other arrangement.

Western Iraq, for example—especially Anbar province, where ISIS has a strong presence, having taken the provincial capital of Ramadi this summer—has long posed a governance challenge to the Iraqi government in Baghdad. This can be seen as both good and bad news. ISIS “control” over its territory in Anbar is not necessarily secure. It is clear from documents belonging to Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party, captured after the 2003 U.S. invasion, that even Saddam was hard-pressed to force his political will on the people of western Iraq, despite the sectarian identity they shared with his ruling Sunni regime. This tendency will complicate the process of governing the area for a Baghdad-based government, or ISIS, or any other party, as the United States learned after 2003. ISIS relies on extreme brutality to maintain control, but it may face resistance, just as Saddam did, even if it can keep the self-proclaimed caliphate intact.

The campaign to retake Ramadi is now the focus of the Iraqi government and its U.S. backers in the fight against ISIS. Abadi’s government is trying to take advantage of local enmities to organize Sunni tribal fighters to combat the Islamic State (just as these tribes came to oppose the Islamic State of Iraq, the parent of ISIS, during the U.S. troop surge beginning in 2007). But the effort is faltering due to distressingly familiar problems: Government-supported troops tend to be under-resourced and minimally trained, leaving them vulnerable to ISIS attacks or possible defection to the group.

Ignatius also hints at another problem in the battle with ISIS: that a Sunni military force “would have to operate from a secure base—not just a logistical base, but a base of trust, in which the Sunnis feel they are fighting for a part of Iraq that will truly be theirs post-ISIS.” And yet western Sunnis’ lack of trust in any Baghdad-based central government, however inclusive, can be expected to continue. This is not just because of the antipathy of Sunnis to Shiite rule, sectarian exclusion on the part of the Shiite-led Iraqi regime, or the misconduct of Shiite militias. Western Iraq’s location on the borders of Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia makes the smuggling of people and goods a highly lucrative industry there, and residents’ alliances and rivalries often transcend national borders. As a result, Iraqi state infrastructure has long been challenged in those areas, even when Sunnis led the government. The long-term loyalty of the tribes is not guaranteed.

All of which is to say that history did not start in 2003, and that Anbar’s political disaffection has deeper historical roots. One is Saddam’s favoring of his Sunni clansmen from his hometown of Tikrit and its surrounding districts—in central Iraq, east of Anbar—who formed the backbone of his special military units. Western Sunnis from towns now occupied by ISIS were less privileged than Tikritis going into the 1990s, and the sanctions imposed on Iraq following its invasion of Kuwait hit them harder, weakening national cohesion within Iraq and within the Sunni community. For example, Sunnis from areas like Ramadi suffered from higher rates of child mortality in 1997 than Sunnis from areas around Tikrit, according to data from the 1997 national census. Certainly some of the prominent western tribes and their leadership benefited from association with Saddam, who was well aware of their influence and the need to manipulate their allegiances. But these tribal alliances with the central government were opportunistic, not deeply felt, and prominent Iraqis from the west became disaffected over time as a result of the suffering of their clansmen. By the time of the 2003 invasion, extreme poverty in Anbar towns like Al-Ka’im was more than three times the rate of extreme poverty in Tikrit, according to information collected by the United Nations World Food Program.

In more telling evidence of the history of restiveness in the region, attempts to overthrow Saddam at multiple points during the 1990s came predominantly from Sunnis with strong ties to the western provinces. Members of the Dulaim tribe—one of the largest in Iraq, with strong regional representation in Anbar province—revolted against the regime in 1995 after the execution of General Muhammad al-Dulaimi, who was suspected of plotting a coup against Saddam, and other Dulaimi officers. In 1996, officers associated with the al-Duri tribe—also prominent in Anbar province—were accused of attempting a coup; it’s likely that more coup attempts went unreported. This willingness to take extreme risks in order to rebel against a ruthless regime capable of harsh punishment has almost certainly not disappeared, as ISIS may learn.

Another division within the Sunni community centers on Sufism, a mystical and inward-looking strain of Islam that has proven more deeply influential in Anbar than in others parts of Iraq. Saddam closely monitored clerics from across the country, and in a regime census of Iraqi clerics during the 1990s, Anbar had the highest percentage of mosques with a Sufi orientation in the country. The Naqshbandi Army, an insurgent group known by its Arabic acronym JRTN, was established after Saddam’s death in 2006 and grew out of a Sufi movement headed by the Baath Party insider Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri. During the initial rise of ISIS, the JRTN seemed to have opportunistically joined the winning side, forming an unlikely alliance of Sufi-oriented former Baathists and Sunni extremists against the Shiite-dominated regime of then-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The union did not last long.

The complex—indeed confusing and contradictory—relationships among Baathists, ISIS, and the JRTN display the tenuousness of political loyalties in Iraq’s power struggle. JRTN’s position as a Sufi nationalist group with a strong presence in western Iraq suggests, however, that it will continue to be an important player in establishing political order in the area. The group certainly has the potential to be a spoiler in any negotiations for shared power between Sunnis and Shiites.

The Iraqi government’s retaking of Tikrit at the end of March represented a small but necessary step to securing territorial control over Iraq. Winning in Ramadi would be important for the regime’s credibility—especially if it is accomplished without the assistance of Shiite militias. But military victory won’t necessarily lead to political stability; as Saddam Hussein’s time in power teaches, the residents of western Iraq resisted control from Baghdad even when the Iraqi government was dominated by Sunnis. Saddam’s brutally repressive and ultimately narrow regime left many Iraqi Sunnis outside of his coalition. It is in the areas where these Sunnis were most numerous that ISIS is strongest today. The silver lining is that given the historical antipathy to authority in the region, ISIS may struggle to control Anbar province as well.

 
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