Erwin van Veen

Senior Research Fellow


  • Conflict and Fragility
  • Security and Justice
  • Aid Architecture


  • Middle East & North Africa

Erwin van Veen is a senior research fellow with Clingendael's Conflict Research Unit.  A political scientist by training, Erwin applies this lens to research about relations between political order and security in conflict-prone environments. Knowing that evidence-based advice can make a difference when policy windows occasionally open, Erwin’s work straddles academic and policy spheres to produce hard-hitting, constructive insights on how to get to less conflict. His achievements include major contributions to policy initiatives like the creation of the International Security Sector Advisory Team at DCAF, the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States, as well as the Knowledge Platform Security and Rule of Law.

Erwin leads Clingendael’s Levant research program that analyses how the proliferation of militias and armed groups in Syria and Iraq impacts on state development in a context of intense geopolitical competition. Together with a small team, he fuses opinion pieces, events, media appearances and in-depth research into a dynamic stream of insight and policy proposals.

He also remains at the forefront of the thinking about security sector development and the practical aspects of adaptive programming as well as political-economy analysis.

Erwin’s personal strengths include a broad curiosity, a quick grasp of complexity and the ability to combine the conceptual with the practical.

Previous experience

•    Peacebuilding and conflict specialist at the OECD (2010-2013)
•    Security and development advisor at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2006-2010)
•    Human resource business advisor at Shell (2003-2005)

Recent field research

Guinea and Yemen (2014); Lebanon, Mali, Ethiopia, and Afghanistan (2015); Iraq (2016); Palestine (several visits), Burundi (2017); Senegal and Mauritania (2018); and Iran and Iraq (2019).

My work



Conflict and Fragility

The Hashd is dead, long live the Hashd!

25 July 2019 - 14:24
Conflict and Fragility

It’s less about Iran and more about stability in the Middle East

12 June 2019 - 10:49
Conflict and Fragility

Turkey in northwestern Syria

04 June 2019 - 10:54
Conflict and Fragility

The geopolitics of Syria's reconstruction: a case of matryoshka

23 April 2019 - 15:13
Conflict and Fragility

Democratie in Israel

03 April 2019 - 11:46
Conflict and Fragility

A big idea for a better response to Syrian displacement

26 March 2019 - 10:23
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Conflict and Fragility

Syria after Civil War #2: The geopolitics of Conflict

26 March 2019 - 12:00
Conflict and Fragility

Israel and Palestine: The state of the two-state solution

08 November 2018 - 09:00
Conflict and Fragility

The curious case of adolescent democracy and protracted violence

10 October 2018 - 09:00
Conflict and Fragility

Iraq beyond its 2018 elections: what might be next?

20 June 2018 - 15:00
Conflict and Fragility

Syria under Assad: Challenges for European policy

06 February 2018 - 16:00
Conflict and Fragility

Iraq beyond 'Mosul': avoiding the next conflict

21 November 2017 - 09:30
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