Conflict and Fragility

Conflict and Fragility

The Levant

26 Jun 2019 - 03:21
Source: Tasnim News/Wikimedia Commons
Table of contents
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Commissioned research
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CRU’s Levant research program examines the impact of hybrid security organisations on state performance in the Levant, focusing on Syria and Iraq. This matters because such organisations will have a profound impact on state development in the next decade. International interventions need to be based on a sound understanding of their nature and behavior.


The Levant has witnessed an extraordinary proliferation of different types of armed groups since the Arab Spring in a context of protracted political crises, violent conflict and deepening regional tensions. CRU’s Levant research program analyses dynamics between hybrid security organizations – a particular type of armed group - and the state. Hybrid security actors are organizations that use their capacity to exert large-scale violence to compete and cooperate with the state at the same time, depending on the issue involved, to realize their political objectives. Their role and behavior will profoundly affect the future development trajectories and performance of states in the area. Effective international support – diplomacy, aid and military – requires a better understanding of these groups than what is the case today. The research program features four dimensions of work due to the interconnected nature of crisis and conflict in the Levant:


  • Assessment of the impact of hybrid security organizations on state performance in Syria and Iraq to develop insight into the future political order(s) of these states.
  • Practical thinking on the reconstruction of Syria and reconciliation in Iraq to examine the political-economies of conflict in which hybrid security organizations operate.
  • Analysis of Turkish, Iranian and Saudi foreign policy to understand how they view and use hybrid security organizations in the context of conflict in the Levant.
  • Analysis of broader political-religious trends in the Middle East to understand the social ecology of which hybrid security organizations are a part.

Conflict and Fragility

Turkey in northwestern Syria

04 Jun 2019 - 10:54

Conflict and Fragility

Democratie in Israel

03 Apr 2019 - 11:46

Conflict and Fragility

Six scenarios for pro-regime militias in ‘post-war’ Syria

01 Apr 2019 - 13:49

Conflict and Fragility

A big idea for a better response to Syrian displacement

26 Mar 2019 - 10:23

Conflict and Fragility
A European take on Warsaw's anti-Iran show
12 Feb 2019 - 12:12
Conflict and Fragility
The role of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party in the civil war
15 Jan 2019 - 10:20
Conflict and Fragility
Bezetting en de staat Israël
13 Dec 2018 - 11:03
Conflict and Fragility
Political (dis)order and coercive organisations in the Levant
07 Dec 2018 - 13:29
Conflict and Fragility
Iraq's Al-Hashd Al-Sha'abi 'on the march'
22 Nov 2018 - 11:29
Conflict and Fragility
How the Syrian regime controls refugee return: four tools
17 Sep 2018 - 17:00
Conflict and Fragility
Re-interpreting the notion of 'Useful Syria'
06 Sep 2018 - 16:02
Conflict and Fragility
Turkish foreign policy towards the Middle East from 2002 to 2018
23 Jul 2018 - 15:05
Conflict and Fragility
In the eye of the storm? (In)stability in Western Iraqi Kurdistan
13 Jul 2018 - 12:38
Conflict and Fragility
Iraq’s Al-Hashd al-Sha'abi: four key insights
28 Jun 2018 - 16:30
Conflict and Fragility
Spring blossoms in Jordan, but what is next?
19 Jun 2018 - 15:28
Conflict and Fragility
Lebanon's elections: whose victory?
16 May 2018 - 17:09
Conflict and Fragility
Creating a new Syria
16 Apr 2018 - 12:49
Conflict and Fragility
Fighting for Kurdistan? The Peshmerga in Iraq
05 Mar 2018 - 11:05
Conflict and Fragility
Drivers of urban reconstruction in Syria
31 Jan 2018 - 12:56
Conflict and Fragility
Return of authoritarianism primes Middle East for more conflict
19 Dec 2017 - 13:33
Conflict and Fragility
Unsafe Places: Refugee Politics in Lebanese Government Crisis
23 Nov 2017 - 22:23
Conflict and Fragility
Saudi Arabia's strategic stalemate - what next?
06 Nov 2017 - 16:33
Conflict and Fragility
To reconstruct Syria and Iraq, first revisit the script
27 Mar 2018 - 17:05
Conflict and Fragility
Iraq’s Shi’a: A house divided
13 Feb 2018 - 14:33
Conflict and Fragility
Syrian militias supporting Assad: How autonomous are they?
29 Jan 2018 - 12:34
Conflict and Fragility
Is regional turmoil likely to result in conflict in Lebanon?
20 Dec 2017 - 14:28
Conflict and Fragility
Return of authoritarianism primes Middle East for more conflict
19 Dec 2017 - 13:33
Conflict and Fragility
Reconstructing Syria: limitations and possibilities
09 Nov 2017 - 14:15
Conflict and Fragility
Eye of the Storm: Ethiopia Amid Middle Eastern Conflict
31 Oct 2017 - 10:13
Conflict and Fragility
Podcast: the Middle East Peace Process
11 Oct 2017 - 14:44
Conflict and Fragility
Iraq's competing security forces after the battle for Mosul
28 Aug 2017 - 15:32
Conflict and Fragility
From Ramallah to Paris: The Middle East’s forgotten conflict
18 Jan 2017 - 11:26
Conflict and Fragility
The Syrian Humpty-Dumpty
16 Jan 2017 - 12:42
Conflict and Fragility
Iraqi imbroglio: the Islamic State and beyond
24 Nov 2014 - 15:27
Conflict and Fragility
Irak: waar zijn de diplomaten en spionnen?
13 Oct 2014 - 10:12
Conflict and Fragility
Langdurig strijd in de Levant
09 Oct 2014 - 18:21
Conflict and Fragility
The Case for Greater Western Intervention in Syria and Iraq
27 Aug 2014 - 09:31
Conflict and Fragility
Syria’s raging civil war and the west’s inertia
07 Aug 2014 - 16:01
Conflict and Fragility
Options for addressing the Syrian civil war
24 Jul 2014 - 11:57
Conflict and Fragility
Holy war and liberal peace
16 Jun 2014 - 16:32
Conflict and Fragility
Yemen’s future: like Tunisia or Libya?
05 Feb 2014 - 10:54
Conflict and Fragility
Gauging ‘success’ in Yemen’s National Dialogue
30 Sep 2013 - 10:46
Trade and Globalisation
A war of all against the war
03 Sep 2013 - 10:03
Conflict and Fragility
EU cannot get its Syrian act together
16 May 2013 - 17:18
Conflict and Fragility
Stability and economic recovery after Assad
14 Nov 2012 - 10:24
Conflict and Fragility
Syria: take a deep breath
12 Nov 2012 - 10:07
Conflict and Fragility
The curious incident of the Turkish military base in Shiladze
13 Feb 2019 - 12:55
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Staff involved
Erwin van Veen
Senior Research Fellow
Nancy Ezzeddine
Research Assistant
Samar Batrawi
Former Research Fellow
Ana Uzelac
Former Senior Research Fellow
Floor El Kamouni-Janssen
Research Fellow
Feike Fliervoet
Visiting Research Fellow