30 September 2021
Political participation in its “extreme” Middle Eastern context (AR) | PAVE

Interventions by Amjad Rashid et Wathiq Al-Saadoun

9th session of the "Political participation in its “extreme” Middle Eastern context" webinar, organised by the FMSH and Ifpo for the PAVE project. Interventions by Amjad Rashid et Wathiq Al-Saadoun.



► "Loss of state power as a major driver of extremist violence in post-ISIS Iraq" by Amjad Rashid, lecturer at IfP-Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen (Germany), Fellow at SGIA-Durham University, Board member of Open Think Tank (OTT)



Webinar in arabic

Thursday, September 9, 2021
5pm - 6h30pm

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This paper examines the erosion of state power as a driver of extremism in Iraq after the collapse of the Islamic State (ISIS) in 2017. To go beyond the Western concept of the state, the paper uses Ibn Khaldun's theory of the state, legitimacy and culture and argues that the erosion of the state produces sub-identities, sectarian and ethnic, replacing the state as a product of legitimacy. The paper argues that war changes societies because it has the ability to turn individuals into monsters, especially in the absence of state power and that it is a state of emergency. Legal rights are seen as unnecessary, and sometimes even dangerous. The war against ISIS has spawned a monster of the Popular Mobilization Militia. The militia controls large areas of Iraq, replacing ISIS as a non-state actor, an alternative producer of legitimacy, and an obstacle to peacebuilding. Because Iraq lacks a democratic legacy and a civil society legacy, and because of the legacy of the socialist state - which looks at the state from a paternalistic perspective - since the establishment of the first republic in 1958, the paper concludes that unless the state regains its strength, an environment of extremism will always exist in Iraq.


► "The role of extremist groups in straining international relations: Iraqi-Turkish relations as a model" by Wathiq Al-Saadoun, Arab Studies Director at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies in Turkey (ORSAM)


It is known that the common security dilemma between Iraq and Turkey is the presence of elements of the anti-Turkish PKK organization in northern Iraq. For decades, this issue has been subject to several factors and historical, political, social, and even economic transformations, in addition to being subject to international, regional and local factors. Dealing with this problem also varied between different visions, wills and positions, between Turkey before the Justice and Development Party came to power in late 2002, and Turkey after 2002, and between Iraq before 2003 and Iraq after 2003, and between the Kurdistan region of Iraq when it was under the rule of the central Iraqi state before the events of 1991, and between the Kurdistan region, which began the path of real self-government after 1991. The (direct and indirect) causes of this problem, and its historical developments and repercussions, have become known to all those who follow the Iraqi-Turkish relations. The differing visions about evaluating the merits of this issue, and evaluating its repercussions, became clear to everyone as well. Therefore, we believe that any serious efforts between Iraq and Turkey to reach real solutions to the dilemma of the presence of PKK elements in northern Iraq should not drain its efforts and waste its time by focusing on the past, but rather it should proceed from the present towards the future with "realism". Attempting to solve this problem by reviewing and ruminating on its historical factors and complexities would be in vain, and would lead the parties involved to deadlock solutions and endless futile disagreements. Today, this problem requires a new initiative agreed upon by the involved parties, to produce a realistic and objective approach to the solution, involving a high sense of responsibility, to tackle the potential risks of exacerbation or neglect of this problem.

In order to bring such an initiative to maturation and turn it into a practical roadmap to solve this problem, there are important pillars that must take into consideration and start from. The most important of which is to identify the direct parties concerned with solving this problem, and responsible for finding solutions to it, namely the Turkish government, the central Iraqi government, and the Iraqi Kurdistan government. And the exclusion of any international or regional party trying to interfere in this problem or invest it for interests and agendas that do not serve the two countries and the Iraqi and Turkish peoples.




Political participation in its “extreme” Middle Eastern context

Despite the preponderance of research on violent extremism and prevention and control policies in general, the key concepts generated by this discipline are problematic because they are often normatively loaded and empirically imprecise. To provide a better understanding of the subject of violent extremism, both scientific and in public policies, we have chosen to engage in dialogue within this webinar, researchers, stakeholders and practitioners whom we call “from the inside”, who question the construction of radicalization and violent extremism within political relations in the MENA region.

Our objective is to constitute a new and original approach, from the bottom, to understand the different realities of violence, radicalization, violent extremism and terrorism, by comparing, confronting and criticizing the different public policies and the different approaches implemented to tackle the phenomenon of violent extremism in the studied states. Beyond radicalization and violent extremism, the question of civil, armed, military and political engagement and participation since the Arab revolts will be posed in an articulation between the local, the national and the global.

We seek to understand how the relations between political actors within states located in the MENA region are articulated with regional issues; how past and present political conflicts are played out between national actors and permanently redraw the map of political and community affiliations, both in discourse and in practice. Local, national and regional contexts will thus be studied as catalysts for political relations between (state and non-state) actors in the region.

Webinar format and research axes

On the basis of a meeting every three weeks, we will meet starting from April 2021 around a communication based on a country research work, complemented by the intervention of an activist, practitioner or stakeholder shedding light on the issues raised, and leaving plenty of room for collective discussion.

Several themes and areas of research will be addressed during the sessions:

Area 1. Commitment, governance and policies

  • Militant careers, how does one become a political actor in this region of the world? What is political activism built on or what is the trajectory of political actors in the countries of the region?
  • The relations between dominant political actors, the opposition and marginalization?
  • Relationship between political institution, partisan institution and religious institution (duplication, alliances, conflicts…)?
  • Modes of government, political discourse and practices…

Area 2. Law, fight against terrorism and penitentiary institution

  • The impact of anti-terrorism laws on the treatment of violent extremism and on the organization of prisons: emergence, strengthening and extension of a specific legal framework reconfiguring the relations between justice, police, army and intelligence.

Area 3. media treatment of political and power relations

Area 4. Citizenship vs. sectarianism: public action, self-awareness, new ways of participation and political organization

The webinar will be held in the three languages, Arabic, English and French.

Session 1

April, 22th from 5:00 to 6:30 PM CET

Virtual Citizenship: Saudis in Clubhouse by Professor Madawi Al-Rasheed

Session 2

May, 6th from 5:00 to 6:30 PM CET

Interventions by Iyad Kallas and Wassim Naboulsi


Steering Committee


In partnership with Ifpo.


The PAVE project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870769.
The content provided in this webinar reflects the author’s views only. Neither the Research Executive Agency (REA) nor the European Commission are responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
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PAVE Project | Webinar

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PAVE | Preventing and Addressing Violent Extremism through Community Resilience in the Balkans and MENA
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