International Relations

A Military Tactic or Collateral Damage?
Abdulkarim Ekzayez and Ammar Sabouni

Nine years of continuous conflict in Syria have borne witness to various atrocities against civilians, some of which amount to war crimes. Most of the involved parties have committed such atrocities, but the Government of Syria (GoS) and its allies remain at the top of the list of perpetrators. Out of a population of 21 million in 2010, more than half a million Syrians were killed as of January 2019 with more than 13 million displaced either inside the country, in neighbouring countries or elsewhere. Moreover, civilian infrastructures, including but not limited to health, have been severely affected, resulting in interrupted services and suffering. Looking at patterns of these atrocities, timing of occurrence, and consequences, could allow us to draw conclusions about motivations. While the GoS maintains these attacks were against combating civilians, we argue that civilians and civilian infrastructure were military and strategic targets, rather than collateral damage to the attacks committed by the GoS and its allies. The motives behind attacking civilians may be related to military gains in imposing submission and surrender; whereas others may be linked to long-term goals such as forced displacement and demographic engineering. This paper argues, supported by several examples throughout the course of the Syrian conflict, that GoS has used a five-point military tactic with targeting healthcare being at the heart of it. This military tactic has been extremely effective in regaining most opposition strongholds at the expense of civilian suffering and health catastrophe.

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Timothy Longman

In 1999, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) published an extensive account of genocide in Rwanda, Leave None to Tell the Story. Based on interviews and archival work conducted by a team of researchers and written primarily by Alison Des Forges, Leave None to Tell was quickly recognised as the definitive account of the 1994 genocide. In the ensuing two decades, however, much additional research has added to our understanding of the 1994 violence. In this paper, I assess Leave None to Tell the Story in light of the research conducted since its publication, focusing in particular on three major challenges to the analysis. First, research into the organisation of the genocide disputes the degree to which it was planned in advance. Second, micro-level research into the motivations of those who participated disputes the influence of ideology on the genocide. Third, research has provided increasing evidence and details of violence perpetrated by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). I contend that despite these correctives, much of the analysis continues to hold up, such as the role of national figures in promoting genocide at the local level, the impact of the dynamics of local power struggles on the violence, and the patterns of violence, including the effort after the initial massacres to implicate a wide portion of the population. Finally, as a member of the team that researched and helped write Leave None to Tell, I reflect on the value of this rare sort of research project that engages human rights organisations in an academic research project.

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
The Politics of ‘Proximity’ and Performing Humanitarianism in Eastern DRC
Myfanwy James

This article explores the everyday practice of security management and negotiations for access conducted by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in North Kivu, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Based on ethnographic fieldwork, interviews and archival exploration, it examines the experience of MSF Congolese employees, who navigate a complex politics of humanitarian fixing and brokerage. Their role in MSF is simultaneously defined and circumscribed by their political and social situation. MSF’s security management relies on local staff’s interpersonal networks and on their ability to interpret and translate. However, local staff find themselves at risk, or perceived as a ‘risk’: exposed to external pressures and acts of violence, while possibilities for promotion are limited precisely because of their embeddedness. They face a tension between being politically and socially embedded and needing to perform MSF’s principles in practice. As such, they embody the contradictions of MSF’s approach in North Kivu: a simultaneous need for operational ‘proximity’, as well as performative distance from everyday conflict processes.

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Lesley Pruitt and Erica Rose Jeffrey

Chapter 2 discusses the role of young people in peacebuilding and the ways in which dance plays a part in this process. Previous research has identified the importance and political significance of young people in peacebuilding. Simultaneously, international organisations such as the United Nations have made steps towards increasing the opportunities and support for young people in peacebuilding endeavours, locally and globally, including through the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security in 2015. Despite these efforts, and the extent to which youth are immersed in conflict both as recipients of violence and as perpetrators, young people remain on the sidelines of peace initiatives and are not sufficiently recognised and engaged in policy, theory or practice. The research conducted for this book suggests that dance can constitute an effective, inclusive pathway to support youth participation in peacebuilding, especially when incorporating elements of peer leadership. At the same time, the data gathered across the three case studies highlights the importance of including options for peace, reconciliation and social transformation that are age appropriate, gender sensitive, culturally relevant and flexible.

in Dancing through the dissonance
The external image of Germany’s foreign policy
Siegfried Schieder

This chapter builds on a constructivist reading of German foreign policy and reconstructs the political, historical and intellectual context in which Germany’s role concept as a ‘civilian power’ has evolved after the Second World War. Furthermore, it explores how Germany has modified its ‘civilian’ foreign policy in view of an increasingly complex international environment since the 1990s, and how Germany’s revised foreign policy is perceived from abroad. In more detail, it asks whether Germany is still seen as a ‘civilian power’ and reveals a marked dissonance between Germany’s self-perception and the perception of others. In particular, Germany’s transatlantic allies are increasingly generating unease and criticism, and this criticism may also undermine Germany’s credibility both at home and abroad.

in Prussians, Nazis and Peaceniks
Abstract only
International Relations theory and Germany
Richard Ned Lebow

In contrast to the preceding chapters, this concluding chapter explores the ways in which IR theory has shaped our image of Germany. It makes the case for an iterative feedback process among country images and theory. On the basis of a quantitative analysis of leading IR works from the 1940s to the present day, it shows that in the post-war era, Germany has been the most frequent national role model for theorists and that Germany has been used in diverse ways by different paradigms. Germany’s central but changing role in world and European affairs, and the disciplinary prestige of emigre scholars explain the high scholarly interest in the country. Conditions have changed and theoretical interest in Germany has begun to decline.

in Prussians, Nazis and Peaceniks
Memory and identity in Cold War America
Brian Etheridge

This chapter explores the complicated American discourses surrounding the rapid reversal of Germany from enemy to ally in the Cold War era. It shows that a diverse range of actors – both American and (West) German, state and non-state, and public and private – produced and debated conflicting images of Germany. One part of the story is how different groups fought over the shaping of American understanding of Deutschtum (or Germanness) through the mass media. Another, equally important, part is how the fruits of these efforts (articles, books, films, television programmes, etc.) were interpreted by those Americans who consumed them. When taken together, they illustrate how images of Germany were more about the American understanding of self than the American understanding of Germanness.

in Prussians, Nazis and Peaceniks
The Weimar Republic in the eyes of American political science
Paul Petzschmann

This chapter explores competing American accounts of the Weimar Republic and their significance for IR during the interwar period. It focuses on two interpretations of the Weimar Republic in the context of German sovereignty and regime change. Hermann Mattern argued that the Weimar Constitution put an end to the legal debate about the location of sovereignty in the German polity. Rupert Emerson, on the other hand, regarded the revival of German Federalism as part of an international trend towards fragmented sovereignty and as a potentially positive step into the direction of a new, ‘post-sovereign’ international order. Both interpretations highlight the importance of the American experience of the state, of sovereignty and of the Civil War for shaping academic discourses on sovereignty, and the occurring rift between the ideal of legal sovereignty and its political reality prefigured realist theorising.

in Prussians, Nazis and Peaceniks
The changing view of Germany in Anglo-American geopolitics
Lucian Ashworth

This chapter traces changing geopolitical views of Germany and their academic and political influence. The geopolitician Halford J. Mackinder remained impressed with Germany’s advances in geography and spatial literacy, while increasingly seeing that superior knowledge as part of the threat posed by an insurgent Wilhelmine Empire. By the 1940s, though, German geography, through the popular image of Karl Haushofer, had been re-interpreted as a pathological throwback. Anglo-American geopolitics that would greatly influence the post-1945 construction of a new global order relied heavily on both positive and negative images of Germany. In this sense, the vision of Germany and its geopolitics was the foil against which the post-war settlement was framed.

in Prussians, Nazis and Peaceniks
Edwin Borchard between New Haven and Berlin
Jens Steffek and Tobias Heinze

This chapter shows how Germany’s fight against the Versailles peace settlement was intertwined with the rise of realism in the US. It documents how realist accounts of the ever-conflictual nature of IR and the weakness of international law facilitated German revisionism. A case in point is the American international lawyer Edwin M. Borchard, one of the major advocates of US neutrality. In the 1930s Borchard was among the first American scholars to suggest a ‘realist’ approach to IR and law, arguing that international treaties and collective security schemes were unable to accommodate change. He used such arguments in a relentless political campaign against the Treaty of Versailles, the Kellogg-Briand Pact and concerted action against Nazi Germany. The chapter documents that German lawyers who were busy legitimating breaches of the Treaty of Versailles and trying to discredit American involvement in the Second World War happily cited Borchard’s ideas.

in Prussians, Nazis and Peaceniks