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The Origins of the Syrian Conflict
Climate Change and Human Security

$32.99 (P)

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  • Date Published: April 2020
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108466820

$ 32.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • Does climate change cause conflict? Did it cause the Syrian uprising? Some policymakers and academics have made this claim, but is it true? This study presents a new conceptual framework to evaluate this claim. Contributing to scholarship in the fields of critical security, environmental security, human security, and Arab politics, Marwa Daoudy prioritizes non-Western and marginalized perspectives to make sense of Syria's place in this international debate. Designing an innovative multidisciplinary framework and applying it to the Syrian case, Daoudy uses extensive field research and her own personal background as a Syrian scholar to present primary interviews with Syrian government officials and citizens, as well as the research of domestic Syrian experts, to provide a unique insight into Syria's environmental, economic and social vulnerabilities leading up to the 2011 uprising.

    • Outlines an innovative multidisciplinary framework that rigorously evaluates media, policy and scientific claims about climate change, migration and conflict
    • Draws on unpublished primary sources and original interviews with government officials, leading experts on and from Syria, and refugees
    • Avoids top-down narratives by prioritising local voices and perspectives in understanding Syria's place in international debates
    Read more


    • Co-winner of the Charles Sprout Award 2020-2021 in Environmental Politics, International Studies Association

    Reviews & endorsements

    'This excellent book seriously engages with the climate-conflict thesis that drought and climate change propelled the Syrian uprising. The lesson here that environmental ideology matters is important for Syria and the wider Global South. It should be read by anyone interested in understanding Syria’s pre-conflict political landscape, especially those who remain convinced that climate change alone produced the conflict.' Samer Abboud, Villanova University

    'Marwa Daoudy's book provides a much needed qualitative analysis of the complex relationship between climatic changes and political violence. By moving beyond simplistic claims that climate change causes civil wars her book adds a lot to our understanding of how climatic conditions relate to the causes and consequences of the conflict in Syria.' Thomas Bernauer, ETH Zürich

    'Was the Syrian conflict caused by climate induced drought? This important book offers an insightful and comprehensive answer to this timely question. Drawing on original interviews, fieldwork, publicly available and classified documents she refutes the popular view that climate change was the main causal driver of this conflict and instead shines a light on elite driven unsustainable water and agricultural policies. An impressive book and a must read for anyone who wants to understand the complex nexus between climate change and security.' Rita Floyd, University of Birmingham

    ‘This is an erudite, paradigmatic study of the origins of the ongoing Syrian civil war that commenced in March 2011 … Every policy maker in the US government should read this book.’ R. W. Olson, Choice

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2020
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108466820
    • length: 267 pages
    • dimensions: 227 x 152 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.38kg
    • contains: 27 b/w illus. 14 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Context: History, Geography, Security:
    1. Climate change and the Syrian revolution
    2. The many faces of environmental security
    3. When geography rules history
    Part II. Human-Environmental Climate Security:
    4. Rules of ideology and policy: from Ba'athism to the liberal age
    5. Vulnerability and resilience: human-environmental climate security (HECS) in Syria
    6. Syria: a (hi)story of vulnerability, resistance, and resilience.

  • Author

    Marwa Daoudy, Georgetown University, Washington DC
    Marwa Daoudy is Assistant Professor in the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University, Washington DC. The co-organizer of a major climate change conference at Princeton University, she has been a policy advisor and consultant for government agencies including the UNESCO-World Water Assessment Program, and contributed to the establishment of the Oxford Water Network, a research-led project which focuses on improving water security across the globe. She is the author of The Water Divide between Syria, Turkey and Iraq: Negotiation, Security and Power Asymmetry (2005), which was awarded the Ernest Lémonon prize by the Académie Française.


    • Co-winner of the Charles Sprout Award 2020-2021 in Environmental Politics, International Studies Association
    • Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2021, Choice Reviews

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