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Ideational and material forces are at the heart of threat perceptions and alliance decisions in international relations. Alliances in the Middle East present scholars and policymakers with intriguing cases where identities and considerations for material power intermingle. In this lecture, Darwich will shed light on how identity and power are shaping some of the enduring features of alliance politics in the Middle East. She will draw on insights from her recently published book Threats and Alliances in the Middle East: Saudi and Syrian Policies in a Turbulent Region
(Cambridge University Press, 2019). Examining differing perceptions of threats and the subsequent alliance choices of two Arab states, Saudi Arabia and Syria, during three pivotal wars in the region: the Iran-Iraq War (1980–1988), the Lebanon War (2006), and the Gaza War (2009), she analyses how ideational and material forces influence leaders' perceptions in the Middle East. She will present how these debates can enhance our understanding of the seemingly complex map of alliances in the post-2011 Middle East. MAY DARWICH
May Darwich is Lecturer in International Relations of the Middle East at the University of Birmingham. She was Assistant Professor at Durham University (2016-2019) and a Research Fellow at GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, within the IDCAR-Network ‘The International Diffusion and Cooperation of Authoritarian Regimes'(2014-2015)
Her research attempts to bring Middle East cases to debates within IR theory while surmounting the challenge to the study of state behaviour in the Middle East through theoretical lenses. She is author of Threats and Alliances in the Middle East: Saudi and Syrian Policies in a Turbulent Region
(Cambridge University Press, 2019). Her research has also appeared in internationally renowned journals, namely Foreign Policy Analysis, the Journal of Global Security Studies, Democratization, Mediterranean Politics, Global Discourse
She serves as Trustee of the Council for British Research in the Levant (CBRL), a British Academy Institute aimed at enhancing and supporting research in the Levant. She also serves on the Steering Committee on the Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS), a collaborative network designed to enhance the broader field of Middle East political science. Since 2019 she has been the Director of the Arab Political Science Network (APSN), a scholarly collaborative initiative that seeks to support, enhance and increase scholars' research and teaching outputs in the study of political science, and its sub and related fields in the Arab world.