06 May 2021
Political participation in its “extreme” Middle Eastern context | PAVE

Interventions by Iyad Kallas and Wassim Naboulsi

Second session of the "Political participation in its “extreme” Middle Eastern context" webinar, organised by the FMSH and Ifpo for the PAVE project. Interventions by Iyad Kallas and Wassim Naboulsi.


Intersectional and Killer Identities in Syria – Before and After 2011



Thursday 6 May
5PM - 6:30PM CET

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The presentation will focus on  the development of individual and collective identities in Syria, in correlation with the paradigm shift in the limits of freedom of speech, information disorder and radicalization, before, during and after the 2011’s uprising.

Iyad Kallas
Trainer and Consultant, specialized in media and “communication for development”. CoFounder of several alternative media platforms and communication-related projects, including “SouriaLi”, a grassroots radio station, which was created post 2011 to contribute to the documentation and development of the sociocultural and sociopolitical identities in Syria.


The impact of rural urban relations on the militarization of the Syrian uprising

The lecture will highlight the role of rural-urban relations in determining the outbreak and the later course of Syria’s 2011 uprising. In this context, it will focus on the militarisation of the uprising and the role of the different actors in this outcome. It will briefly review the history of these relations since the 1960s until the eve of the uprising. Against the main current within the existing literature on the Syrian conflict, the lecture will show that the conflict should not be perceived as a rural uprising against urban privileges. Such understanding of the conflict is underpinned by several problematic assumptions that will be discussed in the lecture.
Alternatively, I will highlight the fact that the 2000s Syria witnessed a reconfiguration of rural-urban relations that served the interests and aspirations of a new generation of regime elites. Then I will argue that the conflict was between both rural and urban groups who supported the above-mentioned reconfiguration and rural and urban groups who opposed it.
Finally, the lecture will conclude the need for a systemic understanding of the rural, urban and rurban in Syria. It will also conclude that future studies should rely less on the geography of the conflict and more on understanding the demands and aspirations of the different social groups during the early days of the uprising.

Wassim Naboulsi
Lebanese lawyer ad PhD researcher at the university of Sussex, UK.


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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