Time and Location

Monday, 3. November 2014
19:00 - 21:00
Diplomatic Academy Vienna, Festsaal
Favoritenstraße 15a, 1040 Vienna


Lecture and discussion

Salwa Ismail
School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Razan Ghazzawi
Syrian Women’s Network

Helmut Krieger
Institute of International Development at the University of Vienna

Magda Seewald, VIDC

Languages: German and English with simultanious interpretation

Registration: seewald@remove-this.vidc.org

Syria- From Revolt to Regional War?


More than three years after the start of the protests against an authoritarian regime, the Syrian war in its essential dimension can hardly be described with words. It is only possible to conceive a grasp of what this war means for the civil society, when considering the death of more than 150.000 people, the widespread destruction of vital infrastructure, the currently biggest movement of refugees worldwide, the survival in refugee camps in bordering states or the attempt to get into a closed Europe. Social devastation as well as millions of traumatized people are not only direct consequences of the war, but will also determine the future of the country for many years to come.

At political and geostrategic level, the war has already become a regional one. The jihadi group Islamic State (IS) uses the northeastern part of the country as its regional base of power. Kurdish organizations are forced to combat the Islamic State both in Syria and in Iraq. The Lebanese Hezbollah intervenes militarily in support of the Assad regime. Western as well as Arab states provide weapons and military aid to different insurgency movements. From that perspective, one must, therefore, fear an all-out regional war. Hence, the following questions will be discussed at our event:
Who are the different (warring) parties and what views on the country’s future do they have? Is it possible to have a democratic perspective beyond safeguarding power and geopolitics, when considering the development in Syria? How could such a perspective look like and who could give them a push from within the country?


Salwa Ismail

is professor of political science at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Her teaching and research deal with Urban politics and state-society relations in the Middle East; the study of Islamism; Islamist movements; modern Arab and Islamic political thought; political ethnography. Among her numerous publications are “Producing “Reformed Islam”: A Saudi Contribution to the US Projects of Global Governance”. In: al-Rasheed, Madawi (ed.): Kingdom Without Borders (2009), “Urban Subalterns in the Arab Revolutions: Cairo and Damascus in Comparative Perspective”. In: Comparative Studies in Society and History (2013), “The Syrian Uprising: Imagining and Performing the Nation”. In: Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism (2013).

Razan Ghazzawi

is a feminist activist and blogger from Syria. She has been detained twice by regime forces due to her political activities. She is currently based in Turkey where she works as the campaign manager of Syrian Women's Network.

Helmut Krieger

is a social scientist and project resaercher at the Institute of International Development at the University of Vienna as well as consulent to the VIDC. His main research areas are the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, movement of political Islam in the Arab world, critical state theory and postcolonial theory. His most recent publication is:Investitionen in den Konflikt. Die politische Ökonomie palästinensischer Staatsformierung (2013).