Erosion and resilience of the Iraqi-Syrian border
Title: Erosion and resilience of the Iraqi-Syrian border
Series/Number: EUI RSCAS; 2015/61; BORDERLANDS
Syria and Iraq’s accelerating fragmentation has prompted feverish speculation about the erasure of the modern Middle East’s Western-imposed borders. Such notions are not altogether divorced from reality: Syria and Iraq today are scarcely recognizable as nation-states, and their once rigid border has become increasingly porous while falling entirely from governmental control. Yet this erosion must not be mistaken for dissolution. The post-Ottoman border continues to serve an array of material and symbolic functions, and as such will remain of paramount relevance, as a resilient object of contention, for the foreseeable future. By grappling with this paradoxical state of mutation and durability—and by tracing its roots back into the late twentieth century—we can draw broader insights into the seismic changes roiling the Middle East, where brittle, centralizing power structures are increasingly giving way to a more grassroots and fluid political landscape with which Western actors have yet to come to terms.
Subject: Syria; Iraq; Borders; Kurds; Islamic State; Sykes-Picot
Grant number: FP7/263277/EU
Type of Access: openAccess