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Everybody's War: The Politics of Aid in the Syria Crisis

Everybody's War: The Politics of Aid in the Syria Crisis


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The Syrian crisis is one of the most serious humanitarian disasters in recent history. Yet the widely reported numbers—more than 6 million displaced, including 5 million refugees—reflect only a fractional toll of the conflict. Numerous international organizations, states, and civil society movements have called for the laws of war to be respected, sieges lifted, and humanitarian access facilitated. But beneath each of these humanitarian appeals lies a complicated reality extending beyond the binary narratives that have come to define the war in Syria.

Everybody's War examines the complexities of humanitarianism in Syria and the wide-ranging consequences for both Syria's populations and humanitarian responses to future conflicts. Organized by Médecins Sans Frontières, this edited volume brings together academics and humanitarian practitioners from across the globe to provide a multitude of perspectives on the politics of aid in the Syrian war. Contributors explore the humanitarian crisis behind the Syrian conflict through the history and fragmentation of Syrian health care, the role of international humanitarian law in enabling attacks on health facilities, and the lived experience of siege in all its layers. Further attention is given to the ways in which humanitarian actors have fed the war economy and joined the information wars that have raged throughout the region over the past ten years.

While the Syrian crisis has been everybody's war, it has certainly not been everybody's victory. This volume shares the intricate story of aid delivery and humanitarian complicity within one of the defining conflicts of the twenty-first century.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780197514641
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 09/03/2021
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 9.00(w) x 5.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Jehan Bseiso is Executive Director for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Lebanon. She joined MSF in 2008 and worked in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Ethiopia, and Belgium, primarily in communications and advocacy.

Michiel Hofman has been Senior Humanitarian Specialist for MSF based out of Belfast since 2011. Previously, he worked for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in field missions between 1993 and 1998 as Emergency Coordinator and Head of Mission for MSF in Liberia, DRC, Bosnia, Burundi, Sri Lanka, Brazil,
South Sudan and Kosovo. He is also Co-founder of The Antares Foundation, a Dutch non-profit organisation which supports local NGOs in providing psychosocial support for staff working in high-stress environments.

Jonathan Whittall is Director of the Analysis department for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Operational Centre in Brussels. He previously established and led MSF's Programmes Unit in Southern Africa before becoming head of humanitarian analysis for MSF. He has worked in MSF emergency projects in
South Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Bahrain, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.

Table of Contents

Contributor List

Amani Ballour

Jehan Bseiso, Michiel Hofman, and Jonathan Whittall

Chapter 1. Contested Statehood: The Politics of Health Care in Syria
Omar Dewachi, Fouad Gehad Marei, and Jonathan Whittall

Chapter 2. Health System Fragmentation and the Syrian Conflict
Aula Abbara, Manar Marzouk, and Hala Mkhallalati

Chapter 3. The Moral Norm, the Law, and the Limits of Protection for Wartime Medical Units
Neve Gordon

Chapter 4. When Perceptions and Aspirations Clash: Humanitarianism in Syria's Neighboring States
Dawn Chatty

Chapter 5. The Business of Conflict: Humanitarian Assistance and the War Economy in Syria
Duncan McLean

Chapter 6. Endless Siege: The Chain of Complicity in Syrian Suffering
Jonathan Whittall

Chapter 7. Information Warfare and the Role of Global Humanitarians
Alexey Khlebnikov

Chapter 8. Naming and Shaming the Bombers
Michiel Hofman

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