Personal profile

Academic Biography

I completed my PhD in International Relations at the University of St Andrews in 2017. Based on my doctoral research, I published my first monograph in 2019 titled "State and Tribes in Syria: Informal Alliances and Conflict Patterns", which investigated the relationship between the state and the tribes during the Syrian civil war offering new contributions to classical International Relations theories. Previously, I taught politics and international relations at the universities of St Andrews, Leicester, and Edinburgh. I also held research positions at the Central European University in Austria and Roskilde University in Denmark. My research interests revolve around the International Relations of the Middle East with particular focus on the role of non-state actors in armed conflicts.

Summary of Research Interests

I am a political scientist who focuses his research on micro local dynamics in the Middle East and works on relating these local patterns to the wider political system of which they are part. My main research interests are in Middle Eastern Politics, with a specific focus on issues related to tribalism, sectarianism, authoritarianism, and Islamism. I am currently involved in two research projects. The first one at the Central European University seeks to consider conditions arising in the unsteady and seemingly deadlocked condition of military and political stalemate that has emerged in the Middle East, specifically Syria and Iraq. The second project at the University of St Andrews focuses on the instrumentalization of sectarianism in Syria by the regime, opposition and by competitive interference of external powers, as well as the discourse in the trans-state traditional and new media frames in sectarian terms.

Books

  1. Dukhan, H. (2019): State and Tribes in Syria: Informal Alliances and Conflict Patterns, Routledge. 
  2. al-Azmeh, A., Akdedian, H. and Dukhan, H. (eds.) (2024): Spoils of War in the Arab East: Reconditioning Society and Polity in Conflict. (Bloomsbury). 
  3. Hinnebusch, R., Dukhan, H et al (eds) : Routledge Research Handbook of the Levant" (Routledge, forthcoming, 2025).

Journal Articles

  1. Dukhan, H. (2024): Memory, Fear, and Sectarianism: Investigating Christian Perspectives and Intercommunal Relations in the al-Hassakeh Governorate during the Syrian Uprising, Middle East Digest (Forthcoming).
  2. Dukhan, H. & Hassan, M. (2024): Explaining Sectarian Dynamics in the Syrian Governorate of Deir Ezzor Through the Lens of Instrumentalism and Historical Sociology, Middle East Law and Governance Journal doi: 10.1163/18763375-20231413
  3. Dukhan, H. (2024): Processes of Cohesion and Fragmentation among Arab Tribes During the Syrian Civil War, Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, https://doi.org/10.1080/19448953.2024.2307821
  4. Dukhan, H. (2022): From Shame to Pride: The Politics of Shawi Identity in Contemporary Syria,  Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication, 15(4), 377-384. doi: https://doi.org/10.1163/18739865-01504003
  5. Dukhan, H. (2022): Tribal Mobilisation Forces in Iraq: Subtleties of Formation and Consequential Power Dynamics, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. https://doi.org/10.1080/13530194.2022.2087599
  6. Dukhan, H. (2022): Tribal mobilisation during the Syrian civil war: the case of al-Baqqer brigade. Small Wars and Insurgencies. https://doi.org/10.1080/09592318.2022.2069970
  7. Dukhan, H. (2022): “The end of the dialectical symbiosis of national and tribal identities in Syria”, Nations and Nationalism, https://doi.org/10.1111/nana.12785
  8. Dukhan, H. (2021). The Politics of Tribalization in Syria. International Journal of Middle East Studies, 53(3), 502-506. doi:10.1017/S0020743821000817
  9. Dukhan, H. (2021): The ISIS Massacre of the Sheitat Tribe in Der ez-Zor, August 2014, Journal of Genocide Research, DOI: 10.1080/14623528.2021.1979912
  10. Dukhan, H. & Alkheder, M. (2017): “A Thematic Analysis of Vocal Hymns (Nasheeds) by the So-Called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)”, Journal for Intelligence, Propaganda and Security Studies, Vol 11, No 1, pp.143-152.
  11. Dukhan, H. (2014): “Tribes and Tribalism in the Syrian Uprising”, Syria Studies Journal, Vol 6, No 2, pp. 1-28.
  12. Dukhan, H. (2014): “Development-Induced Displacement among Syria's Bedouin”, Nomadic Peoples Journal, Vol 18, No 1, pp.61-79.

Book Chapters

  1. Dukhan, H. (2025, Forthcoming): Beyond Alawites and Sunnis: The Sectarian Mosaic of Eastern Syria. In Gani, J. K., & Hinnebusch, R. (Eds.), Sectarianism and Civil War in Syria. Routledge.
  2. Dukhan, H. (2024): “Devolution of State Power in Syria and Iraq: Tribal Auxiliaries from the Margins to the Centre”, chapter in al-Azmeh, A., Akdadian, H. and Dukhan, H. (eds.) Spoils of War in the Arab East: Reconditioning Society and Polity in Conflict (Bloomsbury)
  3. Dukhan, H. & Belcastro, F. (2023) “Tribes and proxy wars in the Middle East” in the Routledge Handbook of Proxy Wars edited by Assaf Moghadam, Vladimi Ruta and Michal Wyss."
  4. Dukhan, H. (2022) “Tribes at War: The Struggle for Syria”, chapter in “Actors and Dynamics in the Syrian Conflict's Middle Phase Between Contentious Politics, Militarization and Regime Resilience” Edited By Jasmine K. Gani, Raymond Hinnebusch, London, Routledge.
  5. Dukhan, H. (2016): “From Reform to Revolt, Bashar al-Assad and the Arab Tribes in Syria”, Pastoralist Livelihoods in Asian Drylands: Environment, Governance and Risk, Ariell Ahearn and Troy Sternberg with Allison Hahn, Cambridge: White Horse Press.

Policy Reports

  1. Dukhan, H. Alhammad, A. & Shaar, K. (2021) “The Kin Who Count: Mapping Raqqa’s Tribal Topology” Middle East Institute, 24 March 2021. Available from: https://www.mei.edu/publications/kin-who-count-mapping-raqqas-tribal-topology
  2. Dukhan, H. (2020) “How the Islamic State Commandeers Syrian Tribal Networks: The Case Study of Saddam al-Jamal” Jamestown Foundation, 4 April 2021. Available from: https:https://jamestown.org/program/how-islamic-state-commandeers-syrian-tribal-networks-the-case-study-of-saddam-al
  3. Dukhan, H. & Osann, T. (2020) “Local Approaches to IDP Return and Reintegration of Internally Displaced in Deir Ez-zur and al-Hasakah, Northeast Syria” Washington, D.C.: United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
  4. Dukhan, H., Kostrz, M., Neirat, O. (2017) “Political Economy of Value Chains in Southern Syria. Tribal & Armed Group Influence on Dairy, Cattle Feed and Olive Oil Value Chains” Washington, D.C.: United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Book Reviews

  1. Haian Dukhan (2021): Review of “Social change in Syria Family, Village and Political Party”, Contemporary Levant, DOI: 10.1080/20581831.2021.1972553
  2. Dukhan, H. (2020) “Review of ‘Joking About Jihad: Comedy and Terror in the Arab World’" LSE Middle East Blog. 10 August 2020. Available from: https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/mec/2020/08/10/book-review-joking-about-jihad-by-gilbert-ramsay-and-moutaz-alkheder/
  3. Dukhan, H. (2020) “Review of ‘Tribes and Global Jihadism’ Middle East Monitor. 30 July 2020. Available from: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200730-tribes-and-global-jihadism/

Short Articles for Research Centers and Media Outlets

  1. H. Dukhan (2023): Opportunistic Strategies in Times of Crisis: The Syrian Government’s Pursuit of Power and Recognition Amidst Civil War, Manar Magazine,  Cambridge Middle East and North Africa Forum 
  2. H.Dukhan (2023): Massacre as a Weapon of Terror: The Case of ISIS and the Sheitat tribe in Syria, Teesside Criminology and Criminal Justice 
  3. H.Dukhan. and Aljasem, A. (2022) The Syrian Regime’s Instrumentalization of Tribes as a Legitimacy Tool in Aleppo, American Political Association (MENA), Vol. 5 Issue 1 
  4. H.Dukhan (2022): From Syria to Ukraine: Why desperate mercenaries fight for Putin. 
  5. H.Dukhan (2022): Russia and America: Holding Ground in Syria. 
  6. H.Dukhan. Serra, G. (2021): COP26: Syria is a warning of climate disaster that region cannot ignore. 
  7. H Dukhan, H. (2021): America Withdrew from Afghanistan—Is Syria Next?, 25 October 2021, the National Interest,  
  8. Dukhan, H. (2021): Oil and water: what the ‘war on terror’ missed, 4 October 2021, Asia Times
  9. Dukhan, H. (2021) “My Syrian past and the privilege of a vote in Scotland at next month's election, The National Scotland, 25 April 2021. 
  10. Dukhan, H. & Alhammad, A. (2021) “Iran’s Network of Influence among Syrian Tribes” Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 6 April 2021.
  11. Dukhan, H. (2021) “Damascus or Dar'a? The Rural-Urban Divide in the Syrian Conflict” The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University, 23 March 2021. 
  12. Dukhan, H. & Alhammad, A. (2021) “Fragmentation and perceived bias: The shortcomings of US policy towards tribes in Syria” Atlantic Council, 20 January 2021. 
  13. Dukhan, H. (2020) “How the Islamic State Commandeers Syrian Tribal Networks: The Case Study of Saddam al-Jamal” Jamestown Foundation, 4 April 2021.
  14. Dukhan, H. (2020) “Trusted networks: How the Assad regime subverts clan ties in Daraa” Middle East Institute, 18 November 2021. 
  15. Chatty, D. and H. Dukhan (2020) “The civil war is threatening an ancient way of life in Syria” al-Jazeera English, 30 August 2020. 
  16. Dukhan, H. and H. Ali (2020) “A Trilogy of Tragedy: The Burning of Palmyra Oasis” The Aleppo Project, Central European University, 29 May 2020. 
  17. Dukhan, H. (2019) “Tribal Sponsorships Help Syrian Families Out of ISIS Camps, But Challenges Remain” Chatham House, December 2019. 
  18. Dukhan, H. (2019) “Pro-regime Militias and ISIS Militants Stand Against the Return of Palmyra’s People” Chatham House, September 2019.
  19. Dukhan, H. (2019) “Arab gripes pose challenges for Syrian Kurds’ control” Oxford Analytica. 
  20. Dukhan, H. (2019) “Syria: attempts by Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey to co-opt Arab tribes will deepen the country’s divisions” The Conversation, 17 July 2019.
  21. Dukhan, H. (2018) “Critical analysis of attempts to co-opt the tribes in Syria” Middle East Centre, London School of Economics, 
  22. Dukhan, H. (2018) “Rivals Will Use Tribes to Destablise Syria’s Raqqa” Oxford Analytica. 16 October 2018. 
  23. Dukhan, H. (2018) “The Syrian Civil War: What role do tribal loyalties play?” Middle East Centre, London School of Economics, 13 July 2018. 
  24. Dukhan, H. (2017) “Who are the Tadamera? Modern Life Among the Ruins of Palmyra” Bergen University. 
  25. Dukhan, H. (2015) “The Islamic State: Balancing the Islamic and the Tribal Identity” Eye Magazine, 7, The International Academic Forum. 
  26. Dukhan, H. (2014) “Tribes and the Islamists in Modern Syria: A Short Introduction” Centre for Syrian Studies, University of St Andrews. 
  27. Dukhan, H. and S. Hawat (2014) “The Islamic State and the Arab Tribes in Eastern Syria” E-International Relations
  28. Dukhan, H. (2013) “Syria’s Security Implications for Israel: Advantage of a Stalemate” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  29. Dukhan, H. (2013) “Syria and the Risk of Somalisation” Open Democracy, 19 January 2013. 

Research Projects & External Funding

Striking from the Margins: From Disintegration to Reconstitution of State and Religion in the Middle East (Central European University): The Carnegie-funded research project seeks to consider conditions arising in the unsteady and seemingly deadlocked condition of military and political stalemate that has emerged in the Arab East, specifically Syria and Iraq. As part of this project, I am working on my individual research project titled “State Devolution in Syria and Iraq: Tribal Auxiliaries in the Margins”. I am also co-editing a book titled “Reconstitution of Power and Authority in the Arab Mashriq:  Questioning Post-Conflict Scenarios” with Professor Aziz al-Azmeh and Dr Harout Akdedian.

 

Research Projects & External Funding

Variations in Sectarianization in Syria (University of St Andrews): Funded by a grant from the Danish Research Council, I am involved in a research project led by Professor Raymond Hinnebusch and Dr Morten Valbjørn at the University of St Andrews. The project focuses on the instrumentalization of sectarianism by regime and opposition and by competitive interference of external powers, as well as the discourse in the trans-state traditional and new media frames the Syrian uprising in Sectarian terms. An edited volume on the topic that comprises of in-depth case studies is being prepared. 

Education/Academic qualification

Bachelor, Al-Baath University

Master, University of East Anglia

PhD, University of St Andrews

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