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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.


Dukhan, H. (2019) State and Tribes in Syria: Informal Alliances and Conflict Patterns, Abingdon: Routledge.

Journal Articles/Book chapters

Dukhan, H. (2022) “From shame to pride: the politics of Shawi identity in contemporary Syria”,The Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication, Forthcoming.

Dukhan, H. (2022) “Sectarianism in Eastern Syria: How Historical Sociology and Instrumentalism Explain the Extant Political Dynamics”, Routledge, edited volume on sectarianism in Syria by Professor Raymond Hinnebusch and Dr Morten Valbjørn, Forthcoming.

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. 

Dukhan, H. (2021). The Politics of Tribalization in Syria. International Journal of Middle East Studies, 53(3), 502-506. doi:10.1017/S0020743821000817

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

Dukhan, H. (2021): “The end of the dialectical symbiosis of national and tribal identities in Syria”, Nations and Nationalism, https://doi.org/10.1111/nana.12785

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.

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. 

Dukhan, H. (2014): “Tribes and Tribalism in the Syrian Uprising”, Syria Studies Journal, Vol 6, No 2, pp. 1-28.

Dukhan, H. (2014): “Development-Induced Displacement among Syria's Bedouin”, Nomadic Peoples Journal, Vol 18, No 1, pp.61-79.

Policy Reports

Dukhan, H. Alhammad, A. & Shaar, K. (2021) “The Kin Who Count: Mapping Raqqa’s Tribal Topology” Middle East Institute.

Dukhan, H. (2020) “How the Islamic State Commandeers Syrian Tribal Networks: The Case Study of Saddam al-Jamal” Jamestown Foundation.

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). 

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

Dukhan, H. (2021): Review of “Social change in Syria Family, Village and Political Party, Contemporary Levant”, DOI: 10.1080/20581831.2021.1972553

Dukhan, H. (2020) Review of “Joking About Jihad: Comedy and Terror in the Arab World” LSE Middle East Blog.

Dukhan, H. (2020) Review of “Tribes and Global Jihadism” Middle East Monitor. 

Selected articles for research centres and media outlets

Dukhan, H. (2021): America Withdrew from Afghanistan—Is Syria Next?, The Centre for National Interest, Washington, D.C.  

Dukhan, H. (2021): Oil and water: what the ‘war on terror’ missed, 4 October 2021, Asia Times.

Chatty, D. and H. Dukhan (2020) “The civil war is threatening an ancient way of life in Syria” al-Jazeera English.

Dukhan, H. (2019) “Tribal Sponsorships Help Syrian Families Out of ISIS Camps, But Challenges Remain” Chatham House.

Dukhan, H. (2019) “Syria: attempts by Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey to co-opt Arab tribes will deepen the country’s divisions” The Conversation.

Dukhan, H. (2018) “Critical analysis of attempts to co-opt the tribes in Syria” Middle East Centre, London School of Economics.

Dukhan, H. (2017) “Who are the Tadamera? Modern Life Among the Ruins of Palmyra” Bergen University.

Dukhan, H. (2015) “The Islamic State: Balancing the Islamic and the Tribal Identity” Eye Magazine, 7, The International Academic Forum.

Dukhan, H. and S. Hawat (2014) “The Islamic State and the Arab Tribes in Eastern Syria” E-International Relations.

Dukhan, H. (2013) “Syria’s Security Implications for Israel: Advantage of a Stalemate” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

 Dukhan, H. (2013) “Syria and the Risk of Somalisation” Open Democracy.


Education/Academic qualification

Bachelor, Al-Baath University

Master, University of East Anglia

PhD, University of St Andrews


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