Security, Conflict and Exploitation in Congo

The  Democratic Republic of Congo  (DRC) is one of the largest countries in Africa and has experienced intense human and resource exploitation and violence throughout its history. This talk explores the links between violence, resources and political power, and the effects that these have had on development and migration. The recent presidential elections have seen a relatively peaceful handover of power, and the emergence of a new form of political opposition. These have taken place alongside a marked continuation in the destitution suffered by majority of the population, and a critical lack of service provision, which is evident in the responses made to the on-going Ebola outbreak  in the east of the country. 

 Zoe Marriage is a Reader in Development Studies at SOAS  and a member of the Centre on Conflict, Rights and Justice.  She has researched extensively in countries affected by conflict in Africa and has focused on the relationship between security and development in the DRC publishing on demobilisation and the imposition and pursuit of security  (Formal Peace and Informal War, Routledge 2013).  She will talk about the current situation in the DRC and the prospects for development and security.

Marriage, Zoe (2018) ‘The Elephant in the Room: Off-shore companies, liberalisation and extension of presidential power in DR Congo.  Third World Quarterly, 39 (5). pp. 889-905.

You can follow Zoe on twitter here:

15th April 2019


The Launch of Iraq Solidarity Month

Organised by – Tadhamun Iraqi Women Solidarity

“The immorality of the United States and Great Britain’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003, premised on the lie that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, has destabilised and polarised the world to a greater extent than any other conflict in history”.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s conviction was shared by millions who demonstrated across the globe against the war on Iraq in 2003 and continues to be shared today.

Fifteen years on, the impact of the illegal US led act of aggression on the Iraqi people that continues to cause endless suffering, has become another footnote in the cycle of violence and war that blights the Middle East to this day.

Remembering Iraq is not only important to the millions of victims who deserve justice, it is necessary – to reclaim the basic principles of peace and respect between nations that is the foundation of our shared humanity and guarantee we can all live in a future devoid of the scourge of war.

These are the aims behind our launch of the initiative: Iraq Solidarity Month (ISM).

It will be a reminder of the crimes committed in dismantling a state, society and culture so that they are not repeated. It is also a celebration of Iraq’s history, resistance and aspiration for peace based on equality and justice.

Venue: SOAS Alumni Lecture Theatre (S) ALT

Paul Webley Wing (Senate House North Block) SOAS University of London, 10 Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG. View Map

Date:  Thursday 26th April 2018 at 19:00 – 22:00

Chair: Wen-chin Ouyang: Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature.


Denis J. Halliday: Head of the Humanitarian Programme in Iraq 1997-98.

Ayça Çubukçu: Assistant Professor of Human Rights and Director of the Human Rights Programme at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Dirk Adriaensens: member of the Executive Committee of the Brussels Tribunal.

Lindsey German: Stop the War convener.

Hamza Hamouchene: Algerian activist, and Senior Programme Officer North Africa and West Asia at War on Want.

Mike Phipps: Editor of the fortnightly Iraq Occupation Focus e-newsletter.

Victoria Brittan: Journalist and author of several books and plays a bout the war on terror and Guantánamo Bay.

Haifa Zangana: Iraqi Author – journalist

Nazli Tarzi: Multimedia journalist.

Ehsan Al Emam: Iraqi musician – Oud player.

Lowkey: British – Iraqi rapper and activist.

Please visit Facebook Site.  Call / Text: 07852 123919                        

Tadhamun (solidarity) is an Iraqi women organization, encompasses many organisations and individuals standing by Iraqi women’s struggle for equal citizenship across ethnicities and religions, for human rights and gender equality.

The Mediterranean Refugee Crisis – asylum seekers and the EU

don_flynnasylum_seekers_boatThis year 350,000 migrants have already arrived in Europe by sea, over 2,600 have drowned in the Mediterranean, and the flow of refugees shows no sign of reducing. While the EU has recently stepped up its inadequate rescue operations at sea, no coordinated effort to ensure the right to seek asylum has been reached, and individual members’ policies differ profoundly. French and German requests for each country to take a mandatory number of migrants have been refused, and the EU’s ‘Dublin Regulation’placing responsibility for examining asylum seekers’ claims with the first EU country that a migrant reaches, has proved unworkable. Greece (the arrival point for Syrian and Afghani refugees) and Italy (the arrival point for Africans, predominantly Eritreans), are unable to cope. Don Flynn is the Director and founder of the Migrants Rights Network, a board member of the UK Race and Europe Network (UKREN), and chairs the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM). He will discuss this humanitarian catastrophe with us.


Mediterranean Refugee Crisis by Friendslemondediplo on Mixcloud

Continuity or Change? Mapping the Political Economy of the Middle East

adam_hanieh_lineages_revoltadam_haniehThe Arab uprisings that erupted in 2010-2011 have typically been presented through the narrow lens of dictatorship versus democracy. In a region now wracked by conflict and displacement, Adam Hanieh argues that a full understanding of both the uprisings and their aftermath requires a deeper examination of the Middle East political economy. Forms of authoritarianism are a function of Arab capitalism itself, particularly as it has developed through the neoliberal period. The Middle East’s shifting integration with the world market – and the new patterns of uneven and combined development across the region – are profoundly impacting the nature of Arab capitalism as well as forms of political contestation. Dr Hanieh is a Senior Lecturer in Development Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), where his research examines the political economy of the Middle East, with a particular focus on the Gulf Cooperation Council. He is an international advisory board member for the journal Studies in Political Economy and is the author of Capitalism and Class in the Gulf Arab States (Palgrave-MacMillan 2011), and the recently published Lineages of Revolt: Issues of Contemporary Capitalism in the Middle East.


Political Economy of the Middle East by Friendslemondediplo on Mixcloud

20 Nov 2015

Catastrophic Delusion – the Myth of Free Trade

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 19.08.34Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 18.48.55Everything, from land and water to health and human rights, is intimately linked to the issue of ‘free trade’. But Professor Tandon, author of the recently published Trade is War, asserts that in fact free trade is far from benign. Rather, it is deeply Eurocentric to think that because trade enriches the West it also works for the rest of the world. Instead, for the vast majority of people, and especially for the poorer regions of the globe, free trade not only hinders development – it causes relentless waves of violence and impoverishment, and continues to serve as a weapon for plunder and exploitation. Yash Tandon, isthe author of numerous books, andis Honorary Professor at Warwick and London Middlesex University. He is the Founder-Chairman of SEATINI (Southern and Eastern African Trade Information and Negotiations Institute), and former Executive Director of the South Centre, a think tank of the Global South.

Climate Change – What will happen after the decisions in Paris?

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 23.13.00_0Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 23.48.09_0The impacts of climate change place future human prosperity and wellbeing at risk. Despite much progress in the development of alternatives to fossil fuel energy, continuing growth in population and global economic activity have overwhelmed attempts to reduce human carbon emissions. What is needed to avoid ‘dangerous’ climate change is the ‘greatest collective action in history’.  The forthcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, to be held in December 2015, is the latest in a series of negotiations aimed at achieving a global accord. We all need to participate in the public discussion and take action to ensure that the world adopts a path to a more secure, green and clean future.  Chris Rapley is Professor of Climate Science at UCL and is the Chair of European Space Agency Director General’s High Level Science Policy Advisory Committee. He performed the play on climate change ‘2071’, which he wrote with Duncan Macmillan, at the Royal Court theatre in London, the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg, and the BOZAR theatre in Brussels. The book ‘2071 – The World We’ll Leave Our Grandchildren’ is available, published by John Murray.

Prof Rapley – Climate Change by Friendslemondediplo on Mixcloud

Nigeria: the Power of a Complex Land

Screen Shot 2015-09-06 at 10.29.24Bourne image001With a population of around 180 million, Nigeria is the largest country in Africa, and accounts for 47% of West Africa’s population. It is home to at least 250 ethnic groups, 500 indigenous languages, and two major religions ― Islam and Christianity. The country has a long and complex history and contains numerous different cultural identities, and recently its problems with the militant Islamic group Boko Haram have been the focus of world attention. It is also the biggest oil exporter in Africa, with the largest natural gas reserves in the continent, but despite the prosperity this should bring, life expectancy is only 52, and 46% of its people live in poverty. However, it is a leading player within Africa, and its continued stability is of great importance internationally. Richard Bourne OBE is a journalist, author and educationist, and among his many posts was Deputy Director of the Commonwealth Institute and Head of the Commonwealth Policy Studies Unit. He currently serves on the London board of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, and has written widely on international matters. His most recent books are Catastrophe:What went wrong in Zimbabwe, 2011, and Nigeria: a new history of a turbulent century which is being published by Zed Books this autumn.

Humanitarian Intervention and the Responsibility to Protect: When, where and how?

aidan_hehirHumanitarian Intervention is seldom out of the news, and questions surrounding the morality, legality and effectiveness of intervention abound. What criteria constitute ‘Responsibility to Protect’, and warrant intervention? Who should hold the mandate to intervene, and what methods should be used? Do interveners have their own agenda, and will they be welcomed by those they purport to assist? How successful have recent interventions been? Aidan Hehir is Reader in International Relations and Director of the Security and International Relations Programme at the University of Westminster. His research interests include humanitarian intervention, state-building, and the laws governing the use of force. In addition to his many books he has published widely in number of academic journals and has been a regular media contributor. His recent books include The Responsibility to Protect: Rhetoric, Reality and the future of Humanitarian Intervention (Palgrave Macmillan 2012) and Libya, the Responsibility to Protect and the future of humanitarian Intervention (with Robert Murray, 2013)

Humanitarian Intervention by Friendslemondediplo on Mixcloud

How effective is the International Criminal Court?

kirsten_ainley (ICC) which was set up by the United Nations under the Rome Statute began functioning in 2002 and issued its first arrest warrants in 2005. From the beginning it has been surrounded by controversy – the United States voted against the creation of the Court and has since said that it does not recognise its jurisdiction.  The  focus of its work on Africa has led to charges that the Court is a means of promoting western imperialism and the decision of Palestine to apply for membership of the ICC has led  to a furious response from Israel. In addition the Court has been seen as totally ineffective because of the small number of cases that have come to trial.

Kirsten Ainley is an Assistant Professor in the Department of International Relations at the London School of Economics and the Director of the Centre for International Studies. She has a particular interest in the development and politics of international criminal law and notions of individual and collective responsibility. She will look at the background to the setting up of the ICC, its record so far and how its role can be developed in the future.

2015/05/15 – The International Criminal Court in the Hague by Friendslemondediplo on Mixcloud