28 July 2017

Blog by Ugur Ümit Üngör

Are Syria and Iraq the Middle Eastern Bloodlands?

Vluchtelingen © iStockphoto.com/BalkansCat
Refugees © iStockphoto.com/BalkansCat

In an attempt to interpret the Iraqi and Syrian conflicts, historian Dr Ugur Ümit Üngör (Political History) finds some comparative insights in Timothy Snyder's theory of the European bloodlands between 1933 and 1945. He writes about it in a blog for the Peace Palace Library.

Dr. Ugur Ümit Üngör. Foto Jussi Puikkonen/KNAW
Dr Ugur Ümit Üngör

A keyword in trying to explain the mass violence in Europe in this period is statelessness, says Snyder. His ideas are remarkably applicable to Syria and Iraq, according to Üngör: the states are similar in several respects, "but only in conditions of utter statelessness and lawlessness could an extremist group like ISIS seize power and impose their extreme ideology on the hapless remnants of those two societies."