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Women and War in the Middle East

Women and War in the Middle East

Isis Nusair | Riina Isotalo | Shahrzad Mojab | Spike Peterson | Sophie Richter-Devroe | Martina Kamp | Doctor Nicola Pratt | Doctor Nadje Al-Ali


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Women and War in the Middle East provides a critical examination of the relationship between gender and transnationalism in the context of war, peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction in the Middle East. Critically examining the ways in which the actions of various local and transnational groups - including women's movements, diaspora communities, national governments, non-governmental actors and multilateral bodies - interact to both intentionally and inadvertantly shape the experiences of women in conflict situations, and determine the possibilities for women's participation in peace-building and (post)-conflict reconstruction, as well as the longer-term prospects for peace and security. The volume pays particular attention to the ways in which gender roles, relations and identities are constructed, negotiated and employed within transnational social and political fields in the conflict and post-conflict situations, and their particular consequences for women. Contributions focus on the two countries with the longest experiences of war and conflict in the Middle East, and which have been subject to the most prominent international interventions of recent years - that is, Iraq and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Issues addressed by contributors include the impact of gender mainstreaming measures by international agencies and NGOs upon the ability of women to participate in peace-building and post-conflict resolution; the consequences for gender relations and identities of the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq; and how transnational feminist movements can most effectively support peace building and women's rights in the region. Based entirely on original empirical research. Women and War in the Middle East brings together some of the foremost scholars in the areas of feminist international relations, feminist international political economy, anthropology, sociology, history and Middle East studies.
'In a fresh take on two deadly and intractable conflicts, these feminist authors show us an array of participants (governments, agencies, insurgents, donors, elites, movements) acting out the dynamics of gender power. It's a book that should shake up mainstream Middle East studies and empower transnational feminism.' Cynthia Cockburn, author of From Where We Stand: War, Women's Activism and Feminist Analysis (Zed Books, 2007). 'Nadje Al-Ali and Nicola Pratt bring together here some of the smartest feminist analysts of war and militarism in the Middle East. Together they show not only the profound effects of war and militarism on women's lives, but how asking feminist questions can make us all smarter about what causes and perpetuates both.' Cynthia Enloe, author of "The Curious Feminist: Searching for Women in the New Age of Empire" 'Written by scholars and activists who share a vision for justice and gender equality in the Middle East, this book offers compelling case-studies, cutting edge analysis and ground-breaking theorizing. It is an invaluable contribution to the scholarship on gender and war in general and on women in conflict and post-conflict situations in the Middle East and beyond.' Simona Sharoni. SUNY, Plattsburgh 'This is a book which should be read widely... this book has the coherence that so many edited books strive for but fail to achieve.' Jennifer G. Mathers, Aberystwyth University
Dr Nadje Al-Ali is Reader in Gender Studies and Chair of the Centre for Gender Studies at SOAS, University of London. She is the author of numerous articles and book chapters on women and gender issues in the Middle East as well as migration and diaspora mobilization. Her recent publications include Secularism, Gender and the State in the Middle East (2000), New Approaches to Migration (2002), Iraqi Women: Untold Stories from 1948 to the Present (2007) and, co-authored with Nicola Pratt, What kind of Liberation: Women and the Occupation in Iraq (2009). She is a founding member of Act Together: Women's Action for Iraq ( Nicola Pratt is Associate Professor at the University of Warwick, where she teaches in the areas of Middle East politics and international relations. She is author of Democracy and Authoritarianism in the Arab World (2007) and co-author with Nadje Al-Ali of What Kind of Liberation? Women and the Occupation of Iraq (2009), in addition to a number of articles on democratization, human rights, and gender and politics in the Middle East. Her current research interests are in gender and insecurity in the Middle East. She is also a member of Stop the War and Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Acknowledgements vii
Introduction | Women and War in the Middle East: Transnational Perspectives 1
Transnational feminisms 4
Gendering violence, conflict and war 8
Diaspora mobilization 12
Gendering post-conflict 15
Women and gender in formalreconstruction/peace-building processes 17
Gender mainstreaming in peace and security 20
Structure of the book 22
Notes 26
References 27
PART I | Gendering the Neoliberal Imperial Project 33
1 | Gendering Informal Economies in Iraq 35
The analytics of a critical project 36
Informal activities and international developments 39
Informal economies in Iraq 44
Post-invasion informal economies 46
Conclusion 56
Notes 57
References 60
2 | The United States, the Iraqi Women’s Diaspora and Women’s ‘Empowerment’ in Iraq 65
Iraqi women’s diaspora activism and the invasion 66
The US administration and gendered war talk 69
Diaspora women and the ‘new Iraq’ 73
Funding for ‘women’s empowerment’ 75
Transnational women’s rights activism 79
Communal politics versus women’s ‘empowerment’ under occupation 83
Political bargaining, women’s rights and the constitution 87
Women’s activism and shifting gender identities in Iraq 91
Conclusion 94
Notes 95
References 96
3 | ‘Post-war Reconstruction’, Imperialism and Kurdish Women’s NGOs 99
Iraq: a state born in war 102
The (re)production of destruction: the case of the 1991 war 104
Disentangling contradictions in women’s NGOs: the context of the 2003 war and occupation 109
Kurdish women’s NGOs under US occupation 114
Concluding remarks: women’s NGOs, anti‑feminism and colonial feminism 123
Note 126
References 126
PART II | Revisiting Transnational Women’s Activism in the Context of Conflict, Post-conflict Reconstruction and Peace-building 129
4 | Gender Mainstreaming and Feminist Organizing in the Middle East and North Africa 131
Gender mainstreaming 132
EU and UN gender mainstreaming initiatives 133
Gender mainstreaming and women’s and feminist organizing 136
Gender mainstreaming in conflict situations 142
The Palestinian case 145
Challenges for gender mainstreaming and feminist organizing in MENA 150
Notes 152
References 154
5 | ‘Here, it’s not about conflict resolution – we can only resist’: Palestinian Women’s Activism in Conflict Resolution and Non-violent Resistance 158
Historical overview of Palestinian women’s peace activism 160
Organizational forms of women’s peace-building 169
Aims of women’s peace-building 172
Strategies of women’s peace-building 177
Conclusion 184
Notes 186
References 187
PART III | Gender, Citizenship and Post-conflict Reconstruction 191
6 | Fragmented Citizenship: Communalism, Ethnicity and Gender in Iraq 193
Transition in the shadow of violence and conflict 195
The citizenship bargain: negotiating communalism, ethnicity and gender 200
Conclusion 208
Notes 210
References 212
7 | Gendered Palestinian Citizenship: Women, Legal Pluralism and Post-conflict Aid 217
Connective practices, women’s memberships and structural marginalization 220
Gender conventions and post-conflict 225
Gender, aid and non-liberal processes 230
Drafting citizenship in conflict 232
Post-conflict legal pluralism and the subject of law: towards which citizenship model? 236
Developmentalizing the diaspora – indications for gendered citizenship? 243
Conclusion 245
Notes 247
References 249
Conclusion | Gendering War and Transnationalism in the Middle East 253
Transnational interventions and gender 254
Implications of ‘gender mainstreaming’ 257
Transnational feminism 260
The feminist conundrum 262
Gendering war and conflict 265
Methodological and political considerations 267
References 269
About the Contributors 270
Index 273