Security Assistance and Non-State Actors in Iraq, Syria & Afghanistan: Comprehensive and Inclusive Human Security Beyond the State?


This project will assess bottom-up security assistance in fragile states in light of transnational security dimensions, both transnational threats (e.g. ISIS) and transnational assistance (Western or regional interventions). Do Local and Hybrid Security Forces (LHSF) in Afghanistan, Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan (hereinafter, “Iraq”), and Syria respond effectively, inclusively and comprehensively to human security concerns? ToC for LHSF mechanisms will be re-evaluated not only regarding transnational security implications, but also regarding community perspectives and legitimacy, rule of law and state-building priorities, and protection concerns. This balance of research questions is necessary to fully reflect how such mechanisms balance comprehensive human security concerns in practice.

Three case studies of LHSF mechanisms will draw from stakeholder interviews together with in-depth qualitative field research in affected communities (based on careful risk assessment) that will better assess community perspectives, practical implementation issues, and evolving transnational conflict dynamics. Findings will inform an overview paper, stakeholder policy briefs, and thematic issue-papers across both regions.

Research will be interwoven with stakeholder outreach to ensure a constant feedback loop with practitioners and policymakers, and greater likelihood of adoption of findings. Project partners will leverage extensive practitioner networks in the US, Europe and relevant international organizations to maximize knowledge sharing, including through a major event in Washington, DC. Iraq and Afghanistan partners will utilize existing ties with local governments, foreign donors and local communities to hold informal knowledge-sharing roundtables. Employing local researchers in research will further enhance local voices and capacity development in two target LMICs.


Book or monography

Scientific article

Professional publication

Publication meant for a broad audience

Publications for the general public


Project number

W 08.420.111

Main applicant

P. Rotmann

Affiliated with

Global Public Policy Institute

Team members

Dr. Z. Ali, E. Burlinghaus, K. Clark, A. Derzsi-Horvath, M. Faiq, J.D. Gaston, S. Mathieu-Comtois, Mr. F.R. Muzhary, J. Parry, H. Popal, O. Read, F. Rehman Mazahari, P. Rotmann, T. Ruttig, B. Saleh, M. Schulz, Dr. J.M. Skelton, C. van den Toorn


01/08/2016 to 30/11/2019