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Foreign Policy Centre

Ideas for a fairer world

Research: Middle East; Global Security Challenges


> FPC Briefing: Above all, a Prime Minister for Palestinian Unity?

By Dr Stephen Royle.

Dr Stephen Royle, who has been a consultant to the outgoing Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, gives his views on the progress made over the last year under Hamdallah's leadership.

Download FPC Briefing: Above all, a Prime Minister for Unity? (340 kilobyte PDF)

> Syria's Forever War

By James Denselow.

Last month saw the third anniversary of the conflict in Syria that is traced back to children in Daraa writing graffiti on walls. In the same month Rwanda marked the 20th anniversary of its genocide, although now unlike then we can't say that we didn't know what was happening. This year also marks the 100 year anniversary of the start of World War One and the advent of 'total war' that in Syria is something more akin to 'total civil war'. The third anniversary of this bloody denouement of 'the Arab Spring' is a moment of reflection towards a crisis in which there is far more availability of information over what is happening than there is of argument about how to stop it. The phrase 'never again' has been lost to the screams of the over 10,000 children who have died to date. The fact that the UN has stopped counting the dead only compounds attempts to fully realise the scale, depth and ongoing impact of the crisis.

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> FPC Briefing: Constructing Sectarianisms and Conflict in the Middle East

By Dr Simon Mabon.

Dr Simon Mabon explores the geo-political competition between Saudi Arabia and Iran, looking at how this struggle impacts on local sectarian tensions in Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Lebanon.

Download FPC Briefing: Constructing Sectarianisms (450 kilobyte PDF)

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> Europe in the World: Can EU foreign policy make an impact?

[Cover of Europe in the World: Can EU foreign policy make an impact?]

Adam Hug (Ed.)

February 2013 Hard copy: £4.95, plus £1 p+p.

Download Europe in the World: Can EU foreign policy make an impact? (2.02 megabyte PDF)

The Foreign Policy Centre's new publication, Europe in the World: Can EU foreign policy make an impact?, examines both how Europe is seen on the world stage and the effectiveness of the new External Action Service in delivering on its key objectives: building an effective new diplomatic service, strengthening EU influence in the neighbourhood and developing relations with strategic partners. It explores the institutional and organisational challenges surrounding the creation of the EEAS and considers what tensions remain with other EU institutions and national governments, with particular reference to the UK's difficult relationship with Europe.

Europe in the World is edited by Adam Hug (Foreign Policy Centre). It contains contributions on a range of topics and different perspectives from: Dr. Jozef Batora (Comenius University), Thiago de Aragão (Foreign Policy Centre), William Gumede (Foreign Policy Centre), Jacqueline Hale (Open Society Foundations), Richard Howitt MEP, Stefan Lehne (Carnegie Europe), Dr. Simon Lightfoot and Dr Balazs Szent-Ivanyi (University of Leeds), Prof. Anand Menon (Kings College London), Rt. Hon. Sir Malcolm Rifkind KCMG, QC, MP, Edward Macmillan-Scott MEP, Prof. John Peterson (University of Edinburgh), Dr. Neil Winn (University of Leeds). Rt. Hon. Douglas Alexander MP (Shadow Foreign Secretary) provides the foreword.

The findings of the Europe in the World publication have been extensively referenced in the UK Government's Review of the Balance of Competences between the United Kingdom and the European Union: Foreign Policy paper.

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> The Iraq Commission Report

[Cover of The Iraq Commission Report]

Alex Bigham

July 2007 Hard copy: £2.95, plus £1 p+p.

Download the report (440 kilobyte PDF)

The Foreign Policy Centre, in conjunction with Channel 4, set up an independent, cross-party Commission tasked with producing a blueprint for Britain's future involvement in Iraq.

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> Post-Conquest Civil Affairs: Comparing War's End in Iraq and in Germany

[Cover of Post-Conquest Civil Affairs: Comparing War's End in Iraq and in Germany]

Correlli Barnett


Download the report (200 kilobyte PDF)

Correlli Barnett, the distinguished military historian, contrasts the success of the Allied military government in Germany in 1945-6 with the relative failure of the Coalition in Iraq in 2003-4.

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Past Events

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> The crisis in Syria and public opinion: views from the UK, US and France

Date: Tuesday 11 March 2014

Time: 6.30-8.00pm (please note amended start time)

Venue: Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Room(off Westminster Hall), Houses of Parliament, London SW1A 0AA


  • Ian Lucas MP, Shadow Middle East Minister
  • Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, Former Middle East Minister
  • Prof. Thomas Scotto, Professor of Government, University of Essex
  • Dr. Jason Reifler, Senior Lecturer, University of Exeter
  • Joe Twyman, Director of Political and Social Research, YouGov

Chair: Deborah Haynes, Defence Editor, The Times

Foreign Policy Centre is delighted to host upcoming panel, with the kind support of the University of Essex, which will examine some of the key findings of new research being conducted by the Universities of Essex, Exeter, and Texas-Dallas, with assistance of YouGov and a grant from the ESRC. The event will look to enhance public understanding of the nature and consequences of the reaction of citizens in three mature democracies (UK, US, and France) to the dynamic and volatile military and humanitarian situation in Syria. It will examine the size and effectiveness of aid contributions to the region against the backdrop of rising aid scepticism linked to the downturn.

The event will examine the findings of research surveys that explore the views of the UK,US and French publics as to:

  • whether people are capable of forming coherent and durable foreign policy judgments;
  • how people weigh costs and benefits of alternative courses of action that leaders propose to respond to the Syrian crisis;
  • what extent are public reactions to the Syrian crisis affected by attitudes about the political elite(s) proposing various responses;
  • what are citizens' beliefs about the morality of war and the necessity of humanitarian relief in their reactions to the Syrian crisis;
  • levels of public engagement with their country's responses to the crisis;
  • how core values and personality characteristics shape attitudes toward the Syrian crisis;
  • national and socio-demographic variation in responses to the crisis.

Download The crisis in Syria and public opinion (220 kilobyte PDF)

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> Hostage taking, piracy and ransom payments: ethical dilemmas and practical challenges

Date: Wednesday 6th March 2013


Venue: Committee Room 11, Houses of Parliament

The Foreign Policy Centre is hosting a Westminster Seminar, with the kind support of Control Risks, that will discuss some of the key issues in the debate around hostage taking, piracy and the payment of ransoms. The event will enable a wide ranging debate around the public policy response to these issues in the wake of the recent report of the UK-led International Task Force, and earlier Foreign Affairs Select Committee and House of Lords reports.

The event aims to examine the current situation around the world in relation to the taking of hostages. The event will explore the economic, security, political and social factors that drive hostage taking. It will also discuss the mechanisms of hostage negotiation and ransom payment, while debating the feasibility of alternatives to such payments; looking at both ethical and practical issues. Participants would examine the issue of hostage taking by terrorist groups and links between those involved in piracy,extremist political movements and international terrorism.


  • Alistair Burt MP, Foreign Office Minister responsible for the International Piracy Ransoms Taskforce
  • Richard Fenning , Chief Executive Officer, Control Risks
  • Judith and Oliver Tebbutt
  • Dr Anja Shortland, Reader in Economics, Brunel University

Chair: Con Coughlin, Associate Editor, Daily Telegraph

The event is free and open to all but will operate under the Chatham House Rule.

Please RSVP to

Download Hostage taking, piracy and ransom payments (300 kilobyte PDF)

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> Implementing the Iraq Commission Report

An ODI and FPC event


Baroness Margaret Jay, Co-chair, Iraq Commission

Simon Maxwell, Director, ODI (Chair)


Thurs 22nd November 2007, 1pm-2.15pm


Overseas Development Institute, 111 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7JD

About the Event:

The Foreign Policy Centre (FPC), in partnership with Channel 4, facilitated a UK Iraq Commission – the British equivalent of the US Iraq Study Group. The Iraq Commission was an independent, cross-party Commission that produced a report containing recommendations for the future of Britain's role in Iraq.

At this ODI and Foreign Policy Centre event, Baroness Margaret Jay will outline the process of evidence gathering employed by the Commission and the major findings of the report.

You can register online for the event at

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