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Summer School - Wars for the Middle East: Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and Syria Since 1979, 22 July-9 August 2019, UK

Publish Date: Feb 01, 2019

Deadline: Mar 31, 2019

Event Dates: from Jul 22, 2019 12:00 to Aug 09, 2019 12:00

Wars for the Middle East: Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and Syria Since 1979

Programme Description

This course is designed for individuals seeking to understand the reasons for the various international interventions in the Middle East since 1979 outside of the Israeli-Arab angle and what the impact of these interventions have been for local populations, societies, and states. This course examines the role of violence and warfare in the shaping of the Middle East, mainly in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Iran since 1979, emphasizing the impact of American and British interventions. The course explores the factors that led to intervention in the region and what the consequences have been for the regional and national politics and social history within the region. Although American and British foreign policymaking will figure prominently in our analysis, we will devote attention as well to why domestic regimes and groups took the paths that it did.

The course looks critically at both Western strategies to resolve problems and political and military responses by local regimes. It allows students to consider the various conflicts that resulted in the context of broader international policies and to understand what the impact of these policies are. The course also moves beyond the focus on military institutional behaviour to focus significant attention on local, everyday experience and consequences.

The course will consist of a combination of lectures, tutorials and interactive activities to encourage students to think about what has been discussed in the context of the voices of those who implemented polities and to better understand those whose lives were impacted by them. The course does not require students to have prior experience in history.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the course, a student should be able to demonstrate the ability to:

  • Understand the ways in which International interventions to solve problems create new ones
  • Identify the connections between the waves of wars and failed states in the region and Cold War and post-CW era political strategies of major world powers have negatively impacted the middle east
  • Critically analyse the prospects of future military interventions directed at helping local populations on the basis of Russia, American, and British experiences in the middle east since 1979.
  • Discuss the interconnectedness of Western security and Western Middle Eastern policies.


Students are usually able to obtain credits from their home institution and typically our courses receive 3 credits in the US system and 7.5 ECTS in the European system. If you intend to claim credits from your home institution, please check the requirements with them before you enrol. We will be happy to assist you in any way we can, however please be aware that the decision to award credits rests with your home institution.

Assessment will be optional and will vary for each course. Participants will be provided with a certificate of attendance and a Record of Study will be available on request.

Programme Structure

Week 1: Britain, the Soviets, and the US in Afghanistan

  • The Great Game and Imperial Frontiers
  • The Rise of Islamic Fundamentalism
  • The Iranian Revolution and Cold War Ripples in 1979
  • The Soviet ‘Nam
  • Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and 9/11
  • State Failure
  • Warlordism
  • US COIN Operations

Week 2: The United States and British Support in Iraq

  • The Iran-Iraq War
  • Saddam Hussain
  • The Occupation of Kuwait
  • Operation Desert Storm
  • Insurgency, 2003-2006
  • Iraqi Sectarian Violence, 2006-2008
  • Kurdistan and Borderlands
  • Surge to Withdrawal, 2007-2011

 Week 3: The Syrian Civil War and Islamic State

  • The Assad Regime and Putin
  • Insurgency and Civil War
  • The Rise and Fall of Islamic State
  • The Refugee “Problem” for Europe
  • US & British Response
  • “We Must Decide on a New War Strategy” Continuing Conflicts in Afghanistan and the Middle East

Teaching & Learning

Contact hours:

46 hours (lectures, tutorials, activities). The course will be delivered Monday - Friday over the 3 weeks.

Core hours:

Monday - Friday 10am-3pm. In addition to regular lectures and tutorials, each course is composed of a range of activities relating to their academic content (e.g. museum visit, company visit etc).

Tuition Fees


Application fee

A one-off, non-refundable application fee of £40 will be charged to cover administration costs. Please visit the SOAS online store to make your application fee payment.


10% discount if you apply by 31 March 2019
20% discount for our partner institutions


Accommodation is available to Summer School students at the SOAS halls of residence, Dinwiddy House. For more details of how to book a room please visit the Dinwiddy House accommodation page.


We have a wide range of scholarships and awards to support students on our degree programmes.

There is a competitive application process for these scholarships and awards – based on academic merit. And their focus can range from supporting students from specific countries or a group of countries, to particular degrees or areas of research.

We also offer a number of bursaries based on financial need at undergraduate level.

Entry Requirements

In order to join our Summer School, you will need to meet the following entry requirements:

  • A university student or a graduate at the time of attending the summer school, and 18+ years of age. 
    Professional experience can be acknowledged as equivalent to a university qualification.
  • A minimum English language requirement if English is not your first language:
    • IELTS, 6.5 overall or higher, with at least 6 in all sub scores.
    • TOEFL Paper based test we require a minimum of 583 with minimum 53 in all skills and for TOEFL Internet Based Test we require a minimum of 93 with minimum 20 in all skills. 
    • Pearson Test of English a score of 59-64
    • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Grade B
    • If you have studied in an English speaking institution, or have courses taught at your university in English (excluding English language courses) you may meet our requirements without having to supply a certificate. Evidence of this will either need to be included on a transcript or letter from your university.
    • Applicants with an alternative qualification should contact us for advice.
    • Applicants whose English language level do not meet out requirements may be interested in our subject based courses with English language support.

Enrolment of Summer School applicants who don’t meet the entry requirements is at the discretion of SOAS – please get in touch to speak to us in detail about your application

Application Procedure

Once you have paid the £40 application fee and submitted the online application form, you will be informed as to whether you have a place on the summer school within 5 working days. Please do not pay your tuition fee prior to having received your offer letter.

Application Deadline

31 May 2019

For more information click "LINK TO ORIGINAL" below.

This opportunity has expired. It was originally published here:

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Host Countries

United Kingdom