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Regulating irregular actors in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria

Time (GMT +01) 14:00 15:15
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  • Ashley Jackson

    Chair – Co-Director, Centre for the Study of Armed Groups, ODI

  • Erica Gaston

    Panellist – Non-resident Fellow, Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi)

  • Carter Malkasian

    Panellist – Former Senior Advisor to General Joseph Dunford and Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

  • Johan Olhagen

    Panellist – Human Rights Officer, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR)

  • Ivan M. Nielsen

    Discussant – Former Danish Special Representative for the Syria Crisis


In the last two decades, Western states have frequently worked with non-state or sub-state armed groups to confront security threats, whether as partners in global counter-terrorism operations or as the de facto security providers in stabilisation and peacebuilding contexts.

In partnership with ODI's Centre for the Study of Armed Groups and GPPi, our webinar aims to explore emerging international practices on due diligence and risk mitigation measures in the context of partnerships with non-state or sub-state armed groups. To explore this emerging practice, we highlight findings from a recently published paper that looks at seven US partnerships with local, substate and non-state forces in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. This paper, and the lessons learned from the case studies within it, serve as a launching pad for a broader discussion about how states and the international community might try to mitigate some of the human rights, security, or other policy risks that arise with more irregular armed groups.

To provide a broader narrative, our webinar includes perspectives from UN, US and European policymakers who have worked in environments where non-state armed groups are a significant part of the political and security landscape. Panellists address how different states or international actors have tried to address these risks and suggest possible recommendations for the future.