Compromising aid to protect international staff : the politics of humanitarian threat perception after the Arab uprisings
Emily K. M. Scott
Host item entries:
Journal of global security studies, Vol. 7, no. 1, March 2021, 19 p.
Bibliography : p. 15-19
Scholars expect operational compromises by humanitarian organizations to follow attacks on aid workers. However, in response to the War in Syria, organizations compromised aid and adopted clandestine, cross-border, remote management, and conflict-actor aligned approaches, which best protected international aid workers. This was despite declining rates of attack against them, relative to their national staff counterparts. This article asks why international aid workers were withdrawn and aid was compromised in the wake of the Arab Uprisings by traditional risk-taking organizations: Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Drawing on political ethnography and interviews with aid workers, I show that shocking violent events, everyday insecurity, and changes in the nature of threat have significant effect on threat perception and explain compromises where rates of attack do not. This paper offers a picture of the micro- and field-level foundations of organizational threat perception and decisions about whose security matters.
By entering this website, you consent to the use of technologies, such as cookies and analytics, to customise content, advertising and provide social media features. This will be used to analyse traffic to the website, allowing us to understand visitor preferences and improving our services. Learn more