Regine Schwab Receives 2022 Christiane Rajewsky Award
The German Association for Peace and Conflict Studies has named Regine Schwab as winner of the 2022 Christiane Rajewsky Award for her dissertation “Let’s fight each other another day: How armed opposition groups managed challenges to cooperation and postponed conflict in Syria’s multiparty civil war (2012-2019)”. Schwab was a doctoral candidate in the Max Planck Research Group “How ‘Terrorists’ Learn” from 2016 to 2020.
In her dissertation Regine Schwab examined the complex power relations and interests of the different factions involved in the Syrian civil war. She shows how, in spite of far-reaching differences in their ideologies, military strength, and strategic goals, the opposition groups regularly worked together in various alliances. As a result, the government of Assad and his allies, although in possession of superior military resources, have not been able to prevail against the opposition.
In their statement, the jury praises Schwab’s study for its contribution to understanding the relations between armed groups and its valuable insights for international peace-making efforts. On the basis of extensive empirical research, she has illuminated how elites in oppositional groups manage the challenges of cooperating with other groups and overcome the problems that come with this. As they do so, some rebel groups even manage to establish robust relationships with each other. A second key insight of Schwab’s study comes from her detailed analysis of the interests of individual groups and how these interests lead to their decision to cooperate with militarily powerful jihadist actors, even though this is actually detrimental to their long-term goals.
“The news that I had won this award was completely unexpected,” says Schwab. “I was thus all the more delighted to have been chosen.”
Regine Schwab is a postdoctoral researcher at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt in the research department Transnational Politics.
The Christiane Rajewsky Award is an annual prize awarded by the German Association for Peace and Conflict Studies to young researchers for outstanding contributions to peace and conflict research.