Geopolitics expert Carole André-Dessornes sheds light on the concepts of embargo, blockade, siege and boycott, and questions the effectiveness of these types of sanctions.

From the most emblematic embargoes in the history of the Middle East, dating back to the siege of Troy, to current sanctions in Libya, Iran, the Middle East and the Arab countries of the Gulf, Carole André-Dessornes offers a number of pointers for discussion.

In many ways akin to wars of attrition, the aim of these punitive policies is to bend existing regimes and drive populations out of power. These sanctions, designed to avoid military confrontation, have never brought down the regimes in place, as the examples of Libya, Syria and Iran all demonstrate. In a number of cases – starting with Iraq – they have been a denial of the most fundamental rights, and a source of humanitarian disasters.

What lessons can we draw from these “silent wars”, which have been fought without bloodshed, explosions or bombings, but whose consequences have been no less terrible? Carole André-Dessornes, in conversation with Gaïdz Minassian, shares her thoughts with us.

The lecture will be followed by a book-signing session for her latest book, Guerres silencieuses. Embargos et blocus au Moyen-Orient de 1948 à nos jours, published in 2023 by Geuthner.

Carole André-Dessornes has been a geopolitical scientist for over twenty years. She holds a doctorate in political sociology and a degree in geopolitics, international relations and history. She also specialises in power relations and violence in the Middle East-Mediterranean and neighbouring areas. An associate researcher at the Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique (FRS), a lecturer at the Institut Catholique de Paris and a consultant and lecturer in geopolitics, she teaches army officers and non-commissioned officers at the Ecole Militaire. She trains nursing staff and doctors at psychiatric hospitals (EPS de Ville-Evrard, GHU de PARIS Psychiatrie & Neurosciences) in geopolitics and the traumatic consequences for civilians and military personnel.

She is the author of a number of books and articles, and appears in the media (written press, radio, particularly Rfi). Her latest book, Guerres silencieuses. Embargos et blocus au Moyen-Orient de 1948 à nos jours was published in 2023 by Geuthner.

Gaïdz Minassian is a journalist at Le Monde and teaches at Sciences Po Paris.