Middle East Studies

Remembering the 1967 Six-Day War

Guy Laron— Are wars the result of accidents, compounded by misassessments, misunderstandings, and miscalculations? If this is true, there is no one to blame; according to this view, wars simply happen. But perhaps wars are born out of meticulous and willful planning by individuals and institutions that might benefit from war. If

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The Sykes-Picot Agreement and the Modern Middle East

Neil Faulkner— A hundred years on from Sykes-Picot, the Middle East is in turmoil. These two things are intimately related. Mark Sykes was a British diplomat, François Georges-Picot his French opposite number. They gave their names to a secret agreement to carve up the decaying Ottoman Empire between Britain, France,

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Moving Beyond Arab Spring

Ibrahim Fraihat— Five years have passed since several Arab countries revolted against their repressive regimes, and peace and stability are nowhere in sight. The unraveling of their political systems pushed these countries into challenging transition processes where violence is always a serious possibility. Yemen and Libya’s civil wars present blunt

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The Past, Present, and Future of America and the Islamic World

Tarek Osman— In 1801, the rulers of Tripoli, in today’s Libya, declared war on the US, after the republic had attacked North African corsairs who had repeatedly pirated American ships in the western Mediterranean. American politicians were not particularly worried about the impact of the Libyan threat on their republic,

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The Islamic State: Humiliation, Shame, and Rage in Fundamentalism

Abram de Swaan— Today’s devil incarnate is the militia known as the Islamic State. So far it has done everything in its power to deserve the title. But it is only the latest in a long sequence of adversaries that were considered by the West as the embodiment of evil,

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Clinging to Hope Amid the Carnage: A Response to Violent Extremism

Sherman A. Jackson— “We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad!” This was the cry of the Parisian gunmen fleeing the scene of what they had to know would spell their ultimate doom. For as “committed Muslims,” they had to believe the Qur’an’s promise that their own eyes and ears would finally

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Remembering Barry Rubin

Barry Rubin (1950 – 2014), author, scholar, journalist and political analyst, passed away on February 3, 2014 after an 18-month battle with cancer. He was 64. Rubin was an expert on the Middle East and issues related to terrorism. Rubin earned his Ph.D. in Middle East studies from Georgetown University

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Peter Mansoor on the Iraqi Surge

“The subsequent failures in Iraq shouldn’t take away from what American troops accomplished during what may well be the biggest comeback ever in a guerrilla war….Mansoor provides the definitive account of how it was accomplished…Mansoor is superbly positioned to tell the story, not only because of his academic training but

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David Lesch: The Westerner Who Knows Assad

Watch David Lesch on C-SPAN2’s Book TV Around a year ago, David Lesch settled on a subtitle for his new book on the ever-changing Syria. He called it Syria: The Fall of the House of Assad. He admits to realizing, midway through the publishing process that Assad may not have fallen

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Democracy in Retreat: A Divided Egypt

Democracy has long been upheld as the ideal way to run a country. America, “land of the free” is revered for its representative government elected by the people for the people, and the US has committed to a mission of spreading and supporting democracy worldwide. In Joshua Kurlantzick’s newest book

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