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The New Arab Wars
Cover of The New Arab Wars
The New Arab Wars
Uprisings and Anarchy in the Middle East

Less than twenty-four months after the hope-filled Arab uprising, the popular movement had morphed into a dystopia of resurgent dictators, failed states, and civil wars. Egypt's epochal transition to democracy ended in a violent military coup. Yemen and Libya collapsed into civil war, while Bahrain erupted in smothering sectarian repression. Syria proved the greatest victim of all, ripped apart by internationally fueled insurgencies and an externally supported, bloody-minded regime. Amidst the chaos, a virulently militant group declared an Islamic State, seizing vast territories and inspiring terrorism across the globe. What happened?
The New Arab Wars is a profound illumination of the causes of this nightmare. It details the costs of the poor choices made by regional actors, delivers a scathing analysis of Western misreadings of the conflict, and condemns international interference that has stoked the violence. Informed by commentators and analysts from the Arab world, Marc Lynch's narrative of a vital region's collapse is both wildly dramatic and likely to prove definitive. Most important, he shows that the region's upheavals have only just begun—and that the hopes of Arab regimes and Western policy makers to retreat to old habits of authoritarian stability are doomed to fail.

Less than twenty-four months after the hope-filled Arab uprising, the popular movement had morphed into a dystopia of resurgent dictators, failed states, and civil wars. Egypt's epochal transition to democracy ended in a violent military coup. Yemen and Libya collapsed into civil war, while Bahrain erupted in smothering sectarian repression. Syria proved the greatest victim of all, ripped apart by internationally fueled insurgencies and an externally supported, bloody-minded regime. Amidst the chaos, a virulently militant group declared an Islamic State, seizing vast territories and inspiring terrorism across the globe. What happened?
The New Arab Wars is a profound illumination of the causes of this nightmare. It details the costs of the poor choices made by regional actors, delivers a scathing analysis of Western misreadings of the conflict, and condemns international interference that has stoked the violence. Informed by commentators and analysts from the Arab world, Marc Lynch's narrative of a vital region's collapse is both wildly dramatic and likely to prove definitive. Most important, he shows that the region's upheavals have only just begun—and that the hopes of Arab regimes and Western policy makers to retreat to old habits of authoritarian stability are doomed to fail.

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About the Author-
  • Marc Lynch is professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, where he is the director of the Institute for Middle East Studies and of the Project on Middle East Political Science. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, and a contributing editor at the Monkey Cage blog for The Washington Post. He is the codirector of the Blogs and Bullets project at the US Institute of Peace. He formerly launched and edited the Middle East Channel on ForeignPolicy.com. His most recent book, The Arab Uprising: The Unfinished Revolutions of the New Middle East, was called “the most illuminating and, for policymakers, the most challenging" book yet written on the topic by The Economist. His other books include Voices of the New Arab Public: Iraq Al-Jazeera, and Middle East Politics Today, selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Book, and State Interests and Public Spheres: The International Politics of Jordan's Identity. Follow him on Twitter @abuaardvark.

Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    March 15, 2016
    A keen observer of the violent upheaval in the Middle East since the Arab Spring makes a strong assertion: there is no returning to the old autocratic ways. Lynch (Political Science/George Washington Univ.; The Arab Uprising: The Unfinished Revolutions of the New Middle East, 2012), the director of the Project on Middle East Political Science and contributing editor to the Washington Post's Monkey Cage, posits that much of the recent events in the Middle East evolved into military crackdown and proxy wars as part of a radical regional restructuring. The Arab uprising shattered the status quo--the traditions of dictatorship and repression--and despite the enormous promise of peaceful transitions, the region has devolved into sectarian violence and Islamist radicalism. Lynch examines the hot spots--Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria, and Iraq--to uncover "what went wrong and what to expect," using a combination of on-the-ground reporting and political science ("structural drivers of events"). He also draws from Arabic social media, which continues to be a potent galvanizer for change. All of the conflicts he sees as being fomented by "transnational flows of money, information, people, and guns," especially from richer nations like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which continue to polarize the conflict. Significantly, Lynch sees the Barack Obama administration's restraint in the region--especially in not sending military assistance to the Syrian rebels, as well as in the recent nuclear deal with Iran--as provoking fundamental changes to the system of alliances while demonstrating indeed that the Americans have learned a profound lesson from the disastrous Iraq invasions. The author traces the Syrian conflict directly to the failed democratic uprising in Egypt, where the coup against the Muslim Brotherhood "removed the most powerful mainstream competitor to the jihadist trends" and unleashed a violent new strain of fighters bent on revenge. An excellent, clear distillation of recent events in the Middle East.

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Uprisings and Anarchy in the Middle East
Marc Lynch
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