Marc Lynch

King Kendrick and the Ivory Tower

What hip-hop can teach academia. Seriously.

Last week, the International Studies Association (ISA) provoked an online firestorm by floating a new policy banning editors of its journals from blogging. Last year's Twitter Fight Club runner-up, Stephen Saideman, published the draft policy, and the controversy went viral (well, at least by academic blogging standards). The ISA backed down, for the time being, and all attention turned to the voting for the second annual International Studies Blogging Awards. (I'm a final-round judge -- you can vote here!)

Continue Reading

Consent of the Governors

Why Egypt’s constitutional referendum is a worrisome step toward authoritarianism.

Citizens of an Arab country recently went to the polls to vote in a highly-touted referendum designed to turn the page on a violent and authoritarian past. The relatively progressive new constitution -- which promised multiparty democracy, expanded freedoms, and even provided for unprecedented term limits on the president -- was approved overwhelmingly, with 89 percent of people voting in favor and turnout hitting 57 percent. The architects of the initiative hoped that it would restore some legitimacy to a regime that had badly lost internal and foreign approval.

Continue Reading

Let Your People Go

Egypt's military government will never be legitimate until it stops haphazardly jailing scores of political prisoners.

"Constructing democratic institutions and political infrastructure cannot be done overnight," intones Amr Moussa, head of the drafting committee for Egypt's new constitution. Perhaps. But you know what can be done overnight? Releasing the vast array of political prisoners being held in horrific conditions as part of a concerted effort by Egypt's resurgent security state to criminalize dissent and silence critical voices.

Continue Reading

The Middle East Channel’s Best of 2013

The essential books, articles, posts -- and hip hop performances -- of the year.

It's that time of year again: my annual picks for the best books, articles, Middle East Channel posts, and -- of course -- hip hop albums of the year. While my distaste for lists is well documented, I love this opportunity each year to recognize the high quality work of so many of my colleagues.

Continue Reading

The Political Science of Syria's War

From 'veto players' to 'emotions,' a state-of-the-art tour of the scholarship on civil wars and insurgencies.

Syria is about to enter its third year of a brutal conflict that has killed more than 100,000 people and driven millions from their homes. What was originally a peaceful uprising has devolved into the world's bloodiest civil war, fueled by an array of foreign interventions on all sides.

Continue Reading