The New Arab Wars: Uprising and Anarchy in the Middle East (PublicAffairs), by Marc Lynch
A book such as this is inevitably in danger of being overtaken by events. Marc Lynch writes that Russia’s intervention in Syria “has bogged down” but since going to press, the opposite seems to have transpired. The George Washington University political science professor focuses on the Arab Spring, which quickly turned into a long hot summer of increased repression and violence. “It is far too soon to conclude that the uprisings have failed,” he writes, cognizant that the economic pressures that triggered it, and the social media that fanned it, haven’t gone away. Lynch chides George W. Bush’s Iraq invasion for its cost, which includes the rise of anti-Americanism in the region, and generally accepts Barack Obama’s more cautious policies as prudent. To those who chime in that the U.S. should have intervened more deeply in Syria or somehow “led” the Arab Spring, Lynch produces a litany of local complexities—the sort of understanding that Obama’s predecessor lacked before committing the U.S. to war.