The surprising and in many ways shocking emergence of ISIS as one of the best trained, best financed, and most highly motivated and militarily effective fighting forces in the Arab east has led to much talk of an erasure of the old colonial-period Sykes-Picot boundary that artificially divided Syria and Iraq. But though there is an element of truth in this, the issue is much more complex and best viewed by looking at the origins of the modern state of Iraq from a more detailed historical perspective.
America’s long academic summer vacations are usually quiet times for writing and reflection with little disturbing news from the national or international arena. So it was this year too at Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies with our graduate students scattered around the world and only a limited audience for a discussion I organized in early August to try to understand more about Israel’s far-away Gaza War.... Read more about News from Iraq Becomes More, Deliberately, Personal and More Difficult to Interpret
Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor in Contemporary Islamic Thought and Life; Affiliated Professor of Government in the Government Department Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and Committee on the Study of Religion Acting Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Near Eastern Languages