The Middle East is one of the world’s most volatile regions. In recent years, it has presented key international security challenges, from the optimism—and then crushing disappointment—of the Arab uprisings through the rise and fall of the Islamic State. It promises to continue to be a powder keg with the resilient jihadi terror threat, large-scale migration due to warfare and climate change, and fierce competition for control over oil. What ignited this instability?
In his new book, author Gilles Kepel, whom the New York Times called, “France’s most famous scholar of Islam,” offers a persuasive narrative of the long-term causes of tension, weaving together the various threads that run through Middle East politics and tying them to their implications on the global stage.
Safwan M. Masri is Professor and Executive Vice President for Global Centers and Global Development at Columbia University. He is a scholar of the contemporary Arab word, with a focus on understanding postcolonial dynamics among religion, education, society and politics. Masri is a trustee of International College in Beirut and the Welfare Association (Taawon) in Ramallah, and a director of Endeavor Jordan. He was founding chairman of King’s Academy and the Queen Rania Teacher Academy, and served as an advisor to Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah. He is also a Senior Research Scholar at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. Masri is the author of Tunisia: An Arab Anomaly (Columbia University Press, 2017). He served as Vice Dean of Columbia Business School from 1993 to 2006. Masri is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations and an honorary fellow of the Foreign Policy Association.
Lionel Barber is the former editor of the Financial Times. As editor from 2005 to 2020, he helped to transform the FT from a newspaper publisher into a multi-channel global news organization. Barber is an experienced broadcaster and commentator who has co-written several books, including The Price of Truth. He serves on the Board of Trustees at the Tate and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. In 2016, Barber was made a Chevalier in the French Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur for his journalism.