Tag Archives: Fouad Ajami

Book Review: The Consequences of Syria (2014) by Lee Smith

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on May 9, 2015

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Lee Smith’s The Consequences of Syria is part of the Hoover Institution’s “The Great Unravelling” series, which also included The Struggle for Mastery in the Fertile Crescent by the late Fouad Ajami (which I reviewed here.) You can purchase a copy here.

Published in June 2014, Smith narrates Syria’s terrible war to the opening months of 2014, the innumerable excuses made by the Obama administration for letting it run, and the theoretical framework behind the administration’s decision. The book is relatively short and the prose is direct; it takes very complex discussions of ideas and puts them in easily-digestible terms—all while keeping the reader’s eye on the practical implications.

Smith starts with the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the central event in President Obama’s thinking about the Middle East. Continue reading

Book Review: The Struggle For Mastery In The Fertile Crescent (2014) by Fouad Ajami

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on September 16, 2014

In June, those of us who try to keep up with events in the Greater Middle East suffered a devastating blow when the Lebanese-American scholar Fouad Ajami passed away. Having broken with the orthodoxy of his generation of Arabs and his scholarly field, both represented in the person of Edward Said, Ajami provided insight into the Arab/Muslim world that restored the agency of that world. Continue reading

Obituary: Fouad Ajami

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on June 23, 2014

I was genuinely devastated to learn of Fouad Ajami’s death late last night. I think it was more shocking because nobody had known he was ill. I had noticed the decreased frequency of his columns in the Wall Street Journal but he was not a regular in any sense, writing one or two a month, so it was not wholly out of the ordinary and then he had returned last week for what it now transpires was the final time.  Continue reading

In Advancing Turkey Toward Democracy The Army Is Not The Answer

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on May 10, 2014

Mustafa Kemal. He added the name Atatürk as part of his reforms of the Turkish language to the Latin script from the Perso-Arabic form.

It’s easy to see why Westerners admire Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. He abolished the Caliphate, led a quixotic campaign for female emancipation (a grizzled soldier at the head of a feminist campaign!), and, in my view correctly, identified the theocratic rule of the Caliphate as the primary cause of the Ottoman Empire’s decline. Continue reading