Le Grand Syllabus 2016/2017
model of strength and stability. Yet, the socio-economic protests that erupted in March 2011 soon developed into a bloody and intractable civil war. Today, Syria has disintegrated into a cluster of sub-states and autonomous enclaves which inherited a brutal struggle for survival. The regime of Bashar al-Assad has lost the ability to govern and has focused on preserving its own power in the major cities by engaging in a bloody struggle with a multi-faceted opposition which has failed to produce an effective and uniﬁed leadership. The struggle between the regime and its opponents has produced horrendous sectarian massacres, and the country has become a magnet for jihadi organizations and local Salaﬁ groups which have stepped into the lawless swathes of territory and now wage their own wars against Bashar al-Assad's so-called 'inﬁdel regime.' Session 4 : Libya – post-revolutionary ﬂuctuations (4 hours) This session will consider the case of Libya following the ouster of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddaﬁ. In many respects, Libya exempliﬁes many of the dynamics seen elsewhere of the 'Arab Spring'. Initially, the Libyan opposition seemed to be cohesive, but was soon revealed to be deeply divided along ethnic, tribal, regional, and geoeconomic lines. The intervention of the West, which was instrumental in removing Gaddaﬁ from power, did not result in a positive outcome, and has likely inﬂuenced decisions about further interventions in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq. Session 5 : Yemen – an anatomy of a failed state (4 hours) This session will take a look at Yemen – which once served as a bridge between civilizations
but has now become a failing state home to large swathes of lawless land. The March 2011 protests in Sana'a eroded what little legitimacy remained to ‘Ali Abdullah Saleh, the president that had ruled Yemen for more than three decades. Subsequently, Yemen became an arena of confrontation between Sunni (including al-Qaeda) and Shi'i forces (the Zaydi Houthis), and the venue for proxy battles and outright intervention between the Arab Gulf States and Iran. Yemen can be viewed as a microcosm of the tempest that is sweeping the Middle East in the 21st century, which has pushed the dream of unity and development far into the unforeseeable future. Session 6 : The Resilient Monarchies (2 hours) and Course Conclusions (2 hours) The concluding session will present the region's monarchies – most prominent of which are Saudi Arabia and Jordan – which have largely been untouched by the events of the 'Arab Spring'. It will scrutinize possible reasons for this fact, as well as the challenges that they nevertheless currently face. Finally, the course will conclude with possibilities for the future direction of the Middle East. Required reading : Fouad Ajami, The Syrian Rebellion, Stanford : Hoover Institution Press, 2012 ; Nazih N. Ayubi, Over-stating the Arab State : Politics and Society in the Middle East, London : I.B Tauris, 1995, 1-38 ; Natasha Ezrow, "Five years after Gaddaﬁ's fall, is Libya any closer to political stability ?", The Conversation, 14 April 2016 ; Jean-Pierre Filiiu, From Deep State to Islamic State : The Arab CounterRevolution and its Jihadi Legacy, Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2015, 1-18..