Iraq, al-Jazeera, and Middle East Politics Today
Al-Jazeera and other satellite television stations have transformed Arab politics over the last decade. By shattering state control over information and giving a platform to long-stifled voices, these new Arab media have challenged the status quo by encouraging open debate about Iraq, Palestine, Islamism, Arab identity, and other vital political and social issues. These public arguments have redefined what it means to be Arab and reshaped the realm of political possibility. As Marc Lynch shows, the days of monolithic Arab opinion are over. How Arab governments and the United States engage this newly confident and influential public sphere will profoundly shape the future of the Arab world.
Marc Lynch draws on interviews conducted in the Middle East and analyses of Arab satellite television programs, op-ed pages, and public opinion polls to examine the nature, evolution, and influence of the new Arab public sphere. Lynch, who pays close attention to what is actually being said and talked about in the Arab world, takes the contentious issue of Iraq-which has divided Arabs like no other issue-to show how the media revolutionized the formation and expression of public opinion. He presents detailed discussions of Arab arguments about sanctions and the 2003 British and American invasion and occupation of Iraq. While Arabs strongly disagreed about Saddam's regime, they increasingly saw the effects of sanctions as a potent symbol of the suffering of all Arabs. Anger and despair over these sanctions shaped Arab views of America, their governments, and themselves.
Lynch also suggests how the United States can develop and improve its engagement with the Arab public sphere. He argues that the United States should move beyond treating the Arab public sphere as either an enemy to be defeated or an object to be manipulated via public relations. Instead of wasting vast sums of money on a satellite television station nobody watches, the United States should enter the public sphere as it really exists.
In Voices of the New Arab Public... Marc Lynch does an excellent job of appraising the impact of this change.
Voices of the New Arab Public is a closely argued and highly provocative study.
John R. Bradley
No other has addressed the intersection between the media and the prospects for social change in such a meaningful way.
Lynch's authoritative and exciting book, rooted in local knowledge, urgently demands that we engage with this modern Arab world.
This study is lucidly written, and an excellent discussion of the true nature of the Arab media and opinion... Highly recommended.
Lynch offers a fascinating study of the history, present day, and future of new voices flourishing in the middle east.
Michael J. Carson
A highly scholarly study, extensively researched, well documented, and lucidly written, combining a wealth of data and keen analysis.
Mahmud A. Faksh
A wonderful read.
A must-read work for anyone interested in political communication, civil society, democratization or transformation process in Arab societies.
Lynch has performed a methodological breakthrough.
Jon W. Anderson
A great read for readers who want a Western scholar's insight on the trends of the new Arab public.
Tal Azran, Melbourne University
A worthwhile read for academics and policy makers alike.
An empirically rich and challenging statement about the political effects of the "new media."
1. Iraq and the New Arab Public
2. The Structural Transformation of the Arab Public Sphere
3. The Iraqi Challenge and the Old Iraqi Public
4. The al-Jazeera Era
5. Baghdad Falls
6. New Iraq, New Arab Public
Read the chapter >"Iraq and the New Arab Public" (pdf)
CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title, 2006