News

Podcast: "ISIS: a 'State in Waiting'" with Yezid Sayigh

April 24, 2015

An audio recording from Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate and Professor, Carnegie Middle East Center, Beirut.

On March 31, 2015 at MEI, Dr. Yezid Sayigh presented a lecture in MEI Visiting Scholar Michael C. Hudson's Spring 2015 Study Group "Rethinking the Arab State", in which he examined the political legacy of Saddam Hussein's regime in ISIS' leadership structure and methods of control in Iraq, Syria and beyond. Dr. Sayigh pushed for analysis of ISIS that looks underneath their discourse of global jihadi ideology at how ISIS constructs and consolidates power. He advocated examining the political and social contexts of ISIS and its affiliates to better understand why and how it organizes itself. He argued that similarities between Saddam's accession and dominance of Iraqi politics and ISIS' efforts to build an 'Islamic caliphate' run deeper than ex-regime figures holding posts, and that ISIS has borrowed almost all of their methods of control from Saddam-era tactics. Sayigh included similarities in use of graphic (and widely disseminated) violence to instill fear and eliminate rivals; ideology to pressure regional and global rivals and acquire allies; and financial and material resources to fund operations and build infrastructure by managing key resource flows, while contrasting ISIS' hands-off economic management style with Saddam's expansive patronage regime.

Listen to the full recording of the March 31, 2015 event here:

Click here to view photos on the Belfer Center Flickr page.

About Yezid Sayigh:

Yezid Sayigh is a senior associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, focused on the Syrian crisis, the political role of Arab armies, security sector transformation in Arab transitions, the reinvention of authoritarianism, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and peace process. Previously, Sayigh was professor of Middle East studies at King’s College London, assistant director of studies at the Centre of International Studies, Cambridge, and head of the Middle East program of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. Sayigh also joined the Palestinian delegation as adviser and negotiator at the peace talks with Israel from 1991–1994. Since 1999, he has consulted on the permanent-status peace talks and on Palestinian reform. Sayigh is the author of numerous publications, including most recently The Syrian Opposition’s Leadership Problem (April 2013); Above the State: The Officers’ Republic in Egypt (August 2012); “We serve the people”: Hamas policing in Gaza (2011); and Policing the People, Building the State: Authoritarian transformation in the West Bank and Gaza (2011).

For more information on this publication: Please contact Middle East Initiative
For Academic Citation:Podcast: "ISIS: a 'State in Waiting'" with Yezid Sayigh.” News, , April 24, 2015.