Welcome to Ibn Khaldun


Welcome to Ibn Khaldun (ابن خلدون), the McGill International Review’s blog on the Middle East.

This blog will shed light on recent and ongoing developments in the Middle East. Ibn Khaldun thus aims to provide the reader with a varied and unique perspective on the region’s diverse array of countries, as well as delve into issues of regional importance. Although Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria have dominated news coverage since early 2011, Ibn Khaldun seeks to address every country in the Middle East.

Why should one be interested in the Middle East?

The Middle East’s rich history, vibrant and diverse cultures and truly amazing people make it a fascinating region to study. The region has seen countless empires rise and fall, is the birthplace of three of the world’s major religions, and continues to be a geopolitical crossroads. Many of the greatest issues of modern politics, such as transitions from authoritarianism to democracy, resource scarcity and poverty, are all at work in the Middle East. These factors ascribe it a continuing importance in world affairs. Consequently, whoever is interested in politics on a global scale will have a hard time ignoring the Middle East. The recent developments neologized as the ‘Arab Spring’ only bolster this observation, that understanding the Middle East is essential to understanding modern international politics.

What is Ibn Khaldun’s goal?

Ibn Khaldun was a 14th century philosopher and historian from what is now Tunisia. Known best for his use of the concept of ‘asabiyyah, or “social cohesion”, in explaining the seemingly cyclical rise and fall of dynastic empires, Ibn Khaldun is often considered to be one of the grandfathers of the social sciences, developing sophisticated concepts of historiography, economics and sociology.


In the same way, Ibn Khaldun aims at providing incisive and in-depth coverage of political developments in the Middle East. Needless to say, this always includes a certain selection – however, this blog seeks to report on the different countries in a balanced fashion. The same applies for the posts as such: Ibn Khaldun’s goal is to provide the reader with a balanced, critical perspective. The area covered by this blog includes the members of the Arab League (excluding the Comoros, Djibouti, Somalia and Sudan) as well as Iran, Israel and Turkey.

This blog moreover seeks to provide a platform. Readers should feel free to use the comment section and engage in vibrant discussion on given topics. To this end, but also regarding the aspiration of providing balanced pieces, blog entries will include references and thus equip the reader with the possibility of delving even deeper into a certain aspect of the region and its politics.

Thank you for following us and we hope you enjoy reading Ibn Khaldun!


-Benedikt van den Woldenberg and Segolene Lapeyre