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Avi Spiegel
Avi Spiegel is Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of San Diego and a Fellow at the Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas at Austin. He has been both a Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and the Ali Pachachi Scholar of the Modern Middle East at Oxford University. Spiegel completed his graduate studies at Harvard, NYU Law, and Oxford, where he earned his doctorate from St. Antony’s College. Born and raised in Southern California, Avi holds a BA from Georgetown. A former Fulbright Scholar and Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco, he has traveled and lectured extensively throughout the Middle East and North Africa. His commentary has appeared in the New York Times, Foreign Policy, International Herald Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, Baltimore Sun, The American Interest, Huffington Post, and NPR. He has also served as a Middle East analyst for Al Jazeera English. He is completing a book on the next generation of political Islam, based on his fieldwork among young political activists in the Arab world. More info at Contact him at

Entries by Avi Spiegel

Fear and Loathing in Morocco

(5) Comments | Posted September 27, 2013 | 5:18 PM


On the night of Sept. 17, one of the most respected journalists in Morocco was relaxing after a busy, but uneventful day's work when he was suddenly confronted by police at the door. Within minutes, he was taken into custody,...

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The Real Reason Behind Anti-American Protests

(25) Comments | Posted September 19, 2012 | 5:20 PM

The pictures all seem to blur together. From Morocco to Indonesia, it has become difficult to differentiate between the widespread protests, between the anti-American chants, and even the black flags of Al Qaeda. But have the protests unfolding throughout the Islamic world really all been the...

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Who's Afraid of Muslim Women Exercising?

(48) Comments | Posted July 26, 2012 | 1:15 PM

Co-authored with Adina Batnitzky.

Imagine this scenario: a group of women in southern California ask their local YMCA for an extra swim class. The YMCA would have to stay open a bit later than usual, but it happily obliges. It is summer, and the women, who are content...

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The Future of Arab Democracy?

(7) Comments | Posted June 23, 2011 | 12:52 PM

When the king of Morocco announced plans for a new constitution last week, Fox News hailed it as "revolutionary." A leader of the largest Islamist party in Morocco's parliament, the Party of Justice and Development, called it a "huge step for democracy." The official Moroccan press...

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Can America Take Credit for the Arab Spring?

(110) Comments | Posted May 21, 2011 | 1:17 PM

Is the Arab Spring really an "American" Revolution? According to President Obama and his speechwriters, the answer is, surprisingly, yes.

The dramatic political change that has taken place in the Middle East over the last six months has been led not by the United States, but by young protesters on...

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Who Killed the Arab Spring?

(15) Comments | Posted April 11, 2011 | 7:06 PM

The limited intervention in Libya averted a humanitarian disaster, but it also killed the Arab Spring.

Regardless of how one feels about the recent military intervention in Libya, it is now safe to say that it succeeded in what now appears to have been its main goal: to avert a...

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Predicting the Future of the Middle East -- The Easy Way

(37) Comments | Posted February 9, 2011 | 9:55 PM

The swift turn of events in the Middle East demands a certain amount of humility on the part of any so-called Middle East expert. Despite what anyone will tell you, no one predicted the rapid and dramatic overthrow of President Ben Ali of Tunisia, let alone the eventual departure of...

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