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Mohamed Jamal Barout

محمد جمال باروت Muhammad Jamal Barut

The 100 Influential Voices from the Arab World is an ongoing research project on leading voices and themes in Arab public discourse. The principal investigator is Hassan I. Mneimneh.

Mohamed Jamal Barout, a Syrian political analyst and journalist, has been an adviser to the Syrian parliament on social and political participation and human development as well as an expert at the UNDP (from 2004 to 2006) and at the Arabic Union Studies Centre in Beirut (from 2000 to 2004). From 1997 to 2000, he was a research manager for politics and human development at the Arabic Centre for Strategic Studies. His publications include الدولة والنهضة والحداثة (State, renaissance and modernity), Latakia, Dar Al-Hiwar, 2004; حركة القوميين العرب (The Arab nationalists' movement), Damascus, Arab Center for Strategic Studies, 1997; يثرب الجديدة: الحركات الاسلامية الراهنة (The modern yathrib: contemporary Islamic movements), London, Dar Al-Rayiss, 1994; and اطياف الحداثة: ما بين علمانية النخبة واسلامية الامة (Illusions of modernity: between the elite's secularism and the ummah's Islamism), Aleppo, Dar Al-Sadaqa, 1994. Born in Aleppo, Barout earned a B.A. in French literature in 1982 from Aleppo University, where he later held several academic posts.


A meticulous analyst and historian of the evolution of Arab thought in the twentieth century, Mohamed Jamal Barout has maintained a sober assessment of the directions of modern Arab political culture, focusing in particular on cultural dissonance and the role of the state.

EXCERPT (Translated)

The bitter harvest of the failed neo-liberal transformations witnessed in many Third World countries has reinstated the importance of the state in framing its sovereignty in terms of national and social cohesion – in order to avoid falling into a pre-state status in many locales. The experience of Third World countries has demonstrated that the alternative to such a role for the state is tribal and sectarian claims as well as internecine conflicts that could take some societies back to a pre-state level, a jungle society where "man is a wolf to man," as in Hobbes's famous formulation.

We are not witnessing today the "decline of sovereignty" but rather a comeback of sovereignty characterized by trends of strength and focus. But the role of the state today is different from the one it played in the emergence of nation-states over the past three centuries. Today's role makes its comeback in the context of an interconnected world indeed, with its important crises affecting all. We are no longer in a "decline of sovereignty" phase, but in the phase of the return of the state.

– Mohamed Jamal Barout, "The Return of the State," Al-‘Arab, December 17, 2008

EXCERPT (Original in Arabic- Link)

برزت في العالم الثالث بعد تجربة الحصاد المر للتحولات الليبرالية الجديدة أولوية استعادة دور الدولة في تنظيم المجال السيادي حول معايير التماسك الاجتماعي القومي، لمواجهة الانزلاقات إلى ما تحت الدولة في أكثر من دولة. فقد بينت التجربة المرة لدول هذا العالم أن البديل لدور الدولة هو أدوار العشائريات والطائفيات والاقتتالات الأهلية التي قد تعيد بعض المجتمعات إلى ما قبل مجتمع الدولة أي إلى مجتمع الغابة الذي «يكون فيه الإنسان ذئبا للإنسان» وفق صياغة هوبز الشهيرة.

إننا لا نشهد الآن تطبيقات لدروس «أفول السيادة»، بل نشهد بالأحرى عودة لها تتسم باتجاهات التركيز والقوة. وتتركز هذه الاتجاهات برمتها حول عودة دور الدولة الذي يختلف عن دوره الأول إبان البزوغ الكلاسيكي للدول القومية في القرون الثلاثة الأخيرة في أنه يعود اليوم في إطار عالم متشابك بالفعل، تنعكس أزماته الكبرى على الجميع. لم نعد الآن في مرحلة «أفول السيادة» بل في مرحلة عودة الدولة.