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Rex Brynen


PhD, University of Calgary


email: rex.brynen (at) mcgill.ca

Twitter: @rexbrynen

Research interests

  • Security and development in fragile and conflict-affected states.
  • Middle East politics: Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon; Arab-Israeli peace process (with special emphasis on development assistance and refugees); regional conflict, security and development in the Middle East; authoritarianism and democratization in the Arab world.
  • Professional political-military wargaming. Conflict, peacebuilding, and development simulation.

Selected publications


The Palestinian Refugee Problem: The Search for Resolution (co-editor and contributor, with Roula el-Rifai). London: Pluto Books, 2013.

Compensation to Palestinian Refugees and the Search for Palestinian-Israeli Peace (co-editor and contributor, with Roula el-Rifai). London: Pluto Books, 2013.

Beyond the Arab Spring: Authoritarianism and Democratization in the Arab World (coauthor with Pete Moore, Bassel Salloukh, and Marie-Joelle Zahar). Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2012.

Palestinian Refugees: Challenges of Repatriation and Development (co-editor and contributor, with Roula el-Rifai). London: I.B. Tauris, 2007.

Persistent Permeability? Regionalism, Localism, and Globalization in the Middle East (co-editor and contributor, with Bassel Salloukh). London: Ashgate, 2004.

A Very Political Economy: Peacebuilding and Foreign Aid in the West Bank and Gaza. Washington DC: United States Institute of Peace, 2000.

Political Liberalization and Democratization in the Arab World, Volume 2: Comparative Experiences, (co-editor and contributor, with Bahgat Korany and Paul Noble), Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 1998.

Political Liberalization and Democratization in the Arab World, Volume 1: Theoretical Perspectives, (co-editor and contributor, with Bahgat Korany and Paul Noble). Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 1995.

The Many Faces of National Security in the Arab World. (coeditor and contributor, with Bahgat Korany and Paul Noble). London: Macmillan, 1993.

Echoes of the Intifada: Regional Repercussions of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict. (editor, and contributor with Neil Caplan) Boulder: Westview Press, 1991.

Sanctuary and Survival: The PLO in Lebanon. Boulder: Westview Press, 1990.

Articles and Book Chapters

"Gaming the Non-Kinetic." In Pat Harrigan and Matthew Kirschenbaum, eds., Zones of Control: Wargaming in Analog and Digital Worlds (Cambridge: MIT Press, forthcoming).

"Teaching About Peace Operations," International Peacekeeping (forthcoming 2014).

"UNRWA as Avatar: Current Debates on the Agency — and their Implications." In Sari Hanafi, Leila Hilal, and Lex Takkenberg., eds. UNRWA and Palestinian Refugees: From Relief and Works to Human Development. London: Routledge, 2014.

"Games, Simulations, and Peacebuilding" (with Gary Milante). Simulation & Gaming 44, 1 (February 2013).

"Gaming Middle East Conflict," Middle East Journal, 67, 1 (Winter 2013).

"Refugees." In Joel Peters and David Newman, eds. The Routledge Handbook on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. (London: Routledge, 2012).

“The Iraq War and (non)Democratization in the Arab World.” In Mokhtar Lamani and Bessma Momani, eds. From Desolation to Reconstruction: Iraq’s Troubled Journey (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2010).

(Ending) Civil War in the Classroom: A Peacebuilding Simulation, PS: Political Science & Politics 43 (January 2010).

“Palestine: Building Neither Peace Nor State” In Charles Call and Vanessa Hawkins Wyeth, eds., Building States to Build Peace (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2008).

“Aid as Carrot, Aid as Stick: The Politics of Aid Conditionality in the Palestinian Territories," Accord (2008).

“Canada's Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process”. In Paul Heinbecker and Bessma Momani, eds, Canada and the Middle East: In Theory and Practice (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2007).

“Managing Public Resources: The Experience of the Palestinian “Proto-State””. In James Boyce and Madalene O’Donnell, eds, Peace and the Public Purse: Economic Policies for Postwar Statebuilding (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2007).

(with David Romano) “The Palestinians: Finding No Freedom in Liberation” In Ray Hinnebusch and Rick Fawn, eds. The Iraq War: Causes and Consequences (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2006).

“Perspectives on Palestinian Refugee Repatriation” In Mick Dumper, ed. Palestinian Refugee Repatriation: Global Perspectives (London: Routledge, 2006).

“Donor Assistance: Lessons from Palestine for Afghanistan.” In Gerd Junne and Willemijn Verkoren, eds, Post Conflict Development: Meeting New Challenges (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2004).

"Cluster-bombs and Sandcastles: Kramer on the Future of Middle East Studies in America" Middle East Journal, Spring 2002.

"Mirror, Mirror? The Politics of TV Science Fiction." In David Schultz, ed., It's Showtime! Media, Politics and Popular Culture (Baltimore: Peter Lang, 2000).

"Palestine." (with Hisham Awartani and Clare Woodcraft). In Shepard Forman and Stewart Patrick, eds., Good Intentions: Pledges of Aid for Post-Conflict Recovery. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2000.

"Building Economic Peace and Regional Security: The Primacy of Politics" [in Arabic]. In Augustus Richard Norton, ed., al-Amin fi al-sharq al-awsat: tawjihat jadidah [Security in the Middle East: New Directions]. Palestinian Council on Foreign Relations, 1999.

"Recent Political Developments." In World Bank, Development Under Adversity? The Palestinian Economy in Transition (Washington, DC: World Bank,1998).

"Much Ado about Nothing? The Refugee Working Group and the Perils of Multilateral Quasinegotiation," International Negotiations 2, 2 (November 1997).

"Imagining a Solution: Final Status Arrangements and Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon," Journal of Palestine Studies 26, 2 (Winter 1997).

(with Jill Tansley) "The Refugee Working Group of the Middle East Multilateral Peace Negotiations," Israel-Palestine Journal 2, 4 (Autumn 1995).

"The Neopatrimonial Dimensions of Palestinian Politics," Journal of Palestine Studies 25, 1 (1995).

"The Palestinians and Confidence-Building Measures in the Arab-Israeli Conflict", in G. Ben-Dor and D. Dewitt, eds, Confidence and Security Building in the Middle East: The Arab-Israeli Nexus (Boulder: Westview Press, 1994).

"Economic Crisis and Post-Rentier Democratization in the Arab World: The Case of Jordan", Canadian Journal of Political Science, 35, 1 (1992).

(with Paul Noble) "The Gulf Conflict and the Arab State System: A New Regional Order?" Arab Studies Quarterly 13, 1-2 (Winter/Spring 1991).

"Palestine and the Arab State System: Permeability, State Consolidation, and Responses to the Intifada", Canadian Journal of Political Science, (1991).

Other Reports

Building a Better Relationship: Palestinian Refugees, Lebanon, and the Role of the International CommunityOttawa: International Development Research Centre, 2009.

The Past as Prelude? Negotiating the Palestinian Refugee Issue, Chatham House Briefing Paper, June 2008.

The Regional Dimension of the Palestinian Refugee Issue: Simulation Exercise Report. Chatham House, June 2008.

Diasporas and Domestic Security: Implications for Host Countries.” Paper presented to the Metropolis Interconference Seminar on Immigrants and Homeland, Dubrovnik, Croatia, 9-11 May 2002. 

Aid Effectiveness in the West Bank and Gaza. Washington DC: World Bank, June 2000. (principal author). Front material, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6

"Compensation as Part of a Comprehensive Solution to the Palestinian Refugee Problem." Workshop Report, IDRC/PRRN, July 1999. (available on PRRN)

Internet Projects and Research Networks

Interuniversity Consortium for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies—Montreal's McGill-based research consortium on Middle East.

Palestinian Refugee ResearchNet—an online resource and international research network on Palestinian refugees (supported by IDRC).

PaxSims—a web resource on the use of simulations for teaching and training with regard to fragile and conflict-affected countries (co-edited with Gary Milante).

Brynania—the POLI 450/650 civil war and peacebuilding simulation.


Fall 2014

  • POLI 340 (Developing Areas: Middle East)
  • POLI 640 (Seminar in Middle East Politics)

Winter 2015

  • POLI 450 (Peacebuilding)
  • POLI 650 (Peacebuilding)

Fall 2015 - Winter 2016

  • no courses (sabbatical)

Other Activities

Political and Security Policy Staff, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (1994-95)

Special Advisor, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (1995-96)

Interdepartmental Experts Group on Middle East Intelligence, Intelligence Assessment Staff, Privy Council Office (1995-present)

Short-term consultant to: Canadian International Development Agency, International Development Research Centre, Privy Council Office, World Bank, various United Nations agencies, and others.

Reference Letters

While I am always pleased to write letters of reference for former and current students, I receive literally hundreds of such requests each year. Consequently, I require at least three weeks notice between receipt of all relevant materials (forms, unofficial transcript, CV) and mail-out.

To Reach Me...

Email me for an appointment at rex.brynen(at)mcgill.ca

My office is located at ICAMES, 3465 Peel. Please call up from the phone in the lobby upon arrival.
Phone: 514-398-4400 x00634