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Amy Austin Holmes

Public Policy Fellow


September 4, 2018 — August 31, 2021

Professional affiliation

Associate Professor of Sociology, American University in Cairo

Wilson Center Projects

  • Mass Displacement in Syria and the Role of Turkey: Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution?
  • Between Democratic Autonomy and Authoritarianism: The Political Ambitions of PYD-aligned Kurdish Militias in Syria and Iraq
  • After the Caliphate: Governance Challenges in the Semi-Autonomous Region of Northeast Syria

Full Biography

Amy Austin Holmes is currently a Public Policy Fellow at the Wilson Center. She has a PhD from Johns Hopkins University, with expertise on US security relations and contentious politics in Europe and the Middle East.  Dr. Holmes previously served as a tenured Associate Professor at the American University in Cairo, and has held Visiting Scholar positions at Harvard University and Brown University. A former Fulbright scholar in Germany, she is the author of Coups and Revolutions: Mass Mobilization, the Egyptian Military, and the United States from Mubarak to Sisi (Oxford University Press 2019) and Social Unrest and American Military Bases in Turkey and Germany since 1945 (Cambridge University Press 2014). Having spent a decade living in the Middle East, she has published numerous articles on Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Tunisia, and Bahrain. Professor Holmes is the first person to have conducted a field survey of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) based on numerous trips to all six provinces of Northeast Syria between 2015-2020. Her current research is about governance challenges of the semi-autonomous Kurdish-led region of northern Syria. 

Major Publications

Select Publications for Bio – Amy Austin Holmes


Social Unrest and American Military Bases in Turkey and Germany since 1945, Cambridge University Press, 2014; paperback released in 2016

·         Featured in a Review Essay in Perspectives on Politics, Vol 15, No 1, March 2017

·         Reviewed in International Journal of Comparative Sociology, July 2016

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Working on the Revolution in Bahrain: From The Mass Strike to Everyday Forms of Medical ProvisionSocial Movement Studies, July 2015

A Region of Resistance: Mass Protests in Egypt and Turkey (editor), South Atlantic Quarterly, 113:2, Duke University Press, spring 2014

On Military Coups and Mad Utopias”, in: A Region of Resistance, South Atlantic Quarterly, 113:2, Duke University Press, spring 2014

The Base that replaced the British Empire: De-Democratization and the US Navy in Bahrain”, Journal of Arabian Studies June 2014

There are weeks when Decades happen: Structure and Strategy in the Egyptian RevolutionMobilization, 17(4), December 2012, p 391-410

Articles, Edited Volumes, and Book Chapters

Egypt’s Nubia: Drowning by Government Decree” Real Clear World, September 27, 2017

“Tightening the Noose on Egypt’s Civil Society” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Sada Middle East Analysis, June 1, 2017

The Attack on Civil Society outside Cairo” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Sada Middle East Analysis, January 26, 2017

Sisi’s US Army War College Thesis: 10 Years Later”, op-ed in Mada Masr, March 15, 2016

Egypt’s Protests by the Numbers”, co-authored with Hussein Baoumi, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Sada Middle East Analysis, January 29, 2016

What are the Kurdish Women’s Units Fighting For?Washington Post, December 23, 2015

As Kobane comes under ISIL attack, Kurds encircle, cut off caliphate”, Informed Comment June 26, 2015

What the Battle for Kobane says about U.S. overseas military basesWashington Post, February 2, 2015

Why Egypt’s Military Orchestrated a MassacreWashington Post, August 22, 2014

In Egypt, Industrial Scale Death Decrees”, op-ed in Providence Journal, May 5, 2014

The Military Intervention that the World Forgot: Saudi and Emirati Forces continue to police Bahrain”, op-ed on Al Jazeera, March 27, 2014

Before the Bloodletting: A Tour of the Rabaa Sit-in”, Cairo Review of Global Affairs, August 16, 2013

Everywhere is Taksim: The Crackdown on the Commons”, Counterpunch, June 26, 2013

The Royals’ New Rules: Backsliding in Bahrain”, Cairo Review of Global Affairs, February 27, 2013; Re-posted on Jadaliyya in slightly revised form on March 5, 2013

Egyptians blame military for failures of transition period”, Ahram Online, June 28, 2012

Is US Support for the SCAF Unconditional?” Atlantic Council, November 25, 2011

The real force of stability in Egypt is its people, not its government” op-ed in the Baltimore Sun, February 8 2011 (written under a pen name)