I was away the entire day and returned to the office this afternoon only to be met with the news that Chris Boucek had passed away. I was floored. Chris was 38. Chris was also a tremendous scholar, and the policy community was lucky to have had him. I first met Chris on a trip we took we took to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia with Jon Alterman. Chris was bright, incredibly knowledgeable about issues relating to the Arabian Penninsula, and was in firm possession of a delightfully wry sense of humor.
The policy community that works on Islam and the Middle East is often filled with hucksters and ideologues, but Chris was the real deal: he was a serious scholar who approached his subject dispassionately but with great intellectual curiosity and rigor. His work set a high standard for the rest of us.
My heart and prayers go out to Chris's family -- and especially his young children. Rest in peace, Chris.