August 10, 2020

The Politics of the New Middle East


What are the characteristics of a contemporary Middle East whose politics have been transformed in recent years by a wide range of important external and regional developments? Despite the persistence of many old attitudes and problems, its key features include declining Arab-Israeli conflict, higher priority on economic development, weakening of radical states, emergence of individual nation-states’ voicing and pursuing their own interests, and a new pattern of Persian Gulf security … [Read more...]

Leadership and the Economy in the Arab World, 1950-1996

  This paper examines the state's role in economic development for several Arab countries in comparison with the state's active and effective role in Europe and East Asia. The European Experience and Gerschenkron's Thesis According to Alexander Gerschenkron, the first industrialized nation, Britain, gradually developed a set of institutions able to support industrialization. Most important of these was a market economy within a unified state. Property rights were protected in law; … [Read more...]

The Logic of Contemporary Turkish Politics

Contemporary Turkish politics have been shaken by a number of destabilizing factors which have redefined its traditional spectrum of parties, voter loyalties, and values. Cultural cleavages seemingly emerged to replace an earlier socioeconomic divide of the public opinion in the Turkish party system. These factors include deepening international crises in the Balkans and Caucasus, the emerging challenge of ethnic nationalism, the effective political mobilization of Islamic xenophobia, and … [Read more...]

Egyptian-Israeli Relations

  For 25 years, Egyptian-Israeli relations have often been characterized by tension. Today, their frosty relationship not only reflects past chapters but also competitive outlooks on how Middle East nations and peoples might relate to one another. Their peace has survived misperceptions, regional and international political changes, and unanticipated governmental upheavals. Neither seeks a major confrontation with the other. Each believes the other has not done enough to stimulate … [Read more...]

Iran: Politics, the Military and Gulf Security

When Iranians went to the polls on May 23, 1997, they were voting for change. The result, a landslide of 69 percent for the relatively moderate cleric Muhammad Khatame, took most observers by surprise. The key question about Iran today is how this result will affect the country’s political system and foreign policy. “The mood in Iran is very positive. It is similar to the calm that existed after the end of the Iran-Iraq war in 1988. The people feel that a new era is starting,” said … [Read more...]

Israel’s Lebanon Policy

  "In late August 1997, Hizbullah rockets rained down on the inhabitants of the upper Galilee and residents of south Lebanon came under punishing fire from Israel and its South Lebanese Army (SLA) ally." The escalating burst of mutually retaliatory strikes showed south Lebanon remained as volatile as ever. (1) In April 1996, Israel's "Operation Grapes of Wrath" had failed to crush Hizballah, Lebanon's antiIsrael Shi'a Muslim militia. It led, however, to an agreement among the … [Read more...]

Islamism in Lebanon: a Guide*

In the last decade, Islamist (fundamentalist) groups in Lebanon have become a significant force not only in that country’s politics but throughout the Middle East. Nowhere in the region do such groups have the freedoms they enjoy in Lebanon, giving them a wide cultural influence. In addition, Hizbullah is capable of stopping the Arab-Israeli peace process from advancing by launching Katyusha rockets against Israel and giving Iran an opening to act directly against Israel. Given the great … [Read more...]

Hizballah in Lebanon: at the Crossroads

Hizballah, the Party of God, burst onto the Lebanese scene in a whirlwind of violence in late 1983. A string of attacks against Israeli and Western targets there left hundreds dead and wounded, leading to the end of U.S. and French intervention, and Israel's withdrawal from most of Lebanon soon after. These events marked a new phase for Lebanon's Shi`i community and the country as a whole. Hallmarks of Hizballah's activity have included a violent anti-Western and anti-Israel struggle, as well … [Read more...]