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Chapter

This chapter examines the issue of political reform in the Middle East. More specifically, it considers the enormous challenges that face proponents of political reform in the region. To this end, the chapter focuses on the legacies of state formation that shape the contemporary political systems, as well as the changing economic and social parameters of societies in today’s Middle East. After explaining the democracy deficit in the Middle East, the chapter shows that the Arab states have been slow to respond to the global processes of democratization. It also explores the political economy of Arab states, the persistence of conflict, regime type, and the ambiguity over the relationship between democracy and Islam. Finally, it analyses the Arab Spring as evidence of the vibrancy and growth of civil society in many states across the region.

Chapter

This chapter examines the impact of oil and political economy on the international relations of the Middle East. It begins by discussing the relationship between oil and the consolidation and evolution of the modern Middle Eastern state system, noting that, while outside powers have invariably used oil in their calculations of Middle East policy, oil has figured less prominently in the foreign policies of Arab states. As regards domestic politics, the rentier state paradigm shows how oil has conditioned economic and political outcomes in both oil-rich and oil-poor states, slowing down the prospects for reform. The chapter proceeds by assessing the influence of oil on inter-Arab relations and concludes with some reflections on the regional and international environments as well as the political order in the Middle East.

Chapter

This chapter discusses different aspects of the Arab–Israeli conflict over time — military, political, and economic. The first two decades of the Arab–Israeli conflict, often marked by armed hostilities, were notable for Arab refusal to recognize Israel's existence. Since the 1967 war, Arab states, specifically Syria and Saudi Arabia, have displayed willingness to recognize Israel, and two, Egypt and Jordan, have signed peace treaties; Yasser Arafat recognized Israel's right to exist in the 1993 Oslo agreement. In this regard, most Arab states have adopted a realist approach to the Arab–Israeli conflict, seeking coexistence based in part on acceptance of Israel's military supremacy. In contrast, Israel appears to insist on security through regional domination, coupled with retention of the West Bank as Greater Israel.

Chapter

This chapter examines the military, political, and economic aspects of the Arab–Israel conflict over time. The Arab–Israeli conflict refers to the belligerency between the Arab states and Israel. The first Arab–Israeli War broke out immediately after the proclamation of the state of Israel on 14 May 1948, followed by other conflicts such as the 1967 and 1973 wars. The chapter first provides a historical background on the creation of Israel and how the Six Day War in 1967 gave rise to Arab nationalist rivalries and led to the re-emergence of the Palestinian factor in the Arab–Israeli conflict. It then considers the Egyptian–Israeli peace treaty and the Oslo peace process and shows how both realism and the contours of identity politics inform the position of different states in the conflict. It also discusses the relations between Palestine and Israel during the period 2000–2015.

Chapter

This chapter focuses on conflicts in the Middle East during the 1980s. Despite the Camp David settlement, peace remained elusive in the Middle East. An Egyptian–Israeli settlement could neither resolve the conflict between Israel and the Arab states nor bring stability and peace to the region. Anwar Sadat and Menachim Begin had achieved a limited peace for Egypt. Egypt, for its part, had abandoned the myth of Arab unity between the competing states of the region and pursued national interests. However, other conflicts were taking place in the region, including those arising from the Lebanese Civil War, which added to the fundamental failure to deal with the Palestinian Question. The chapter first considers Israel’s invasion of Lebanon before discussing the Arab–Israeli conflict and the Palestinian Question, the Iran–Iraq war of 1980–8, and the accusation of the US, that Libya was a supporter of ‘international terrorism’.

Chapter

This chapter focuses on conflicts in the Middle East during the 1980s. Despite the Camp David settlement, peace remained elusive in the Middle East. An Egyptian–Israeli settlement could neither resolve the conflict between Israel and the Arab states nor bring stability and peace to the region. Anwar Sadat and Menachim Begin had achieved a limited peace between Egypt. Egypt, for its part, had abandoned the myth of Arab unity between the competing states of the region and pursued national interests. However, other conflicts were taking place in the region, including those arising from the Lebanese Civil War, which added to the fundamental failure to deal with the Palestinian question. The chapter first considers Israel’s invasion of Lebanon before discussing the Arab–Israeli conflict and the Palestinian Question, the Iran–Iraq war of 1980–1988, and the United States’s accusation that Libya was a supporter of ‘international terrorism’.

Chapter

This chapter examines the origins and the entry of Middle East states into the international system after the First World War. Drawing on the ideas of the English School of international relations, it traces the emergence of the Middle East that saw states entering and participating in the international society. After providing a historical overview of the Arab entry to international relations, the chapter considers diplomacy under the Ottoman Empire as well as the Ottoman legacy of statehood. It then discusses plans for the partition of the Middle East during the First World War, along with the post-war settlement. It also describes the colonial framework of the Middle East that emerged from the post-war negotiations and concludes with an assessment of the Arab states’ efforts to address the Palestine crisis in 1947 and 1948.

Chapter

This chapter traces the origins and the entry of Middle East states into the international system after the First World War. The modern states of the Arab Middle East emerged from the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the post-First World War settlement. The fall of the Ottoman Empire left the Turks and Arabs ready for statehood, although unprepared for dealing with the international system. Indeed, the Palestine crisis brought to light Arab weaknesses in the international arena and in regional affairs that were a legacy of the way in which the colonial powers shaped the emergence of the modern Middle East. Ultimately, the emergence of the state system in the Middle East is a history both of the creation of stable states and of destabilizing conflicts.