This chapter addresses the role of Islam in the international relations in the Middle East. In a historically informed account, it shows how Islam has interacted with the domestic, regional, and international politics of the region in a variety of forms. Its influence, however, has ebbed and flowed alongside different currents in regional and international relations. In this regard, globalization has been a facilitator of transnational Islam, but by no means a force for union. Notwithstanding its evident importance, there has been little substantive presence of religion in the foreign policies of Middle Eastern states, even in those more overtly Islamic ones such as Saudi Arabia and Iran. However, the popular uprisings in the Arab world created new opportunities and challenges for the Islamic movement, which continue to affect states' foreign policies notably through the phenomenon of ‘sectarianization’.
James D. Kiras
This chapter examines how globalization has contributed to the growth of terrorism as a global phenomenon. It considers whether global terrorism is the price states pay for entry into and continued access to a globalized system, why violent Islamic extremism continues to be the primary motivator for global terrorist violence, and whether freedoms should be restricted to ensure greater security against the threat of global terrorism. The chapter first looks at the definitions of terrorism before tracing the transformation of terrorism from a transnational to a global phenomenon. It then explores the role of technology in terrorism and ways of combating terrorism. Two case studies are presented, one dealing with three generations of violent Islamic extremists and the other with the 2016 Lahore terrorist attack. There is also an Opposing Opinions box that asks whether states targeted by terrorism should aggressively address the threat beyond their national borders.
This chapter looks at human rights, analysing the structure and politics of human rights in the twenty-first century. In particular, the chapter examines the influence of liberal internationalism on human rights and how this is shaped by the legacies of colonialism, slavery, apartheid, and engagements with sexual, religious, and racial differences. The chapter encourages questions about whether rights are universal instruments of emancipation, or whether the rights are more complex, contradictory, and contingent in their functioning. The chapter also sets out the dominant understandings of human rights as progressive, universal, and based on a common human subject. Human rights advocates sometimes differ on the strategies to be adopted to address violations; these can have material, normative, and structural consequences that are not always empowering. These competing positions are illustrated through two case studies: one on the Islamic veil bans in Europe and the second on LGBT human rights interventions.
This chapter examines the unrest across the Middle East in the 2010s. The first section focuses on the civil war in Syria and the role of so-called Islamic State., examining the causes of the Syrian uprising and the development of protests against President Assad into civil war. It describes the growth of Jihadism, formation of Ahrar al-Sham, and emergence of ISIS, and the subsequent declaration of a Caliphate. The escalation and destructive impact of the conflict is examined in the context of increasing international intervention and the involvement of foreign powers in both exacerbation of the conflict and efforts to restore peace. The second section describes the growing regional importance of Iran alongside the 2015 nuclear deal and tensions with Saudi Arabia. The chapter concludes with the Arab Spring in Tunisia and Egypt, conflict in Yemen, and the downfall of Gaddafi in Libya.
Augustus Richard Norton
This chapter assesses the critical issue of political reform in the Middle East. The Arab world has been slow to respond to the global processes of democratization. The chapter then highlights the political economy of states, the persistence of conflict, regime type, and the ambiguity over the relationship between democracy and Islam. This relationship is not necessarily a contradictory one. Islamic discourse is marked by participation and diversity rather than by rigidity and intolerance. Further, as the Arab Spring has illustrated, civil society is vibrant and growing in many states across the region. Meanwhile, responses from the West to political reform have been lukewarm, with stability and regional alliances privileged over democracy. The evidence from the region, even before the Arab uprisings, is that peoples want better and more representative government, even if they remain unclear as to what type of government that should be.
Edited by Louise Fawcett
International Relations of the Middle East provides a guide to the subject of international relations in this important region. It combines the analysis of the key themes, actors, and issues with the history of the region, and insights from international experts. The text provides a thematic overview of the subject, combining history with analysis, as well as topical material and perspectives. The text also offers a wide range of perspectives, encouraging readers to think critically to formulate their own arguments and opinions. Finally, it provides current, topical insights, including developments such as the Syrian conflict, the increasing importance of Russia and China in the region, and the impact of the Trump administration. One chapter looks at Russia, China, and the Middle East and examines the role of these increasingly important actors in the region. The text also includes coverage of the most recent developments, including those relating to the conflict in Syria, the refugee crisis, so-called Islamic State, and the impact of Trump.
This chapter examines the nature of religion and fundamentalism and their relationship to politics. It first defines religion before discussing the nature and extent of religiosity worldwide. It then considers whether religion can be regarded as an ideology and goes on to assess its relationship with secular ideologies. It also explores arguments about the role of religion in politics, focusing on the secular state and ‘religious talk’ in the political sphere. Finally, it reviews the concept of fundamentalism as a form of political belief, the nature of religious fundamentalism, and the impact of movements based on religious fundamentalism in the modern world. These issues are illustrated with case studies relating to Christian (Protestant) fundamentalism, religious identity in the United Kingdom, the relationship between politics and religion in the United Kingdom vs. the United States, whether the faithful have a religious duty to get involved in politics, and Islamism.
This chapter examines why democratic openings failed to consolidate in the Middle East and North Africa despite the profound influence of the global wave of democratization on both regions. Authoritarianism persists in the region comprising the Middle East and North Africa. Nevertheless, countries in the region experienced changes since the consolidation of authoritarian rule soon after decolonization. The chapter considers a number of explanations for the durability of authoritarian rule in the Middle East and North Africa in the face of both domestic and international pressures for democratic governance. In particular, it discusses the role of Islamist political actors and Israel. It also looks at the region’s political culture and society, business and economy, and agents of democratization and democratic failure. Finally, it describes institutional challenges for the region’s chances to become more democratic.
Edited by Peter Burnell, Vicky Randall, and Lise Rakner
Politics in the Developing World provides an introduction to politics in the developing world. This fifth edition has been updated to address topical issues and themes, including refugee movements; the rise of the so-called Islamic State; organized crime; gender; the role of new forms of communication in political mobilization; and the replacement of Millennium Development Goals by Sustainable Development Goals. The first four sections of the volume explore the theoretical approaches, the changing nature and role of the state, and the major policy issues that confront all developing countries. The final sections set out a diverse range of country case studies, representing all the main geographical regions.
A Failing State?
Nadje Al-Ali and Nicola Pratt
This chapter examines whether Iraq is a failed state and how it drew such characterization. It focuses on the period since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 that toppled Saddam Hussein. The chapter considers three areas: the reconstruction of Iraq’s political institutions; post-invasion violence and security; and human and economic development. It shows how the failure to reconstruct political institutions capable of reconciling Iraq’s different political groupings has weakened central government, exacerbated corruption within state institutions, and contributed to ethnic/sectarian violence, thereby creating a favourable environment for the emergence of the Islamic State. The chapter argues that the Iraqi state is failing to provide necessary services and infrastructure for economic and human development and even basic security for much of the population.
Alex J. Bellamy and Nicholas J. Wheeler
This chapter examines the role of humanitarian intervention in world politics. It considers how we should resolve tensions when valued principles such as order, sovereignty, and self-determination come into conflict with human rights; and how international thought and practice has evolved with respect to humanitarian intervention. The chapter discusses the case for and against humanitarian intervention and looks at humanitarian activism during the 1990s. It also analyses the responsibility to protect principle and the use of force to achieve its protection goals in Libya in 2011. Two case studies are presented, one dealing with humanitarian intervention in Darfur and the other with the role of Middle Eastern governments in Operation Unified Protector in Libya in 2011. There is also an Opposing Opinions box that asks whether the West should intervene in Syria to protect people there from the Islamic State (ISIS).
This chapter explores the relationship between religion and politics. It first defines the concept of religion before discussing its contemporary political and social salience in many developing countries. It then considers how religion interacts with politics and with the state in the developing world, as well as how religion is involved in democratization in the developing world by focusing on the Arab Spring and its aftermath. It also examines the differing impacts of the so-called Islamic State and Pope Francis on the relationship between religion and politics in the developing world. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the role of religion in international politics after 9/11.
This chapter examines the concept of human rights, which derives primarily from the Charter of the United Nations adopted in 1945 immediately after World War II. It first provides a brief account of the history of the concept of human rights before describing the international human rights regime. It then considers two persistent problems that arise in applying the concept of human rights to the developing world: the relations between the claim that the concept is universally valid and the realities of cultural diversity around the world; and the relations between human rights and development. In particular, it explores cultural imperialism and cultural relativism, the human rights implications of the rise of political Islam and the so-called war on terror(ism), and globalization. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the new political economy of human rights.
Astri Suhrke, Torunn Wimpelmann, and Ingrid Samset
This chapter analyses patterns of violent conflict in the developing world since the onset of decolonization. It examines shifts in how scholars and policymakers have understood such conflicts, and how these understandings have informed dynamics of foreign interventions and the international peace-building regime that developed in the 1990s. After providing an overview of decolonization and its aftermath, the chapter considers conflicts over social order during the Cold War as well as the nature of conflicts in the post-Cold-War period. It also discusses new forces that shaped conflict during the first decades of the twenty-first century, focusing on militant Islam and the ‘war on terror’, ‘people power’ and its aftermath, and the link between peace-building and military intervention in a multipolar world.