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Cover International Relations of the Middle East

6. The Politics of Identity in Middle East International Relations  

Raymond Hinnebusch

This chapter focuses on Arabism and other regional ethnicities as sources of political identity. It emphasizes the importance of regional identities within the Middle East, which have been accentuated because of the poor fit between identity and states and regimes and this remains pertinent today. The chapter also argues that the persistence of conflict in the Middle East must be understood through the incongruence of identity and material structures. The chapter highlights pan-Arabism and the irredentist and separatist movements that have characterized the history and political development of the Middle East. It shows how the interaction of identity with state formation and development has contributed to numerous wars and to the evolution of regional developments following the Arab Spring.

Chapter

Cover International Relations of the Middle East

Introduction: The Middle East and International Relations  

Louise Fawcett

This chapter offers a comprehensive, up to date, and accessible guide to understanding the international relations of the modern Middle East. It points out two issues on studying the international relations of the Middle East: The first relates to the definition of the region itself and second is the appropriateness of scholarly approaches. It also concerns the mechanisms and institutions of formal interstate relations and the multiple informal interactions and networks operating above and below the level of states. The chapter considers how the Middle East is still seen as an ‘unfinished’ region where territory and borders are contested, and interstate conflict persists. It discusses the Pan-Arabism that has slowly declined as a dominant ideology and the Arab uprisings that gave rise to further fragmentation and inter-Arab sectarian divides.

Chapter

Cover International Relations of the Middle East

7. The Politics of Identity in Middle East International Relations  

Raymond Hinnebusch

This chapter offers critical reviews of the explanatory power of identity and culture in understanding international relations in the Middle East. It focuses on Arabism and other regional ethnicities as sources of political identity. The importance of these identities within the region has been accentuated because of the poor fit between identity and states and regimes — a colonial legacy, but one that remains pertinent today, as revealed in the Arab uprisings. Indeed, the persistence of conflict in the Middle East must be understood through this ‘incongruence of identity and material structures’. Focusing on pan-Arabism, as well as the irredentist and separatist movements that have characterized the history and political development of the region, the chapter shows how the interaction of identity with state formation and development has contributed to numerous wars, and most recently to the evolution of regional developments following the Arab Spring.