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Cover International Relations of the Middle East

7. Islam and International Relations in the Middle East: From Umma to Nation State  

Peter Mandaville

This chapter takes up the story of identity from an Islamic perspective. In a historically informed account, it shows how Islam has interacted with the domestic, regional, and international politics of the region and how its influence has ebbed and flowed alongside different currents in regional and international relations. The chapter also considers globalization as a facilitator of transnational Islam, but by no means a force for union. The chapter discusses the substantive presence of religion in the foreign policies of the Middle Eastern states, including those which are more overtly Islamic, such as Saudi Arabia and Iran. It investigates the popular uprisings in the Arab world which created new opportunities and challenges for the Islamic movement, and which continue to affect states’ foreign policies notably through the phenomenon of sectarianization.

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

8. Islam and International Relations in the Middle East: From Umma to Nation State  

Peter Mandaville

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’.

Chapter

Cover Politics in the Developing World

22. Iraq  

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.