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Cover International Relations of the Middle East

Introduction: The Middle East and International Relations  

Louise Fawcett

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the study of international relations in the Middle East. The two disciplines of international relations and Middle East studies are highly interdependent. No book on the contemporary politics of the Middle East can possibly ignore the way in which external forces have shaped the development of the region's politics, economics, and societies. Similarly, no international relations text can ignore the rich cases that the Middle East has supplied, and how they illuminate different theories and concepts of the discipline, whether in respect of patterns of war and peace, identity politics, or international political economy. The chapter then looks at some of the particular problems that arise in studying the international relations of the Middle East.

Chapter

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

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.