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Global Studies is a unique series designed to provide comprehensive background information and selected world press articles on the regions and countries of the world. Each Global Studies volume includes an annotated listing of World Wide Web sites and is now supported by an online Instructor's Resource Guide. Visit our website for more information: www.mhhe.com/globalstudies.com.
Global Studies: The Middle East
Global Studies: The Middle East
Using Global Studies: The Middle East
Selected World Wide Web Sites
U.S. Statistics and Map
Canada Statistics and Map
Middle East Map
The Middle East: Theater of ConflictThe Middle East: Heartland of IslamCountry Reports
Algeria (Peoples’ Democratic Republic of Algeria)
Bahrain (State of Bahrain)
Egypt (Arab Republic of Egypt)
Iran (Islamic Republic of Iran)
Iraq (Republic of Iraq)
Israel (State of Israel)
Jordan (Hashimite Kingdom of Jordan)
Kuwait (State of Kuwait)
Lebanon (Lebanese Republic)
Libya (Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriyya)
Mauritania (Islamic Republic of Mauritania)
Morocco (Kingdom of Morocco)
Oman (Sultanate of Oman)
Qatar (State of Qatar)
Saudi Arabia (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)
Sudan (Republic of the Sudan)
Syria (Syrian Arab Republic)
Tunisia (Republic of Tunisia)
Turkey (Republic of Turkey)
United Arab Emirates
Yemen (Republic of Yemen)
Western SaharaArticles from the World Press
1. Middle of Where? Brian Whitaker, Guardian, June 4, 2008. The Middle East may be a crucially important region politically and economically, but try getting your hands on a decent definition of it. The Middle East is not so much a geographical entity as a geopolitical concept: it was invented, just over 100 years ago, by the British and the Americans.
2. Geography and the Middle East, Dona J. Stewart, Geographical Review, July 2005. The article discusses the unpreparedness of the U.S. for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and makes the point that, despite the importance of the Middle East to U.S. national interests, few U.S. geographers specialize in the region. It suggests a re-conceptualization of Middle East geography.
3. Stifled, Egypt’s Young Turn to Islamic Fervor, Michael Slackman, New York Times, February 17, 2008. In Egypt and across the Middle East, many young people are being forced to put off marriage, the gateway to independence and societal respect. Stymied by the government’s failure to provide adequate schooling and thwarted by an economy without jobs to match their abilities or aspirations, they are stuck in limbo between youth and adulthood. In their frustration, the young are turning to religion for solace and purpose, pulling their parents and their governments along with them.
4. Fighting for the Soul of Turkey, Adnan R. Khan, Maclean’s, September 10, 2007. In a country that has traditionally been a secular republic, there is concern today that Turkey, which was founded on secularism, may not survive the politics of faith, as many conservative Muslims are looking to the governing Justice and Development Part (AKP) to put the Islam back in what they consider an Islamic nation.
5. In Algeria, a Tug of War for Young Minds, Michael Slackman, New York Times, June 23, 2008. At a time of religious revival across the Muslim world, Algeria’s youth are in play. The focus of this contest is the schools, where for decades Islamists controlled what children learned, and how they learned. Now the government is urgently trying to re-engineer Algerian identity, changing the curriculum to wrest momentum from the Islamists.
6. The Future of Iraq: The Decline of Violence, the Rise of Politics, Kimberly Kagan, The Weekly Standard, July 28, 2008. The struggle for power in Iraq has shifted from military conflict to political competition. Iraq’s leaders—Sunni, Shia, Turkmen, and Kurd—are thinking ever less about how to use armed might to seize or retain control of all or part of the country and ever more about winning votes. There were 502 political parties registered to participate in the provincial elections of December 2008. The proliferation of political parties is an enormous advance toward stable, nonsectarian, or at least cross-sectarian politics.
7. Saudi Arabia: Reality Check, Alain Gresh, Le Monde Diplomatique, February 2006. While the Saudi governments appears focused on security issues, relations with the United States and international oil prices, most Saudis, however, care more about the situation at home, under a new ruler who claims to want to change society and the role of women, to combat poverty and to promote greater freedom.
8. Fearful of Restive Foreign Labor, Dubai Eyes Reforms, Jason DeParle, The New York Times, August 6, 2007. After several years of unprecedented labor unrest, the government of Dubai is seeking peace with this army of sweatstained migrants who make up 85 percent of the population and 99 percent of the private and sustain one of the world’s great building booms. This one million construction workers have finally won some humble victories.
9. Electoral Reform in Lebanon, Benedetta Berti, Middle East Monitor, June–August 2009. Although Lebanon’s 2009 parliamentary elections were a significant step toward transparent and credible democratic institutions, they also illustrated that the country’s multifarious governing elites are prepared to resist the call for change in the consociational political system which distributes fixed allotments of executive and legislative power among the country’s main sectarian groups and favors confessional leaders by enabling vote-buying and undermining the secrecy of the vote. However, strong public pressure is calling for change before the 2013 elections.
10. In Sudan, No Clear Difference Between Arab and African, Somini Sengupta, New York Times, October 3, 2006. The war in Darfur is not necessarily a war between Arabs and Africans. For generations, race not significant in Darfurian society. People referred to themselves by their tribe affiliation, and rarely as just “Arab” or “African.” Some people blame the government for having deliberately inflamed nascent ethnic divisions in a bid to stay in power.
11. Change They Can Believe In: To Make Israel Safe, Give Palestinians Their Due, Walter Russell Mead, Foreign Affairs Vol. 88, No.1, January/February 2009. The Obama Administration can change the way a peace deal is framed and make it more appealing to both sides. A deal that does not address central Palestinian concerns will lack the legitimacy in Palestinian public opinion that is necessary to make peace real—that can give the Palestinian state the authority and support it needs to enforce the peace and protect Israel’s security. Unless the Palestinians get enough of what they want from the settlement, the Israelis will not get enough of the security they seek.
12. Western Sahara Poser for UN, Jacob Mundy, Middle East Report, April 28, 2005. It has long been assumed in Western capitals that the Western Sahara question will be resolved through power sharing, but such a solution cannot simply be imposed. Only a negotiated settlement can bring about comprehensive peace. An autonomy proposal Morocco advanced in 2007 is a credible starting point for negotiations aimed at a power sharing agreement, but the Sahrawis want first Morocco commitment to a self-determination referendum.
13. Responding to a Nuclear Iran, Christopher Hemmer, Parameters, Autumn 2007, pp. 42–53. An Iranian nuclear weapon is a distinct possibility. The current debate on US policy toward Iran, which focuses on either a preventive military strike—including regime change—or diplomacy and economic sanctions, risks prematurely foreclosing discussions on a wide-range of foreign policy options should diplomacy and sanctions fail to persuade Tehran to limit its nuclear ambitions.
14. China through Arab Eyes: American Influence in the Middle East, Chris Zambelis and Brandon Gentry, Parameters, Spring 2008. In recent years, as it has sought to strengthen its economic and cultural ties to the Arab world and the greater Middle East, China is finding an array of potential partners in the region looking to harness its economic and political power. A Chinese foothold in this energy-rich and strategically central region, may someday convince long-standing US allies in the region to reorient their strategic relationships away from Washington toward Beijing, dramatically transforming the strategic landscape in the process.
15. The Human Rights of Women and Social Transformation in the Arab Middle East, Hayat Alvi, MERIA Journal, 2005. Although recently much attention has been paid to signs of reform and liberalization in the Arab world, there is also considerable evidence of trends in regressive social transformation. One such manifestation is the prevailing attitudes and social policies that continue to deny women their fundamental human rights and freedoms. Arab women continue to suffer major deficiencies in both oil-rich and poorer Arab countries.
Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations