Editor's Note

Article excerpt

One of the responsibilities of a publication such as The Middle East Journal is to look beyond the headlines at the deeper dynamics which affect the region which we study. Although we also deal with, and continue to deal with, the headline-making events such as the aftermath of last September's attacks on the US, the war in Afghanistan, and the continuing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we also seek to identify and study the less visible, but perhaps in the long term more permanent, forces which are shaping our region. It is easy enough to fall into the cliche that the Middle East is somehow immune to change, that it is a region of all conflict and little progress. This issue provides several windows on the types of change which are in fact occurring in the region: political evolution, the information revolution, democratization, and the social impact of migration. This does not mean that we are unaware of the collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process or the war which was raging in the Palestinian territories as this issue was going to press; but while the daily press is naturally preoccupied with the rapid pace of events, we must sometimes seek a longer perspective.

Surely one of the most surprising aspects of the 1999 elections in Turkey was the sudden emergence as a major political force of a party which had long been considered on the fringe. While most attention was being paid to the debate over the future of Islamist politics in Turkey, the veteran right-nationalist Nationalist Action Party (MHP in its Turkish acronym) performed so strongly that it is now a member of the ruling three-party coalition. Professor Hakan Yavuz of the University of Utah gives us an analysis of the party, its roots and its appeal, and analyzes the impact of the vote on the Turkish political scene.

Not all revolutions, of course, are violent ones. The Middle East Journal, in its Summer 2000 special issue on the Information Revolution in the Middle East, noted that the debate over the social, political, and economic impact of information technology on our region is hampered in part by the lack of sufficient research; that is still true. It is also true that we are committed to publishing the best of what research exists, even if the conclusions are still tentative. Two articles in this issue follow through on that commitment. Joshua Teitelbaum of the Moshe Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University provides us with an account of Saudi Arabia's (belated and very cautious) introduction of Internet access to the Kingdom, and Karla J. …