State, Power, and Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East

State, Power, and Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East

State, Power, and Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East

State, Power, and Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East

Synopsis

Roger Owen has fully revised and up-dated his authoritative text to take into account the considerable developments in the Middle East in the 1990's. As with the first edition, this book explores the emergence of individual Middle Eastern states since the fall of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the First World War and some of the key themes that have characterised the region. State Power and Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East 2nd edition has been up-dated to take into account the end of the Cold War, the Gulf War and Israeli-Palestinian peace process. It also covers almost all Middle Eastern countries, including the member states of the Arab League, Iran, Israel and Turkey. Key themes such as the state and its formation, the role of the military within the political system, the politics of economic restructuring, democracy and electoral practice, and the changing relationship between religion and politics are explored. A new chapter looking at the role of non-state actors such as workers, women and Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza is included. This book continues to serve as an excellent introduction for new-comers to the modern history and politics of a region that is usually portrayed as mysterious, unpredictable and violent.

Excerpt

The first edition of this book was almost entirely written in the late 1980s. It has now been revised to take account of the major events which have taken place in the Middle East since then, notably the impact of the end of the Cold War, the Gulf War and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the intensification of moves towards greater economic and, in some cases, greater political liberalisation. Revision has also allowed me to benefit from the helpful criticism of many of those who have read it or used it for teaching.

For my purposes, the region is defined in large terms to include the twenty member states of the Arab League (less Mauritania and Somalia), Iran, Israel and Turkey. This is more or less the area known in Britain as the Near and Middle East until the Second World War when reference to the Near East was dropped in most official documents, following a lead from Winston Churchill. As for its history, I have decided to confine myself almost exclusively to the twentieth century, limiting reference to earlier periods only when this seems necessary for a proper understanding of the present. Lastly, I have included Turkey as a Middle Eastern state, partly on the grounds of its long historical connection with the region, partly because, during the 1990s, it forged a number of important new connections with its non-European neighbours: first with those areas with a significant Kurdish population such as northern Iraq, then with Israel.

It is also important to say something about my intended audience. The book is aimed at the non-specialist, or ‘first time’, western reader who wants to understand more about a part of the world which, although constantly in the news, continues to be presented as mysterious, unpredictable and subject to its own, usually violent, laws of motion. I am well aware that those who try to present a deeper, more realistic, more rounded picture run all the usual risks of persons who set themselves up as cultural middlemen, attempting to explain one set of political practices to people who live and work in terms of quite another. This is a project with many pitfalls, as Edward Said and others have forcefully pointed out. But there are also ways of trying to minimise such dangers. One that I have tried to practice above all others is constantly to ask myself whether the picture I present is one that would be recognisable to Middle Easterners

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