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 updated his authoritative text to take into account the very latest developments in the Middle East. This book continues to serve as an excellent introduction for newcomers to the modern history and politics of this fascinating region. This new edition continues to explore the emergence of individual Middle Eastern states since the fall of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the First World War and the key themes that have characterized the region since then.

Excerpt

The first edition of this book was written entirely in the late 1980s. It has been revised twice (in 1999 and 2003) to take account of the major developments which have taken place since then, notably the impact of the end of the Cold War, the two Gulf Wars and the ups and downs of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, as well as the intensification of the moves towards greater economic, and in a few cases, greater political, liberalization. Inevitably this has been something of a chastening experience for the author, particularly when faced with the fallout from the two unexpected events which took place just after the second edition was published in 2000: the outbreak of the second Palestinian Intifada and then the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001.

Revision has also allowed me to correct some mistakes and to benefit from the criticism of colleagues. Just as important, the passage of time has made it possible to observe some trends with much greater clarity than when first identified and to get a better sense of their character, their meaning and their underlying logic. In particular, what I called the 're-making' of the Middle East has assumed a somewhat different shape over time, with the authoritarian regimes in many of the Arab states revealed as much more determined to find ways to retain a large measure of economic and political control than seemed possible in the early 1990s. Recent research has also demonstrated how some of the first measures taken to reorder the relationship between the regime and the leading lights of the private sector acted to close off avenues towards greater economic freedom almost as soon as they had begun to open up.

For my purposes, the Middle East remains the twenty states of the Arab League (less Mauritania and Somalia), Iran, Israel and Turkey. This is more or less the same region known in Britain as the Near and Middle East until the Second World War, after which reference to the Near East was officially dropped in England (although not always in America), following a wartime lead from Winston Churchill. As for its history, I have decided to confine myself almost exclusively to the twentieth century, mentioning developments in 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 new connections with its non-European neighbours, notably Iraq and Israel.

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