Beyond Camp David: Emerging Alignments and Leaders in the Middle East

Beyond Camp David: Emerging Alignments and Leaders in the Middle East

Beyond Camp David: Emerging Alignments and Leaders in the Middle East

Beyond Camp David: Emerging Alignments and Leaders in the Middle East

Excerpt

The Middle East after World War II has been the setting for a complex drama in which several major themes have been interwoven--nationalism, the consolidation of political and economic independence and security, competition for regional power, and, finally, the rivalry of external states for influence over Middle East governments and their resources. While each of these factors has been extremely important, another--too frequently neglected--has also subtly but significantly shaped government behavior: the nature of the regimes and the political culture of the Middle East.

In this chapter we establish the background against which new regional alignments and leaders are emerging with an overview of the Middle East since 1967, the patterns of regional relations, and the new forces driving regional developments. The focus of this necessarily retrospective introduction will be the key actors of the 1967-77 period--Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

ALIGNMENT PATTERNS IN THE MIDDLE EAST-- STABILITY AND CHANGE, 1967-73

Observers are often wont to choose wars as the chronological markers for new eras, but alignment patterns usually fit poorly war or interwar periods if the conflicts themselves are not decisive. In many respects both the June (1967) and October (1973) wars were decisive, but neither achieved the long-term political goals of any of the parties. This is not to argue that wars without total victory are unimportant: the 1967 and the 1973 conflicts, for example, were the single most important factors in bringing about fundamental changes . . .

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