Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

Recent Publications

Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

Recent Publications

Article excerpt

Prepared with assistance from Chayva Lerhman, Evan Norris, and Hannah White.

AFGHANISTAN

Ending the US War in Afghanistan: A Primer, by David Wildman and Phyllis Bennis. Northampton: Olive Branch Press, 2010. xv + 199 pages. Notes to p. 213. Resources to p. 216. $10. In this concise primer, Wildman and Bennis answer basic questions about the long history of conflict in Afghanistan, the 2001 American invasion and current war, the role of the US and other countries, and the local and global impact of the war. Written in an accessible question-and-answer format, Ending the US War in Afghanistan addresses the human and economic costs of the war, the history of US-Taliban relations, the military and diplomatic roles of NATO and the UN, and, perhaps most importantly, policy choices which would prevent future Afghanistan-style quagmires. (EN)

IRAN

The Forgotten Schools: The Baha'is and Modern Education in Iran, 1899-1934, by Soli Shahvar. London and New York: Tauris Academic Studies an imprint of I.B Tauris Publishers, 2009. xxv + 145 pages. Appends. to p. 182. Notes to p. 248. Refs. to p. 266. Index to p. 272. $92.50. The end of the 19th century saw Iranians clamoring for educational reform as state schools and foreign religious institutions struggled to accommodate an increasing number of students. Seeking to lighten the load that threatened to overwhelm the existing system, Muzaffar al-Din Shah allowed private institutions to open and take on students. Shahvar provides an overview of this significant transition from unilaterally state-run education to a multi-partite educational system which allowed minorities, particularly the Baha'i, to establish themselves in a realm of society which had previously been denied to them. (HW)

The Practice of Politics in Safavid Iran: Power, Religion and Rhetoric, by Colin P. Mitchell. London: I.B. Tauris, 2009. xii + 202 pages. Notes to p. 263. Bibliography to p. 286. Index to p. 292. $80. Using epistles, letters, and missives from the Safavid chancellery, author Colin Mitchell argues that the Safavid state developed a heterogeneous dynastic ideology that reflected the remarkable plurality of the medieval eastern Islamic world. Mitchell explores imperial correspondence, dispatched within the empire and abroad, seeking to prove that the Safavid state was not strictly committed to Shi'ite ideology but represented the religious, cultural, and ideological diversity that was the hallmark of the Iranian plateau in the medieval period. He presents the trajectory of Safavid imperial politics in the 16th century and argues that the Safavid shahs successfully incorporated a varied collection of political identities in a way that later Iranian regimes were unable or unwilling to do. (EN)

Iran and Nuclear Weapons: Protracted Conflict and Proliferation, by Saira Khan. London: Routledge, 2010. xii + 119 pages. Notes to p. 137. Bibl. to p. 151. Index to p. 156. $125. In this study, Saira Khan examines why Iran continues to pursue a weaponized nuclear program in a less-hostile regional environment, i.e. after the fall of Saddam Husayn in 2003. Arguing that Iran's hostility with the United States remains the major causal factor for its proliferation activities, Khan explains that states' decisions to acquire nuclear weapons depends on their engagements in protracted conflicts and that the presence of nuclear rivals intensifies nuclear ambition. In the end, Khan concludes that both regional and global threats to Iran need to disappear before Tehran will abandon its ambitious nuclear program. (EN)

IRAQ

The Jews of Iraq: 3,000 Years of History and Culture, Nissm Rejwan. 2nd ed. Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, 2009. i + 248 pages. Appendix to p. 259. Source notes to p. 266. Index to p. 274. $23.95. For 3,000 years, Jews lived and thrived in the ancient society of Iraq, as told in Nissm Rejwan's meticulous historical account. Rejwan begins in the period of Babylonian captivity in 731 BCE and the development of the Babylonian Talmud, continues through the Islamic rule beginning in 641 CE, and concludes in the 20th century with the mass immigration to Israel in 1951. …

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