Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

Recent Publications

Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

Recent Publications

Article excerpt

ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT

The Lingering Conflict: Israel, the Arabs, and the Middle East 1948-2011, by Itamar Rabinovich. Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2011. $32.95. The Lingering Conflict discusses the Arab- Israeli conflict beginning in 1948, with most of its emphasis on the Oslo/post-Oslo years. Written as an update to Rabinovitch's previous book Waging Peace (2003), this study seeks to explain why the peace process has faltered. Rabinovitch analyzes the shifting balance of power in the Middle East, including the rise of Turkey and Iran as non-Arab regional powers and the revolutions sweeping the Arab world. (JH)

River Jordan: The Mythology of a Dividing Line, by Rachel Havrelock. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2011. $40. The Jordan River, from ancient to modern times, has been implicit in the development of national mythology. Employing biblical and folklore studies as well as historical geography, Havrelock investigates the evolution of Israel's national mythos - not the "myth" of popular rhetoric, often associated with irrationality and invalidity, but of "myth" as an expression of what people hold to be most true. In Havrelock's study, the role of "myth" is given extensive attention as it allows for the advancement and critique of social power and social claims that lie at the deepest level of national ideology. (JD)

AFGHANISTAN

Afghanistan Declassified: A Guide to America's Longest War, by Brian Glyn Williams. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012. $34.95. Afghanistan Declassified introduces readers to the history, culture, ethnic diversity, and politics of the country. The book - the civilian version of a military manual on Afghanistan written by Williams for the Joint Information Operations Warfare Command (JIOWC) - is intended to contextualize Afghanistan, i.e. to offer a portrait of the country as more than just another theater in America's "war on terror." (JH)

IRAN

Axis of Unity: Venezuela, Iran & the Threat to America, by Sean Goforth. Dulles, VA: Potomac Books, 2012. $29.95. This book explores the relationship between Iran and Venezuela in the post- 9/11 period. Goforth argues that Iran cooperates with Venezuela in developing its nuclear weapons program, using Venezuelan banks and importing Venezuelan natural gas as a means of avoiding international sanctions. The author implicates Russia in the relationship as well, identifying the former Soviet republic as the primary supplier of arms and nuclear technology to the two nations. With Venezuelan support for FARC and Iranian support for Hizbullah, Hamas, and other rogue states such as Syria, Goforth explains how the two nations work to spread each other's influence - Iran in Latin American and Venezuela in the Middle East. (JH)

IRAQ

From Desolation to Reconstruction: Iraq's Troubled Journey, ed. by Mokhtar Lamani and Bessma Momani. Waterloo, UK: Wilrid Laurier University Press, 2010. $42.95 paper. Lamani and Momani's From Desolation to Reconstruction traces the history of Iraq from 1990 to 2010 as the country attempts to rebuild itself after decades of war, sanctions, and foreign occupation. The authors describe the need for Iraq to re-establish a modicum of security in order to consolidate democracy. They observe that the plight of minorities throughout the country make this particularly difficult, as ethno-sectarian war and the desire of many marginalized groups to attain a certain level of autonomy similar to that of the Northern Kurdistan region, create further instability. (JH)

ISRAEL

The Words and the Land: Israeli Intellectuals and the Nationalist Myth, by Shlomo Sand. Trans. by Ames Hodges. Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2011. $16.95. In this book, Shlomo Sand, author of The Invention of the Jewish People, explores the role of the intellectual in the development of the concept of a "Jewish nation." Examining the history of intellectual engagement before the advent of Zionist organization in the 19th century, Sand reveals a contested landscape of an Israeli/Jewish national mythos. …

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