Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

Editor's Note

Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

Editor's Note

Article excerpt

As this issue goes to press, Iran has elected a new president, Hasan Rowhani, reput- edly more moderate than his predecessor, Mahmud Ahmedinejad; the bloodshed in Syria continues unabated; and the US's announced intention of arming the rebels is leading to new disputes with Russia over both Syria and Iran. A new effort to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks is under way, and there are concerns over a quickening arms race in the Gulf. So it seems appropriate that two of our articles deal with aspects of Iran's Basij, one of the regime's instruments of control, while other articles deal with Russian trade with the Gulf, and the economic dimensions of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The Policy Essay addresses prospects for regional arms control, while the lead article of our Book Reviews examines three recent books on Syria.

The Basij, Iran's domestic militia movement, is the subject of two articles. Af- shon Ostovar of the Center for Strategic Studies at CNA, discusses the incentives for membership in the Basij based on interviews. Saeid Golkar of Northwestern looks at one specialized branch of the Basij at universities, the Professors' Basij Organization.

Katerina Oskarsson and Steve Yetiv of Old Dominion University examine Rus- sia's increasing trade relations in the Gulf, including its growing links with the GCC states in addition to its traditional ties to Iran and Iraq.

Robert Mason of the British University in Egypt offers a réévaluation of the eco- nomic aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, a useful contribution to efforts to revive the "road map. …

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