Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

Editor's Note

Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

Editor's Note

Article excerpt

With events in Iraq developing rapidly and dramatically as we go to press, it is fitting that this issue offers two studies relating to that country. The other articles cover a considerable range of topics.

In "Saddam and the Islamists," Samuel Helfont of Princeton University analyzes the extensive archive of captured documents from the Ba'thist regime to analyze how Saddam Husayn manipulated religious themes and institutions in order to enhance Iraq's relations with Arab and Islamic countries.

Since the Kurdistan Regional Government achieved autonomy within Iraq in the 1990s, a sense of distinctive Kurdish national consciousness has emerged, and now may be accelerating. Sherko Kirmanj, a former official in the KRG Ministry of Higher Education now at the University of Utara Malaysia, studies the contents of Kurdish his- tory textbooks under the KRG, emphasizing their effort at, as his title puts "building a nation-state within a nation-state."

Our third article is particularly unusual. In the Middle East (and elsewhere in the world) many conspiracy theories have been spun around the Freemasons, Bar-Ilan Uni- versity's Danny Kaplan is not interested in weaving conspiracy theories; he has studied the evolution of the fraternal organization in Mandatory Palestine and the State of Is- rael, and he describes the nature of Jewish-Arab relations within and among the lodges. …

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