Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

Editor's Note

Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

Editor's Note

Article excerpt

At a time when much of the world's attention is again focused on the Middle East, our Autumn issue offers a range of articles that may serve to elucidate the background of current developments. Two deal with Lebanon in the aftermath of the Syrian with- drawal and the Arab Spring uprisings; two more, plus our book review essay, deal with Iraq or the broader hydro-politics of the Fertile Crescent, and the fifth addresses Israel's response to the Arab League's Arab Peace Initiative, which may be of interest given the current moribund state of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

We begin with two Lebanese scholars addressing recent politics in that country. Tamirace Fakhoury of the Lebanese American University's article is an examination of Lebanon's complex power-sharing system and how that system weathered the era of what she terms "the Arab protest wave." The American University of Beirut's Ohannes Geukjian addresses the related question of stresses in the Lebanese system in the wake of the Syrian withdrawal in 2005. The two articles together offer insight into the stress- es and strains on the Lebanese power-sharing system over the past decade.

With Iraq dominating much of the recent news, David Romano of Missouri State University provides an analysis of the degree to which the provisions of Iraq's constitution providing for a decentralized federal system were undermined or ignored by the centraliz- ing government in Baghdad, alienating not only the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Gov- ernment but the Sunni regions as well, helping to provoke the collapse of this past summer.

Recent events in both Iraq and Syria have also reminded us of the historical and geographical links involving the Tigris and Euphrates river valleys; Mark Dohrmann and Robert Hatem address the hydro-politics of the region and its role in the relations between Turkey and the states downstream, Syria and Iraq. …

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