Editor's Note

By Dunn, Michael Collins | The Middle East Journal, Autumn 2005 | Go to article overview

Editor's Note


Dunn, Michael Collins, The Middle East Journal


Every issue of The Middle East Journal seeks to balance lasting contributions to scholarship with timely analysis, long-term research with articles which can inform current policy. In some ways this issue is a prime example of that; it contains articles as timely and policy-driven as one might desire: a look at the prospects (or lack thereof) for democratization in the Maghrib states; the question of women in the Personal Status Law of Iraq as the new Constitution is debated in that country; an analysis of Iran's military doctrine; and the debate over using a free trade agreement to fight terrorism, examining the Moroccan case. Yet it also contains an article arguing about what precisely occurred in the Palestinian town of Lydda (Lod) during the 1948 Palestine War. Even that historical argument, however, is not "merely" academic: it focuses on a cause celèbre in the debate over the "new" or "revisionist" history in Israel. The articles cover the region from Morocco to Iran, from 1948 to the present.

John Entelis of Fordham University is well-known as an interpreter of the Maghrib states. In the lead article, "The Democratic Imperative vs. the Authoritarian Impulse," Professor Entelis examines the cases of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, and the dynamic between growing pressures for democratization and the traditional authoritarian responses of these states. It is fair to say he is not terribly optimistic about the prospects for democratization, despite the dangers of radicalization that continued authoritarianism raises.

With Iran increasingly confronting the West over its nuclear program, an understanding of Iranian thinking is imperative. Steven R. Ward, a longtime Iran analyst with the US Government, examines "The Continuing Evolution of Iran's Military Doctrine." Basing his argument on open-source Iranian publications, he examines Iranian thinking about its future war-fighting doctrine. It is, I believe, a useful contribution for those seeking to understand how Iran perceives the potential challenges it may confront.

With this issue appearing shortly after Iraq is due to vote on its draft constitution on October 15, there will doubtless be more debate about women and personal status, regardless of the outcome of the referendum. Noga Efrati's "Negotiating Rights in Iraq: Women and the Personal Status Law" provides a detailed analysis of the history of women in personal status legislation in Iraq from the secular Personal Status Law of 1959 to the new Constitution. It is an excellent and highly-detailed background article for anyone interested in this explosive and important issue.

Gregory W. White of Smith College gives us a detailed analysis of the US-Moroccan Free Trade Agreement of 2004 in the context of the War on Terror. …

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