Archives for 2010

The Arab State and Neo-Liberal Globalization: The Restructuring of State Power in the Middle East

The notion that most non-democratic states in the world are on some kind of inevitable trajectory towards democracy is often taken as an implicit assumption. However, as the editors of The Arab State and Neoliberal Globalization point out, this truism encounters difficulties in the context of the Middle East. For here, instead of some kind of inexorable asce...    read more 

One State, Two States: Resolving the Israel/Palestine Conflict

In Israel, Benny Morris wears two hats. As the pioneer of the New Historian movement, Morris has produced a plethora of scholarly books and articles that have reshaped the boundaries of the Zionist-Arab conflict’s historiography. Indeed, Morris became the first Israeli historian to accurately show the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of Israel’s establi...    read more 

The Balfour Declaration: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

On October 31, 1917, during the conquering of the Ottoman Empire the British Cabinet approved the following policy statement regarding Palestine, “His Majesty’s Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearl...    read more 

Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East

Only the future will show whether President George W. Bush made the proper/right decision to invade Iraq in 2003; however, current events clearly indicate his administration’s failure to adequately plan for the aftermath of the invasion and the impact of war on Iraq and its neighbors. Deborah Amos focuses on these issues, primarily as they relate to Iraqi...    read more 

The Globalization of Martyrdom: Al Qaeda, Salafi Jihad, and the Diffusion of Suicide Attacks

One clear blind spot in the contemporary study of terrorism is the role religious ideology plays as a motivating force and driver of strategy. In the scholarship on suicide missions in particular, Jessica Stern is correct to regard occupation theory as “the received wisdom” among certain segments of academia. The Globalization of Martyrdom makes an impo...    read more 

Africa: Unity, Sovereignty & Sorrow

Despite decades of ethnic conflict, cross-border rebellions, disputed elections, and retarded development, African states remain whole. Somewhat glibly reported in a condition of “state failure,” African states, with a few exceptions, do not disintegrate. In this book, brimming with uncommon sense, Engelbert offers an explanation. In his view, state a...    read more 

Unprotected: Palestinians in Egypt since 1948

While much research has been devoted to the plight of the Palestinians in Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Jordan and Lebanon, a dearth of literature exists on the Palestinians in Egypt—despite the fact they have been living there for more than 100 years. Oroub El-Abed’s comprehensive analysis of the Palestinians in Egypt deserves special praise f...    read more 

Political Participation in the Middle East

Scholars writing on contemporary politics in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have stopped asking, “Why is the Arab world not democratic?” (as Ghassan Salamé did in 1991) and instead started asking, “Why is the Arab world still autocratic?” That is, there is a consensus in the literature that the unique blend of autocracy and democracy...    read more 

Leaving Terrorism Behind: Individual and Collective Disengagement

Though its chapters are somewhat uneven, Leaving Terrorism Behind makes a valuable contribution to the study of terrorist deradicalization and disengagement. The volume’s most significant contribution is providing a comparative review of disengagement programs and processes related to a variety of movements, including the racialist right, left-wing and nat...    read more 

Islamic Jerusalem and its Christians: a History of Tolerance and Tensions

Muslim treatment of Christians at the time of the first conquest of Jerusalem under the caliph Umar in the 7th century and at the time of the city’s re-conquest by Saladin in the 12th century is the focus of Maher Y. Abu-Munshar’s recent bookIslamic Jerusalem and its Christians: a History of Tolerance and Tensions. Underneath this theme, however, lies th...    read more