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Middle East

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January 2003
Iraq Before and After Saddam
by Judith S. Yaphe
"Iraq had a violent and unstable political culture before Saddam, and a stability bolstered by repression, fear, and wealth under Saddam. Could history repeat itself in Iraq? Could the country produce another Saddam-like figure by replicating the conditions and circumstances that propelled him to power?"

November 2002
Jihad and Political Violence
by Roxanne L. Euben
"Jihad is neither simply a blind and bloody-minded scrabble for temporal power nor solely a door through which to pass into the hereafter. Rather it is a form of political action in which . . . the pursuit of immortality is inextricably linked to a profoundly this-worldly endeavoróthe founding or re-creation of a just community on earth."

November 2002
Activism and Reform in Islam
by Augustus Richard Norton
"Largely missing from American discussions about Islam is any appreciation of the debates within Islam and the widely variant interpretations by Muslims of their own religion. Beyond the core belief shared by all Muslims that there is only one God and Muhammad was the messenger of God, there are many 'Islams,' depending on locale, education, custom, politics, and personal attitudes."

November 2002
Is There a Muslim Foreign Policy? The Case of the Caspian
by Brenda Shaffer
"If Islam is the defining force in a Muslim-populated state, then, like Samson, these states should be willing to make significant material sacrifices and take security risks to promote their religious beliefs. That has not been the case in the Muslim-dominated nations in the Caspian region."

January 2002
Iran's Liberal Revolution?
by Bahman Baktiari and Haleh Vaziri
"If [Khatami] does not seize the moment and conservatives continue to resist change, Iranian citizens will become increasingly impatient: their questions already are no longer 'Why reform?' or 'What kind of reform?' They now urgently ask 'How?' and 'When?' "

January 2002
Networks of Dissent: Islamism and Reform in Saudi Arabia
by Gwenn Okruhlik
"Portrayals of internal politics as contests between United States-allied 'moderates' and puritanical 'Wahhabis' are grossly oversimplified. So too is a menu that offers two stark choices: an absolute monarchy tilting toward the West or a revolutionary Islamist regime hostile to the West."

January 2002
The Politics of Emergency Rule in Egypt
by Diane Singerman
"What has warranted the Egyptian government's . . . exceptional regulation and control of political life over the course of more than five decades? Clearly, Islamist radicals who have been willing to use violence against the state and civilians outside the parameters of the law warrant strong measures. . . . [Yet] these laws have remained in place even as the government has claimed that its policies have vanquished the Islamist threat."

January 2002
America's Approach to the Middle East: Legacies, Questions, and Possibilities
by Augustus Richard Norton
"Will America now define national security as it did half a century ago to see the betterment of others' conditions as key to ensuring its own safety and well-being? Or will it be satisfied merely to aggressively police the frontiers of hostility at home and abroad to reduce the likelihood of a new terrorist-inflicted disaster?"

January 2002
Bin Laden, the Arab "Street," and the Middle East's Democracy Deficit
by Dale F. Eickelman
"Bin Laden speaks in the vivid language of popular Islamic preachers, and builds on a deep and widespread resentment against the West . . . The lack of formal outlets to express opinion on public concerns has created [a] democracy deficit in much of the Arab world, and this makes it easier for terrorists such as bin Laden, asserting that they act in the name of religion, to hijack the Arab street."

January 2002
Why Peace Failed: An Oslo Autopsy
by Sara Roy
"The ongoing crisis among Israelis and Palestinians is not primarily the result of a failed summit, poor implementation, or Netanyahu's intransigence: it is instead the result of a 'peace' process that by design altered the political, economic, and physical landscape of the Palestinian territories in a manner that intensified rather than mitigated Palestinian dispossession, deprivation, and oppression, and so precluded a fair and workable settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict."

December 2001
It's Not About Faith: A Battle for the Soul of the Middle East
by Shibley Telhami
"An infusion of hope is needed in the midst of despair, a supply of ammunition in the war of ideas for those in the region who, deep in their hearts, reject the militants' way, but are sickened even more by their own daily humiliation."

November 2001
A Dream Become Nightmare? Turkey's Entry into the European Union
by Ersel Aydinli and Dov Waxman
"As long as Turkey's desire for EU membership represented an abstract ideal . . . , Turkey's military and civilian elite could avoid acknowledging the potential political costs of membership in the eu. And as long as the Europeans kept Turkey at arm's length, that elite's willingness to implement the domestic reforms necessary for EU membership was never put to the test."

January 2001
Camp David II: Assumptions and Consequences
by Shibley Telhami
"The framing of issues between Israel and the Palestinians in religious terms, fueled by the question of Jerusalem, has led to the beginning of a transformation that has begun to mobilize Arabs within Israel, and Arabs and Muslims worldwide. Increasingly the conflict is no longer only Palestinian-Israeli, but also Arab-Israeli, and even Muslim-Jewish."

January 2001
Israel and the Palestinians: Bitter Fruits of Hegemonic Peace
by Glenn E. Robinson
"Had Arafat accepted Israel's offer at Camp David, the violence in recent months would have been more in the form of a Palestinian civil war. Or as Arafat reportedly asked Clinton when the American president was pushing hard for him to accept Barak's offer: 'Do you want to attend my funeral?'"

January 2001
Barak’s Israel
by Don Peretz
"The sense of solidarity that characterized Israeli society half a century ago has dissipated as society has divided into contentious, often conflicting groups. . . . [But] since the Jerusalem intifada erupted in October, many in Jewish Israeli society have refocused their hostility: PA President Yasir Arafat has become the archenemy. . . . Barak, however, has been unable to form a new majority coalition or capitalize on the anti-Arafat emotion sweeping through the Jewish community."

January 2001
Iran: Came the Revolution
by Jon B. Alterman
"Long-time watchers of Iranian politics [believe] Iran is moving away from the politics of Islamic revolution and toward the traditional politics of Iran. . . . [But] authoritarianism is a recurring theme in Iranian history, and some Iranian scholars openly wonder whether the reformists will be any less authoritarian than the conservative clerics."

January 2001
America’s Middle East Peace Crisis
by Augustus Richard Norton
"Over the past decade it has become fashionable in Washington to believe that only when a situation is 'ripe'—that is, when the belligerents are 'hurting'—should the United States expend diplomatic capital, and especially the scarcest resource of all, the president's time, to seek a solution. This perspective exhibits common-sense wisdom, but it also harbors a rationale for avoiding tough, complex issues."

January 2001
The Kurdish Nation
by M. Hakan Yavuz and Michael M. Gunter
"The Kurdish question consists of the desire of most Kurds to have the cultural, linguistic, and political rights that will protect their Kurdish identity. Some Kurds also seek autonomy or even independence from the countries in which they live; those states, however, have long denied such aspirations. . . . The result has been a constant instability that promises to intensify as the Kurds become more politically aware and as their cause grows more visible to the outside world."

January 2000
The Coming Transformation in the Muslim World
by Dale F. Eickelman
"Buzzwords such as "fundamentalism" and catchy phrases such as Samuel Huntington's "West versus the rest". . .obscure or even distort the immense spiritual and intellectual ferment that is taking place today among the world's nearly 1 billion Muslims."

January 2000
The Middle East's Information Revolution
by Jon B. Alterman
"It may be some time before the Internet becomes firmly entrenched in much of the Middle East. The obstacles to adoption, especially with the current technology, appear significant. But the information revolution has already arrived in the Middle East, and it poses significant challenges for the status quo."

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