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Contemporary Politics in the Middle East, 3rd Edition

Contemporary Politics in the Middle East, 3rd Edition

Beverley Milton-Edwards

ISBN: 978-0-745-69962-2

Jun 2015

320 pages



The third edition of this dynamic book has been fully revised and updated to provide a comprehensive introduction to contemporary politics in the Middle East. Purposefully employing a clear thematic structure and including a wide range of case studies, data, visuals and further reading guidance the book explores and analyses the major issues which define the politics of this region of the globe.

Milton-Edwards begins by introducing and explaining key concepts and debates and goes on to outline the impact of colonialism and its legacy, the rise of Arab nationalism and anti-colonial politics. She then examines major political issues affecting the region, such as American foreign policy, political Islam, war and conflict, political economy, democratization, ethnicity and the role of women. The book concludes by highlighting the politics of the region in the twenty-first century and the future challenges it faces. This is a perfect introduction for undergraduates, covering key political, economic and social debates and providing updates and guidance for further reading.

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Preface to Third Edition.


What is the Middle East?

Who invented the Middle East?

Orientalism - the debate.

State types - making sense of multiplicity.

Discussion Questions.

Further reading.

1. Colonial Rule.


Merchants and missionaries.

World War I and the death of the Ottoman Empire.

1918 and after: mandates, protectorates and continued colonization.

Inter-war European decline.

Sunset empire.

Case study: Egypt.

Case study: The Palestine debacle.

Case study: Algeria - a colony or province outré mer.

Discussion Questions.

Further reading.

2. Nationalism.


The development of nationalism.

The birth of Arab nationalism.

The Arab revolt.

Arab nationalism and revolution.

Unification nationalism - the United Arab Republic and beyond.

Case study: Egyptian nationalism.

Case study: Ba'thism - unification or state nationalism?

Discussion Questions.

Further reading.

3. Political Economy: Riches of a Region.


Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief.

Many models make poor work.

Evolution of oil-based societies.

Sheikhdoms and petro-power.

Rentier future, profits in decline?

On the wings of a dove - the migrant workforce.

Case study: Mega-economy Kuwaiti style.

Case study: Econo-dependent development Egyptian-style.

Case study: The great globalization debate.

Discussion Questions.

Further reading.

4. War and Lack of Peace.


The bigger battle - Arab-Israeli hostility.

Killing dreams - the Israeli-Palestinian dimension.

East against West in the Suez Crisis.

Arab-Arab - brothers at arms.

The lion and the peacock: Arab-Iranian relations.

Lebanon - the politics of a deeply divided society.

Case study Egypt and Israel - the Cold Peace.

Case study al-Qaeda.

Case study Back to Iraq.

Discussion Questions.

Further reading.

5. Past, Present and Future Politics: Political Islam.


Islam and Politics.

Thoroughly modern Muslims.

Muslim Brotherhood.

Radical and fundamentalist Islam.

Twenty-first century Muslim.

Case study The Islamic Republic of Iran.

Case study Palestinian Islamists - Hamas.

Case study Hizbollah.

Discussion Questions.

Further reading.

6. Democratization: Old Politics, New Problems.


Clash of civilizations.

Democratization or liberalization?

Socio-economic indicators.

Democracy and civil society.

Islam and democracy - an oxymoron?

From democracy to ethnocracy in Israel.

Case study Jordan - a façade democracy.

Case study Algeria Ð the wrong kind of democracy.

Case Study: Morocco model?

Discussion Questions.

Further reading.

7. Women: The invisible Population.


The role of women in nationalist movements.

Identity and independence: status issues.

Women and Islam.

Subjugation through wealth and work.

Feminism and gender discourse.

Case study Palestinian women in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip.

Case study From beyond the veil - Iran since the Revolution.

Case study Turkey, the state of women.

Discussion Questions.

Further reading.

8. Ethnicity and minorities.


Defining ethnicity.

Minority status.

The state and ethnicity.


Ethno-national and religious battles.

Conflict-management and regulation.

Case study: The Kurds' rights denied.

Case study: The Alawites of Syria.

Case Study - Israel's Arabs.

Discussion Questions.

Further reading.

9. Them and Us: The United States, EU and the Middle East.


Objective national interest.

Relations and rivalries.

Burger bars and belly dancers.

American foreign policy from ground zero.

Europe, the EU and the Middle East.

Case study America and Israel.

Case study America and Saudi Arabia: oil on troubled waters.

Case study Ð the US and Iran.

Discussion Questions.

Further reading.


The colonial legacy? East-West relations.

The future Arab nation.

The political economy matrix.

Carry on conflict.

Political Islam: the politics of the future.

Decline of democratization.

Sisters doing it for themselves.

Ethnic equations.

Never Alone.



Fully revised and expanded taking full account of political developments in the region since 2006, now fully illustrated throughout
""The genius of this book is that it integrates together the different themes which run through Middle Eastern politics. The coherence of the approach which the author has adopted is indicated by the manner in which she has updated the work in this second edition. Despite the substantial changes which the East has undergone since 9/11 and the 2003 Gulf War, the original line of analysis retains all its force. It remains a key reference for all those who are seeking to understand the region's politics, whether undergraduates, postgraduates or lay readers.""
Tim Niblock, Exeter University

""I welcome the new edition of this comprehensive guide to the politics of such an important region of the world. It combines sensible generalizations with useful case studies of particularly important subjects. It is a must for all those who want to understand the complex politics of the modern Middle East.""
Roger Owen, Harvard University

""Beverley Milton-Edwards has produced an excellent book, which is both wide-ranging in its coverage and punchy in its arguments. As such, its functions are dual. It works well as a text book, introducing the general reader to key themes in the contemporary region, from oil politics to ethnicity, to women and nationalism. But it also works as a running commentary on key debates, such as the rile of colonialism and the relationship between Islam and democracy. In short, this is a book with attitude.""
Philip Robins, St Antony's College, Oxford

  • This is a new edition of Beverley Milton-Edwards' bestselling textbook on the politics of the middle east, providing the definitive introduction to the region.
  • Individual chapters examine key issues such as the impact of colonialism, the development of Arab nationalist ideologies, the politics of oil, the Arab-Isreali conflict, democratization, Islamism, and the politics of ethnicity and gender.
  • This new edition features substantial expansion and revision throughout, taking full account of the latest developments in the politics of the region.
  • This new edition is fully illustrated, featuring a wealth of maps, photographs, tables and text boxes, as well as updated reading guides and questions for class discussion.