May 31, 2016

THE CIVIC CULTURE OF THE ARAB WORLD: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS BASED ON WORLD VALUES SURVEY DATA

World Values Survey

Click here for PDF This study attempts to estimate the development of civil society in the Arab World by using comparative opinion survey data based on the author’s evaluation of the World Values Survey. Certain basic assumptions of current Middle East studies are evaluated, which are also reflected in the Obama administration’s Presidential Research Directive 11. While the directive emphasizes the compatibility of “moderate Islamism” and “democracy,” the current study finds that … [Read more...]

THE JIHADI THREAT ON ISRAEL’S NORTHERN BORDER

Flag of Jabhat al-Nusra

Click here for PDF This article seeks to explore the dynamics surrounding the various Sunni jihadi groups in the south of Syria near the border with the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, examining whether they pose a significant and imminent threat to Israel’s security. It is based on a presentation given by the author at a Rubin Center for Research in International Affairs symposium, “Israel in a Changed Middle East,” in honor of the late Prof. Barry Rubin in February 2016. … [Read more...]

IRANIAN REFORMISTS: BETWEEN MODERATION AND REVOLUTION

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 21JAN04 - H.E. Hojatoleslam Seyed Mohammad Khatami, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, delivers a speech during the Welcome to the Annual Meeting 2004 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 21, 2004.

Copyright World Economic Forum (www.weforum.org) swiss-image.ch/Photo by Jean-Bernard Sieber

Click here for PDF Iranian moderates made significant gains in the country’s February 2016 legislative elections. The reformists won 85 out of 290 seats compared with 75 seats for the conservatives. However, the reformists represented in the new parliament have no historical continuity with the reformist camp of the former President Mohammad Khatami; those reformists who might challenge the supreme leaders ideologically were disqualified by the Guardian Council. President Hassan Rouhani’s … [Read more...]

THE MINORITY RIGHTS OF AZERBAIJANI TURKS IN IRAN

Flag of South Azerbaijani Awakening Movement (Source: WikiCommons, Qutlu)

Click here for PDF This article discusses the minority rights of Iran's Azerbaijani Turks and human rights violations in its majority Azerbaijani-populated provinces of Iran by the Iranian central government. With the conclusion of the second Russo-Persian War (1826-1828) and the signing of the Turkmenchay Treaty, Azerbaijan was divided into north and south, with the massive region of Southern Azerbaijan becoming part of northwestern Iran. Since then, relations between Southern Azerbaijanis … [Read more...]

THE BREAKING UP OF TURKEY’S ISLAMIC ALLIANCE: THE AKP-GULEN CONFLICT AND IMPLICATIONS FOR MIDDLE EAST STUDIES

Fethullah Gulen
(Source: http://www.fgulen.com)

Click here for PDF Turkey’s Islamic movement increased its power dramatically during the first decade of the 2000s, benefiting from the cooperation of the AKP and the Gulen movement. This alliance allowed Islamic actors to control major state functions following several decades of struggle against secularist elites. Yet, to the surprise of most observers, the alliance began to fall apart in 2011 and quickly evolved into a fierce battle between the AKP government and the Gulenists.  … [Read more...]

THE IMPACT OF THE ARAB SPRING ON THE POLITICAL FUTURE OF THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD IN THE MIDDLE EAST: JORDAN AS A CASE STUDY

Jordanian Police Audi A6 C6 sedan in Amman, Jordan.

Click here for PDF The events of the Arab Spring have led to new political realities in the Arab world and paved the way for the Muslim Brotherhood to form short-lived governments in Tunisia and Egypt. Encouraged by these developments, the Brotherhood in Jordan played a leading role in the uprising there, adopted extreme positions, and boycotted the 2010 and 2013 parliamentary elections. The movement today is in open confrontation with the Jordanian regime and suffers from internal division and … [Read more...]

PUTIN, ASSAD, AND GEOPOLITICS

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on his visit to Russia meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin, October 20. 2016 (Source: Press Service of President of Russia, http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/50533/photos).

Click here for PDF The Russian military intervention in Syria since September 2015 has sparked spirited debates in Western policymaking and intellectual circles about the genuine motives behind the Kremlin’s unexpected decision. Various monocausal explanations have been propounded, which, however, do not interpret this intervention in either an objective or systematic way. This article aspires to examine the Russian military intervention in Syria in an unbiased, innovative, and thorough way … [Read more...]

“MUHAMMAD TAUGHT US HOW TO FIGHT”: THE ISLAMIC STATE AND EARLY ISLAMIC WARFARE TRADITION

AP photo via militant website

Click here for PDF The performance of Western-trained Arab militaries has been generally abysmal.   Therefore, when the Islamic State (IS, formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)) began scoring impressive victories, the Middle Eastern and Western intelligence and military circles were shocked. In fact, the ex-Ba’thist military officers who direct IS have returned to the roots of early Islamic warfare, reinventing the attributes of the Islamic warriors and using their strategy … [Read more...]

IRAN AND THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD IN THE ARABIC-SPEAKING WORLD: THE BEST OF ENEMIES?

Al-Jama’a al-Islamiyya logo

Click here for PDF This article focuses on relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and branches of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arabic-speaking Middle East.  The introduction looks at the historical and ideological background to relations between the Brotherhood and Iran.  The article then focuses on two examples - relations between Teheran and the Palestinian Hamas movement, and Iran’s relations to the Jama’a al-Islamiyya, the Lebanese branch of the Brotherhood.  Also surveyed … [Read more...]

CHALLENGES AND INFLUENCES OF THE “AMERICANIZATION” OF PALESTINIAN EDUCATION: A CASE STUDY OF AL-QUDS UNIVERSITY’S AMERICAN STUDIES DEPARTMENT

Al Quds University Faculty of Science & Technology (by Diaaasa - Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Faculty_of_Science_%26_Technology.jpg#/media/File:Faculty_of_Science_%26_Technology.jpg)

Click here for PDF Palestinian education has often been in the spotlight for the role it plays in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.  At the college and university level student politics have often played an integral role in shaping Palestinian society.  In 2001, a unique attempt was made to establish an American Studies Institute on the main campus of Al-Quds University.  It attracted a microcosm of Palestinian professionals to its graduate program, many of whom were active in various … [Read more...]