The Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative (MESPI) brings you the fourth in a series of “Peer-Reviewed Article Reviews” in which we present a collection of journals and their articles concerned with the Middle East and Arab world. This series will be published seasonally. Each issue will comprise one-to-three parts, depending on the number of articles included.

Arab Law Quarterly (Volume 32, Issue 1)


Procedure of Issuing Religious Divorce and Resolving Matrimonial Disputes at Sharīʿah Councils in the UK

By: Rafidah Mohamad Cusairi, Mahdi Zahraa

Abstract: The unavailability of civil courts to hear cases relating to Muslim family law and other related matters persuaded community leaders and religious scholars in the United Kingdom to establish several shari’a councils. This article explores the role played by these councils in resolving matrimonial disputes, especially the process and procedure of issuing an Islamic divorce. Library and empirical research methods were employed. Three main UK shari’a councils were visited wherein mediation and arbitration sessions, as well as monthly meetings, were observed to examine how disputes are handled and decisions made. The study leads to several findings. Mediation and arbitration are the main methods used in the process, and despite the relative success of shari’a councils, they face challenges resulting from the dichotomy and overlapping jurisdictions of Islamic and English family law and the non-alignment of divorce issued by UK courts and religious divorce.

The Grounds for Setting Aside Arbitral Awards under the Egyptian Arbitration Code: Unresolved Choice of Law Issues and Unwanted Extraterritorialism

By: Yehya Ikram Ibrahim Badr

Abstract: This article analyses the choice of law issues associated with setting aside an arbitral award under the Egyptian Arbitration Code (the code), the challenges posed by applying the code to arbitration conducted outside Egypt, and the lack of a clear criterion to define the code’s scope of application. Choice of law issues–such as the law governing the parties’ capacity, the law governing the agreement to arbitrate and the applicable curial–are not addressed by defined choice of law rules. Under Egyptian law, there are several conflicting choices of rules. Finally, the article focuses on the Egyptian courts’ tendency to apply Egyptian law extraterritorially, either to protect Egyptian public policy or to apply Egyptian mandatory rules to determine the procedural validity of the arbitral award and the arbitration proceedings in general.

The Impact of Islamic Criminal Law on the Qatari Penal Code

By: Ahmed Samir Hassanein

Abstract: The Qatari legislator has adopted a penal code that encompasses rules derived from a divine source and also deals with several other crimes common in positive penal laws. Whoever reads the Qatari Penal Code will notice the significant influence that Islamic criminal rules have had on that law. Its inaugural article unequivocally provides that rules of Islamic law (shari’a) shall apply to all crimes of hududqisas and diya if a special condition is met. In all other cases, however, shari’a rules still permeate the entire code through the proscription of acts derived from shari’a law. This article thus aims to present a concise overview of the contemporary Qatari experience in adopting rules derived from Islamic criminal law into its penal code, for the purpose of highlighting its points of strength, as well as identifying points of weakness to overcome.

Preventive Composition Scheme in Oman as a Rescue Scheme: Still a Myth?

By: Saleh Al-Barashdi

Abstract: This article examines Oman’s Commercial Code’s preventive composition scheme with creditors. Various conditions that a trader needs to meet in order to apply for preventive composition are highlighted. Then, the issues of management displacement, of staying creditors’ actions during the proceedings and of cramming-down dissenting creditors are examined. The article concludes by demonstrating that the preventive composition scheme in Oman is far from being a rescue scheme.


Arab Media & Society (Issue 25)


Picturing Law and Order: A Visual Framing Analysis of ISIS’s Dabiq Magazine

By: Kareem El Damanhoury, Carol Winkler

Abstract: The rise of ideologically-driven lone actor terrorist attacks, coupled with the use of Internet-circulated media products as sources of inspiration, raises the need to understand the message strategies embedded in media campaigns of groups like ISIS. To better understand “enforcers” of ISIS’ interpretation of shari’a law on the global stage, this study examines how ISIS has visualized law enforcement in its claimed territories in Iraq, Syria, and other Arab countries in the online publication, Dabiq, since the declaration of the so-called caliphate. Using a quantitative content analysis and a qualitative visual framing analysis of all law enforcement-related images in the fifteen issues of Dabiq, the study identifies four law enforcement frames and examines Entman’s framing associations—the problem definition, causes, moral stance, and treatment recommendations—displayed in each frame.

Sources of Resilience in Political Islam: Sacred Time, Earthly Pragmatism, and Digital Media

By: Robert Hassan

Abstract: The essay contrasts the relationship of time and temporality as expressed through the historical arc of Western modernity, with that of political Islam, which derives a very different concept of time from the Qur’an. The effect, the essay argues, is an asynchronicity between the West and political Islam that goes some way to explaining the persistence of the present conflict—with political Islam deriving forms of media-inflected “resilience” from its “sacred” time; and the West, paradoxically, becoming trapped in a “fetishism of efficiency” whereby technological acceleration and media communication shapes its attitude to warfare. The primary consequence of this for the West is a logic that militates against a resilience of its own, and with it the diminishment of a cultural capacity to fight the “long war” against the terrorism of the most radical elements of political Islam.

The Qatari Crisis and Al Jazeera’s Coverage of the War in Yemen

By: Gamal Gasim

Abstract: This study examines the coverage of the Yemeni crisis, before and after the outbreak of the Gulf crisis, by al-Jazeera English news websites. It aims to identify any existing variation in al-Jazeera’s news coverage with respect to the Yemeni crisis, thus examining the degree to which al-Jazeera maintains its independence from Qatari influence in its coverage of events in Yemen. The study begins by first mapping both the Yemeni War and the Qatari crisis, followed by a discussion of data collection and analysis. Data were collected from the al-Jazeera English official website. Because the Qatari crisis has been of considerably shorter duration than the Yemeni war, data were collected over two phases to ensure rigorous comparison of the content for both events. Based on the obtained results, negative news coverage of the war in Yemen increased significantly after the start of the Qatari crisis with respect to the role of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen’s current war. However, overall coverage of the Yemeni war has increased tremendously over the same period.

Preserving the Past, Mobilizing the Past: The Nakba as a Prospective Media Realm

By: Grace Wermenbol

Abstract: This article discusses the mediated presentation of the Nakba in the post-Oslo era through an examination of “anniversarial” journalism. By viewing media as an interpretative memory community, this work reveals how Palestinian society has shaped its ideological framing and worldview over time. Building on previous scholarly works which challenge media’s preoccupation with the immediate present, this work highlights the mediated application of the past in Palestinian media as a prospective memory that reflects the communities’ political and cultural circumstances in line with the disparate historical and contemporary geo-political circumstances in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and inside the 1948 borders. This article opines that within these communities the Nakba is not simply invoked as a foundational historical event, but as an analogy which contextualizes present-day cultural and political concerns as a result of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Local Media Framing of Egyptian Monetary Policy: Insights from the 2016 Flotation of the Pound

By: Engy Azzam

Abstract: On 3 November 2016, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) announced the free flotation of the Egyptian pound in an attempt to stabilize the economy. Following this announcement, the CBE issued a series of press releases addressing the matter, and the flotation was widely covered by local media. This research content analyzes 605 articles from three websites (national, private, and partisan), along with the CBE press releases published from November 2016 until July 2017. It was found that the privately owned al-Watan news website provided the most positive and optimistic views regarding the flotation of the pound, followed by state-owned al-Ahram and the partisan al-Wafd. The frames mentioned in the press releases of the CBE were reflected in the media coverage for these three news websites, however they were not constant, in terms of duration or longevity.

Social Media Applications in Crisis Management of Natural Disasters: Lessons for the Arab Region

By: Abdulrahman Elsamni

Abstract: Not available


Arab Studies Quarterly (Volume 40, Issue 1)


Seeds of Activism and Memories of the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s by One Elder

By: Barbara C. Aswad

Abstract: In this article, Aswad describes how she became involved in the Middle East and her ongoing commitment to organizations and programs working for Arab Americans and Palestine. She focuses on the Dearborn area and the ultimately successful struggle to prevent the destruction of the largely Arab American community in the Southend through a program of “urban renewal” which was actually one of “urban removal.”

The 1967 War: A War That Changed a Life

By: Abdeen Jabara

Abstract: In this highly personal firsthand account, a leading Arab American activist traces his history as a child in a small town in northern Michigan to his growing political activism spurred on by experiences in the Middle East and the 1967 war. He places particular emphasis on the Association of Arab American University Graduates (AAUG) and National Lawyers Guild (NLG). Both of these organizations, very early on, took principled, yet highly controversial stances in favor of a Palestinian state.

AAUG and the Years of Activities

By: Ghada Hashem Talhami

Abstract: These memoirs of the AAUG by one of its leaders, and a former president, focus on its shortcomings, as well as the role of women within the organization. It also addresses the issues of secular Arab nationalism and the more recent phenomena of Islamophobia.

Arab American Activism

By: Camille Odeh

Abstract: This article provides a first-hand account of Arab American activism from the 1967 war to the present. It focuses on the development and activities of Arab Americans in the metropolitan Chicago area, with particular emphasis on the activities of Arab American and Arab students in the decades after the 1967 war. It also describes the alliances forged between African Americans and Arab Americans during those tumultuous decades, as well as offering suggestions for what Arab American activists should do in the future.

How is the AAUG Remembered? Restrained Nostalgia, Historical Omissions, and My Side of the Story

By: Randa A. Kayyali

Abstract: The events and reasons behind the closure of the AAUG Washington DC office and the subsequent disbanding of the entire organization, with the notable exception of the Arab Studies Quarterly is described here by the last acting executive director. This essay helps to fill a major lacuna in the written history of a major Arab American activist organization.

From 1967 to Operation Boulder: The Erosion of Arab Americans’ Civil Liberties in the 1970s

By: Pamela E. Pennock

Abstract: This article examines the US government’s targeting of Arab Americans for surveillance and harassment in the wake of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and the Palestinian terrorist group Black September’s murder of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972. In the late 1960s, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) included Arabs as targets of its COINTELPRO surveillance program, and in 1972 the Nixon administration created the Cabinet Committee to Combat Terrorism and the visa check system Operation Boulder to monitor Arab residents and Arab Americans. The federal government overstepped its constitutional boundaries and used its powers to repress Arab American activism on behalf of Palestine. The article explores Arab Americans’ responses and resistance to government violations of their civil liberties. Ironically, the government’s attempt to divide and intimidate Arab Americans actually served to heighten their unity and advance their activism.

Transnational Alliances: The AAUG’s Advocacy for Palestine and the Third World

By: Suraya Khan

Abstract: This article examines how the Association of Arab-American University Graduates (AAUG) articulated the Palestine question as both an Arab-American and a Third World issue after the 1967 War. Using archival documents and recollections from several AAUG members, this article traces the ways in which activism on Palestine and other issues facilitated the creation of a transnational Arab-American “intellectual generation.” Although the AAUG often focused on Palestine, it educated its members and engaged in activism on issues affecting other communities who grappled with racism, imperialism, and colonialism. In doing so, it attracted diverse allies to the Palestinian cause, such as Black Americans, Africans, South Asians, and other members of the “global Third World.” This article further analyzes the AAUG’s transnational engagement with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) during its first decade. Using both traditional and academic activism, the AAUG firmly associated Palestine with the Third World and fostered an Arab-American intellectual movement.


Arabica (Volume 65, Issue 1-2)


Muḥammad as an Episcopal Figure

By: Nicolai Sinai

Abstract: The Medinan stratum of the Qur’an ascribes to Muhammad a noticeably elevated status and a far wider range of functions than the earlier Meccan layer. Although this shift may well have responded to, and been facilitated by, historical circumstances, it is nonetheless appropriate to inquire whether specific aspects of it might be drawing on pre-Qur’anic precedents. I argue that the Christian episcopate, arguably the most widespread type of urban religious leadership in late antiquity, yields a surprising number of close overlaps with the Medinan presentation of the function and authority of Muhammad. In tandem with this assessment, however, the article also considers important differences between the figure of Muhammad and that of the Christian bishop. The most important such divergence consists in the fact that the Qur’anic Messenger, unlike a Christian bishop, does not owe his authority to ordination by an ecclesiastical hierarchy: Muhammad does not occupy an office that imparts authority independently of the person occupying it.Le substrat médinois du Coran attribue à Muhammad un statut particulièrement élevé et un éventail de fonctions bien plus large que la période mecquoise. Bien que ce changement ait pu répondre et être facilité par des circonstances historiques, il est néanmoins approprié de se demander si des aspects spécifiques de celui-ci pourraient s’appuyer sur des précédents pré-coraniques. Je soutiens que l’épiscopat chrétien, sans doute le type de direction religieuse citadine le plus répandu dans l’Antiquité tardive, donne un nombre surprenant d’étroites coïncidences avec la présentation de la fonction et de l’autorité de Muhammad à Médine. Cependant, parallèlement à cette appréciation, l’article relève également d’importantes différences entre la figure de Muhammad et celle de l’évêque chrétien. La plus importante distinction réside dans le fait que le messager coranique, contrairement à un évêque chrétien, ne doit pas son autorité à une ordination par une hiérarchie ecclésiastique : Muhammad n’occupe pas un office qui confère une autorité indépendamment de la personne qui l’occupe.This article is in English.

Between History and Exegesis: the Origins and Transformation of the Story of Muḥammad and Zaynab bt Ǧaḥš

By: Andreas Görke

Abstract: This article examines the origins of the story of the Prophet Muhammad’s controversial marriage with Zaynab bint Jahsh as well as its transformation and reinterpretation through the centuries. The fact that the story features in different genres of Islamic literature as well as in non-Muslim sources allows for a reconstruction of how and where the story emerged, how it spread and to what extent it was transformed over time. In the course of this reconstruction, the article critically assesses different approaches to the historicity of reports on the life of Muhammad. With its analysis of later Muslim sources, it also illustrates different strategies of reinterpreting and recasting traditions and shows how societal change and different ideologies influenced the interpretation of the story.Cet article examine les origines de l’histoire du mariage controversé du prophète Muhammad avec Zaynab bint Jahsh, ainsi que sa transformation et sa réinterprétation à travers les siècles. Le fait que cette histoire se retrouve dans différents genres de la littérature islamique, ainsi que dans des sources non-musulmanes, permet de reconstruire comment et où l’histoire a émergé, comment elle s’est répandue et dans quelle mesure elle s’est transformée au fil du temps. Au cours de cette reconstruction, l’article évalue de manière critique différentes approches de l’historicité des récits sur la vie de Muhammad. Avec l’analyse des sources musulmanes postérieures, il illustre également différentes stratégies de réinterprétation et de refonte des traditions et montre comment le changement sociétal et les différentes idéologies ont influencé l’interprétation de cette histoire.This article is in English.

The “ḥadīṯ literature”: What is it and where is it?

By: Stephen R. Burge

Abstract: This article seeks to explore what the ḥadith literature is from a theoretical perspective. Developing ideas first formulated by Andrew Newman, it will be argued that the “ḥadith literature” is an abstract concept, which, subsequently, raises a number of issues and questions. Using a comparison of two works on jihad as a case study—al-Biqa’i’s (d. 885/1480) Ḏayl al-istishad bi-ayat al-jihad and al-Suyutis (d. 911/1505) Arbaʿun hadithan fī faḍl al-jihad—questions around the “ḥadith literature” and what it is will be raised. The discussion will focus on the way in which the hadith found in hadith collections are affected by a compiler’s own personal discourse and historical context. It will be argued that a paradox emerges in which hadith are both part of an abstract, atemporal “hadith literature,” but, at the same time, rooted in the theological and historical context of the compiler.Cet article cherche à explorer ce qu’est la littérature du ḥadīṯ d’une perspective théorique. En développant des idées formulées pour la première fois par Andrew Newman, il sera montré que la « littérature du ḥadīṯ » est un concept abstrait qui, par conséquent, soulève un certain nombre de problèmes et de questions. En comparant deux ouvrages sur le ǧihād comme étude de cas—le Ḏayl al-istishad bi-ayat al-jihad d’al-Biqa’i (m. 885/1480) et Arbaʿun hadithan fī faḍl al-jihad d’al-Suyūṭī (m. 911/1505)—, des questionnements sur la « littérature du ḥadīṯ » et ce qu’elle est seront soulevés. La discussion portera sur la manière dont les ḥadīṯ trouvés dans les collections ḥadīṯ sont affectés par le discours personnel et le contexte historique d’un compilateur. Nous soutiendrons qu’un paradoxe apparaît, dans lequel les ḥadīṯ font à la fois partie d’une « littérature du ḥadīṯ » abstraite et intemporelle, mais, en même temps, sont enracinés dans le contexte théologique et historique du compilateur. This article is in English.

The Chronology of al-Qāḍī l-Nuʿmān’s Works

By: Ismail K. Poonawala

Abstract: A chronology of an author’s works is necessary for understanding his or her intellectual evolution. Al-Qadi l-Nu’man wrote numerous books on diverse disciplines, such as jurisprudence, history, traditions of the Messenger of God and the Isma’ili imams, biographies of the Fatimid caliph-imams, refutations of the Sunni schools of law, and allegorical interpretation of the Qurʾan and the shari’a. The chronology of al-Qadi l-Nu’man corpus, which consists of more than fifty titles, is based primarily on pieces of evidence in his extant works. The sequence of al-Qadi l-Nu’man’s legal works suggests that The Pillars of Islam (Da’a’im al-islam), compiled under the directions of al-Muʿizz around 349/960, was his crowning achievement after serving the first four Fatimid caliph-imams since 313/925. In fact, al-Qadi l-Nu’man began and completed his first work Kitab al-Idah, a massive collection of legal traditions transmitted on the authority of the family of the Prophet, while he was still serving al-Mahdi (r. 297/909-322/934). The chronology further reveals that after composing The Pillars of Islam, al-Qadi l-Nu’man devoted his energies to the explication of the major Isma’ili theological doctrine, namely the theory of ta’wil (hermeneutics). In his Asas al-ta’wil, he justifies the twin concepts of ta’wil and batin (the inner, hidden, esoteric meaning behind the literal wording of sacred texts)—from a jurist’s viewpoint—and argues that these concepts are firmly grounded in the foundational texts of Islam, viz., the Qur’an and the Hadiths of the Prophet.Une chronologie des œuvres d’un auteur est nécessaire pour comprendre son évolution intellectuelle. Al-Qāḍī l-Nuʿmān écrivit de nombreux ouvrages sur diverses disciplines, comme la jurisprudence, l’histoire, les traditions du prophète et des imams ismaéliens, les biographies des califes et imams fāṭimides, les réfutations des écoles de droit sunnite et l’interprétation allégorique du Coran et de la šarīʿa. La chronologie du corpus d’al-Qāḍī l-Nuʿmān, qui comprend plus de cinquante titres, repose principalement sur des informations présentes dans ses travaux qui nous sont parvenus. La série des œuvres juridiques d’al-Qāḍī l-Nuʿmān suggère que Les piliers de l’islam (Daʿāʾim al-islām), compilé sous la direction d’al-Muʿizz vers 349/960, est le couronnement de son succès après avoir servi les quatre premiers califes et imams fāṭimides depuis 313/925. En fait, al-Qāḍī l-Nuʿmān commença et acheva son premier ouvrage, Kitāb al-Īḍāḥ, une imposante compilation de traditions juridiques transmises sous l’autorité de la famille du prophète, alors qu’il était encore au service d’al-Mahdī (r. 297/909-322/934). La chronologie révèle encore qu’après la composition des Piliers de l’islam, al-Qāḍī l-Nuʿmān consacra son énergie à exposer la doctrine théologique majeure de l’ismaélisme, à savoir la théorie du taʾwīl (herméneutique). Dans son Asās al-taʾwīl, il explique les concepts complémentaires de taʾwīl et bāṭin (le sens intérieur, caché, ésotérique derrière la formulation littérale des textes sacrés) – du point de vue d’un juriste – et soutient que ces concepts sont solidement ancrés dans les textes fondateurs de l’islam, c’est-à-dire le Coran et les hadiths du prophète. This article is in English.

Collaborative Composition of Classical Arabic Poetry

By: Erez Naaman

Abstract: Evidence of collaborative composition of poetry goes back to the earliest documented phases in the history of Arabic literature. Already during pre-Islamic times, poets like Imruʾ al-Qays used to challenge others to complete their impromptu verse and create poetry collaboratively with them. This practice—commonly called ijaza or tamlit and essentially different from the better known poetic dueling of the naqa’id (flytings)—has shown remarkable stability and adherence to its form and dynamics in the pre-modern Arabophone world. In this article, I will discuss evidence of collaborative poetry from pre-Islamic times to the early seventh/thirteenth century, in order to present a picture of the typical situations in which it was practiced, its functions, its composition process, and formal aspects. Although usually not producing poetic masterpieces, this practice has the merit of revealing much about the processes of composing classical Arabic poetry in general. In this respect, its study and critical assessment are highly important, given the fact that medieval Arabic literary criticism does not always reflect praxis or focus on the actual practicalities of composing poetry. This practice and the contextualized way in which it was preserved allow us to see vividly the inextricable link between poetic form and the conditions in which poetry was created. It likewise sheds light on the intricate ways in which poets resisted, influenced, and manipulated others by poetic means. Based on the obvious fact that collaborative composition is imbued with the spirit of play, I offer at the end of the article criticism of Johan Huizinga’s famous play concept and his (much less famous) views of early Arabic culture and poetry in light of the evidence I studied.Les preuves de composition collaborative de la poésie remonte aux premières phases documentées de l’histoire de la littérature arabe. Déjà à l’époque anté-islamique, les poètes comme Imruʾ al-Qays avaient pour habitude de défier les autres pour compléter leurs vers improvisés et composer de la poésie en collaboration. Cette pratique, communément appelée iǧāza ou tamlīṭ et fondamentalement différente du duel poétique mieux connu des naqāʾiḍ (poèmes de contradiction), a montré une stabilité remarquable et il y eut une adhésion à cette forme de composition et à sa dynamique dans le monde arabe pré-moderne. Dans cet article, je discuterai de la poésie collaborative depuis l’époque anté-islamique jusqu’au début du VII e/XIII e siècle, afin de présenter un panorama des situations typiques dans lesquelles elle fut pratiquée, ses fonctions, son processus de composition et ses aspects formels. Bien que ne produisant généralement pas de chefs-d’oeuvre poétiques majeurs, cette pratique a le mérite de révéler beaucoup d’éléments sur les processus de composition de la poésie arabe classique en général. À cet égard, son étude et son évaluation critique sont très importantes, étant donné que la critique littéraire arabe médiévale ne reflète pas toujours la praxis ni ne met l’accent sur les aspects pratiques de la composition de la poésie. Cette pratique et la manière contextualisée dans laquelle elle a été préservée nous permettent de voir clairement le lien inextricable entre la forme poétique et les conditions dans lesquelles les poèmes étaient composés. Il met également en lumière de quelle manière complexe les poètes ont résisté aux autres et les ont influencés et manipulés par des procédés poétiques. Comme la composition collaborative est de toute évidence imprégnée de l’esprit de jeu, je présente à la fin de l’article une critique du célèbre concept de jeu de Johan Huizinga et de ses considérations (beaucoup moins célèbres) sur la culture et la poésie arabes des débuts à la lumière des exemples étudiés.This article is in English.

Procédés de décrédibilisation dans al-Fīl al-azraq, roman noir d’Aḥmad Murād

By: Katia Ghosn

Abstract: Contemporary Egyptian author Ahmad Murad writes works of fiction as well as crime novels. The detective genre emerged very late on the Arab literary scene in comparison to its birth in the 19th century in the West. Al-Fil al-azraq (The Blue Elephant), that we are about to analyse, is based on a psychological story. It fits into the matrix of the black novel as it appeared in the United States in the interwar period and incorporates many of its strategies. In this article, we will try to uncover the processes of “decredibilization” established in the novel, in order to create “undecidability” as to the outcome of the investigation and to set up, from a hermeneutic point of view, some confusion of meaning. We will try subsequently to underline the distinctive features of the generic model of the novel, prominent among which, the open structure, the fantastic themes, the use of the vernacular and a certain social realism outlook.Auteur égyptien contemporain, Aḥmad Murād écrit aussi bien des romans policiers que des œuvres de fiction littéraire. Le genre policier, qui apparaît en Occident au XIXe siècle, n’émerge que tardivement dans le paysage littéraire arabe. Al-Fīl al-azraq (L’éléphant bleu), que nous nous proposons d’analyser, repose sur un récit psychologique. Il s’inscrit dans la matrice du roman noir tel qu’il est apparu aux États-Unis entre les deux guerres et reprend nombre de ses stratégies. Dans cet article, nous dégagerons les procédés de décrédibilisation mis en place dans le roman afin de créer de l’indécidabilité quant à l’issue de l’enquête et d’instaurer, du point de vue herméneutique, la confusion de sens. Nous tenterons, par la suite, de relever les traits distinctifs permettant de délimiter le modèle générique de ce roman en premier lieu desquels la structure ouverte, le fantastique, l’usage du vernaculaire, et le renvoi à un certain réalisme social. This article is in French.


Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (Volume 81, Issue 1)


Talking about Islam’s origins

By: Fred M. Donner

Abstract: Neither of the terms commonly used to describe the seventh-century expansion of the movement that comes to be called Islam–“the Islamic conquests” or “the Arab conquests”–is satisfactory; both terms are anachronistic and in some ways misleading; yet there is, at present, no clear candidate for an alternative terminology. This article discusses the weaknesses of existing nomenclatures, with reference to relevant primary sources, and the conceptual problems the traditional nomenclatures pose in the context of an extensive review of scholarly literature from roughly 1900 to the present. It offers a few suggestions for possible new terminologies, but essentially opens the question for further discussion.

Developments in Egypt’s early Islamic postal system (with an edition of P.Khalili II 5)

By: Jelle Bruning

Abstract: The importance of documentary sources for the history of the official postal system (barid) in the first century of Islam has long been acknowledged. In addition to a small number of documents from the eastern part of the Muslim Empire, Egyptian papyri from the 90s/710s and 130s/750s form the main documentary sources for modern studies on the postal system. These papyri belong to a distinct phase in Islamic history. Papyri from other, especially earlier, phases have largely been neglected. The present article addresses the history of Egypt’s official postal system from the Muslim conquest up to c. 132/750. It argues that the postal system gradually developed out of Byzantine practices and was shaped by innovations by Muslim rulers through which their involvement in the postal system’s administration gradually increased. The article ends with an edition of P.Khalili II 5, a papyrus document from 135/753 on the provisioning of postal stations.

A reconstruction of the system of verb aspects in proto-Berbero-Semitic

By: Maarten Kossmann, Benjamin D. Suchard

Abstract: Several verbal forms reconstructed for proto-Semitic strongly resemble reconstructed forms in proto-Berber: compare Semitic yV-PaRRaS to Berber y-əFăRRăS, Semitic yV-PRaS to Berber y-əFRăS, and Semitic yV-PRuS and yV-PRiS to Berber y-ăFRəS. We suggest that these forms are historically related and sketch a line of development from the reconstructed meanings to their attested uses. yVPaRRaS, originally imperfective, retains that value in both Berber and Semitic. yVPRas, originally stative, gained a perfective meaning in Berber and Semitic; the stative meaning is retained in Berber, but was largely lost in Semitic. yVPRus/yVPRiS, originally perfective, retained that meaning in Semitic, merging with the newly perfective yVPRas forms; in Berber, yVPRaS completely replaced perfective yVPRuS/yVPRiS, relegating the latter to non-aspectual uses. We conclude by considering the quality of the first vowel; the alternation seen in Berber y-əFRăS and y-ăFRəS supports reconstructions as yiPRaS and yaPRuS/yaPRiS, conforming to the Barth–Ginsberg Law of Semitic.

On the coherence of Yasna: a critical assessment of recent arguments

By: Amir Ahmadi

Abstract: In recent years a number of scholars have proposed more or less detailed schemas of the formation of the Zoroastrian ritual. These schemas offer accounts of the arrangement of the texts in the liturgy, the process of its formation, and even its function from an endogenous perspective. One way or another, they argue that the official Zoroastrian liturgy is an integrated ritual with a coherent text, and that the function of the ritual and the intention behind the arrangement of the texts can be determined by means of philological, literary and comparative analyses. The questions of formation and meaning of the Zoroastrian liturgy these scholars have placed on the agenda are important not only for the study of Zoroastrianism but also for the history of religions and ritual theory. I consider their accounts with respect to the texts they invoke and the methods they use, and show that their arguments suffer from fatal flaws.

The Lady of Gold: Sikandar Lodī’s mother (c. 837/1433–922/1516) and the tomb attributed to her at Dholpur, Rajasthan

By: Mehrdad Shokoohy, Natalie H. Shokoohy

Abstract: Until the Mughal period historians of Muslim India hardly mention ladies, as it was considered discourteous, and even then only a handful of noble women were deemed worthy of mention. A secluded lady was of concern only to the man of the house. There was Sultan Radiya, Iltutmish’s daughter, who succeeded to the throne and enjoyed a degree of freedom during Turkish rule in India, but was killed, accused of an illicit relationship with a black slave. Nevertheless, many women’s influence reached beyond the harem and their voices appear between the lines. One such woman was the Sharqi Sultan Muhammad’s mother, Bibi Raji, who played a significant role in the affairs of Jaunpur, but this article concerns another: Sultan Sikandar Lodi’s mother, known as Bibi Zarrina (the Lady of Gold) who defied the Lodi nobility to put her son on the throne. Here we explore her story and study her tomb.


Critical Studies on Terrorism (Volume 11, Issue 1)


ISIS-chan – the meanings of the Manga girl in image warfare against the Islamic State

By: Anna Johansson

Abstract: This article explores gendered meanings of ISIS-chan, an Internet meme in the form of a manga girl, produced and used to disrupt the messages from the Islamic State. Moreover, it investigates the performative power of ISIS-chan, and how it is used/interpreted as it circulates on the Internet. The ISIS-chan campaign is seen as an example of how the girl figure is mobilised in the political context of the War on Terror. Characterised by girlish playfulness, humour and creativity, I suggest that ISIS-chan challenges the stereotypical representations of femininity in the war on terror, and may be perceived as a trickster.

A Trojan horse of a different colour: counterterrorism and Islamophobia in Alan Gibbons’ An Act of Love and Anna Perera’s Guantanamo Boy

By: Blanka Grzegorczyk

Abstract: Alan Gibbons’ An Act of Love and Anna Perera’s Guantanamo Boy offer a poignant treatment of a personal and political desire for vengeance in response to terrorism, and of the consequent erosion of particular communities. This article provides a critical reading of Gibbons’ and Perera’s novels through the lens of postcolonial and terrorism studies. It argues that they can be read as instances of the refashioning of individual and communal identities in response to increased surveillance and disciplinary measures overseen by the British state and shows that the undermining of simplistic dichotomies in these novels is the primary route by which principles of familial and communal responsibility are re-established. From this perspective, the novels are seen to open post-9/11 British social and political relations to postcolonial critique. The article draws attention to the contemporary children’s novel as a socially and politically engaged form that offers powerful fictional interventions into the post-9/11 landscape, where some groups have been affected more than others by the repercussions of acts of terrorism and violence.

“In the Words of the Enemy”: the Islamic State’s reflexive projection of statehood

By: Nadia Al-Dayel, Aaron Anfinson

Abstract: In this article, we examine how the Islamic State utilises direct quotations from prominent politicians, state leaders, authors and terrorism experts to position itself as a competitive entity that threatens the existence, borders and security of established states. Analysing a column in Dabiq entitled “In the Words of the Enemy” (published from July 2014 to August 2016), we establish that the Islamic State conscripts “enemy” utterances to progressively project its own identifications of statehood, positioning itself as a viable alternative to existing nation states. Overall, this analysis enriches current research on the Islamic State and offers contributions towards both counterterrorism efforts and an understanding of non-state actors operating in an era of intense mediatisation.

Inventing terrorists: the nexus of intelligence and Islamophobia

By: Sarah Marusek

Abstract: The transatlantic Islamophobia industry, emboldened by US intelligence efforts to entrap Muslims, appears to have helped to increase permissible levels of Islamophobia across the United States, as illustrated by the fiery anti-Muslim rhetoric during the 2016 presidential campaign. In this article, I first look at five key leaders of the Islamophobia industry who also claim to be “terrorism experts” and have links to US and Israeli intelligence. I then describe United States law enforcement’s mass surveillance of Muslims and its invention of terrorists, including a map of the “successful terrorist prosecutions” claimed by the US Department of Justice, most of which were tried only as criminal cases. Finally, I explore in-depth the case against the Holy Land Foundation, a Muslim charity based in Texas that was run by Palestinian-Americans and targeted by both the state and the Islamophobia industry for its dubious links to “terrorism”, helping to legitimate the W. Bush administration’s “war on terror.” I argue that this nexus of intelligence and Islamophobia has empowered anti-Muslim voices that were formerly marginal.

Fetishised data: counterterrorism, drone warfare and pilot testimony

By: Michelle Bentley

Abstract: Drones now comprise a major part of our culture–primarily as a consequence of the so-called war on terror and the rise in violent extremism. Yet the available data on what it means to operate a drone (where this can influence wider perceptions on the appropriateness and effectiveness of remote warfare as an act of counterterrorism) is highly contradictory. This article explores a new source of data capable of shedding light on this contested issue: online interviews with current and former pilots discussing their personal experiences. Access to this testimony has the potential to influence cultural understandings of remote warfare, specifically where these stories highlight the severe psychological difficulties pilots can be subject to. In analysing this new data, however, the article questions whether the media typically employed to express pilot testimony comprises an appropriate space in which to publicise and engage with this evidence. It argues that this presentation has caused these personal accounts to become fetishised–to the extent this undermines the cultural, political, and informative value of the data and even reinforces the narratives of remote warfare this testimony frequently seeks to reverse.

Caught between the urgent and the comprehensible: professionals’ understanding of violent extremism

By: Christer Mattsson

Abstract: The present article focuses on how thirteen professionals in key organisations in Sweden–all commissioned to design social and pedagogical efforts to prevent recruitment to terror groups that commit violence in the name of Islam–understand and reason regarding the root causes of recruitment and possible measures to counteract it. The thirteen informants’ reasoning is analysed through critical discourse analysis, the aim being to investigate discursive practices that influence the construction of a Swedish discourse on the “prevention of violent extremism.” The analysis shows that in the informants’ reasoning, a conflict can be found between security-driven doctrines that strive to individualise the issue of “violent extremism,” and their understanding that segregation is the primary, though indirect, factor sparking “radicalisation.” This conflict seems to impair the use of a professional language to describe and talk about the practical methodology that the informants are developing.

‘What does terrorism look like?’: university lecturers’ interpretations of their Prevent duties and tackling extremism in UK universities

By: Keith Spiller, Imran Awan, Andrew Whiting

Abstract: The UK Counter Terrorism and Security Act (2015) (CTSA) calls for a partnership between the government, individuals, organisations and communities to prevent the radicalisation of individuals and to prevent their participation in terrorist and illegal activities. As part of this strategy, universities have a statutory duty placed upon them to remain vigilant to signs of extremism. Based upon twenty interviews with UK university lecturers, the paper examines reactions of the academic community to this governmental mandate. Key to our understanding is the deputisation of lecturers into a security regime and how they perform the duty of identifying and monitoring extremism. Equally, forms of resistance are evident in how lecturers understand their new roles and for universities themselves a conservative approach to risk may be gaining traction. We argue there is confusion around the CTSA based upon the ambiguous language in which it is presented and the conservative and defensive reactions that have subsequently produced concern amongst lecturers and UK universities.

Terrorists going transnational: rethinking the role of states in the case of AQIM and Boko Haram

By: Silvia D’Amato

Abstract: This study moves beyond theories emphasising “state failure” as the cause for terrorist “spill-over.” The aim is to offer new theoretical and empirical considerations concerning the determinants of terrorist groups’ geographical strategies. The main argument this article presents is that transnationality for nationalistic terrorist organisations can be costly. This is the case due to the mobility, social and strategic costs of operating beyond controlled territories. Hence, the article proposes an interpretation of these decisions as being mainly generated by states’ counterterrorism strategies. Using data gathered from the GTD Dataset and secondary sources such as specialised reports and strategic documents, the article explores the argument by presenting observations and empirical findings on two groups, AQIM and Boko Haram.


Democratization (Volume 25, Issues 1 & 2)


Legitimacy and protest under authoritarianism: explaining student mobilization in Egypt and Morocco during the Arab uprisings

By: Kressen Thyen, Johannes Gerschewski

Abstract: Political protests constitute a major concern to authoritarian regimes. Existing research has argued that they indicate a lack of regime legitimacy. However, empirical evidence on the relationship between legitimacy and protest participation remains rare. Based on new survey data from Morocco and Egypt, this study investigates whether legitimacy played a significant role in student mobilization during the 2011 uprisings. In doing so, we first develop a context-sensitive concept of legitimacy. This allows us to differentiate the ruler’s legitimacy claims and the citizens’ legitimacy beliefs. Furthermore, we distinguish between two different objects of legitimacy: the broader political community and specific regime institutions. Our empirical analysis suggests that legitimacy had an independent and significant impact on students’ protest participation, yet in more nuanced ways than generally assumed. While protest participation was driven by nationalist sentiments in Egypt, it was motivated by dissatisfaction with the political performance of specific regime institutions in Morocco.

Minority Arab voting: village dynamics and electoral observations in Israel

By: William F.S. Miles

Abstract: For all the novelty of a democratizing “Arab spring,” there have long been pockets in the Middle East where Arabic-speaking voters have gone to the polls in competitive elections, albeit as minority citizens. This article sheds light on such voting at the grassroots level, in Israel, where passions are intense even as the issues and candidates are local. Contradictions between Western notions of electoral democracy and the power of the Arab extended family (hamula) result in what we call “electoral hamulism”. Unexamined heretofore in the scholarly literature are the variability of polling station openness and the methodology of electoral observation in the Arab electoral world. Also underappreciated are psycho-cultural consequences of electoral loss. Overall, the article takes up Valbjørn’s call for “meta-study” analysis and “self-reflective” rethinking of the study of Arab politics.

Sources of Muslim democracy: the supply and demand of religious policies in the Muslim world

By: Michael D. Driessen

Abstract: This article explores the supply of and demand for religiously infused democratic politics in the Muslim majority world. The first half of the article reexamines the widespread support of Muslim publics for both democracy and shari’a law. Results from fifteen years of public opinion polls in the Muslim world highlight a clear pattern of support for pious political candidates, but not clerical control of politics. These results, the article further claims, are consistent with contemporary scholars’ understanding of Muslim democracy. The second half of the article formulates and then tests several hypotheses about the role of states’ religious policies in generating this public demand for Muslim democracy. Using cross-national data on religion-state arrangements and Arab Barometer and World Values Survey data, the article finds support for the hypothesis that religious favouritism increases demand for pious political candidates, but less support for the hypothesis that religious regulation reduces demand for clerical control of politics.

Between Scylla and Charybdis: religion, the military and support for democracy among Egyptians, 2011–2014

By: Mazen Hassan, Elisabeth Kendall, Stephen Whitefield

Abstract: Democracy as a form of civilian rule must navigate a path between clerical and military powers, both of which are highly engaged in the politics of post-Mubarak Egypt. The authors ask in this article how mass support for democracy changed in Egypt between 2011 and 2014, and how this support is connected with views on religion and the role of the military. This question is important for understanding the prospects for democracy in a major state in the Arab world. It is also of comparative interest because of what change in the social and ideological drivers of mass attitudes may tell us about the nature of democratic support more generally. The authors’ analysis is based on nationally representative surveys of Egyptians in 2011 after the country’s first post-Mubarak parliamentary elections and in 2014 after the removal of the Islamist President Morsi. The findings indicate that Egyptians in large numbers favour both democracy and unfettered military intervention in politics. The authors also observe important shifts in the social bases of support for democracy away from religion but also from economic aspiration. Negative political experience with democratic procedures in 2011–2013 seems to be the strongest factor behind the observed decrease in democratic support.


Global Change Peace & Security (Volume 30, Issue 1)


The Responsibility to Protect and the question of attribution

By: Tim Aistrope, Jess Gifkins, N. A. J. Taylor

Abstract: This article explores the problem of attribution in the context of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) intervention through an analysis of the Syrian chemical weapons attack of 2013. We argue that R2P advocates can be confronted by a crisis dynamic where the political momentum for military intervention runs ahead of independent verification and attribution of mass atrocity crimes. We contrast the political momentum for intervention with the technical process of independent attribution and show that the sort of independent evidence that would ideally legitimize an R2P intervention was unavailable when there was political momentum for action. Conversely, the information that was available (which inevitably informed the political momentum for action) was largely produced by state intelligence organizations–or a potentially briefed media–and shaped by the interests and priorities of its end users. While understandable in the face of the “extreme,” we suggest that the mobilization of political momentum by R2P advocates entails significant dangers: first, it risks undermining the integrity of R2P if evidence is later discredited and second, it risks amplifying the perception that states sometimes exploit humanitarian pretexts in pursuit of other strategic ends.

The Ankara consensus: the significance of Turkey’s engagement in sub-Saharan Africa

By: Federico Donelli

Abstract: Although research has examined the Turkish agenda for Africa since 2002, few studies have considered Turkey’s uniqueness compared to other extra-regional actors. This study is an attempt to analyze and conceptualize the characteristics, benefits, challenges, and limits of Turkey’s policy toward the region. This article argues that the characteristics of the Turkish agenda toward sub-Saharan Africa have made Turkey a non-traditional actor in the region, following a novel paradigm of sustainability development: the Ankara consensus. The effects of this model will continue to shape the decisions, policies, and perceptions of the Turkish political elite vis-à-vis Africa and, by extension, the Global South for the foreseeable future.


International Affairs (Volume 94, Issues 2 & 3)


Preventing violent extremism through the United Nations: the rise and fall of a good idea

By: David H. Ucko

Abstract: In January 2016, late in his term as secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon introduced a Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism (PVE). The approach promised to bring balance to multilateral counterterrorism by adding much-needed focus on the drivers of mobilization into violence. Highly arguable in theory and with great potential against the online recruitment efforts of groups such as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the PVE agenda has nonetheless found enemies at the United Nations—both among member states and within the Secretariat. Errors committed in the Plan of Action’s rollout made the new approach hostage to the very limitations and tensions that it was intended to resolve. PVE also rests on a shaky conceptual foundation and has been further stultified by the intensely political setting in which it was to be implemented. The future of this well-intended approach therefore looks at risk, even bleak. This article traces and explains the rise and likely fall of PVE at the United Nations, bringing to light a number of sobering insight into the possibilities and limits of multilateral counterterrorism.

The intra-GCC crises: mapping GCC fragmentation after 2011

By: Cinzia Bianco; Gareth Stansfield

Abstract: If shared security perceptions were the foundation of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), 2011 might be analysed as the watershed year in which the GCC began to fragment from within. Both the 2014 and 2017 intra-GCC crises were manifestations of conflicting security perceptions, formed across the GCC countries in and since 2011. Through an in-depth analysis of the events and of the subsequent reaction of the GCC governments in terms of discourse and foreign policy, we distinguish three different categories of conceptualization. First, the governments of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates perceived domestic protests as an “intermestic” threat—triggered by the intersection of the international and domestic levels. Second, the leaders of Oman and Kuwait conceptualized protests in their countries as manageable domestic insecurity, rather than as fully-fledged externally orchestrated events—arguably because they did not perceive a direct danger to their stability and legitimacy. Finally, it can be argued that the government of Qatar did not see any real danger in the protests but instead viewed them as an opportunity to expand Doha’s regional influence, arguably at Riyadh’s expense. Unpacking the fundamental factors shaping such perceptions is the key to finding the appropriate framework for analysing GCC security in the future.


International Interactions (Volume 44, Issues 2 & 3)


The Democracy Aid Calculus: Regimes, Political Opponents, and the Allocation of US Democracy Assistance, 1981–2009

By: Timothy M. Peterson, James M. Scott

Abstract: To encourage the spread of democracy throughout the developing world, the United States provides targeted aid to governments, political parties, and other non-governmental groups and organizations. This study examines the calculations behind the allocation of democracy assistance, with special attention to the role of regime conditions and policy compatibility in the provision of aid. We argue that both concerns—the opportunity for successful democratization and critical goals related to containing and countering political opponents—are central to democracy aid allocations. We theorize how these two concerns determine the amount of aid allocated, operationalizing these concepts using measures of the original democracy level, change in the democracy level, and policy compatibility. We find support for our argument in tests of US democracy aid allocations by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) from 1981–2009.

Leader Language and Political Survival Strategies

By: Leah Windsor, Nia Dowell, Alistair Windsor, John Kaltner

Abstract: Authoritarian leaders’ language provides clues to their survival strategies for remaining in office. This line of inquiry fits within an emerging literature that refocuses attention from state-level features to the dynamic role that individual heads of state and government play in international relations, especially in authoritarian regimes. The burgeoning text-as-data field can be used to deepen our understanding of the nuances of leader survival and political choices; for example, language can serve as a leading indicator of leader approval, which itself is a good predictor of leader survival. In this paper, we apply computational linguistics tools to an authoritarian leader corpus consisting of 102 speeches from nine leaders of countries across the Middle East and North Africa between 2009 and 2012. We find systematic differences in the language of these leaders, which help advance a more broadly applicable theory of authoritarian leader language and tenure.

When Killers Become Victims: Diversionary War, Human Rights, and Strategic Target Selection

By: Efe Tokdemir, Brendan Skip Mark

Abstract: The diversionary theory largely focuses on the incentives leaders have to use force. However, little attention has been given to the characteristics that make for a good target. We argue that US presidents choose targets that repress human rights since they are the easiest to sell to international and domestic audiences. By targeting repressive states US presidents can justify their use of force by cloaking their motivation in the language of human rights, responding to calls for intervention, pointing to the failure of international actors and institutions to resolve these problems, and building upon emerging norms that allow for intervention in repressive states. Updating US Use of Force data, we empirically test and find support for our hypothesis that presidents target human rights abusers when they face trouble at home. This paper contributes to target selection process by offering a complete theory of diversionary conflict accounting for cost/benefit calculation of presidents. Moreover, we believe that our findings reveal human rights practices’ role in international conflict, as well.

“The War Will Come to Your Street”: Explaining Geographic Variation in Terrorism by Rebel Groups

By: Konstantin Ash

Abstract: Geographic variation in rebels’ use of terrorism is not well understood. This article explains the use of terrorism in civil conflict through examining geographic variation in terrorist attacks across first–level administrative regions. Two explanations are tested using data on forty-seven groups in twenty-one countries: that terrorism is intended to punish supporters of counterinsurgency efforts or to destabilize regions of the country that are both outside of rebels’ military reach and have substantial grievances against the regime. Results show that terrorism is most prevalent in national capitals and regions that are more deprived. The findings suggest that rebel groups face multiple incentives for violence beyond zones of direct military confrontation with the government, using both highly visible attacks against the center of power and attacks intended to geographically expand the rebellion. The findings imply maximizing public service provision and minimizing economic inequality may reduce the breadth of rebels’ potential expansion.


International Political Science Review (Volume 39, Issue 2)


Resonance of the Arab Spring: Solidarities and youth opinion in the Global South

By: Adam K Webb

Abstract: The Arab spring exemplifies to many a kind of globalisation from below. It cuts across borders and challenges liberal and technocratic élites. But how far does its global resonance really go? Are publics still largely corralled within national political spaces? Are waves of revolt confined by civilisational breakwaters? Or is the cosmopolitan space that many leftists envision taking shape? Based on a three-country survey of university students, this article probes these assumptions. It finds far-reaching solidarity with the aspirations of the Arab spring, driven by the rise of a cross-border global society. But on probing the bases of such solidarity, it also finds that the cosmopolitan cohort emerging in the Global South does not fit a simple liberal or leftist mould. The Arab spring resonates on multiple frequencies at the same time. This complex cosmopolitanism has implications for layers of common ground as global political opportunity structures emerge.


Iran (Volume 56, Issue 1)


Firdawsi’s Shahnama in its Ghaznavid Context

By: A. C. S. Peacock

Abstract: Firdawsi’s Shahnama, the completion of which is traditionally dated to around 400/1010, is generally thought to have been a failure at first. It is said by both traditional accounts and much modern scholarship to have been rejected by its dedicatee Sultan Mahmud of Ghazna, and its contents of ancient Iranian legends, transmitted from earlier sources, are widely considered to have been out of step with the literary tastes of the Ghaznavid period. This article reassesses the reception of the Shahnama in the Ghaznavid period, arguing that evidence suggests neither its style nor contents were outdated, and that its tales of ancient Iranian heroes had a great contemporary relevance in the context of the Ghaznavid court’s identification of the dynasty as the heir to ancient Iran. The extent to which Firdawsi can be shown to have relied on pre-Islamic sources is also reevaluated.

Sanjar’s Letter to the Notables of Samarqand, 524/1129–1130

By: Jürgen Paul

Abstract: Translation of a letter from Sanjar to the notables of Samarqand, transmitted in an anonymous insha’-collection commonly known as Ahkam-i salatin-i madi. The comments establish the context and show that this piece fits the historical context of 534/1130 extremely well. The letter itself addresses, among other problems, the question of who had the right to appoint a subordinate ruler in Samarqand–this right belonged to the Seljuq sultan exclusively, so the letter argues, and neither the sitting Qarakhanid nor the Samarqandi notables had a say in this matter.

Firishta’s Sultan Mahmud: On Beauty and Gold

By: George Malagaris

Abstract: This article outlines the interpretive challenges of understanding the history and reception of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazna by focusing on a nodal text in its transmission, Firishta’s Gulshan-i Ibrahimi. This early modern chronicle relayed famous stories about Sultan Mahmud, distorting its Persian sources at times and presenting a specific image of the Ghaznavids. Entering European literature through multiple routes, these narratives supported notions of Oriental despotism and eventually colonial discourses on Iran and India. Their trajectories reveal the canonisation of knowledge about Muslim kings and show relationships between genres and translations, exposing underlying misperceptions about the medieval Islamic and Persianate world.

Ancient Iranian Kings in the World History of Rashid Al-Din

By: Carole Hillenbrand, Robert Hillenbrand

Abstract: This article presents the first full English translation of the Arabic text of that portion of Rashid al-Din’s Jami’ al-Tawarikh (“World History”) which deals with five of the earliest Pishdadian or mythical kings of Iran. This text has a particular importance in that it dates from the lifetime of the author. Its content is distinctively different from that of the much longer and better-known narrative of Firdawsi that deals with these monarchs. It is thus a reminder of the co-existence of several versions of this material. Alongside a brief commentary on the text itself, the article considers the role and content of the four paintings that accompany it, focusing on how they interpret the accompanying text, their storytelling techniques, their evocation of the Ilkhanate court and how far they presage future developments in Iranian painting.

The Illustration of History in Persian Manuscripts

By: Charles Melville

Abstract: Many medieval manuscripts are illuminated with paintings and other graphic elements, one purpose of which may have been to reinforce the significance of the work in question with a pictorial gloss, and perhaps also as a visual aid to convey its message for the benefit of readers who may not always have been literate. Reading the text through pictures is a matter of particular interest in the case of historical literature, as chronicles often commissioned at court lend themselves especially well to a deliberate programme of enhancing the image of the ruler and celebrating his deeds according to the political concepts and ideological imperatives of the time. This paper addresses the question of the illustration of historical texts within the Persian tradition of book art, focusing on the Jami‘ al-tawarikh of Rashid al-Din and its impact on later productions.

Problematising the Shifting Capitals of Medieval Arran: From Bardhaʿa to Janza in the 10th–12th Centuries

By: Paul Wordsworth

Abstract: The dominant historical narrative for early Islamic frontier zones such as Arran, in the Caucasus, tends to focus on the administrative centres, the capital cities. As this story of development becomes synthesised and simplified, there has been a tendency to understand this process as the decline of one major centre and the rise of another, almost in the sense of city-states. This paper reconsiders the case of the changing capitals of Arran, to understand how urbanism developed in the Caucasus in the early Islamic period and how this gave rise to the situation as observed in the tenth–twelfth century when the region is essentially independent from the core Islamic lands, albeit regularly a vassal state. In doing so, new archaeological evidence is combined with that from existing historical sources, to propose a new model for the urban settlement patterns of the medieval period in the southeastern Caucasus.

Letters from Mongol Anatolia: Professional, Political and Intellectual Connections among Members of a Persianised Elite

By: Bruno De Nicola

Abstract: In thirteenth-century Anatolia, different confessions of Christian and Muslim followers coexisted within a variety of people of diverse cultural backgrounds, including Greek, Turkmen and Persian. Politically, this multicultural and multireligious environment was accompanied by the raise of several semi-nomadic Turkmen warlords that controlled different regions of the peninsula under the nominal rule of the Seljuq Dynasty of Rum. In this historical context, Anatolia witnessed a burst of literary activity in manuscript form favoured by the economic patronage of the ruling classes. In one of the surviving manuscripts of the period held at the Suleymaniye Library in Istanbul, there is a unique munshaʼat (compilation of letters) written in Persian by a medical doctor of possible Iranian origin appointed in the second half of the thirteenth century to the regions of Kastamonu in north Western Anatolia. By looking at this rare compilation of letters, this paper reconstructs the little-known networks that existed among the members of a Persianised elite in Mongol dominated Anatolia arguing that these letters can offer a novel insight into the cultural life of the region.

The Mongols of Central Asia and the Qara’unas

By: Peter Jackson

Abstract: According to the mid-sixteenth-century historian Mirza Haydar Dughlat, the more westerly of the two khanates into which the Chaghadayid state in Central Asia had divided in the fourteenth century came to be called by its eastern neighbours “Qara’unas,” after the Mongol contingents that had for several decades dominated present-day Afghanistan. The precise etymology of the word Qara’unas is unclear, although the majority of scholars have preferred Marco Polo’s definition as “of mixed race.” This article explores the historical links between the Qara’unas and the Chaghadayids, and seeks to explain afresh why the term was applied to the rulers and people of the western Chaghadayid state.


Iran and the Caucasus (Volume 22, Issue 1)


The Temple Tabernacle in M28/I/: An Anti-Judeo-Christian Polemic Strophe

By: Claudia Leurini

Abstract: The strophe M28/I/R/i/24-27/, part of a Middle Persian Manichaean abecedarian hymn published in 1995 by P. O. Skjærvø has long represented a riddle: specially the meaning of smbyd. The proposal by Durkin-Meisterernst to understand it as “curtain” allows to propose a new translation of the whole strophe, which is evidently a polemic text alluding to passages of Exodus 25 and 26, where the Tabernacle of the Temple is described.

The Pahlavi Literature of the 9th Century and Greek Philosophy

By: Götz König

Abstract: Since the Hellenistic times (if not earlier) Iran participates in the philosophical development of classical Greece. In the times of the Sasanians some knowledge of Aristotelian and Neo-Platonic thinking is detectable, and treatises were written for Xosro I by philosophers who were well acquainted with the writings of Aristotle. It was always maintained that also Sasanian Zoroastrianism was affected through these Greek-Iranian contacts. But it is remarkable that among the Zoroastrian writings of the ninth-tenth centuries only two books–Denkard 3 and Skand Gumanig Wizar–seem to be substantially influenced by Aristotelian/Neo-Platonic terms and concepts. The paper deals with the question whether the Greek elements within these texts should not better be understood as the fruit of a Zoroastrian participation in the general interest of the Islamic world in Greek thinking in Abbasid Baghdad.

The Iranian Männerbund Revisited

By: Touraj Daryaee

Abstract: This article discusses some of the Iranian evidence in relation to the idea of Indo-European Männerbund, which first was brought forth by Stig Wikander. There have been objections to Wikander’s work due to the fact that he wrote it during the rise of Fascism and the war. It is suggested that, indeed, there is more than the meager Old and Middle Iranian evidence that points out to the existence of the male unions in the Iranian world. The article specifically chooses the idea of rage among the young men, which is found not only in Old and Middle Iranian texts, but also in Persian epic and folklore up to the recent times. This rage can be seen among the Javan-mardan and in folklore for such figures as Hosein the Kord, or Gord, who exhibits archetype Männerbund traits.

‘Kill Me but Make Me Beautiful’: Harm and Agency in Female Beauty Practices in Contemporary Iran

By: Ladan Rahbari, Susan Dierickx, Chia Longman, Gily Coene

Abstract: In this paper, drawing on notions, such as harmful cultural practices and beauty, and based on semi-structured interviews with young female university students in Iran, perceptions and experiences on beauty practices and cosmetic surgery are studied. We show how despite existing criticism of the gendered aspects of beauty practices among Iranian women who practice them, they are still practiced on a large scale. In contemporary Iran, the female body as a contested space for expression of social capital is under influence by the globalized beauty standards that predominantly rely on Western beauty ideals. This article explores beauty practices and positions them in the religious and political discourses of body and corporality in contemporary Iran. This empirical study reveal that despite the popularity of particular practices in Iran, especially nose jobs, beauty is not perceived as a common good but as a necessary evil by young Iranian women. We discuss how beauty is perceived, articulated, practiced and potentially resisted by young women in Iran.

Khinalug in its Genetic Context: Some Methodological Considerations. Part 1: The Problem, Loans and Cognates

By: Wolfgang Schulze

Abstract: Khinalug, a minority language spoken by some 1,500 people mainly in the village of Khinalug in the Quba district of Azerbaijan Republic, is generally regarded as the most divergent East Caucasian language. Its exact genealogical place within the group of around thirty East Caucasian languages has been debated since long. Still, at least some of the relevant contributions to this debate, ground their arguments in a rather small piece of evidence, usually taken from a handful of assumed lexical correspondences and typological analogies. In the present paper, I discuss some methodological problems related to the enterprise of determining the place of Khinalug among the East Caucasian languages, addressing both selected lexical and grammatical features. I also include some sociolinguistic features that are crucial to the discussion. As an alternative to the current hypotheses, I suggest to consider the possibility that Khinalug is not an East Caucasian language from a genetic point of view, but a non-East Caucasian language that has become “Caucasianised” over times. In the first part of my paper I will focus on some general issues and on the lexicon.

From Iranism to Pan-Turkism: A Less-known Page of Ahmet Ağaoğlu’s Biography

By: Ali Kalirad

Abstract: Ahmed Agayev, better known as Ahmet Ağaoğlu (1869-1939), has been a prominent preacher of Turkism and one of the founding fathers of the so-called Azerbaijani identity, having played also a significant role in the formation of Pan-Turkism. Ağaoğlu’s involvement in Pan-Turkist circles in the Ottoman Empire and then in the nationalist movement in Kemalist Turkey partly overshadowed some details of his earlier life. This paper examines one of the lesser-known episodes in his biography—his participation in the activities of the Iranian revolutionaries in Istanbul and his collaboration with their Persian organ, Sorush (Sorūš) in 1909-1910 in Istanbul. Ironically, positioning himself in his Persian writings in Sorush as an avid follower of Iranian nationalism, Ağaoğlu began soon to propound in the Ottoman press the idea of “the Turks of Iran,” actively promoting Turkism and Pan-Turkist views on the ethnic background of the South Caucasian Muslims and the population of the northwestern areas of Iran. Ahmet Ağaoğlu’s writings in Istanbul in 1909 and 1910 shed some light on the genesis of a modern ethnic identity, which was later labelled as “Azerbaijani.”

“Zoroaster was a Kurd!”: Neo-Zoroastrianism among the Iraqi Kurds

By: Edith Szanto

Abstract: Disgusted with ISIS, some Kurds turned away from Islam following the fall of Mosul in 2014. Many became atheists, while others sought comfort in Zoroastrianism. Zoroastrianism, according to converts, was the “original” religion of the Kurds before they embraced Islam. In 2015, two Zoroastrian centers opened in Sulaimani, both of which are recognized by the Kurdish Regional Government in northern Iraq. Notably, neither has tried to recreate Zoroastrianism the way it is currently and has been historically practiced in Iran and South Asia. Instead, they have created their own versions of Zoroastrianism, which is nationalist, postmodern, and liberal. Kurdish Zoroastrians argue that the reason Kurds are “backward” is Islam. They seek to rectify the present situation through a Kurdish “authenticated” and “original” form of Zoroastrianism. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork at these two centers, the present article examines this new religious movement in Sulaimani, an important city in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq. It analyses the rise and distinctiveness of Kurdish Zoroastrianism looking at how Zoroastrian Kurds articulate their views on Islam, women’s rights, human rights, and Kurdish independence.


Islamic Law and Society (Volume 25, Issue 1-2)


The Development of a Locker System at al-Azhar

By: Irfana Hashmi

Abstract: There is widespread scholarly agreement that al-Azhar rose to prominence as an Islamic center of learning in the sixteenth century, as Arab provinces were adjusting to Ottoman administration. This article examines the development of a locker system at al-Azhar, one of several structural changes that took place between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries, in addition to the expansion of fraternities. I argue that this material infrastructure, which was supported by modest endowments, served as a crucial scaffold for teaching and learning at al-Azhar and contributed to its rising status as an educational institution. Shari‘a court records reveal that the growing importance of lockers was the result of (1) decisions made by ordinary men and women about the endowment, subdivision, and circulation of lockers and (2) Ottoman legal reforms and innovations. In this way, a seemingly peripheral material object may serve as a site for exploring al-Azhar’s development as an educational institution.

“Is the Family Waqf a Religious Institution?” Charity, Religion, and Economy in French Mandate Lebanon

By: Nada Moumtaz

Abstract: This essay analyzes a debate among Muslim jurists in French Mandate Syria and Lebanon around whether the family waqf, a form of charitable endowment dedicated to the founder’s family, is a legitimate form of the waqf and whether it should be abolished. I argue that the new categorization of the family waqf as a deviation from real charitable giving was informed by new conceptions of the economy, religion, and charity. Because the debate was among Muslim legal scholars, it also allows us to examine modern changes in the Islamic legal tradition. I show how the debate displays the use of new scientific styles of reasoning among Muslim jurists in the derivation of rules, thereby transforming the legal tradition without rupturing it.

The Testamentary Waqf as an Instrument of Elite Consolidation in Early Twentieth-Century Massawa (Eritrea)

By: Jonathan Miran, Aharon Layish

Abstract: This study examines the testamentary waqf of Ahmad bin ʿAbd Allah al-Ghul (1853-1919), a prominent merchant and communal leader in the cosmopolitan Red Sea port town of Massawa in Eritrea during the period of Italian colonial rule (1885-1941). We provide an annotated translation of the document and a detailed socio-legal analysis of its features. We argue that the testamentary waqf was a vehicle for ensuring the family’s integration in Eritrea in perpetuity. We also consider how the testamentary waqf was used as a strategy to sustain the al-Ghul family as a corporate unit by preserving the integrity of its real estate assets and by upholding the family’s internal hierarchy of authority. Finally, by endowing properties to mosques and wells, the testator-founder sought to establish the family’s role as a patron of the Muslim community.

The Traveling Waqf: Property, Religion, and Mobility beyond China

By: Matthew S. Erie

Abstract: For most of their millennial history in China, Muslims have established pious endowments called waqfs that served a variety of functions, including providing land to build mosques. The founding of waqfs radically changed in 1949, when the Communists confiscated land. Recently, a Hui who was performing the hajj in Saudi Arabia discovered a pre-Communist waqfiyya or document that established a waqf in Gansu Province in northwest China. The contemporary Chinese property regime prohibits religious land and hence the waqfiyya is legally void, yet its return afforded the Hui an opportunity to reflect on the relationships between law, lineage, and public goods, laying a foundation for an historical anthropology of Chinese waqfs. Drawing on material from historical Gansu and ethnographic encounters, I argue that whereas shariʿa suffered a kind of “structural death” in China, it does have its own “afterlife,” as illustrated in documents that travel across time and assume new meanings through transnational mobility and memory.


Journal of Qur’anic Studies (Volume 20, Issue 1)

Change Through Continuity: A Case Study of Q. 4:34 in Ibn ʿĀshūr’s al-Taḥrīr wa’l-tanwīr

By: Hadia Mubarak

Abstract: In the context of ruptures and continuities in modern Qur’anic exegesis, this article brings attention to a modern tafsir that has received scant attention in western scholarship, Muhammad al-Tahir bin ‘Ashur’s al-Tahrir wa’l-tanwir. The significance of his tafsir lies in its employment of premodern, philological hermeneutics to reach new interpretations, representing a unique approach in modern typologies of tafsir, in that it seeks change through continuity with the tradition. As a case example, this article explores Ibn ʿAshur’s ability to leverage premodern hermeneutics to reach an unprecedented interpretation of wa’dribuhunna, the last of three disciplinary measures prescribed for women who are guilty of nushuz in Q. 4:34. My findings dispel the common assumption that modern exegetes who utilise “innovative” methods bring forth new interpretations, whereas those who do not employ such methods do not. Al-Tahrir wa’l-tanwircounters intellectual currents within modern tafsir that bypass the exegetical tradition by reviving the genre’s classical, philological methods and employing them to reach new opinions for changed realities.

In the Gardens with Ibrahim: An Evaluation of Fī riyāḍ al-tafsīr by Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse, a Contemporary, Traditional Tafsīr

By: Oludamini Ogunnaike

Abstract: The Senegalese Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse (d. 1975) was the founder of the most popular branch of the Tariqa Tjianiyya, the most popular Sufi order in Sub-Saharan Africa. In this paper, I propose to give a brief overview of his recently-published Fi riyad al-Tafsir, a contemporary work of tafsir transcribed from Shaykh Ibrahim’s annual Ramadan tafsir sessions. The tafsir is unique for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that it is a transcription of an oral tafsirperformance, raising interesting questions about the relationship of oral performance to textuality and intertextuality, and the relationship between spiritual practice and Qur’anic hermeneutics, and challenging certain received notions about Islam in West Africa, and the place of West Africa in the Islamic world. While this work has previously been discussed in an excellent article by Andrea Brigaglia, this paper builds on and complements Brigaglia’s work by conducting a close reading of Shaykh Ibrahim’s tafsir of Q. 6:75–79, the story of Abraham and the setting star, moon, and sun, comparing it with related ideas found in other Sufi texts and with other Sufi tafsirs of the same passage.

The Role of Context in Interpreting and Translating the Qur’an

By: M.A.S. Abdel Haleem

Abstract: Quoting out of context can become especially serious when dealing with religious texts. As will be demonstrated in this article, attention to context (siyaq) is essential to proper understanding and translation of the Qur’an. However, in much tafsir writing, and in most of the translations of the Qur’an into English, as well as more general discussion of the Qur’an, we come across examples where insufficient regard to the context seriously mars understanding and results in misrepresentation of the Qur’an’s message. The study of context has a central place in rhetoric (balagha) and in Qur’anic studies in Arabic, but is hardly mentioned in Qur’anic studies undertaken in English. This article explores the significance of context in reading the Qur’an. In the introduction, I outline the various types of context, and then move on to examine its role in determining the meaning of words and sentences, and in determining the inclusion and omission of material, as well as the order and amount of material used in any given situation in the Qur’an. The discussion will also explore which linguistic features can cause difficulties in determining meaning, and what clues are given in the Qur’an to help identify the context and appropriate meanings of specific passages. Examples will be given from translations of the Qur’an, tafsir, and Qur’anic studies.

Moses and Pharaoh’s Magicians: A Discursive Analysis of the Qur’anic Narratives in the Light of Late Antique Texts and Traditions

By: Andrew C. Smith

Abstract: This paper provides a comparative analysis of the Qur’anic narratives of Moses and Pharaoh’s magicians and the Biblical narrative as transmitted through the Targummim and Peshitta, and Jewish and Christian interpretive traditions. This analysis views these narratives as a means of better understanding the discursive development of the earliest Qur’anic community and how they assisted that community in making sense of its world. Viewing how the Qur’an deliberately crafts these narratives gives insights into the circumstances and context of its revelation, particularly as it makes deliberate choices related to textual readings. Such choices, I argue, impacted the discursive norms and attitudes of the community. Presenting the chronological relationship of the narratives illustrates such discursive development. This paper analyses the similarities and differences in the Biblical and Qur’anic narratives, focusing particularly on the narratological roles of Aaron, the nobles, and the magicians, to illustrate the homiletic and exhortatory messages impacting that discourse development. The effective use of these narratives as models for the ethical and moral behaviour of the believing community and its identity formation cannot be understated.


Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient (Volume 61, Issue 1-2)

Speaking the End Times: Early Modern Politics and Religion from Iberia to Central Asia

By: Mayte Green-Mercado

Abstract: This introduction delineates the contours of early modern apocalyptic thought and practice among Christians, Muslims, and Jews by discussing specific themes explored in the five articles included in this special issue. It also situates the articles in the expansive scholarship on apocalypticism, highlighting the contribution of this collection of essays to the field. Paying close attention to and problematizing the importance of the terminology that expressed early modern notions of sacred history and political authority—in a context of intense inter-confessional contact and conflict—this introduction calls for a contextual examination of apocalyptic thought and practice.

A Mediterranean Apocalypse: Prophecies of Empire in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries

By: Cornell H. Fleischer

Abstract: This article traces the intertwining of contemporaneous Muslim and Christian millenarian beliefs and excitation from the early fifteenth to late sixteenth centuries, specifically as crystalized by the rise of the Ottoman power, the Muslim conquest of “Rome” (Constantinople) in 1453, and the sixteenth century Ottoman-Habsburg rivalry for recognition as legitimate claimants to the world empire of the last age of history. The most influential formulator of the Ottoman eschatological identity was the mystic and lettrist ʿAbd al-Rahman al-BIstami, whose works underlie the fully articulated royal messianism of Sultan Suleyman (r. 1520-1566). At Suleyman’s court the French orientalist and apocalyptic enthusiast Guillaume Postel, a proponent of French Valois universal end-time monarchy, saw al-Bistami’s work brandished in 1535. Following the trajectory of the production, consumption, and deployment of these texts in the context of revolutionary changes across the Mediterranean—not least of all in understandings of religions and their relationship to historical empire—makes clear the centrality of apocalyptic to contemporary understandings of history and the significance (and legitimacy) of the new imperial formations, and to new understandings of the interrelationship between cognate, if sometimes hostile, monotheisms.

Morisco Prophecies at the French Court (1602-1607)

By: Mayte Green-Mercado

Abstract: This article presents a case study of a rebellion conspiracy organized by a group of Moriscos—Spanish Muslims forcibly converted to Catholicism—in the early seventeenth century. In order to carry out their plans, these Moriscos sought assistance from the French king Henry IV (r. 1589-1610). Analyzing a Morisco letter remitted to Henry IV and multiple archival sources, this article argues that prophecy served as a diplomatic language through which Moriscos communicated with the most powerful Mediterranean rulers of their time. A “connected histories” approach to the study of Morisco political activity underscores the ubiquity of prophecies and apocalyptic expectations in the social life and political culture of the early modern Mediterranean. As a language of diplomacy, apocalyptic discourse allowed for minor actors such as the Moriscos to engage in politics in a language that was deemed mutually intelligible, and thus capable of transcending confessional boundaries.

Could Early Modern Messianic Movements Cross Religious Boundaries?

By: Matt Goldish

Abstract: Could early modern messianic movements cross religious boundaries? Drawing on several examples of Jewish messianic movements from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, this paper argues that in certain very specific circumstances they could. The circumstances of such crossover tended to be particular to the early modern period, such as the Converso condition, the participation of Christian Hebraists, and shared messianic expectations among Jews, Christians and Muslims.

The Messianic Kingship of Augustin Bader as Anti-Habsburg Polemic: Prophecy and Politics in Reformation Germany

By: Robert Bast

Abstract: This paper explores the genesis, self-understanding and significance of a small messianic commune operating in the late 1520s in southern Germany under the headship of Augustin Bader, an Augsburg weaver and erstwhile Anabaptist. It traces the unique convergence of Christian and Jewish messianic expectation in the 1520s that unexpectedly linked Bader to the kabbalistic prognostications of Abraham Halevi and the pseudo-military campaign of David Reuveni. Finally, it argues that Bader’s messianism was specifically crafted as a counter-hegemonic measure against the Habsburgs, whose persecution of Anabaptists such as Bader and his associates made a mockery of that dynasty’s heavy reliance on the imperial messianic ideology of the Last World Emperor.

Condominial Sovereignty and Condominial Messianism in the Timurid Empire: Historiographical and Numismatic Evidence

By: Evrim Binbaş

Abstract: This article problematizes the use of messianic discourse in the articulation of political sovereignty in the early fifteenth century Timurid context. It argues that the concept of condominium was among the alternatives that the Timurid authorities considered in order to formulate a novel constitutional framework for the Timurid Empire after the death of Timur, and in specific political circumstances especially in Fars, messianic and condominial principles of sovereignty conflated. To further this argument, the article focuses on one particular case, the Timurid historian Mu’in al-Din Natanzi, who formulated the concept of condominial sovereignty, in which both Shahrukh and Iskandar appear as equal sovereign with messianic prerogatives. Natanzi’s concept of condominial messianism was connected to Iskandar’s unique formulation of condominial sovereignty through his coinage. This article further argues that too many religio-political concepts are used interchangeably in secondary literature, even though our sources clearly distinguish them in terms of their specific constitutional associations.


Mediterranean Politics (Volume 23, Issue 1)


Framing and reframing the EU’s engagement with the Mediterranean: Examining the security-stability nexus before and after the Arab uprisings

By: Roberto Roccu, Benedetta Voltolini

Abstract: EU policies towards the Southern Mediterranean after the Arab uprisings are predominantly seen in the literature as marked by continuity with the past. This is attributed to the fact that the European Union still acts with the aim of maximising its security by preserving stability in the region. By examining a range of policy areas, this special issue aims to assess and qualify this claim. Its introduction outlines our case on both empirical and analytical grounds. Empirically, it is argued that we need to offer a more detailed analysis of each specific policy area to assess the extent of continuity and change. Analytically, this introduction proposes a framework that focuses on processes of frame definition and frame enactment to explain change and continuity in the European Union’s approach. More specifically, security, stability and the link between them–the security–stability nexus–are considered as the master frame shaping the European Union’s approach towards the Southern Mediterranean. This is enacted along two dimensions: the modalities of EU engagement with Southern Mediterranean partners; and the range of actors engaged.

From Neglect to Selective Engagement: The EU Approach to Rural Development in the Arab Mediterranean after the Arab Uprisings

By: Christos Kourtelis

Abstract: After the Arab uprisings, the European Union designed a new regional programme for the development of the agricultural sector of the European Neighbourhood Policy partners. The European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) is based on an integrated logic for rural development. This new conceptual framework advocates multi-sectoral planning and the active participation of local actors in the decision-making process in order to promote inclusive growth and to support small and medium enterprises. This approach aims to contribute to the security and stability of the rural areas of the Arab Mediterranean partners. This paper analyses ENPARD and it argues that the inclusion of new actors in the design of the programme has partially challenged established views of policymakers within the European Union. However, EU engagement in this area is still determined by a hierarchical mode that puts local actors at the bottom of the decision-making process and it is driven by a technocratic ratchet mechanism that fits new information into existing cognitive frames. Despite some positive changes in national policies, the paper claims that this type of technocratic engineering does not change social relations in rural areas and it undermines the success of the programme.

Banking on ordoliberalism? Security, stability and profits in EU’s economic reform promotion in Egypt

By: Roberto Roccu

Abstract: The framing of EU-promoted economic reforms in Egypt has been heavily influenced by ordoliberal ideas and practices, which have in turn affected how the European Union interprets security and stability in the economy. This is especially visible in the EU promotion of banking sector regulations. Despite the change in approach heralded in the post-uprisings EU documents, this paper finds that what we see is only a minor reframing of the ordoliberal template, which aims at becoming more inclusive especially drawing in small and medium enterprises. However, in the light of fast changing circumstances, this supposedly new approach has not achieved its stated aims, but indeed something close to its opposite, that is: less engagement with a narrower range of actors.

EU democracy promotion and the dominance of the security–stability nexus

By: Assem Dandashly

Abstract: The article analyses the European Union’s approach for democracy promotion in Tunisia and Egypt in the wake of the Arab uprisings. Contrary to arguments that focus either on the EU institutions and member states or on the domestic policies of the targeted countries and see the post-2010 EU democracy promotion strategies as a continuation of previous programs, the article follows a more eclectic approach. By considering changes both at the EU and the international level, it argues that the European Union appears as a pragmatic yet more flexible and reactive international actor. After 2010, the EU frames for democracy promotion have changed and are differentiated in the two MENA countries. Crucial to this cognitive change is the EU Global Strategy (EUGS) and the role that domestic elites have played in the two case studies.

The EU and Islamist parties in Tunisia and Egypt after the Arab uprisings: A story of selective engagement

By: Benedetta Voltolini, Silvia Colombo

Abstract: This article argues that the new European Union’s selective engagement with Islamist parties in its southern neighbourhood following the Arab uprisings is the result of a partial shift in the European Union’s frame used to understand political Islam, combined with a form of pragmatism that puts a premium on finding interlocutors in the region. Using the case studies of Tunisia and Egypt, it shows that the European Union has replaced its previous monolithic conception of political Islam with an understanding that is more sensitive to differences among Islamists. This opens the door to some forms of engagement with those actors that renounce violence and demonstrate their commitment to work within the confines of democratic rules, while violent strands of political Islam and conservative groups remain at arm’s length.

Counterterrorism and democracy: EU policy in the Middle East and North Africa after the uprisings

By: Vincent Durac

Abstract: This paper explores European Union (EU) counterterrorism (CT) policy in relation to the Southern Mediterranean in the aftermath of the Arab Uprisings. A number of themes may be observed in the recent literature on Euro-Mediterranean relations. Firstly, the rhetoric of the European Union repeatedly lays stress on its commitment to democracy and human rights. However, secondly, and equally repeatedly, the actions (or inaction) of the Union in its dealings with Southern Mediterranean regimes demonstrate that when the perceived security interests of the European Union or its member states are threatened by its normative commitments, concern for the latter is readily sacrificed. Thus, while the formal responses of the European Union to the Arab Uprisings have, once more, invoked its concern to promote economic development and build democracy, critics have focused on their incoherence as reflecting an underlying concern to restore the pre-2011 “stability” that characterized the region. This framing of the core interests and priorities of the Union carries through to its counter-terrorism policy and practices with respect to the Southern Mediterranean, and determines the nature of its engagement with key actors in the region in ways that carry the potential for counter-productive outcomes.

Thinking energy outside the frame? Reframing and misframing in Euro-Mediterranean energy relations

By: Anna Herranz-Surrallés

Abstract: The EU’s initial reaction to the Arab uprisings in the field of energy cooperation was yet another proposal for creating an integrated Euro-Mediterranean energy market, despite the moot success of previous efforts. This paper investigates the policy frame underpinning the European Union’s persistent focus on market-regulatory harmonization since the late 1990s and enquires into whether it has experienced any change in the post-uprising context. While the paper finds an enduring dominance of the market-liberal frame, it also identifies signs of its erosion through processes of reframing and misframing, affecting also the European Union’s practical engagement with the region.

Changing the path? EU migration governance after the ‘Arab spring’

By: Andrew Geddes, Leila Hadj-Abdou

Abstract: This article shows how understandings amongst policy élites of a “new normal” form the basis for current and future EU action on migration in the Mediterranean region. This new normality centres on the understanding that Europe faces significant migratory pressures at its Mediterranean borders. By opening the “black box” of European and EU migration governance, the article seeks to provide fresh insight into how framing and frame enactment shape policy responses. Rather than detailing the “outputs” or “outcomes” of European migration governance systems–such as laws and policy approaches–this paper adopts a different approach by exploring the underlying perceptions and understandings of migration held by actors within migration governance systems.

EU religious engagement in the Southern Mediterranean: Much ado about nothing?

By: Sarah Wolff

Abstract: Since the Arab uprisings, religious engagement is central to EU relations with the Southern Mediterranean. Given that the European Union is a liberal-secular power, this article investigates why and how the European Union is practising religious engagement and whether it is a rupture with past EU modalities of engagement in the region. The main finding is that EU religious engagement constitutes both a physical and ontological security-seeking practice. This is illustrated in three steps. First, the European Union’s physical security is ensured by the promotion of state-sponsored forms of religion in Morocco and Jordan that aim at moderating Islam. Second, the framing of religion as an expertise issue in the EEAS and European diplomacies reinforces the European Union’s self-identity narrative as a secular power. This self-identity is, however, subject to politicization and framing contestation through the case of freedom of religion or belief and the protection of Christian minorities in the Arab world. Overall, this article finds that EU religious engagement is conducive to selective engagement with some religious actors, which could potentially lead to more insecurities and polarization in the region.

Security and stability reframed, selective engagement maintained? The EU in the Mediterranean after the Arab uprisings

By: Roberto Roccu, Benedetta Voltolini

Abstract: This conclusion provides a comparative survey of the main findings of this special issue and suggests avenues for further research. It shows that the security–stability nexus through which the European Union approaches the Southern Mediterranean has experienced some measure of reframing in the wake of the Arab uprisings. While leading the European Union towards a more inclusive approach, this partial frame redefinition has on the whole translated into forms of highly selective engagement. This conclusion suggests that this mismatch between the change in frame definition and its enactment in different policy areas can be accounted for with reference to four factors: institutional sources of policy rigidity, time lag, issue politicization and the willingness of Mediterranean partners to engage with the European Union.


Middle East Journal (Volume 72, Issues 1 & 2)


Securitized Diplomacy: Israel’s Jewish Identity and the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process

By: Ronnie Olesker

Abstract: This article addresses the Israeli demand during the 2013–14 peace negotiations that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state within the context of securitization theory. Contrary to many readings, this article argues the demand was not merely a tactical ploy to delay or derail the peace process but rather was part of a broader process of making Israel’s Jewish identity a matter of national security. The application of securitization theory beyond the liberal nation-state is also examined.

Not Allowed to Win: Lebanon’s Sporting Boycott of Israel

By: Danyel Reiche

Abstract: Since 1955, Lebanon has had a policy of boycotting Israel in international sporting tournaments. While this policy can be credited with expelling Israel from pan-Asian sporting events in the 1970s, this article argues the main victims of Lebanon’s boycott have been Lebanese athletes and Lebanon itself. While some countries such as Iran have followed the Lebanese example, countries like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have developed a more pragmatic approach.

Exploring Palestinian Weapon Proliferation during the Oslo Peace Process

By: Jamie Levin

Abstract: The Oslo peace process created a Palestinian police force for the purposes of law enforcement and preventing terrorism. However, Israel soon accused the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) of creating a paramilitary force as a means to spoil the peace process and achieve by force what it could not through negotiations. Others argued that PLO chair Yasir ‘Arafat was engaged in coupproofing the fledgling Palestinian Authority (PA). This article proposes that the PLO’s weapons proliferation was meant as an insurance policy to deter Israel from reoccupying the Palestinian Territories.

Social Relationships and the Prevention of Anti-Christian Violence in Egypt

By: Jason Brownlee

Abstract: Institutionalist accounts of sectarian and ethnic conflict tend to emphasize national divisions. For the “master cleavages” of identity politics to shape behavior, however, they must be reproduced at the local level. Otherwise, citizens will not experience private disagreements in terms of officially promoted differences. This finding comes from extensive fieldwork on collective assaults upon Christians in Qena, Egypt. The Egyptian state favors Muslim citizens over Christian citizens, but in Qena local practices eclipsed this national hierarchy. The likelihood of attacks on Christians depended not on how the state categorized Egyptian governors (Muslim or Christian), but whether the governors reproduced Muslim primacy in their social relationships.

Making Winners: Urban Transformation and Neoliberal Populism in Turkey

By: Seda Demiralp

Abstract: This study focuses on the distribution of the costs and benefits of Turkey’s urban policy. Since 2002, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has embraced an ambitious form of capitalism that privatized the benefits of urban transformation while socializing its costs. The government has also adopted populist strategies that enhanced its political support among upper- and lower-income groups and left urban transformation’s costs to fall disproportionally on the middle class.

Egypt’s New Authoritarianism under Sisi

By: Bruce K. Rutherford

Abstract: While many have noted how the regime of ‘Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi differs from that of Hosni Mubarak, scholars have not yet conceptualized these differences’ significance. This article utilizes the literature on authoritarianism to argue that the Mubarak–Sisi transition was an attempt to shift from a provision pact, grounded in an extensive patronage network, to a protection pact in which elites back the regime because it protects them from internal and external threats. This transition is incomplete and, as the protection pact disintegrates, Egypt is left with a fragmented elite and a fractured state that renders the country more difficult to rule.

The Pre-2011 Roots of Syria’s Islamist Militants

By: Line Khatib

Abstract: Islamist militancy is not a new phenomenon in Syria; indeed, many of the groups active since the outbreak of the popular uprising in 2011 have existed since the early 2000s. The emergence of these Islamists and the Islamization of the Syrian conflict can primarily be traced to the earlier foreign policy of the regime of Bashar al-Asad, of which harboring and collaborating with Islamist militants was an integral part. The outcome of this policy was the rise of a radical and apocalyptic type of Islamist movement that the regime cannot effectively control and that is at odds with Syria’s more ecumenical and intellectual Islamic tradition.

Authoritarianism beyond Borders: The Iraqi Ba‘th Party as a Transnational Actor

By: Samuel Helfont

Abstract: A great deal has been written about authoritarianism in Ba‘thist Iraq as a domestic phenomenon. However, the Iraqi Ba‘th archives reveal that migration out of Iraq during Saddam Hussein’s presidency (1979–2003) pushed the regime to extend its authoritarianism to cover the growing Iraqi diaspora. This article describes the development of the resulting transnational authoritarian system and investigates its implications for Iraqi history as well as international politics.

Revolution and War: Saddam’s Decision to Invade Iran

By: Chad E. Nelson

Abstract: There are two main motives ascribed to Saddam Hussein’s decision to invade Iran in 1980. One motive is that he invaded for geopolitical gain when international factors worked in his favor. The other is that he invaded to prevent Iran from fomenting revolution in Iraq. This article argues the decision was taken due to the latter, that the decision to invade Iran was primarily due to the fear of spillover effects from the Iranian Revolution, and considers the broader implications for why revolutions can sometimes lead to war.

Basra’s Bid for Autonomy: Peaceful Progress toward a Decentralized Iraq

By: Benjamin Isakhan, Peter E. Mulherin

Abstract: Since the American-led war of 2003, many have called for the breakup of Iraq along ethno-religious or regional lines. Among these proposals, Basra’s nonviolent, civil, and political campaign has come the closest to creating a new autonomous region. This article documents Basra’s bid for decentralization across more than a decade of complex Iraqi politics. It traces the growing popularity of the movement, examining its privileging of economic interest over ethno-religious identity, as well as its use of Iraq’s constitutional framework to advocate for the right to decentralize. Aside from the potential consequences of Basra’s autonomy, this article concludes that the modest successes of this peaceful movement are among the few promising signs for Iraq’s troubled democracy.


Middle East Policy (Volume 25, Issue 1)


Iran’s Supreme Leader: An Analysis of His Hostility Toward the U.S. and Israel

By: Thomas Buonomo

Abstract: Not available

Resistance in the Caliphate’s Classrooms: Mosul Civilians vs IS

By: Mathilde Becker Aarseth

Abstract: Not available

The Life and Death of Abdullah Azzam

By: Jed Lea‐Henry

Abstract: Not available

Taking God Seriously: The Struggle against Extremism

By: Nilay Saiya, Joshua Fidler

Abstract: Not available

Erdogan’s Backsliding: Opposition to the KRG Referendum

By: Michael M. Gunter

Abstract: Not available

Water Thieves or Political Catalysts? Syrian Refugees in Jordan and Lebanon

By: Anne Marie Baylouny, Stephen J. Klingseis

Abstract: Not available

Rationalizing Public Repression: Mubarak’s Self‐Toppling Regime

By: Ebtisam Hussein

Abstract: Not available

Deep States in MENA

By: Robert Springborg

Abstract: Not available


Middle East Quarterly (Volume 25, Issues 1 & 2)


Turks and Arabs Welcomed the Balfour Declaration

By: Efraim Karsh

Abstract: Not available

The “Ottoman Balfour Declaration”

By: Wolfgang G. Schwanitz

Abstract: Not available

Russia’s Goals Go beyond Damascus

By: Anna Borshchevskaya

Abstract: Not available

Russia’s Entrenchment in Syria

By: Grigory Melamedov

Abstract: Not available

The Dangers of Failing Middle East States

By: Kobi Michael, Yoel Guzansky

Abstract: Not available

Has al-Qaeda Learned from Its Mistakes?

By: Thomas R. McCabe

Abstract: Not available

A Future for Kurdish Independence?

By: Michael Eppel

Abstract: Not available

“Un-Brotherly” Saudi-Emirati Ties

By: Hilal Khashan

Abstract: Not available


Middle Eastern Studies (Volume 54, Issues 1 & 2)


Exclusion-moderation in the gulf context: tracing the development of pragmatic Islamism in Kuwait

By: Courtney Freer

Abstract: While considerable existing scholarship examines the degree to which Muslim Brotherhood affiliates have toned down their religious rhetoric to compete in electoral politics, very little of that discussion centres on how Brotherhood movements react when political space narrows. Even fewer studies have examined the recent behaviour of the Brotherhood affiliate in Kuwait. In this article, we demonstrate how the Kuwaiti Muslim Brotherhood has, in the face of increased government surveillance and restriction of political space, moderated its Islamist agenda to become part of the broader opposition agitating for structural political reforms, often at the expense of the traditional agenda of Islamizing society.

Nexus of armed conflicts and migrations to the Gulf: migrations to the GCC from war-torn source countries in Asia, Africa and the Arab neighbourhood

By: Marko Valenta, Jo Jakobsen

Abstract: Majority of temporary labour migrants in the Gulf originate in countries that are not involved in devastating armed conflicts. Migrations from conflict-ridden countries to the Gulf are not negligible, however, and they have been growing in the last decades. The overview of migrations from the major refugee-producing countries suggests that we may distinguish between different categories of mixed migrations; inter alia, migrants who migrated to the Gulf prior to, during and after the armed conflicts in their home countries. We argue that these migrations happened in parallel with the tremendous economic growth that the Gulf countries have experienced in the last decades. Of note, however, is that they also coincide with escalations of armed conflicts in several sending countries, which may indicate that some of these migrations are also the result of war- or security-related push forces. We also contend that the dynamics of migrations from countries in conflict may in addition be related to the foreign policies of the Gulf countries, which are often closely related to their treatment of different migrant groups.

The domestic application of international human rights conventions in Saudi Arabia and the need to ratify conventions on migrant workers

By: Abdullah M. Almutairi

Abstract: This article examines the application of international human rights conventions in Saudi legislation where Sharia is the main source of law. Saudi laws often adopt the dualistic approach and its international human rights obligations must be in agreement with the Sharia. This paper further intends to explore the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s (KSA) position on reservations and ratifications of international human rights conventions generally and in the context of migrant workers’ rights particularly. Since the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has not ratified any convention related to migrant worker protection, it is essential to examine the role of national human rights organisations in implementing and promoting human rights in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the article explores the significant efforts made by these organisations to implement and protect the rights of migrant workers in the country. It argues that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has ratified a number of human rights conventions such as the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; however, it has failed to comply with its provisions. It is suggested that non-discrimination provisions of some of these conventions may be used to advance migrants’ rights in the country.

The renunciation of minority rights and the making of the 1926 civil law: mahzars penned by non-Muslim minorities

By: Betül Açıkgöz, Erdoğan Keskinkılıç

Abstract: Civil rights of the minorities, substantially framed in the Lausanne Peace Treaty in 1923, were subjected to secular regulation with the Civil Code issued in 1926 in Turkey. The annulment of the Lausanne provisions was justified with collective petitions penned by representatives of the non-Muslim communities. The collective petitions, called “mahzar,” constituted the legal pretext by which the non-Muslim communities were reconciled with the secularizing civil code of government. This article unravels the manuscripts of mahzars and sheds light on the political backdrop whereby non-Muslim minorities renounced their rights in Article 42. Drawing on the scripts of mahzars, it tracks the justification and arguments made by the disclaimers of non-Muslim communities. It also delineates the debate on the act of renunciation by examining the transcripts of the negotiations at Lausanne Peace Conference and the internal and international press. Despite standing for the consent of the non-Muslim minorities, the collective petitions, this article argues, embodied hegemonic means of government to subdue minority rights.

A project of destruction, peace, or techno-science? Untangling the relationship between the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) and the Kurdish question in Turkey

By: Arda Bilgen

Abstract: The Southeastern Anatolia Project (Güneydoğu Anadolu Projesi, GAP) was initiated in the 1970s to produce energy and irrigate arid lands through constructing dams and hydroelectric power plants on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers and extensive irrigation networks in southeastern Turkey. Over time, the project was expanded to achieve a wider range of goals in different fields and radically transform Southeastern Anatolia Region. It is also widely claimed that GAP was initiated to address the root causes of the Kurdish question in Turkey and that security considerations and political calculations were actually the raison d’être of GAP. However, this supposed link between GAP and the Kurdish question was often established in a simplistic manner and the question how these two have been related–or not–remained largely untangled. This article aims to fill this research gap and examine the complex and multi-dimensional nature of the interrelationship between GAP and the Kurdish question based on diverse primary and secondary data sources. Accordingly, the article identifies and discusses major narratives in which GAP was conceived as a political and strategic “anti-Kurdish” plot; remedy for the conflict; and totally technical non-political project and presents an alternative and more accurate perspective on how to interpret this relationship.

East sees east: the image of Jews from Islamic countries in the Jewish discourse of interwar Poland

By: Magdalena Kozłowska

Abstract: This article explores travel pieces on Jews in Islamic countries published in the Jewish press (in Yiddish and Polish) in interwar Poland. It argues that many of the strategies of representation that Polish–Jewish journalists employed to describe the Jews of Islamic countries during this time borrow from the way the Jews of Eastern Europe were perceived. Turning the Western gaze on the Orient served Eastern European Jewish intellectuals as an act of multiple redemption. Finding themselves in between modern and traditional identification, Polish–Jewish journalists decided to ensure their belonging to the world which they saw as civilised by transposing concepts they knew from home.

From the land of the rising sun to the nation of the crescent moon: a visit to Turkey by a Japanese training fleet

By: Safiye Kiranlar, Muhammed Bilal Çelik

Abstract: In this study, we analyse a visit by two Japanese cruisers (the Izumo and Yakumo), commanded by Admiral Yamamoto, to Turkey in 1926. Although the visit’s aim was overstated at the time, its contribution to Turkish–Japanese relations cannot be disregarded. Ambassador Obata and Admiral Yamamoto’s emphasis on and discourse in relation to Turkish–Japanese friendship demonstrate that the Japanese imposed different meanings on the trip, the most important part of which was to Istanbul, where visits to official departments, programmes for naval students and familiarizing Istanbulites with Japan were important activities. The Istanbul press published news about the Japanese guests and their daily activities. After Istanbul, the delegation went to Ankara for official visits. However, these visits were little reported in Turkish news columns or the press of the period. In fact, the visit is reflected in just one or two sentences in the pages of history.

The British Mandate and the crisis of Palestinian landlessness, 1929–1936

By: Charles Anderson

Abstract: This article examines landlessness among Palestinians as a facet of colonial policy in Mandate Palestine before the 1936 revolt. The growth of what was sometimes called a “landless class” came into official view after the violence of 1929. Subsequent investigations indicated that landlessness was a significant problem and that it threatened to destabilize the Mandate. The effort to ameliorate the crisis of landlessness, however, clashed with the dominant colonial conception of settler developmentalism, the notion that Jews, not Arabs, were the agents of modern economic development in Palestine. The first part of this examination revisits the contest over the 1930 White Paper, focusing on its relationship to the advent of mass landlessness. The rapid defeat of the new policy via the MacDonald letter left the landlessness problem to fester while simultaneously obscuring it. As the situation in the Arab countryside continued to deteriorate, the onset of the fifth aliya temporarily reinforced erroneous assumptions about the potential to rectify the problem through the yishuv‘s development. By the time mass landlessness was “rediscovered” and new land controls designed to protect Arab smallholders were on their way to promulgation in 1935–1936, the Palestinian countryside was just months away from determined revolt.

The Second World War as a turning point in Arab–Jewish relations: the case of Jaffa and Tel Aviv

By: Tamir Goren

Abstract: One of the gravest outcomes of the period of the Arab revolt was the heavy economic damage caused to the Arab community. Jaffa, which suffered greatly in the years 1936–1939, sought to rebuild and restore the city to its status as a leading economic center in Palestine. This need intensified still more with the outbreak of the Second World War. Hence, it was in Jaffa’s evident interest to bring about an improvement in relations with Tel Aviv and with Jews generally. Problems regarding the proper management of economic life in wartime exercised the Jewish settlement also; therefore, Jewish–Arab cooperation steadily grew in this period. The article gauges the measure of this cooperation and the nature of the ties that consolidated between Arabs and Jews during the war. The situation of Jaffa and Tel Aviv serves as a test case well exemplifying the force of the subsequent change in relations between Jews and Arabs in Palestine.

Ethnic interests and national ideology during Israel’s first decade: addressing the rational Oriental vote

By: Avi Bareli

Abstract: The article offers an empirical foundation through which the electoral behaviour of the new Oriental immigrants into Israel during the 1950s can be interpreted, based on the assumption that their conduct was, in fact, rational. It focuses on the egalitarian wage policy in the important public sector, which led Ben-Gurion and the leaders of Israel’s first ruling party, MAPAI, to a confrontation with the European academically educated middle class, and on the political–electoral strategy of MAPAI vis-à-vis the Oriental immigrants during the 1950s electoral campaigns. The article discusses three assumptions: first, that this wage policy was part of the ruling party’s attempt to address the interests of the new Oriental working class; second, that this political strategy was publicly discussed, and it addressed the Oriental immigrants’ rational socio-economic calculations for the purpose of securing their political and electoral support; third, that the leaders of nascent Israel and its ruling party presented this policy as a measure towards creating a minimal socio-economic foundation for the process of nation-building during the 1950s.

Mixed fragmented migrations of Iraqis and challenges to Iraqi refugee integration: the Jordanian experience

By: Kwaku Opoku Dankwah, Marko Valenta

Abstract: This article focuses on Iraqis in Jordan who intend to migrate further. It is maintained that the distinction between forced and voluntary migrations and the formal labels used to categorize migrants do not express the complexity of movements within and from the region. It is argued that movements out of Iraq and into Jordan, and further migrations to the West, are underpinned by more than one reason though triggered by force or violence. Indeed, the reasons urging movements of Iraqis in our study took different turns as people got to particular places and faced the context of reception there. We have identified challenges to Iraqi refugee integration and related them to the variety of intended and unintended fragmented movements that go together with multiple changes in formal migrant statuses. The article thus contributes to discussions on mixed migrations and fragmented migrations in the region and portrays the agency of Iraqis in migrating amidst the structural factor of force. The article also provides valuable contributions to discussions on fragmented journeys of would-be asylum seekers in the West.

Migration, memory and mythification: relocation of Suleymani tribes on the northern Ottoman–Iranian frontier

By: Erdal Çiftçi

Abstract: This article indicates that Suleymani tribes, which were relocated from Diyarbekir region en masse to the newly conquered territories of northern Ottoman-Iranian frontiers after the mid-sixteenth-century, created a shift in the administrative and ethnic structure of the region. Although the roles of tribes were mostly seen as subordinate to the power of the Kurdish emirs, this study shows that the chiefs of Suleymani tribes, more specifically Besyan and Heyderan, became the rulers of the newly captured Safavid territories and they did not recognize the authority of their own Suleymani emirs. The writer focuses on this migration and discusses that the relocated Suleymani tribes preserved the collective memory of their migration during the nineteenth-century and their perception shaped the creation of a tribal myth, Mil-and-Zil, after the Ottoman central government disinherited the Kurdish emirs during the mid-nineteenth century. Suleymani tribes’ migration, collective memory and mythification of their own identities show that tribes were not passive subjects but they were in fact at the center of the developments of the Ottoman eastern frontier.

Struggling for the Kurdish vote: religion, ethnicity and victimhood in AKP and BDP/HDP rally speeches

By: Ioannis N. Grigoriadis, Esra Dilek

Abstract: This study explores the competition for Turkey’s Kurdish vote through the instrumentalization of religion, ethnicity and victimhood in political competition. This becomes possible through the study of rally speeches of the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi – AKP), the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (Barış ve Demokrasi Partisi – BDP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (Halkların Demokratik Partisi – HDP), in Turkey’s June 2011 and June 2015 general elections. The AKP campaigns framed the resolution of the Kurdish issue along with an updated version of the “Turkish Islamic Synthesis.” The issue of ethnicity was toned down in contrast to the idea of common victimhood of pious Turkish and Kurdish Muslims in republican Turkey. On the other hand, the BDP/HDP moved from a more ethnic-oriented and exclusive identity approach in 2011 to a more inclusive, liberal and extrovert agenda based on a civic definition of Turkish national identity in 2015. Religion and victimhood appear as the two most enduring symbolic resources for political party mobilization.

Institutional journalism in a revolutionary crisis: the press as an aide to the Muslim Brotherhood 2011–2012

By: Liad Porat, Alonit Berenson

Abstract: This article is based on the hypothesis that the Egyptian institutional media played an active role in the Egyptian “Arab spring” revolution in 2011 and analyzes how Egypt’s official newspapers constructed and presented a moderate and positive image of the Muslim Brotherhood (hereinafter the Brotherhood) despite the fact that they had labeled the Brotherhood “the outlawed movement” a year earlier. In order to examine whether their attitudes changed after the downfall of the Mubarak regime, a critical discourse analysis of newspaper texts has been made of the news columns written throughout 2011 of two of the most popular Egyptian newspapers–al-Ahram (n = 115) and al-Gumhuriyya (n = 94) both of which identify with the Egyptian government’s official policy. In addition, an analysis made of three of the Brotherhood’s publications (n = 72) (n = 281) revealed that the Brotherhood exploited the printed media not only to replace the regime but also to gain control of its narrative. Ultimately, by controlling the shaping of public opinion, the media contributed to the drawing of a parallel between the motivation that formed the basis of the mass protest and the Brotherhood’s agenda.

Between private and collective in new generation Palestinian literature: Akram Musallam as a test case

By: Dorit Gottesfeld

Abstract: The article examines new generation Palestinian writing in the West Bank, focusing on the ongoing tension between the private and the collective dimensions in literary works there. The works of Palestinian writer of Ramallah, Akram Musallam (b. 1971), serve as test case. The article shows that Musallam’s novels preserve a connection to the Palestinian problem and the national-political life on one hand, and create meanings beyond time and place limited by this connection, on the other. The tension between the private and the collective is not only well reflected in Musallam’s writings, but in fact constitutes their main pivot and it is embodied in an original and unique inner thematic and stylistic struggle within his writings. Musallam’s works serve as an example of the fact that despite recent trends to forsake the collective and focus on the private, Palestinian literature almost always relates, either directly or indirectly, either through creative or less creative means, to collective Palestinian issues.


Millennium: Journal of International Studies (Volume 46, Issue 2)


The Imperial Sociology of the ‘Tribe’ in Afghanistan

By: Nivi Manchanda

Abstract: The “tribe” is a notion intimately related to the study of Afghanistan, used as a generic signifier for all things Afghan, it is through this notion that the co-constitution of coloniser and colonised is crystallised and foregrounded in Afghanistan. By tracing the way in which the term “tribe” has been deployed in the Afghan context, the article performs two kinds of intellectual labour. First, by following the evolution of a concept from its use in the early ninteenth century to the literature on Afghanistan in the twenty-first century, wherein the “tribes” seem to have acquired a newfound importance, it undertakes a genealogy or intellectual history of the term. The Afghan “tribes” as an object of study, follow an interesting trajectory: initially likened to Scottish clans, they were soon seen as brave and loyal men but fundamentally different from their British interlocutors, to a “problem” that needed to be managed and finally, as indispensable to a long-term “Afghan strategy.” And second, it endeavours to describe how that intellectual history is intimately connected to the exigencies of imperialism and the colonial politics of knowledge production.


New Global Studies (Volume 12, Issue 1)


Religious Diversity, Social Cohesion, and the Role of Interfaith Cooperation in Resilient Global Cities

By: Tony Banout, Brad Henderson

Abstract: The city of the future will have to come to terms with astronomical population growth comprised of individuals and communities that differ on matters of fundamental beliefs living in increasingly close proximity. The test will be whether religious diversity increasingly leads to clashing parochialisms or unlocks possibilities for human flourishing. With 7.5 billion people urbanized by 2050, cities simply must include attention to religious diversity, and the science of social capital and interfaith cooperation can inform the discourse of resiliency as humanity prepares. Ample sociological research supports the conclusion that societies thrive where and when they are able to build trusting relationships across lines of deep difference. The inverse failure to do so is a direct danger to civil peace. This article charts a path forward to building and sustaining those relationships in an urban setting.


Review of International Political Economy (Volume 25, Issue 3)


When politics gets in the way: domestic coalitions and the making of skill systems

By: Merve Sancak, Isik D. Özel

Abstract: Examining the recent evolution of public skill institutions and the diverging trajectories of institutional change, this paper focuses on skill certification systems, empirically drawing from two middle-income countries (MICs), Mexico and Turkey. Building on the argument that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) prefer public skill systems to generate a technically skilled workforce more than large firms do, it puts forward that governments supporting and being supported by SMEs will be more willing to endorse skill certification systems for their distributional consequences. It argues that public skill institutions are embraced to varying degrees based on cost-benefit calculations of domestic elites; and only adopted effectively if they are in concord with key actors’ interests. Therefore, this paper contributes to the emerging literature on skill politics in the MICs by examining the dynamics of domestic political coalitions that support or prevent the development of skill institutions based on extensive empirical analysis, and it agrees with the arguments emphasizing the importance of SMEs’ presence in political coalitions for skill reforms. Furthermore, it provides important evidence against the arguments on institutional convergence in the age of globalization by showing the varying outcomes of similar external pressures in the MICs.


The Economic Journal (Volume 12, Issue 609)


The Financial Power of the Powerless: Socio‐economic Status and Interest Rates under Partial Rule of Law

By: Timur Kuran, Jared Rubin

Abstract: In advanced economies interest rates vary inversely with the risk of default, which itself is negatively related to the borrower’s socio‐economic status. The former relationship depends on the impartiality of the law. Where the law is markedly biased in favour of certain groups, these groups will pay a surcharge for capital. Legal power, as measured by privileges before the law, thus undermines financial power, the capacity to borrow cheaply. Developing this argument, this article also tests it through judicial records from Ottoman Istanbul, 1602–1799. Three privileged Ottoman groups–men, Muslims and titled elites–all paid relatively high interest rates conditional on various loan characteristics.


The European Journal of International Relations (Volume 24, Issue 1)


Resilience, resistance, infrapolitics and enmeshment

By: Philippe Bourbeau, Caitlin Ryan

Abstract: A great deal has been written in the International Relations literature about the role of resilience in our social world. One of the central debates in the scholarship concerns the relationship between resilience and resistance, which several scholars consider to be one of mutual exclusivity. For many theorists, an individual or a society can either be resilient or resistant, but not both. In this article, we argue that this understanding of the resilience–resistance connection suffers from three interrelated problems: it treats resilience and resistance as binary concepts rather than processes; it presents a simplistic conception of resilient subjects as apolitical subjects; and it eschews the “transformability” aspect of resilience. In a bid to resolve these issues, the article advocates for the usefulness of a relational approach to the processes of resilience and resistance, and suggests an approach that understands resilience and resistance as engaged in mutual assistance rather than mutual exclusion. The case of the Palestinian national liberation movement illustrates our set of arguments.


Third World Quarterly (Volume 39, Issues 2-5)


Drugs of choice, drugs of change: Egyptian consumption habits since the 1920s

By: Philip Robins

Abstract: Much has been written and published about the 25 January 2011 Egyptian revolution from the perspective of contemporary history and political science. Much less attention has focused on social policy. I am unaware of any scholarly material that has dealt with illicit drugs during the critical 2011–2016 period, yet increasing drugs consumption provided a social backdrop to the events of that period. This paper identifies historical trends in illicit drugs consumption over the course of the last century to the beginning of the Arab spring. During much of this period hashish was the drug of choice. This paper argues that drug consumption was on the rise in Egypt well before the downfall of President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, but that it has grown markedly since the ousting of the former president. It will ask which have been and are the drugs of choice in contemporary Egypt. It will further ask how this composition has changed and why, giving special focus to the relatively new mass, opioid drug, Tramadol.

Maintaining disorder: the micropolitics of drugs policy in Iran

By: Maziyar Ghiabi

Abstract: This article analyses the ways in which the state “treats” addiction among precarious drug (ab)users in Iran. While most Muslim-majority as well as some Western states have been reluctant to adopt harm reduction measures, the Islamic Republic of Iran has done so on a nationwide scale and through a sophisticated system of welfare intervention. Additionally, it has introduced devices of management of “addiction” (the “camps”) that defy statist modes of punishment and private violence. What legal and ethical framework has this new situation engendered? And what does this new situation tell us about the governmentality of the state? Through a combination of historical analysis and ethnographic fieldwork, the article analyses the paradigm of government of the Iranian state with regard to disorder as embodied by the lives of poor drug (ab)users.

Humanitarian interventions and the media: broadcasting against ethnic hate

By: Kerstin Tomiak

Abstract: Humanitarian interventions routinely come with media components, because of the media’s assumed ability to counter hate and support reconciliation. Radio programmes for peace should enable audiences to withstand manipulation and react non-violently in conflict situations. Based in the ideological tradition of modernisation theory, these programmes assume that violent conflict can be overcome by educating individuals. Based on original data from South Sudan, this paper argues that social structure and duty to leaders play a bigger role and that present media interventions are ill suited to the problem. Interventions need to be tailored to the situation instead of relying on generalised responses.

Hurdles to peace: a level-of-analysis approach to resolving Sudan’s civil wars

By: Johan Brosché, Allard Duursma

Abstract: Why do some peace agreements end armed conflicts whereas others do not? Previous studies have primarily focused on the relation between warring parties and the provisions included in peace agreements. Prominent mediators, however, have emphasised the importance of stakeholders at various levels for the outcome of peace agreements. To match the experience of these negotiators we apply a level-of-analysis approach to examine the contextual circumstances under which peace agreements are concluded. While prominent within the causes of war literature, level-of-analysis approaches are surprisingly scant in research about conflict resolution. This article compares two Sudanese Peace Agreements: the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (2005) that ended the North–South war and led to the independence of South Sudan, and the Darfur Peace Agreement (2006) which failed to end fighting in Darfur. We find that factors at the local, national and international level explain the different outcomes of the two agreements. Hence, the two case studies illustrate the merit of employing a level-of-analysis approach to study the outcome of peace agreements. The main contribution of this article is that it presents a new theoretical framework to understand why some peace agreements terminate armed conflict whereas others do not.

The Turkish Constitutional Court, laicism and the headscarf issue

By: Lacin Idil Oztig

Abstract: From 1989 onwards, the Turkish Constitutional Court justified the headscarf ban in universities by citing laicism. Interestingly, in 2014, the Court found the headscarf ban in courts unconstitutional and revoked it by again citing laicism as the main reason. How can this seemingly paradoxical practice be explained? This article traces the trajectory of the headscarf issue in Turkey by analysing and contextualising the Constitutional Court decisions. In order to explain how and why the Constitutional Court issued two opposing views of the headscarf ban, this article focuses on the changing political climate and legal developments that took place in Turkey between 2008 and 2014.

Power, politics and perception: the impact of foreign policy on civilian–peacekeeper relations

By: Vanessa F. Newby

Abstract: This article responds to a recent call for increased empirical evidence on the “local turn” in the peacebuilding literature and discusses the impact of the international on local consent for peace operations. Using fresh empirical material this article examines the case of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). It shows how local perceptions of the foreign policies of peacekeeping contingents matter, and how this affects the functionality of the mission. This article highlights the heterogeneity of both United Nations peacekeeping missions and local populations, an issue that is insufficiently discussed in the literature on local engagement in peacebuilding/peacekeeping.

Qatar’s humanitarian aid to Palestine

By: Elia Zureik

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to document Qatar’s recent contribution of humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. We consider Qatar as an example of a mini state that relies on its wealth and soft power to further its interests in the Middle East and support a beleaguered Arab-Muslim state. The paper carries out analysis of Arabic newspapers and other documentary evidence to contextualise and estimate Qatar’s financial contribution 2010–2016. Contextualising Qatar’s aid necessitates considering Israel’s military control of the Palestinian Territories, and its ability through hard power to regulate the inflow of aid to Palestine. The paper concludes by calling for adopting the political economy perspective in dealing with humanitarian aid.

The cyber frontier and digital pitfalls in the Global South

By: Niels Nagelhus Schia

Abstract: How does digitalisation lead to new kinds of global connections and disconnections in the Global South? And what are the pitfalls that accompany this development? Much of the policy literature on digitalisation and development has focused on the importance of connecting developing countries to digital networks. Good connection to digital networks may have a fundamental impact on societies, changing not only how individuals and businesses navigate, operate and seek opportunities, but also as regards relations between government and the citizenry. However, the rapid pace of this development implies that digital technologies are being put to use before good, functional regulatory mechanisms have been developed and installed. The resultant shortcomings–in state mechanisms, institutions, coordination mechanisms, private mechanisms, general awareness, public knowledge and skills–open the door to new kinds of vulnerabilities. Herein lie dangers, but also opportunities for donor/recipient country exchange. Instead of adding to the already substantial literature on the potential dividends, this article examines a less studied issue: the new societal vulnerabilities emerging from digitalisation in developing countries. While there is wide agreement about the need to bridge the gap between the connected and the disconnected, the pitfalls are many.

Humanitarian symbolic exchange: extending Responsibility to Protect through individual and local engagement

By: Morgan Brigg

Abstract: Moral common sense frames the relationship between privileged and at-risk populations underpinning contemporary Responsibility to Protect (R2P) discourse. This article develops an alternative by considering the relationship between archetypes of would-be rescuers and victims through Jean Baudrillard’s theorisation of symbolic exchange. Baudrillardian analysis connects personal morality and affective intersubjective symbolic exchange with the politics of international order. This leads, first, to an argument that current foundations for advocating R2P risk participating in a problematic moral economy of symbolic exchange between would-be rescuers and victims. Nonetheless, and secondly, the article deploys symbolic exchange to develop suggestions for partially re-figuring R2P’s humanitarian impulse by engaging “locally”–both through one’s self (in the ethical relation suggested by Emmanuel Levinas) and with diverse forms of political order (following Jacques Rancière’s conception of politics). Doing so supports moves to engage a wide array of individual actors in a more interactive and less hierarchical form of R2P, to drive deeper consideration of local complexities of R2P through engagement with diverse local forms of political order, and to develop a more inclusive understanding of ‘humanity’ in order to bolster R2P’s normative foundations.

The global securitisation of youth

By: Mayssoun Sukarieh, Stuart Tannock

Abstract: This article looks critically at the new global youth, peace and security agenda that has been marked by the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 in December 2015. It argues that this agenda needs to be situated within the broader context of the securitisation of development, and that the increasing interest in youth as a security subject and actor is shaped by three overlapping sets of global security concerns: the concept of the youth bulge is a euphemism for the problem of growing surplus populations worldwide; the ideal of youth as peacebuilders is a model for eliciting youth support for the current global social and economic order; and the spectre of globally networked youth being radicalised by extremist groups has legitimated joint state and private sector projects that are taking an increasingly active role intervening in the online lives of young people around the world. The article draws on an analysis of a collection of core documents that form the heart of the global youth and security agenda; and it argues for the need for greater critical reflexivity in considering the growing attention being paid to youth as a social category in global development and policy discourse.

Aid and state-building, Part II: Afghanistan and Iraq

By: Dr Nematullah Bizhan

Abstract: Part I of this article found that, in South Korea and Taiwan, institutional legacy and continuity as well as the politics of aid did matter for post-war state-building. The inheritance and continuity of Weberian states and the receipt of aid either as budget support or increasingly aligned with local priorities helped to foster state-building. Part II of the study in this article explores a different dynamic of post-war aid to Afghanistan and Iraq which had a legacy of neopatrimonial and weak states. It argues that under more adverse initial conditions–for a neopatrimonial state–the role of aid regime and state-building strategies become even more important. Under these conditions, aid and state-building strategies may undermine state-building if they induce discontinuity in the existing state capacity and create parallel institutions to those of the state. Depending on the policies, state weakness may be reinforced if leaders are preoccupied with the politics of patronage.


International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (Volume 42, Issue 3)


Urban Vigilantism: A Study of Anti‐Terror Law, Politics and Policing in Istanbul

By: Deniz Yonucu

Abstract: Focusing on the case of young socialist vigilantes who were arrested and imprisoned as “terrorists” in 2007, this article illustrates how vigilantism in working‐class neighbourhoods of Istanbul with a high Alevi population evolved from an unarmed, public and participatory form of vigilantism to an armed one, and discusses the role of the anti‐terror law in this transformation. The article illustrates the ways in which the anti‐terror law, by narrowing the space for civil politics, paved the way for youth engagement in violent forms of extra‐legal security practice in spaces occupied by the historically stigmatized working‐class Alevi population. The article also argues that, over the last decade, Turkey’s ruling elites have used the anti‐terror law to wage a war against the oppositional politics conducted by the country’s historically stigmatized populations (such as Kurds and Alevis). Not only has this war put politically active and respected local figures from these communities behind bars, it also “polices” (à la Rancière) these communities. Accordingly, the article illustrates how the law that considers attempts at self‐governance as a threat to state sovereignty effectively intervenes in local politics and space, leading to the reconfiguration of political space at the local level.

Seeing Like a City‐State: Behavioural Planning and Governance in Egypt’s First Affordable Gated Community

By: Nicholas Simcik Arese

Abstract:  Haram City is Egypt’s first “affordable” gated community, hosting both aspirational middle‐class homeowners and resettled poor urban residents. Amidst legal ambiguity during Egypt’s 2011–2013 revolutionary period, the management team of this public–private partnership was tasked with creating a “fully self‐sufficient” city. While Haram City is the product of top‐down “seeing like a state” master planning (Scott, 1998), the day‐to‐day resolution of class vulnerabilities and disputes over “reasonableness” in city life requires forms of interpersonal adjudication otherwise addressed through local urban law—”seeing like a city” (Valverde, 2011). This article uses ethnography of management techniques aiming to “upgrade behaviour” to theorize that a private entity, in a strategically indeterminate relationship with the state, reconciles future‐oriented planning and storied prejudices by merging two visions of governance. Imitating the repertoire of urban law, managers plan the very realm of bottom‐up decision making. They then adapt top‐down urban planning to bottom‐up dispute resolution to spatially consolidate the “consensual” outcomes of a rigged game. Evoking both colonial Egyptian vagrancy laws and neoliberal paternalist welfare, “seeing like a city‐state” governance amounts to authoritarianism that conceals itself within custom, appearing neutral so as to plan streets, codes and inner lives at once.