[The Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative (MESPI) brings you the seventh 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 33, Issue 1)

Economic Cooperation between the United Arab Emirates and Turkey: Legal and Policy Considerations

By: Mohammad Nsour

Abstract: This article provides an analysis of outward foreign direct investment (FDI) trends from Turkey in light of the UAE’s interests. The key objective is to present a concise picture of Turkish FDI and of the opportunities within selected sectors in the UAE. Pursuant to this analysis, the article enumerates various challenges the UAE legal system poses to foreign investment. It then offers recommendations for how the UAE can mitigate these challenges without compromising its legal and economic regimes.

Online Shopping and Consumer Rights in the UAE: Do We Need a Specific Law?

By: Emad Abdel Rahim Dahiyat

Abstract: Although e-commerce is growing at a dramatic rate, there are still areas of concern that need to be addressed adequately by the legislation in order to promote trust in e-commerce and remove any barriers to its full development. This paper thus explores the existing legislation in UAE to determine whether or not this legislation gives due attention to consumer protection in an online environment. Furthermore, this paper briefly addresses the issue of what the law ought to be in order to enhance legal certainty as well as maintain the credibility of the Internet as a market place for consumers.

Does Sharīʿa Need to Be Restored? The Legislative Predicament of the Sunnī Doctrinal Theories

By: Heba Sewilam

Abstract: The post-colonialist academic discourse blames colonialism for the marginalisation of Sharī‘a in the legal systems of Sunnī Muslim-majority countries. However, an analysis of some juristic debates around the Sunnī doctrinal theories of uṣūl al-fiqh and maqāṣid al-sharīʿa exposes few of the theories’ internal problems accounting for the marginalisation. In uṣūl al-fiqh, disputes regarding ijmāʿ and qiyās virtually bring their effectiveness as legal doctrines for positive law legislation to a halt. With regard to maqāṣid al-sharīʿa, an Ašʿarī adherence to a literal reading of the text reduces its potential to produce new Sharī‘a-compliant laws. Such problems render uṣūl al-fiqh and maqāṣid al-sharīʿa ineffective instruments for regulating accelerated legal changes demanded by fast-paced societal and scientific developments and deem the application of Sharīʿa in Sunnī Muslim-majority countries a task neither possible nor even recommended.

Challenges Facing Real-Estate Mortgages in the Arabian Gulf Region

By: Ahmad Mohammed al-Darbas, Mohammed Ebrahem al-Wasmi

Abstract: This article intends to present the significance of mortgage financing in emerging markets and explain how mortgage financing affects positively the economies of emerging countries. It will also show the legal foundations of the real-estate mortgage law and the prerequisites for a successful mortgage financing system. This article intends to define the main challenges that some consider a hindrance to the development of the mortgage market in the Arabian Gulf countries. From this perspective, a brief comparative analysis of mortgage financing will focus on varying laws and regulations that apply to real-estate mortgages in the Gulf region. Implications for the development of the mortgage market in Arabian Gulf countries will be based on challenges in the mortgage market.

Intellectual Composition of Arbitral Tribunals According to the New Saudi Arbitration Law

By: Reyadh Mohamed Seyadi

Abstract: One significant feature of arbitration that distinguishes it from litigation in national courts, is the parties’ freedom to select the arbitrator or members of the arbitral tribunal familiar with the kind of dispute that might arise or already has arisen. In 2012, a new arbitration law was issued in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) inspired by the texts of the Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration. In all its provisions it included the requirement not to violate Sharīʿah law (Islamic legal tradition). However, according to this law, the sole arbitrator or presiding arbitrator must hold a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) or Sharīʿah law degree. This provision is mandatory, and the parties cannot agree otherwise. This article seeks to provide some thoughts on this restriction through an analysis of arbitrator qualifications under Sharīʿah law in order to provide a better understanding of the position adopted by the KSA Arbitration Law.

British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (Volume 46, Issue 1)

Controversy over the concept ‘freedom’ during the Iranian constitutional revolution (1906– 09)

By: Mohammad Bitarafan, Sohrab Yazdani, Hossein Sheiban

Abstract: The Iranian constitutional revolution of 1906–09 paved the way for the establishment of new administrative institutions, adopting modern ideas and the hegemony of new political discourse over the archaic political reasoning. One of the most important aspects of the new discourse was the definition and internalization of modern concepts. This paper holds the view that the concept ‘freedom’ brought about a complicated problem for the socio-political sphere in the course of the Iranian revolution and, as such, deserves a thorough examination. Previous studies on the subject have usually neglected this aspect. Yet, this was exactly the main domain of the clash between traditionalism and modernity during the revolutionary years and brought about far-reaching results for Iranian society. This article attempts to contribute to this field by examining a number of Iranian journals of the period in order to evaluate their understanding of the concept ‘freedom’ and show the discrepancy between the constitutionalist and non-constitutionalist discourses.

Al-Qadā’ wa-l-Qadr: motivational representations of divine decree and predestination in salafi-jihadi literature

By: Shiraz Maher, Alexandra Bissoondath

Abstract: This paper explores how the normative Islamic concepts of divine decree and predestination are used for motivational purposes in salafi-jihadi literature. These concepts are known as al-qaḍā’ wa-l-qadr within Islamic jurisprudence and assert that certain characteristics in an individual’s life—such as their lifespan, wealth and progeny—have already been preordained by God. Salafi-Jihadi groups, not least al-Qaeda and Islamic State, frame these concepts in unique and important ways to motivate their fighters on the battlefield, liberating them from fear of personal consequences. In particular, we examine the use of this concept not just to motivate fighters at a personal level, but also its role in maintaining morale during times of hardship, its ability to explain away failures and defeats, and its ability to project both momentum and success even when the facts suggest otherwise.

The origins of sectarianism in Egypt and the Fertile Crescent

By: Yusri Hazran

Abstract: This paper differs from previous studies in arguing that sectarianism has overwhelmingly been created consensually by/or as a result of the elites’ behavioral patterns. Religious or communal pluralism does not categorically lead to political sectarianism; The development of pluralism into political sectarianism can thus be adduced as dependent upon other factors—first and foremost the behavioural patterns of the elite. While the imperial legacy, theological controversies, and socio-economic gaps feed political sectarianism, in and of themselves they are insufficient to cause it. A survey of the history of Egypt and the other countries in the Fertile Crescent reveals that the development of political sectarianism or sectarian violence has been organically linked to elites’ political behaviors and interests. sectarianism takes the form of the instrumental exploitation of a religious or communal identity or framework in order to enable political organization, the gaining of political legitimacy, the promotion of political change, or the preservation of the control held by interest groups. While in the eyes of many critics, sectarianism forms a striking example of the elites’ intrinsic weakness, sectarianism is first and foremost a product of the elites’ quest for power.

Beyond borders: the Egyptian 1947 epidemic as a regional and international crisis

By: Liat Kozma, Diane Samuels

Abstract: This article examines the post-Second World War regionalization and internationalization of public health by focusing on the 1947 cholera epidemic in Egypt. We argue, first, that for the Egyptian medical profession, the epidemic served as an opportunity for both anti-colonial critique and soul-searching and self-criticism: it attested to the poor medical condition of the Egyptian countryside and the work required to ameliorate it. Second, we place the Egyptian epidemic in its regional context. We show how travel restrictions affected the mobility of people and merchandise between Egypt and its neighbours, as newly formed borders were solidified, crossed or transgressed. At the same time, the epidemic served as an opportunity for Arab solidarity. Finally, the since epidemic erupted during the short term of the WHO’s Interim Commission, Egypt served as the WHO’s first testing ground, helping to prove its capability to mobilize medical assistance, disseminate medical alerts and negotiate the abolition of quarantine restrictions. The epidemic, moreover, erupted against the background of renegotiation of international sanitary conventions, which historically placed cholera and the Muslim pilgrimage to the Hejaz at their centre. The source of the epidemic in a British military base and Egypt’s ability to contain the epidemic resonated with on-going debates over international travel restriction, international health policies and local sovereignty. The 1947 cholera epidemic was thus, a defining moment in the emerging relationship between international organizations and the decolonizing world.

Tunisia’s youth: awakened identity and challenges post-Arab Spring

By: Zouhir Gabsi

Abstract: This paper examines Tunisian youths’ sense of identity and how it is influenced by the economic malaise that the country has experienced since the revolution; this is despite the relative success of the Arab Spring at inciting the country’s political transition to democracy. Although young people appreciate new-found freedoms of expression and association in post-Arab Spring Tunisia, the economy, acquiescent to the neoliberal model and weighed down with corruption and political marginalization, has deprived many of a dignified existence. The research reported in this paper surveys over 100 youth chosen from northern, coastal, central and southern parts of Tunisia. It examines how Tunisian youth view the Arab Spring in the context of unstable socio-economic and political environments. To most surveyed youths, the Arab Spring is a failure in socio-economic terms, but it is also an occasion to reassert their Tunisian identity.

Feeling so Hood. Rap, lifestyles and the neighbourhood imaginary in Tunisia

By: Stefano Barone

Abstract: The article examines the role of rap in reimagining the social structure in Tunisia after its 2010/2011 revolution. Before the revolution, the Ben Ali regime imposed a narrative of Tunisian society as mainly middle class; beneath this narrative, the Tunisian folklore hosted multiple markers of social distinction that classified people through their perceived lifestyles: residence, language habits, consumption patterns, religious attitudes. Disadvantaged neighbourhoods were obliterated by the official narrative and condemned to social spite by the unofficial ones. After the revolution, the success of rap came to ‘represent’ those quarters and the youth that inhabited them: rappers sang the hoods by criticizing their hard conditions and, at the same time, glorifying the hoods themselves. The vagueness of the social narratives in the country allowed rap musicians to manipulate both the image of the poor neighbourhoods and the idioms of social difference circulating in Tunisia: through this manipulation, they provided a new dignity to the most marginalized sectors of Tunisian society. At the same time, by representing the hoods, rappers could claim social capital and credibility as the ‘true’ narrators of the new Tunisia. But the reimagination of social narratives was not enough to improve the life conditions of dispossessed youth.

Islam–science relation from the perspective of post-revolutionary Iranian religious intellectuals

By: Ali Akbar

Abstract: Throughout Islamic history, various arguments have been raised by Muslim scholars concerning how the Quran and scientific knowledge are related to one another. This paper seeks to examine how contemporary Iranian religious intellectuals (rowshanfekrān-e-dīnī) have dealt with the question of the compatibility or incompatibility between Islam and science. In particular, the paper focuses on the writings of two of the most significant reformers of the post-revolutionary era, namely Abdolkarim Soroush and Muhammad Mujtahed Shabestari, concerning the relation between science and religion. The paper also examines the extent to which the ideas of these two thinkers about the relation between Islam and science reflect those of pre-modern and modern Muslim scholars. To do so, I first examine various pre-modern and modern discourses within the Islamic tradition about Islam–science relation as well as the scientific exegesis of the Quran, and then investigate the extent to which Soroush’s and Shabestari’s perspectives are related to such discourses. The central argument of the paper is that the theories proposed by Soroush and Shabestari significantly differ from the views of those modern and pre-modern Muslim scholars who attempt to argue in favour of the dichotomous view that Islam is either compatible or incompatible with scientific knowledge.

Was there a rule of law in the late Ottoman Empire?

By: Avi Rubin

Abstract: The rule of law is a widely used term in scholarship on Ottoman legal reforms. Nevertheless, the actual meaning of this notion is rarely clarified in the writing on the late Ottoman Empire although theorists of law have discussed the ambiguity of this term. This article aims at examining the value of the rule of law as an analytical category when discussing socio-legal change in the late Ottoman Empire. The article demonstrates that the rule of law can be a meaningful category for historical analysis when conceived through a ‘cultural perspective’ to the law.

Romioi–Armenian friendship in the Ottoman Empire during the Armistice period (1918–1923)

By: Ari Şekeryan

Abstract: The Romioi–Armenian friendship, which emerged after the signing of the Armistice of Mudros in October 1918, portrays a unique chapter in the history of Romioi–Armenian relations. During this distinct period, the two communities forged strong bonds over their mutual opposition against the Ottoman state. They drafted common political plans and strategies, established friendship organizations in Istanbul, organized gatherings, and the Armenian and the Ecumenical Patriarchates even entered into a discussion to unite the two churches. Thus, the relationship between the Armenian and the Romioi communities during the Armistice period holds significance in the broader context of the history of Greek–Armenian relations. This article explores the extent of the Romioi–Armenian friendship during the Armistice period through an extensive collection of primary sources including Armenian and Ottoman Turkish newspapers in order to demonstrate how the community leaders worked to improve relations between the Armenian and Romioi communities.

Ethnocultural nationalism and Turkey’s non-Muslim minorities during the early republican period

By: Banu Eligür

Abstract: This article analyses the Turkish nationalist elite’s economic and demographic Turkification policies toward the non-Muslim minorities in the 1920s and 1930s, and argues that the nationalist elite pursued ethnocultural nationalism toward the country’s non-Muslim citizens, while applying civic-territorial nationalism toward Muslim Turks. The article maintains that the nationalist elite, like the Young Turk regime, aimed at forming a national Turkish Muslim businessmen class at the expense of the non-Muslim minorities by pursuing economic and demographic Turkification policies.

The Syrian conflict and public opinion among Syrians in Lebanon

By: Daniel Corstange

Abstract: Whom do ordinary Syrians support in their civil war? After decades of repression, the Syrian uprising unleashed an outpouring of political expression. Yet the study of Syrian public opinion is in its infancy. This article presents survey evidence from a large, diverse sample of Syrian refugees in neighbouring Lebanon, one of the first of its kind, and examines their support for the different factions fighting in the civil war. In so doing, it demonstrates that many conventional narratives of the conflict are oversimplifications of a more complex reality. The survey shows that the majority of Syrian refugees support one faction or another of the opposition, but a large minority sympathizes with the government. In line with existing accounts of the war, the government draws its popular support base from wealthier and less religious Syrians, as well as minorities. Nonetheless, large numbers of Sunni Arabs also side with the government, belying sectarian narratives of the war. The survey also finds that supporters of the opposition Islamists and non-Islamists are similar in many regards, including religiosity. The main distinction is that the non-Islamist support base is far more politically attentive than are Islamist sympathizers, in contrast to existing narratives of the war.

Defense and Peace Economics (Volume 30, Issue 1)

Praying for Rain? Water Scarcity and the Duration and Outcomes of Civil Wars

By: Eric Keels

Abstract: Recent anecdotal evidence from the civil wars in Somalia and Yemen suggest that water scarcity may shape the dynamics of civil wars. While a considerable body of research has examined the connection between water scarcity (such as low rainfall) and the onset of civil war, very little research has examined how water scarcity may shape the duration and outcomes of civil wars. Looking specifically at rainfall, this paper argues that changes in access to water play a key role in the duration of civil wars. As rainfall declines, there is a reduction in resources available to both the government and the rebel group, leading to a stalemate in fighting. Furthermore, this paper argues that declines in rainfall are felt more acutely by rebel groups who seek to challenge the government through conventional warfare. This paper tests these propositions using hazard models. The results provide robust support for the propositions.

International Journal of Middle East Studies (Volume 51, Issue 1)

The Litterscape and the Nude: History Escapes in Mansur Bushnaf’s Al-ʿilka (chewing Gum)

By: Charis Olszok

Abstract: Mansur Bushnaf’s al-ʿIlka (Chewing Gum; 2008) is the author’s sole novel, born of his twelve-year imprisonment in a Libyan jail, and his reflection on the nation’s subjection to international marginalization and dictatorial rule under Gaddafi. The novel is centered on a 19th-century nude which confounds all who encounter it, and which lies neglected in a corner of Tripoli’s Red Palace Museum. Through this statue, and the novel’s broader poetics of stasis and “chewing,” I explore how turāth in Bushnaf’s work, and wider Libyan fiction, is depicted through its abject vulnerability and exposure to historical vicissitudes, reflecting the parallel exclusion of human lives from rights and agency. In al-ʿIlka, I examine how this is formulated into a defamiliarizing perspective on the postmodern, and on historical trauma and erasure, in which the possibility of narrative is a driving concern, rooted in existential reflection, as well as the real precarity of those who tell stories in Libya.

The Politics of Recognizability: Giving an Account of Iranian Gay Men’s Lives Under Repressive Conditions of Sexuality Governance

By: Wayne Martino, Jón Ingvar Kjaran

Abstract: In this article, we examine accounts of self-identifying Iranian gay men. We draw on a range of evidentiary sources—interpretive, historical, online, and empirical—to generate critical and nuanced insights into the politics of recognition and representation that inform narrative accounts of the lived experiences of self-identified gay Iranian men, and the constitution of same-sex desire for these men under specific conditions of Iranian modernity. In response to critiques of existing gay internationalist and liberationist accounts of the Iranian gay male subject as a persecuted victim of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s barbarism, we address interpretive questions of sexuality governance in transnational contexts. Specifically, we attend to human rights frameworks in weighing social justice and political claims made by and on behalf of sexual and gender minorities in such Global South contexts. In this sense, our article represents a critical engagement with the relevant literature on sexuality governance and the politics of same-sex desire for Iranian gay men that is informed by empirical analysis.

A Familial State: Elite Families, Ministerial Offices, and the Formation of Qajar Iran

By: Assef Ashraf

Abstract: This article examines the social makeup of the early Qajar administration or chancery (dīvān). Using a wide range of Persian sources, the article focuses on those individuals who held offices in the dīvān and traces their family, social, and geographic backgrounds, highlights their marital ties, and reveals their sources of economic and social prestige. In doing so, the article draws attention to patterns of continuity and change between Safavid, Afsharid, Zand, and Qajar rule, and to the familial and informal nature of political power during the early Qajar period (1785–1834). Ultimately the article suggests that an analysis of the social makeup of the dīvān, and of what political office-holders actually do, offers a more fruitful pathway for understanding the formation of Qajar Iran than a focus on institutions and political structures.

Trading Secrets: Constructions and Contexts of Two Middle Eastern Jewish Guards in the Early Petah Tikva Agricultural Colony

By: Liora R. Halperin

Abstract: Two Arabic-speaking Jewish guards worked in the European Jewish agricultural colony of Petah Tikva soon after its founding, northeast of Jaffa, in 1878: Daud abu Yusuf from Baghdad and Yaʿqub bin Maymun Zirmati, a Maghribi Jew from Jaffa. The two men, who worked as traders among Bedouin but were recruited for a short time by the colony, offer a rare glimpse of contacts between Ashkenazi and Middle Eastern Jews in rural Jewish colonies established in the last quarter of the 19th century, colonies that are often regarded as detached from their local and Ottoman landscape. The article first argues that Zionist sources constructed these two men as bridges to the East in their roles as teachers of Arabic and perceived sources of legitimization for the European Jewish settlement project. It then reads beyond the sparse details offered in Ashkenazi Zionist sources to resituate these men in their broad imperial and regional context and argue that, contrary to the local Zionist accounts, the colony was in fact likely to have been marginal to these men’s commercial and personal lives.

The Evolution and Implementation of a National Curriculum Under Conditions of Resistance: The Case of the Palestinians (1970–82)

By: Philipp O. Amour

Abstract: Can a nation mobilizing for an extended armed conflict also construct and implement a national educational curriculum? This article explores the complex and crucial case of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as it sought to develop a national curriculum while in exile in Lebanon during the 1970s, prior to the inception of the Palestinian National Authority. Based on previously unexamined primary sources from PLO archives, I show how the PLO accomplished a high level of curriculum maturity despite considerable contextual and institutional challenges. The PLO mainstream embraced this curriculum as a political instrument of anticolonial and postdiasporic education suitable for regenerating a sense of community, fostering nation building, and increasing the PLO’s political legitimacy. However, as can be expected in a colonial or diasporic setting, the process of educational transition remained uneven, fragile, and dependent on the PLO leadership’s ability to navigate conflicts and negotiate arrangements with colonial power, host states, and international organizations.

International Studies Quarterly (Volume 62, Issue 4)

Don’t Bite the Hand that Feeds: Rebel Funding Sources and the Use of Terrorism in Civil Wars

By: Virginia Page Fortna, Nicholas J Lotito, Michael A Rubin

Abstract: Why do some rebel groups resort to terrorism tactics while others refrain from doing so? How rebel organizations finance their rebellion creates variation in the extent to which terrorism undermines their legitimacy. Rebel organizations pay attention to the legitimacy costs associated with terrorism. Organizations that rely primarily on civilian support, and to a lesser extent on foreign support, exercise more restraint in their use of terrorism. Rebels who finance their fight with lootable resources such as gems or drugs are least vulnerable to the costs of alienating domestic supporters. Thus, they are more likely to resort to terrorism and to employ more of it. The article elaborates this legitimacy-cost theory and tests it using new data on Terrorism in Armed Conflict from 1970 to 2007. We find robust support for the hypothesis that groups who finance their fight with natural resources are significantly more likely to employ terrorism (though not necessarily to conduct more deadly attacks) relative to those who rely on local civilian support. Groups with external sources of financing, such as foreign state support, may be more likely to engage in terrorism than those who rely on local civilians, but not significantly so.

US Democracy Aid and the Authoritarian State: Evidence from Egypt and Morocco 

By: Erin A Snider

Abstract: A recent study commissioned by the United States Agency for International Development to assess the effectiveness of its spending on democracy in its programs worldwide found that such aid works—with the sole exception of programs in the Middle East. What explains this exception? I argue that previous studies on democracy aid pay insufficient attention to the fact that such programs often develop as negotiated deals. Because authoritarian regimes may choose how to accept assistance, democracy aid may reward economic interests tied to incumbent regimes. I explore these dynamics through case studies of US democracy programming in Egypt and Morocco.

Iranian Studies (Volume 51, Issue 6)

Khargāh and Other Terms for Tents in Firdawsī’s Shāh-nāmah

By: David Durand-Guédy

Abstract: This article aims to contribute to the wider debate on the historicity of the Shāh-nāmah by focusing on the way Firdawsī uses the word khargāh. The word, which is first attested in Rūdakī poetry, has not been dealt with adequately in previous scholarship dedicated to the Shāh-nāmah. An analysis of all the occurrences in the text provides results consistent with those obtained from contemporary sources: the khargāh appeared in Central Asia (here, Tūrān); it was the standard dwelling of Turkic-speaking pastoral nomads (here, Tūrānians), whatever their social rank; and it was adopted later as a status symbol by non-Turkish elites (here, during Kay-Khusraw’s reign). In Firdawsī’s Shāh-nāmah khargāh should therefore also be understood as the type of framed tent known as “trellis tent” (the so-called yurt).

Hafez’s “Shirāzi Turk”: A Geopoetical Approach

By: Domenico Ingenito

Abstract: This article constitutes a preliminary attempt to explore the geographical dimension of premodern Persian lyric poetry from the perspective of the relationship between the historical adherence of a text to external reality and the rhetorics of intertextuality and performativity. The pretext for this exploration is the poem known as “Tork-e Shirazi” or “The Turk from Shiraz,” one of the most celebrated ghazals of Hafez of Shiraz. The analysis focuses in particular on the first two lines of the ghazal, whose rich and ambiguous imagery has challenged the community of readers, interpreters, and scholars for centuries. On the basis of historiographical, formalist, and poststructuralist approaches to the study of lyric poetry, the article outlines a generative paradigm that analyzes a given text from the perspective of its abstract, genre-specific, conventionally negotiated, and referential levels of meaning. The contribution of geocritical studies will be combined with rhetorical analysis to conceive of Hafez’s text as a geopoetic map in which the cities of Shiraz, Samarkand, and Bukhara are put in conversation with the mental and historical representations of Iran and India between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, during the transition from the Mongol to the Timurid models and ideals of power.

Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi’s Autocracy: Governmental Constraints, 1960s–1970s

By: Cyrus Schayegh

Abstract: Even when Mohammad Reza Shah became an autocrat by the early 1960s, systemic constraints on his power persisted. One was government officials. They certainly accepted the shah’s governmental centrality. But in parallel they inventively created more elbowroom for themselves than they are normally credited for, shaping everyday administration and co-shaping policies. The article substantiates this argument in two steps. First, it looks at Iran’s Sāzmān-e bimeh-hā-ye ejtemāʿi-ye kārgarān (Workers Social Insurance Organization [SBIK]), drawing principally on French-language International Labor Organization (ILO) archival files. Although the shah had a well-publicized stake in social insurance expansion, the SBIK influenced policy strategy, sometimes against his explicit wishes; also, it handled routine operations and relations with the ILO independently from him. Second, the article zooms out to analyze Persian-language Harvard University Iranian Oral History Project interviews with high-ranking officials, alongside other published and unpublished sources, to show how government officials maintained some autonomy vis-à-vis the shah. Their strategies included self-effacement, the agreement on a unified cabinet policy position before a royal audience, resignation threats, open pushback, and gifts, including favors, to third parties.

Renegade Cosmopolitans: Iranian Architects, Professional Power, and the State

By: Shawhin Roudbari

Abstract: Through migration, professional activism, and by engaging the symbolic terrain of architecture magazines and competitions, Iranian architects have sought to make their profession cosmopolitan. But following decades of isolationist tendencies, factions of the Iranian architecture profession continue to meet resistance from elements of the state. The profession’s institutions have become a battleground for the expression of the power of design professionals. Building on scholarship on relationships between states and professions as well as professionals’ expressions of cosmopolitanism, this paper demonstrates ways everyday professionals leverage their institutions for professional power. It shares accounts from a transnational ethnography of Iranian architects to show how, on the one hand, professional change seeps outside restrictions attributed to political and economic borders. On the other hand, the stories of cosmopolitan professionals show that the state need not be bound by structural sanctions, like those Iran has faced, in its efforts to cultivate an avant-garde.

Journal of Contemporary History (Volume 54, Issue 1)

A New Primacy of Conscience? Conscientious Objection, French Catholicism and the State during the Algerian War

By: Rachel M. Johnston-White

Abstract: This article explores how the Roman Catholic Church in France re-evaluated its traditional condemnation of conscientious objection in the closing years of the Algerian War. In contrast to the French Protestant Churches after 1948, the Catholic Church continued to proclaim objection to be detrimental to the principles of state sovereignty and obedience to legitimate authority. Despite this, cases of Catholic conscientious objectors like Jean le Meur and Jean Pezet brought contentious Church debates into the public sphere, dramatized in the press and the courtroom. The article traces how the moral dilemmas of the Algerian War created a space for new theological ideas that challenged the hierarchical, corporatist structure of the French Catholic Church and opened the way for a new emphasis on individual conscience that came to fruition with Vatican II. By focusing on Catholic activism during the war itself, the article also challenges the idea that support for conscientious objection emerged spontaneously after the end of the Algerian War. More broadly, the article addresses the wider narrative of the emergence of human rights by illustrating how the Algerian War proved to be a turning point in the relationship between individuals and authority.

Journal of Peace Research (Volume 56, Issue 1)

Motivation and opportunity for conflict-induced migration: An analysis of Syrian migration timing

By: Justin Schon

Abstract: How do civilians decide when to leave their homes during conflict? Existing research emphasizes the role of violence in driving civilian migration decisions. Yet, migration timing often does not correspond with the timing of violence. To explain this discrepancy, I argue that violence fits within broader considerations of motivation and opportunity to migrate. Witnessing violence triggers post-traumatic growth that delays narrative ruptures and the subsequent migration that they motivate. Civilians who have ‘wasta’ – an advantaged social position resulting from some combination of money and connections – have the opportunity to migrate safely. Civilians who possess both motivation and opportunity migrate earlier. I use over 170 structured interviews with Syrian refugees in Turkey to test this argument. Descriptively, respondents who did not witness violence (early motivation) left their homes seven months earlier, on average. Respondents with wasta (opportunity) left their homes one full year earlier, on average. Respondents who both did not witness violence (early motivation) and had wasta left their homes approximately one and a half years earlier, on average. Cox proportional hazard models reveal that respondents only migrated earlier in the conflict if they had both early motivation and opportunity. Open-ended responses from the interviews support the quantitative results and help explain their causal mechanisms. These findings contribute to understandings of conflict-induced migration, civil war, and the Syrian conflict.

A persuasive peace: Syrian refugees’ attitudes towards compromise and civil war termination

By: Kristin Fabbe, Chad Hazlett, Tolga Sınmazdemir

Abstract: Civilians who have fled violent conflict and settled in neighboring countries are integral to processes of civil war termination. Contingent on their attitudes, they can either back peaceful settlements or support warring groups and continued fighting. Attitudes toward peaceful settlement are expected to be especially obdurate for civilians who have been exposed to violence. In a survey of 1,120 Syrian refugees in Turkey conducted in 2016, we use experiments to examine attitudes towards two critical phases of conflict termination – a ceasefire and a peace agreement. We examine the rigidity/flexibility of refugees’ attitudes to see if subtle changes in how wartime losses are framed or in who endorses a peace process can shift willingness to compromise with the incumbent Assad regime. Our results show, first, that refugees are far more likely to agree to a ceasefire proposed by a civilian as opposed to one proposed by armed actors from either the Syrian government or the opposition. Second, simply describing the refugee community’s wartime experience as suffering rather than sacrifice substantially increases willingness to compromise with the regime to bring about peace. This effect remains strong among those who experienced greater violence. Together, these results show that even among a highly pro-opposition population that has experienced severe violence, willingness to settle and make peace are remarkably flexible and dependent upon these cues.

Violence, displacement, contact, and attitudes toward hosting refugees

By: Faten Ghosn, Alex Braithwaite, Tiffany S Chu

Abstract: How do individuals’ personal experiences with various aspects of political violence affect their attitudes toward hosting conflict refugees? More specifically, how do their personal exposure to violence, their own personal experience of being displaced, and their recent contact with refugees influence these attitudes? To explore answers to these questions, we draw upon a recent survey of 2,400 Lebanese residents where we identify individuals who experienced violence during the Lebanese civil war (1975–90), those forced to flee their homes during that conflict, and those who enjoy recent contact with Syrian immigrant and/or displaced populations. We examine whether these distinct experiences affect respondents’ regard for members of the Syrian refugee population. Results demonstrate that historical exposure to violence and experience of displacement have no discernible impact on individual attitudes toward hosting refugees. We find much stronger evidence that attitudes are associated with whether individual respondents have had contact with Syrians in Lebanon; those with such interactions are significantly more likely to support hosting refugees, to consider hiring a refugee, or to allow one of their children to marry a refugee. Our findings suggest exposure to violence by itself does not correlate to positive sentiments toward refugees, especially over time. Further, finding ways to create positive contact between refugees and native populations may be associated with improving attitudes and relations between the two populations.

Middle East Policy (Volume 25, Issue 4)

Iran‐Saudi Rivalry in Africa: Implications for Regional Stability

By: Riham Bahi

Abstract: Not available

Challenges Facing Iraqi‐Gulf Relations And How to Overcome Them

By: Watheq Al‐Hashemy, Sterling Jensen

Abstract: Not available

Iraq‐Saudi Relations 2017–18: Expectations and Limits

By: Ronen Zeidel

Abstract: Not available

Iran and Iraq ‐ GCC Rapprochement

By: Houchang Hassan‐Yari

Abstract: Not available

From Qatar to Xinjiang: Security in China’s Belt and Road Initiative

By: Anchi Hoh

Abstract: Not available

Developing Alliances: Emerging Trade Routes in the Arabian Sea

By: Reumah Suhail

Abstract: Not available

Understanding Pakistan’s Relationship with Iran

By: Zahid Shahab Ahmed, Shahram Akbarzadeh

Abstract: Not available

Russia in Syria: An Unequivocal Return to the Middle East?

By: Robert Mason

Abstract: Not available

Syria vs. Iraq: Clash of Authoritarians

By: Amjed Rasheed

Abstract: Not available

Centralized Decentralization: Subnational Governance in Jordan

By: Grace Elliott, Matt Ciesielski, Rebecca Birkholz

Abstract: Not available

The Joint Arab List for the Knesset: United, Shared or Split?

By: Gadi Hitman

Abstract: Not available

Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics and Culture (Volume 23, Issue 4)

Israel’s Anti-Liberal Legislative Trends: A Guide for the Perplexed

By: Frances Raday

Abstract: The current anti-liberal legislative trend has been shored up by government rhetoric and administrative action which threaten to restrict the power of the media and the gatekeepers of the law enforcement system

The Jewish Nation-State Law Supporters Will Achieve The Opposite Of What They Wanted

By: Ziad AbuZayyad

Abstract: The Jewish Nation-State Law Supporters Will Achieve The Opposite Of What They Wanted

The Nation-State Law and Jewish Supremacy

By: Yousef Jabareen

Abstract: The law is a flagrant violation of human rights, as it legalizes discriminatory policies against the Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Drawing New Lines: Israel’s Unilateral Policies to Reshape Jerusalem

By: Yehudit Oppenheimer, Betty Herschman

Abstract: To improve life conditions for the Palestinians and other residents while attempting to salvage the two-state solution, we need to take into consideration four important trends.

The Israeli Anti-Democratic Legislative Trend: A Palestinian Perspective

By: Saeb Erekat

Abstract: The racist Nation-State Law aims to delegitimize the rights of the Palestinian-Arab minority in Israel and to expel the Palestinians from the West Bank in order to legitimize the Israeli occupation and Jewish settlements.

Israeli Annexation of the West Bank Would Violate International Law

By: Peter Weiss, Debra Shushan

Abstract: Annexation of parts or all of the West Bank would jeopardize Israel’s prospects as a Jewish state and a democracy.

Establishing the Ethical Basis for Ethno-Theological Sovereignty in Israel

By: Amal Jamal

Abstract: Not available

From Creeping to Leaping: Annexation in the Trump-Netanyahu Era

By: Ori Nir, Debra Shushan

Abstract: Annexation of parts or all of the West Bank would make Israel an international outlaw, yet opposition from the U.S. administration, which in the past had served as a bulwark against potentially catastrophic Israeli decisions regarding the West Bank, is missing in action.

Reinforcing Ethnic Hegemony: The Social and Expressive Harms of the Jewish Nation- State Basic Law

By: Fady Khoury

Abstract: The Nation-State Law’s impact on the social legitimacy and standing of Palestinians in Israeli society, rather than its strictly legal impact, may prove to be the real danger.

Will a Different Court Make a Difference for the Occupation? New Law on Judicial Oversight of Occupied Territories Further Blurs the Distinction Between Israel and OPT

By: Ronit Sela

Abstract: Not available

The Nation-State Law: The End of an Era

By: Julie E. Cooper

Abstract: The Nation-State Law may mark a turning point in Jewish political thought beyond the nation-state frame, which may have democratic potential, if we can mobilize those new political possibilities.

Who the Hell Are We? On the Nation-State Law

By: Uri Avnery

Abstract: The Nation-State Law, with its clearly semi-fascist nature, demonstrates how urgent it is to decide who we are, what we want and where we belong.

The Black List: People Targeted by Amendment No. 27 of Entry Into Israel Law

By: Andrew Hebert, Nissim Lebovits

Abstract: Not available