[The Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative (MESPI) brings you the eighth 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 2)

Fundamental Breach of Contract in Terms of the UN Sales Convention and Emirates Law: A Comparative Legal Study

By: Mahmoud Fayyad

Abstract: he UAE launched its National Vision 2021 in 2010, which ‘sets the key themes for the socio-economic development of the UAE’ and calls for ‘a shift to a diversified and knowledge-based economy’. It focuses on the UAE becoming the economic and commercial capital for more than two billion people by transitioning to a knowledge-based economy. The success of the vision requires the State to join the United National Convention of Trade in Goods, which is the most important convention in this field. Until now, the national lawmaker has refrained from joining the Convention, believing that the Convention prevails to the interests of the seller party. As fundamental breach is a momentous concept of the terms of the Convention, this article will attempt to draw similarities and distinctions between national law and the United Nations Convention for the International Sales of Goods (CISG) in terms of the principle of fundamental breach.

Islamic Financial Law and the Law of the United Arab Emirates: Disjuncture and the Necessity for Reform

By: Jonathan George Ercanbrack

Abstract: Islamic financial law (IFL), an emerging global legal order, is a highly fragmented law comprised of both state and non-state generated laws, standards, commercial practices, institutions, fatwās and legal ideas. A recent event involving ṣukūk issuance in which Dana Gas claimed that its ṣukūk were no longer Sharīʿah-compliant highlights the legal disjuncture between global IFL and the laws of municipal legal systems, which have chosen to facilitate and regulate Islamic finance. Systemic legal issues or ‘legal gaps’ undermine investor confidence and impede sustainable development of the Islamic finance industry. Legal gaps include but are not limited to undeveloped securities laws, enforceability issues and a lack of clarity with respect to the role and effect of the Sharīʿah in the municipal legal systems of many MENA (Middle East/North Africa) states. This paper analyses these gaps and in so doing illustrates the relationship of IFL to the law of the United Arab Emirates.

The Effect of ‘Motive’ on Characterising Organised Tawarruq

By: Suhaib Walid Sharaiyra, Maher Haswa

Abstract: This article aims to discuss the effect of motive of organised tawarruq parties on its permissibility and to shed light on the importance of considering the overall objectives and goals of Sharīʿah when conducting transactions. An analytical and deductive approach is used to examine the reality of organised tawarruq (al-tawarruq al-munaẓẓam) and the motive behind it as well as the validity of reference to and conception of the texts used in support thereof. The discussion concludes the presence of misinterpretations of the Sharīʿah texts referred to in support of organised tawarruq, as well as obvious overlooking of the motives behind it, which should have led to the exclusion of organised tawarruq from the permissible modes of Islamic finance. This article provides a comprehensive view of organised tawarruq, in terms of its motive, form and substance, in order to assist in reviewing the capability of its use as a financing tool.

Undue Intrusion on Parties’ Autonomy Finally Amended: An Observation of Article 51 of the Jordanian Arbitration Law

By: Ahmed Mohammad Al-Hawamdeh, Ahmad Abed Alla Alhusban

Abstract: Before its amendment in 2018, Article 51 of the Jordanian Arbitration Law stated that: ‘if the court nullifies the award, consequently it would render the arbitration agreement nullified’. The newly amendment Article 51 of the Jordanian Arbitration Law reads: ‘If the Court of Cassation […] nullifies the award that should not result in nullifying the arbitration clause unless the arbitration agreement is itself void’. Here we argue that the new amendment was long due as the previous Article unduly intruded on parties’ autonomy. This article was originally submitted before the 2018 amendment of the law and the exact wording of what the article originally suggested was adopted by the new law.

British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (Volume 46, Issue 2)

Assessing co-development projects for civil society building in Iraq: the case of the Iraqi diaspora and Swedish institutions following the 2003 intervention in Iraq

By: Oula Kadhum

Abstract: While the literature has expounded diaspora’s involvement in homeland politics through lobbying efforts to influence hostland foreign policies, involvement in homeland conflicts and peace-building, this paper addresses a less-explored area in the diaspora literature related to the development of democracy through transnational civil society building. Using the case study of the Iraqi diaspora in Sweden, this paper assesses co-development projects financed by Sweden’s International Development Corporation Agency (SIDA) between Swedish institutional partners and Iraqi diaspora organizations from 2004 to 2008. Looking at both the perspective of the diaspora and public officials in Sweden, the paper problematizes the notion of diaspora as development partners and provides a nuanced understanding and new insights into the opportunities, challenges and limitations of diasporic initiatives aimed at supporting homeland civil society. Diaspora initiatives, it is argued, need to consider homeland security, understandings of development and goals, as well as homeland social and political contexts for exploring the opportunities and limitations of diasporic contributions. This is important for understanding both how and when diaspora’s involvement is to be supported, especially in conflict or post-conflict settings.

Long-distance nationalism and belonging in the Libyan diaspora (1969–2011)

By: Alice Alunni

Abstract: The article explores the significance of the Libyan diaspora for the politics of the homeland and for nation-building in Libya before the 2011 revolution. The focus is on the migratory flows of Libyan nationals from Libya that resulted in the formation of the Libyan diaspora between 1969 and 2011. The historical analysis of the migratory flows, with a focus on long-distance nationalism projects enacted by opposition groups in exile, is combined with the empirical analysis of the micro-interactional social mechanisms at work in the diaspora that suffuse the everyday lives of individuals. The historical and empirical analysis of the case of the Libyan diaspora provides an opportunity to unpack the mutually constitutive relationship between concepts of nation, nation-state, nationalism and belonging in the context of transnational processes in the twenty-first century.

The making of a transnational religion: Alevi movement in Germany and the World Alevi union

By: Derya Özkul

Abstract: The literature on migrants’ religious movements generally see them as backward and conservative movements that are resistant to change. On the contrary, this paper shows that transnational religious movements are shaped by interactions between origin and destination places’ political, legal and social structures, and may take different pathways across time and place. Analysing the development of the Alevi diaspora movement in Germany and the recent efforts to establish the World Alevi Union, the article argues that both the (old and new) states and the (old and new) societies they live in, as well as broader paradigm changes and their agency have a direct influence on the ways migrants’ daily life practices alter in time.

Jewish immigrants from the Greater Middle East to France and Belgium: ethnic identity and patterns of integration

By: Lilach Lev Ari

Abstract: The present study focused on two groups of immigrant Jews from the Greater Middle East, Israel and North Africa, who currently reside in three cities in Europe: Paris, Brussels and Antwerp. By using mixed methods (quantitative and qualitative), I compared the two groups and found that each one has its own subethnicity: Israelis can be mainly characterized as belonging to the ethno-communal pattern: refer to themselves as secular and use symbols deriving from the non-Jewish environment while preserving several traditional Jewish customs and community affiliation. In contrast, North African participants for the most part conform to the normative-traditional pattern in that they maintain (traditional) beliefs, values and norms while conforming to Jewish customs and ceremonies. Regarding integration and acculturation, Israelis mainly utilize the separation strategy and very partial integration among native–born Jews and other Jewish immigrants. North African participants are more integrated with local native-born and immigrant Jews. Although the most common strategy in both groups is separation from non-Jewish locals, this strategy is more pronounced among North African immigrants who reside in Paris. Israelis residing in Belgian cities (primarily in Brussels) utilize the strategy of partial assimilation among local non-Jewish population.

The Syrian refugees—left to their fate

By: Eyal Zisser

Abstract: The war in Syria led to one of the worst refugee crises experienced by the Middle East in recent decades. Its scope is unprecedented and has far-reaching implications not only for Syria or what remains of it, but for the receiving countries as well. In some cases, such as Lebanon or Jordan, the mass of newcomers may have an unsettling and disruptive effect on the demography of their host country. Syrian Refugees who found shelter in neighbouring countries may be able to return home or, alternatively, they may be able to be absorbed relatively easily in their current places of residence. With regard to the refugees in Europe, it is doubtful that they will ever return to their homeland, and, in any case, the Syrian regime is not at all interested in their return. Thus, for many more years even after the war in Syria ends, the problem of the refugees will undoubtedly remain complex, unresolved and an enduring burden on the host countries.

Contemporary art on the current refugee crisis: the problematic of aesthetics versus ethics

By: Balca Arda

Abstract: This article focuses on contemporary artworks outlining the current refugee flow from the Middle East to the West, namely to European countries together with the US and Canada. Drawing primarily on Jacques Rancière’s conceptualization of ethical art versus aesthetics, I explore how various journeys of refugees in its many forms have been represented in the contemporary art scene. My aim is to concretize the theoretical debate surrounding the ‘political’ engagement of critical art on the issue of refugee representation through various prominent artworks and art practices starting with the well-known image of Alan Kurdi’s and Ai Weiwei’s replication of this image in his artwork. I will analyse when and in which configurations aesthetics and ethics can be found in contemporary art on the issue of the ‘refugee crisis’. I argue that art on refugees can be grouped into two primary categories that I define as ‘human condition assessment’ and ‘agency empowerment’. As such, I demonstrate in practice how contemporary art on the current refugee crisis both employs and moves beyond the ethical subject matters by challenging abject victimhood as well as the ideal of egalitarian art for the underrepresented and thus assumingly voiceless, depoliticized refugees.

Contemporary Arab Affairs (Volume 12, Issue 1)

Power and the Security SectorThoughts from the Sociology of Power

By: Blanca Camps-Febrer, Guillem Farrés-Fernández

Abstract: Following the long trail of critique that emerged from first- and second-generation security sector reform (SSR) programs, this paper introduces a new theoretical framework for the socio-political analysis of the security sector that will enhance the potential for reform and transformation. This introduction to the special issue gathers shared considerations among authors researching the security sector in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, and promotes a dialogue for the improvement of the analysis of the sector within its socio-political context. Drawing from Sociology of Power, we aim to provide analytical and theoretical tools in order to develop a new conception of the “security sector,” which differs from what mainstream academia, think tanks, and public policies have traditionally dealt with.

Securitization Dysfunction Security Sector Reform in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

By: Tahani Mustafa

Abstract: This article contributes to the critical discourse on security sector reform (SSR) by explicitly acknowledging its political dimensions and implications. Through a consideration of the role of SSR in international processes of securitization and state-building, it highlights the paradoxes implicit in this model, and the subsequent consequences of its implementation on the ground using the case of occupied Palestinian territories where SSR has significantly altered the local security landscape.

Security Sector Reform and the Competition for Power in Lebanon

By: Guillem Farrés-Fernández

Abstract: The interest of the Lebanese elites who launched the security sector reform (SSR) process was in to regain control and influence over the security sector more than to create independent institutions respectful of human rights. At a time of deep social and political crisis, not only had these actors lost their previous influence on the security sector but also this sector had become a source of power, largely in the hands of their political opponents, and was being used against them. This case illustrates how power competition between elites can disrupt the process of SSR, or even be the very origin of the conception of SSR programs.

Egypt’s Military Post-2011Playing Politics without Internal Cracks

By: Ebtisam Hussein, Claudia De Martino

Abstract: Seven years after the 2011 uprisings, the Egyptian military shows no evident signs of internal cracks. This article argues that the Egyptian army’s unrivalled dominance, both in politics and within the security apparatus, could be explained as the result of three combined factors: substantial economic interests, a long-time legitimacy buttressed by the army’s active involvement in welfare and development initiatives, and the reliance on universal conscription as the main avenue for the successful accommodation of class and social cleavages—key elements underpinning the army’s status of supreme political arbitrator in Egyptian politics.

The Transformation of the Power Structure and Security in Libya: From a Unified to a Fragmented Security Sector

By: Laura Feliu, Rachid Aarab

Abstract: The Libyan security sector has undergone a profound transformation since the 17 February Revolution in 2011. The Jamahiriya experience gave way to a period in which violence ceased to be predominantly a state monopoly, and a series of armed conflicts took place with important consequences for the security sector. This article applies the Sociology of Power to an analysis of the security sector as a complement to other theoretical focuses. This approach helps to explain the transformation of the sector from a personal, unified system to a fragmented system with territorial divisions associated with different competing power centers.

Intended and Unintended Consequences of Security Assistance in Post-2011 Tunisia

By: Ruth Hanau Santini, Giulia Cimini

Abstract: In Tunisia, the notion and understanding of security, while no longer focused on regime security, remains a top-down, state-security understanding, rather than a societal one. Further, while the 2014 democratic Constitution devised significant checks and balances between the branches of government, even in the security field, external security assistance facilitated the centralization of security decision-making in the hands of the President of the Republic.

Layers of Security: The Security Sector and Power Struggle in Morocco

By: Blanca Camps-Febrer

Abstract: Morocco’s security sector is a fundamental component of the regime of power in the country. The legitimacy and structure of the security forces has evolved over time, reflecting changing balances within the power struggle among competing elites, but also to a certain degree the international political and normative context. Controlling the meanings of “security,” as well as the coercive resources the security sector provides, has been paramount in the consolidation of the current regime. This article shows the importance of official narratives on security and their evolution over the course of Morocco’s history after its independence.

Democratization (Volume 26, Issue 2)

Sharīʻa, Islamism and Arab support for democracy

By: Lars Berger

Abstract: The Arab Spring and its aftermath reignited the debate over the relationship between Islamism and democracy. This analysis improves upon previous research by demonstrating the crucial contribution which a more precise understanding of the multiple meanings of the concept of Sharīʻa can have on our assessment of the future of democracy in the Arab world. While support for the Sharīʻa-conformity of laws has a positive impact on the preference for democracy, the insistence that Sharīʻa represents the word of God as opposed to the human attempt to interpret it reduces support for democracy. These findings are of considerable significance for academics and policy-makers interested in the future of democracy in the Arab world as it suggests that generic expressions of support for Sharīʻa are less relevant in explaining support for democracy than what Arab women and men consider to be its essence.

International Journal of Middle East Studies (Volume 51, Issue 2)

Where To? Filming Emigration Anxiety in Prewar Lebanese Cinema

By: Ghenwa Hayek

Abstract: I propose that careful reading of films and film coverage provides a new research avenue for scholars interested in the social and cultural history of the 1950s and the 1960s in Lebanon. Looking specifically at the manner in which George Nasser’s 1957 film Ila Ayn? (Where To?) embraces and modifies the generic conventions of neorealist melodrama to articulate anxieties over the effects of emigration on Lebanon, this article explores the manner in which contemporaneous cultural critics used the film to, in turn, express their dismay at migration from Lebanon. Reading the film closely for the affects it contains and for those it produced in its readers, I argue that this technique, attendant to both sides of this dynamic, affords us new insights into the manner in which cinema produced during Lebanon’s golden period interacted with and complicated the dominant cultural narratives of that era.

Sound and Desire: Race, Gender, and Insult in Egypt’s First Talkie

By: Ifdal Elsaket

Abstract: This article explores the coloniality of gender, sexuality, and desire, and the links between nationalist and commercial imperatives, in the making of Egypt’s first sound film, or talkie, in 1932. Through an analysis of the politics, economy, and memory of Yusuf Wahbi’s film Awlad al-Dhawat (Sons of the Aristocrats), it shows how the interplay between new sound technologies, the global film trade, and nationalist and racialized narratives of gender and resistance shaped the contours of ideal femininity and masculinity during the interwar period in Egypt. The article also shows how the film’s representations formed at the intersection between the filmmakers’ attempts to challenge colonial stereotyping and their efforts to capture an ever-expanding global film market. Often neglected in cinema scholarship, early filmmaking in Egypt, I argue, is critical to understanding wider processes of nation formation and gendered characterizations.

Censuring Sounds: Tapes, Taste, and the Creation of Egyptian Culture

By: Andrew Simon

Abstract: In this article, I argue that audiocassette technology decentralized state-controlled Egyptian media long before the advent of al-Jazeera and the Internet. By enabling any citizen to become a cultural producer, as opposed to a mere consumer, the mass medium and its users sparked significant anxiety in the mid-to-late 20th century, when contentious cassette recordings led many local critics to assert that “vulgar” tapes were poisoning public taste, undermining high culture, and endangering Egyptian society. This article breaks down these arguments and shows that audiotapes actually broadcast a vast variety of voices. Thus, underlying many criticisms of cassette content, I contend, was not simply a concern for aesthetic sensibilities but a desire to dictate who created Egyptian culture during a time of tremendous change. By unpacking these discussions, this article harnesses Egypt as a case study to enhance prevailing investigations of sound, popular culture, and mass media in Middle East studies.

Social Brokers and Leftist–sadrist Cooperation in Iraq’s Reform Protest Movement: Beyond Instrumental Action

By: Benedict Robin-D’Cruz

Abstract: This article develops a concept of social brokerage to explain leftist–Sadrist cooperation during Iraq’s 2015 protest movement. Conventional understanding holds that Iraq’s secular-leftist civil trend and Shiʿi Islamist factions have been mutually isolated, and at times fierce antagonists, in Iraq’s post-2003 politics. This view has been challenged by an emergent political alliance between a faction of the civil trend and the Shiʿi Islamist Sadrist movement. By comparing this alliance with the failure of another Shiʿi Islamist group, ʿAsaʾib Ahl al-Haq, to involve itself with and exploit the protest movement, this article isolates the conditions which determined the dynamics of leftist–Islamist interactions. Shifting the focus away from elite politics and structural-instrumental explanations favored by rational choice models, this article reveals a longer backstory of social and ideological interactions between less senior actors that transgressed leftist–Islamist social boundaries. From this context, potential brokers emerged, capable of skilfully mediating leftist–Sadrist interactions.

Remembering the Palestine Group: Global Activism, Friendship, and the Iranian Revolution

By: Naghmeh Sohrabi

Abstract: The Palestine Group was a loosely connected collection of young anti-Shah activists some of whom were arrested and tried publically in 1970 for the crime of acting against the Pahlavi monarchy and Iran’s national security. Their plight became global, receiving support from anticolonial figures such as Jean-Paul Sartre. But while they played an important role in inspiring the revolutionary generation, in the historiography of the 1979 revolution and that of the global south, their story has been mostly forgotten. This article argues for remembering the Palestine Group by focusing on two facets of their prerevolutionary activism: the importance of a connection to the anti-imperial/colonial struggles that spread from “Asia to Africa”; and the centrality of maḥfilī politics (friendship circles) in addition to tashkīlātī (organizational) politics, which the historiography has traditionally emphasized. It demonstrates that as resistance shifted from maḥfil to tashkīlāt, it also shifted from a global struggle where Iran was one node out of many, to a nationalized struggle.

Iran (Volume 57, Issue 1)

Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar: Narratives of Kingship in Several Manuscripts of the Chronique dite de Baudouin d’Avesnes

By: Elena Koroleva

Abstract: This paper discusses the relationship between text and iconography in the manuscripts of the Chronique dite de Baudouin d’Avesnes, a French universal chronicle that was written for a noble lay readership between 1278 and 1281 and circulated widely between the end of the thirteenth and the end of the fifteenth century. The study is specifically focused on the lives of two heroes of Antiquity, Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar. It examines whether both figures, seen as somewhat problematic due to the details of their respective biographies, are depicted as perfect rulers and if that’s the case, what means are used to convey this vision.

Changing Perceptions of Alexander in French Chronicles

By: Alison Stones

Abstract: This article surveys the various pictorial treatments of Alexander in French historical compendia from the twelfth to fifteenth centuries, focusing on three traditions: Lambert of Saint-Omer’s Liber floridus; Vincent of Beauvais’ Speculum historiale, in Latin and in the French translation by Jean de Vignay, and Jean de Courcy’s La Bouquechardière. In all these texts the presence of pictures and the subjects chosen reflect what was thought about the relative importance of the accompanying text. Shifts in the choices of episodes selected for illustration, and changes in the patterns of patronage, from ecclesiastical figures to members of the royal, noble, and finally governing classes, many of them women, denote a continued and evolving interest in Alexander as an important figure of history and legend.

Reenactment: Tournaments, Chronicles and Visual History

By: Cornelia Logemann

Abstract: In the illustration of chronicle texts in the Western Middle Ages, the question often arises of how the reading of a manuscript changes when illuminations influence the reader’s perception. For in addition to a direct connection to the surrounding text in a manuscript, images also form their own reference system. Recurring pictorial formulas are therefore not only due to the serial production of illuminated manuscripts, but are also addressed to the imagination of the viewer. Tournament images, especially, show how a visual topos can open completely new references and form a new visual history. In addition to a few historical sources, tournaments were extensively described, especially in courtly literature, and the visual surface and splendour of these events in the Arthurian world seemed to fascinate audiences on all levels. Even in late medieval French chronicles like those of Jean Froissart, images and imaginings of tournaments turn out to be a window onto a mythical ideal past. The ideal chivalric virtues are invoked in these pictures, in which the cultural practice of the late Middle Ages on the one hand and different genres on the other overlap.

Convention and Reinvention: The British Library Shahnama of 1438 (Or. 1403)

By: Peyvand Firouzeh

Abstract: The geographic origin of the fifteenth-century illustrated Shahnama manuscript Or. 1403, held at the British Library, has been the subject of unresolved scholarly debate. Stepping away from the binary alternatives that have been suggested for the attribution of the manuscript in the past (Iran versus India, and Delhi versus the Deccan), this essay focuses on text and image and their potential relationships in its preface-frontispiece set and how these would have addressed the manuscript’s possible audiences. Evaluating the ways that the preface and frontispiece reimagine the established visual and textual conventions of Shahnama manuscripts in the fifteenth century, the study explores the manuscript’s engagement with a range of possible socio-historical settings, all of which reflect the complex circulation and reception of Persianate modes of culture between Iran and India in this period.

Images of the Peoples of the World Encountered by the Mongols in the Jamiʿ al-tawarikh

By: Mohamad Reza Ghiasian

Abstract: Four copies of the Jamiʿ al-tawarikh produced at Rashid al-Din’s scriptorium survive: one in Arabic and three in Persian. These codices are fragments of the second volume, which include the history of the non-Mongol peoples of Eurasia, including Ughuz Turks, Chinese, Jews, Franks and Indians. Interestingly, all these manuscripts were in the possession of the Timurid ruler Shahrukh, who ordered his scriptorium to complete the three Persian copies. Considering the section on the history of other nations, none of the Persian copies remains intact, because these parts have been refurbished or completed in Shahrukh’s workshop. These sections in the three Persian codices contain calligraphy and illustrations from both the Ilkhanid and Timurid periods. Since these manuscripts were produced in the royal workshops of the Ilkhanid and Timurid rulers, they reflect the different international relations of the time. These reflections are obvious in the nature, the number and the placement of the illustrations. This paper examines the foreign relations of Iran in the beginning of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries via the codicological study of these manuscripts.

Visualising Tamerlane: History and its Image

By: Charles Melville

Abstract: The creation of Timur’s kingly image was the work of his chroniclers and in particular the achievement of ‘Ali Yazdi, whose literary masterpiece, the Zafarnama (“Book of Victory”), was commissioned by Timur’s grandson, Ibrahim-Sultan, prince governor of Shiraz in southern Persia (r. 1415–1435). Yazdi’s work became a byword for rhetorical elegance and was reproduced in many tens of manuscripts; some of these, including the first known copy, dated 1436, were illustrated. Within the corpus of illustrated manuscripts and the paintings they contain, I differentiate between royal or court commissions, such as those produced for Timur’s descendants, and provincial or commercial ones produced in the next century, and the effect this may have had on the choice of scenes to illustrate. Among these, it is helpful to distinguish between “generic” scenes of battle, single combats, hunting and the ruler’s court, and specific scenes of particular events, often found in a unique image, and their relationship with the written text. While these illustrations cannot be viewed as visual sources for the history of the events they depict, they can be regarded as evidence of how Timur’s career was perceived and understood by subsequent generations.

Journal of Contemporary History (Volume 54, Issue 2)

The Formation of the Arab League and the United Nations, 1944–5

By: Stefanie Wichhart

Abstract: While the Great Powers were meeting in Washington at the Dumbarton Oaks Conference, representatives of the Arab states were meeting in Egypt to draft the Alexandria Protocol, the document that would lead to the establishment of the Arab League in March 1945. The idea of Arab Unity has a long history driven by intra-regional dynamics but the form that the League ultimately took of a regional organization rather than the political union many envisioned was largely a product of the wartime environment. The Arab states found both opportunity and potential threats in the Dumbarton Oaks proposals as they worked to develop their own postwar vision. Discussions of regional councils in the months preceding Dumbarton Oaks raised fears of a western-imposed regional order and served as the center of gravity that ultimately allowed them, for the moment, to overcome regional rivalries and join together in the Arab League. This case study contributes to the decolonization of diplomatic history by placing the Arab nationalist movement in its global context and demonstrates how the Arab states, for whom unity was viewed as a pathway to independence, appropriated wartime internationalist ideals in the later war years.

Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies (Volume 15, Issue 1)

Subversive Sisterhood: Gender, Hybridity, and Transnationalism in ʿAfifa Karam’s Fatima al-Badawiyya (Fatima the Bedouin, 1909)

By: Elizabeth Claire Saylor

Abstract: This article examines the Arabic fiction of ʿAfifa Karam (1883–1924), an overlooked contributor to the nahda, or the Arabic cultural renaissance of the mid- to late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Born in Mount Lebanon, Karam became a novelist, journalist, and translator in the North American mahjar (Arab diaspora). A discussion of Karam’s novel, Fatima al-Badawiyya (Fatima the Bedouin), published in New York City in 1909, explores the author’s engagement with gender politics within a hybridized cultural space. Such attention also reveals the transnational character of nahda literary culture, as readers and writers scattered across four continents interacted in the textual “spaces” of the rapidly expanding print culture in the Arabic-speaking world. As a single player within an international network of Syro-Lebanese women writers, Karam’s foundational feminist fiction reveals her cosmopolitan female subjectivity, offering a radical vision of global sisterhood that transcends geographic, political, and religious boundaries.

Inadvertent Traditionalism: Orientalism and the Self-Presentations of Polish Jewish Women Immigrants to Israel in the 1950s

By: Aziza Khazzoom

Abstract: In Israel, Middle Eastern women are read as more “traditional” than European women. Yet life-story interviews conducted for this article reveal that elderly Polish Jewish women self-present as traditionally feminine—emphasizing home-centeredness, passivity, modesty, self-sacrifice, and delicateness—in ways a matched group of Iraqis do not. The article shows that these presentations are a by-product of how Poles assert Western identity. They claim Westernness by emphasizing continuity between their current behaviors and ideals and those they were taught in upper-class 1930s Europe, including feminine ideals. They see these behaviors as European and are inattentive to potential links with traditionalism. The discussion focuses on this finding in light of arguments that for women classified as Western, being on the “liberated” side of Orientalist contrasts can render gender invisible, enabling reproduction of gender inequality.

Interrogating the Constructions of Masculinist Protection and Militarism in the Syrian Constitution of 1973

By: Rahaf Aldoughli

Abstract: This is a revisionist study of Syrian Baʾathism. At its heart is an examination of ingrained masculinist bias. This article argues that there is a reciprocal relationship between militarism and masculinity, achieved through gratifying protection for both the nation and women. While most feminist scholarship dealing with states formation in the Arab context attributes its gendered nature to dictatorship, patriarchy, and religion, there is no debate about the development of states and their relation to militarism and masculinism. This construction of militarized masculinity in Baʾath ideology ensures the preservation of gendered laws that perceive women as less equal. While teasing out this aspect, this study seeks to explore the status of women in the Syrian Constitution (1973) and laws by investigating the role of the state as a male protector in which women’s rights become challenged by the state’s paternalistic perceptions.

De-imperializing Gender: Religious Revivals, Shifting Beliefs, and the Unexpected Trajectory of Laila Lalami’s Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits 

By: Kimberly Wedeven Segall

Abstract: In Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits Laila Lalami writes about a clandestine crossing from Morocco to Spain. Within this story she reveals the effects of this crossing on the changing religious beliefs of her two central female characters. While a probing critique notes how she tends to an analysis of the agency of these immigrants, there is little reference by Lalami to their religious identifiers. This is not an omission but a literary strategy suggesting that religious liaisons form venues of challenge and agency in Islamist revivals. Since faith practices are viewed differently by the women, and by the characters that surround them, these gaps illuminate the contradictions between how women view themselves and how others perceive them. Given how stereotypes of religion have emerged out of a history of colonization, these women’s personal journeys reject structures of entrapment and reductionism, resisting essentialist representations of women and Islam in unexpected ways.

Journal of Social History (Volume 52, Issue 3)

Emotional Change: Romantic Love and the University in Postcolonial Egypt 

By: Sharon Maftsir

Abstract: “This article uncovers the social and cultural dynamics that constructed the worth and meaning of romantic love as part of the hegemonic social order in postcolonial Egypt. In the two-and-a-half decades following the 1952 Revolution, Egyptian higher education underwent significant developments. The state initiated reforms that increased the number of students significantly. Additionally, the demographic composition of the student body became more diverse in terms of class and gender. These changes made university campuses a potential venue for finding one’s future spouse. However, as I will show, the desirability of marrying someone met through and during academic studies also indicates an emotional change toward a positive valuation of premarital love relationships.

This emotional change, I will argue, was the result of the interplay between the demographic diversification of university campuses and values and practices of gender relations that dominant cultural producers and their audiences cultivated. Following Barbara Rosenwein, I consider this group of cultural producers that belonged to the prerevolutionary effendiyya as an emotional community. Their values regarding premarital love were grounded in the modernist discourses that idealized the nuclear family and perceived the intimacy between the married couple as essential for its stability. However, an analysis of the press, particularly advice columns, indicates an awareness of the ambiguities often generated by patriarchal concepts upheld by families. In producing the hegemony of premarital love, cultural producers incorporated, to some extent, these patriarchal perceptions.”

Middle East Policy (Volume 26, Issue 1)

Iran’s Ballistic‐Missile and Space Program: An Assessment

By: Gawdat Bahgat

Abstract: Since the early 1970s, Iran has sought to develop strong missile capabilities. In recent years, Tehran’s arsenal has evolved to become the largest and most diverse in the Middle East, though not the most lethal or longest‐range. Israel and Saudi Arabia have also developed formidable capabilities. Iran’s program, however, has attracted more political and academic controversies. The Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal — the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — was partly driven by the fact that it had failed to slow the progress of Iran’s missile capabilities. The U.S. withdrawal and occasional European criticism of frequent missile testing have had little, if any, impact on Tehran’s determination to advance its capabilities.

Who Will Shield the Imams? Regime Protection in Iran and the Middle East

By: Zoltan Barany

Abstract: This essay argues that the Tehran regime enjoys the strong support of its capable Revolutionary Guard and need not fear a coup or major insurrection from within its coercive apparatus. The Iranian political elites’ unbending attitude toward societal protests suggests that the push for substantive liberalization will be the result of gradual change within the regime rather than revolutionary upheaval.

Poverty in Iran: A Critical Analysis

By: Arvin Khoshnood

Abstract: In December 2017, countrywide protests broke out in Iran in response to almost four decades of a brutal dictatorship that had presided over a deteriorating economy and an increasingly corrupt establishment. “Death to the Islamic Republic,” “Death to [Supreme Leader] Khamenei,” and “Death to [President] Rohani” were among the slogans that highlighted the crisis of legitimacy the regime is facing for its neglect of the people’s misery. After the elections in May 2017, and most recently on January 22, 2018, in a live television interview, Rohani promised that, before the end of his second term in 2021, he would abolish absolute poverty.

Iran after Khamenei: Prospects for Political Change

By: Saeid Golkar

Abstract: This paper will focus on internal Iranian debates concerning both the formal and the informal procedures and mechanisms for selecting the next supreme leader, while also examining regime dynamics and political preferences. This paper will attempt to answer key questions: What are the likely scenarios that might unfold following Khamenei’s long tenure? More broadly, how might Iran’s domestic and foreign policies change under a new supreme leader?

The Tunisian Jihad: Between al‐Qaeda and ISIS

By: Djallil Lounnas

Abstract: In March 2015, an assault in Tunis on the Bardo Museum by the Okba Ibn Nafaa Jihadi Brigade, affiliated with al‐Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), led to the murder of 24 foreign tourists. In June of the same year, the city of Sousse was assaulted by ISIS, an attack in which 39 foreign tourists were killed. Worse, in March 2016, ISIS launched another strike, this time to take control of the border city of Ben Guerdane, known for its hostility to the central government in Tunis. This time, however, the Tunisian security services, supported by the local population, repelled the attack and inflicted heavy losses on ISIS. Three attacks, three events summarize the paradox of the trajectory of jihadi organizations in Tunisia.

Syria and Turkey: Border‐Security Priorities

By: Lacin Idil Oztig

Abstract: From Syria’s independence in 1946 until the 1998 bilateral crisis, Turkish‐Syrian relations were characterized by hostility and mistrust. Not least in their uncooperative border interactions. In the 1950s, Turkey was concerned about the illegal transfer of goods across its Syrian border. In the 1980s and 1990s, preventing PKK (Kurdish Workers’ Party) activities became Turkish policy makers’ top security priority. Ankara even went so far as to plant landmines along the Syrian border.

The Power of Neutrality: Lebanon as an Oil Transit Country

By: Dan Naor

Abstract: In 1943, on the eve of Lebanon’s independence, the Maronite president, Bishara al‐Khuri, and the Sunni prime minister, Riad al‐Sulh, formulated the National Pact, which aimed to regulate political life and bridge the different aspirations of the Lebanese communities. The Pact stipulated that power would be shared on a communal basis. Another aspect of the Pact concerned Lebanese foreign policy. Here, too, the Pact attempted to mediate between the aspirations of the Christians and those of the Muslims. For their part, the Christians — especially the Maronites — aimed for separatism, independence from Lebanon’s Arab surroundings, and attachment to the West. The Muslims, particularly the Sunnis, wished to connect with the Arab world, especially with Syria. Hence, the Pact stipulated that Lebanon should take the middle road, adhering neither to East nor West. In fact, the Pact dictated a kind of neutrality in foreign affairs, enabling Lebanon to act as a middle man, a connecting factor between opposing elements.

The Red Thread of Israel’s “Demographic Problem”

By: Ian S. Lustick

Abstract: In the spring and early summer of 2018, Israeli forces shot or gassed more than 16,000 people. The ferocity of this response to the massing of Palestinians near the barrier surrounding the Gaza Strip is striking but not astonishing. It reflects a fundamental truth and springs from a deep fear. The truth is that the essential aspiration of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century architects of the Zionist movement was to ensure that somewhere in the world — and that place came to be Palestine — there would be a majority of Jews. The fear is of Jews losing the majority they achieved.

External Powers and the Gulf Monarchies

By: Mark N. Katz

Abstract: The Arab Gulf monarchies have complex relations with many states. The authors in this edited volume examine the policies that have been pursued toward them by 10 external powers: the United States, Russia, Great Britain, France, Brazil, Turkey, India, China, South Korea and Japan. The first chapter, by editors Li‐Chen Sim and Jonathan Fulton of Zayed University in Abu Dhabi, explores, in general, relations between external powers and a changing Gulf. The remaining chapters focus on the policies of each of the 10 external powers.