[The Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative (MESPI) brings you the fifteenth 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.]
Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (Volume 84, Issue 1)
By: Benjamin D. Suchard, Jorik (F.J.) Groen
Abstract: This paper provides a new explanation for the insertion of *a in plural forms of *CVCC- nouns also formed with an external plural suffix, e.g. *ʕabd- : *ʕabad-ū- ‘servant(s)’, in various Semitic languages. This *CVCaC-ū- pattern is usually considered to be a remnant of the Proto-Semitic broken plural system in Northwest Semitic, but we show that it goes back to Proto-Semitic in this form. Internal evidence from Semitic as well as comparative evidence from Afroasiatic points towards a pre-Proto-Semitic plural suffix *-w- underlying the external plural suffixes. This suffix created a consonant cluster in the plural of *CVCC- nouns, triggering epenthesis of *a. As the prime example of broken plural formation in Northwest Semitic thus seems to be purely suffixal in origin, we conclude by briefly considering the implications for the history of nominal pluralization in Semitic.
By: Christian C. Sahner
Abstract: This article explores three important Zoroastrian legal texts from the ʿAbbasid period, consisting of questions and answers to high-ranking priests. The texts contain a wellspring of information about the social history of Zoroastrianism under Islamic rule, especially the formative encounter between Zoroastrians and Muslims. These include matters such as conversion, apostasy, sexual relations with outsiders, inheritance, commerce, and the economic status of priests. The article argues that the elite clergy responsible for writing these texts used law to refashion the Zoroastrian community from the rulers of Iran, as they had been in Late Antiquity, into one of a variety of dhimmī groups living under Islamic rule. It also argues that, far from being brittle or inflexible, the priests responded to the challenges of the day with creativity and pragmatism. On both counts, there are strong parallels between the experiences of Zoroastrians and those of Christians and Jews, who also turned to law as an instrument for rethinking their place in the new Islamic cosmos. Finally, the article makes a methodological point, namely to show the importance of integrating Pahlavi sources into wider histories of Iran and the Middle East during the early Islamic period.
Journal of the American Oriental Society (Volume 141, Issue 1)
By: Pavel Pavlovitch
Abstract: MuʿAbd al-Bāqī b. QāniMuʿ (d. 351/962) was a traditionist and evaluator of transmitters, one of the founders of the genre of biographical dictionaries devoted to the Companions of the Prophet. Ibn QāniMuʿ has not attracted much attention from scholars— only Khalīl Qūtlāy has authored a doctoral dissertation, now published in fifteen volumes, that comprises Ibn QāniMuʿ‘s Muʿjam al-ṣaḥāba In this essay I argue that Ibn QāniMuʿ and his contemporaries relied on the chains of hadith transmission to extract the names of many Companions My research also shows that in the eighth/ fourteenth century at least two presently lost biographical collections associated with Ibn QāniMuʿ were in circulation: Kitāb al-Wafayāt, a catalogue of death dates of hadith transmitters, and Kitāb al-Tārīkh, an annalistic collection, which included many assessments of transmitter reliability. Ibn QāniMuʿ‘s unsophisticated methods of hadith criticism, although in line with third/ninth- and early fourth/tenth-century scholarly developments, incurred him some criticism from later hadith scholars.
By: I-Wen Su
Abstract: This article revisits a widely accepted yet unsubstantiated trajectory of early Kufan Zaydi history, namely, that with ʿAlī recognized as the fourth rightly guided caliph by the proto-Sunni traditionists, represented by Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal (d. 241/855), the Batri traditionists were Sunnified. Analysis of Safīna’s hadith transmission and the transmitters of the first four caliphs’ virtues suggests that the four-caliphs thesis was likely circulated in Kufa by the late eighth century and that Kufan traditionists of various sectarian persuasions played an important role in its formation. This paper argues that the Kufan Shiʿi traditionists came to identify with their traditionist townspeople as a result of shared qualities and mutual enemies. By revisiting a narrative that is often taken for granted, this study proffers new insights into the formation of a defining Sunni doctrine—the four-caliphs thesis—as well as the transformation of the Kufan Shiʿis.
By: Eran Cohen
Abstract: The particle ulašūma (‘or else’) in Old Babylonian Akkadian is analyzed from a functional and syntactic point of view. In addition to its known functions as a pro-polar protasis (‘if not, otherwise, or else’) and as a disjunctive particle (‘or’), it is also concluded to function as a conditional exponent. As such it is shown to belong with other expressions of epistemic modality (modal and conditional particles). Its most plausible diachronic source is determined, based on comparative as well as Akkadian material, to have been a non-verbal circumstantial expression *u lā šū (‘it (is) not’) ultimately meaning ‘it not being the case…’. In the second part of the paper, a cognate origin (*ū lā hī ‘it not being the case’) is proposed for the Biblical Hebrew epistemic particle ʔūlay (‘maybe/if’). Two possible paths are discussed—one is internal development and the other a result of language contact. Each path is considered, paying meticulous attention to the respective sets of difficulties. The difference in the synchronic function and meaning between the Akkadian and Hebrew particles is bridged based on the syntactic and functional analysis of the Old Babylonian particle, which shows it to be an epistemic particle.
By: Charles Häberl
Abstract: In his 1875 description of the language, Theodor Nöldeke describes Mandaic as among the purest of the Aramaic languages and the furthest from Western Aramaic, particularly with respect to its lexicon. As Mandæans identify their faith with that of John the Baptist and his community of followers, this observation is not without relevance for assessing the veracity of their accounts and reconstructing their history prior to the advent of Islam. Departing from the assumption that these accounts are either inaccurate or willfully dishonest, all recent descriptions of the Mandaic language maintain that it is completely free from any western influences whatsoever, employing a considerably stronger form of Nöldeke’s original claim. This article subjects the strong form of this claim to a critical analysis, surveying the evidence for western influence upon the lexicon of the Mandæan scriptural canon, principally the Canonical Prayerbook, the Great Treasure, and the Mandæan Book of John. It finds that these works contain numerous lexemes of Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and Western Aramaic origin that are otherwise unparalleled within Eastern Aramaic, and concludes that the scholarly consensus must either be revised to account for this evidence or abandoned.
Middle Eastern Studies (Volume 56, Issue 6 and Volume 57, Issue 1)
By: Erhan Bektaş
Abstract: The Ottoman central government attempted to improve its control over the distant regions of the empire in the nineteenth century with the help of the ulema. The ulema had deep networks in rural communities and profound influence on Muslim subjects. They thereby played a leading role in maintaining public order in the provinces. They used their influence to achieve compromises, integrate different elements of society, and prevent riots, turmoil, anarchy and conflict, thereby allowing the government to peacefully manage many conflicts within society. In this respect, the ulema’s effect on conflict resolution processes and their occasional partnership with official authorities and society will constitute the content of this article. In other words, this article will try to demonstrate the importance and influence of the Ottoman ulema during the reform period by showing how they helped to extend the central government’s authority in distant regions of the empire, where its management capacity had been weak.
By: Başak Akgül
Abstract: The nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire witnessed a gradual change in the forestry regime. In response to the intensifying struggle over forest resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Ottoman government introduced a series of reforms aimed at exerting more direct control over forests. In the implementation of these reforms not only did opposing interests clash at the central level but local interest groups involved in regional trade networks also appeared as influential actors. Focusing on a lawsuit related to forest crimes committed in the Teke region in the beginning of the 1890s, this paper discusses how modern, bureaucratized forestry practices were negotiated at the local level. By uncovering a complicated interaction among forest officials at the center and in the provinces, as well as timber merchants, this paper considers smuggling an integral component of politics over natural resources.
Responses to the abolitions of the Ottoman Sultanate and Caliphate in the Arabic and Hebrew press of Palestine, 1922–1924
By: Selim Tezcan
Abstract: This is a study of the responses of the Arabic and Hebrew press of Palestine to the abolitions of the Ottoman Sultanate and Caliphate. It is based on a comparative examination of the contemporary coverage of the events by the Arabic newspapers al-Karmil and Filastin and by the Hebrew newspapers Doar ha-Yom and Haaretz. The analysis yields valuable insights about how the Yishuv and the Palestinians viewed the abolitions of the Sultanate and Caliphate, the contemporary significance of these institutions, Kemalist Turkey, the rival population in Palestine, and Sharif Husayn. Mainly, it shows that the Hebrew press hailed the abolitions as revolutionary developments that would pave the road before the modernization of not only Turkey but the whole of Asia, while the Arabic press considered this too momentous a matter to be decided by Turkey alone and predicted adverse consequences for both that country and the East.
Negotiating the meaning of Kurdishness: the construction of a secular Kurdish identity perception by Kurdish political and intellectual elites in Turkey
By: Kutbettin Kılıç
Abstract: This article examines the process of the construction of a secular Kurdish perception of identity by Kurdish political elites since the 1960s. It argues that despite the variance in group-making tactics employed by different Kurdish political groups or figures, something has remained unchanged: the construction and promotion of a secular Kurdish identity perception, which dissociates Islam from the cultural content of Kurdish ethnic identity. Kurdish political and intellectual elites in Turkey, during and after the 1960s, took a radical stance against religion and started to construct and promote a Kurdish ethnic identity perception based only on certain myths, ruling out Islam from the cultural content of Kurdish ethnic identity. Although Kurdish political elites adopted a friendlier language towards religion after the 2000s, in response to certain political and practical challenges, they never gave up on this secular Kurdish identity perception.
By: Syed Tanvir Wasti
Abstract: Abdülhak Şinâsî Hisar, a famous writer whose active career may be said to have spanned over the first 60 years of the 20th century, is celebrated within Turkey for his inimitable prose style, steeped in nostalgia and expressed with great elegance and charm. His three short novels, based both on his childhood memories of life and on depicting characters he observed in an Ottoman capital that once had a sparkling civilization, and his biographies of major writers who were his friends, along with his essays on literary criticism and his prolific journalistic output, have assured him a place in the front rank of Turkish literary figures.
By: M. Asım Karaömerlioğlu, Nur Sinem Kourou
Abstract: This article intends to shed light on the local politics of the Alevis by focusing on three different cemevis in Istanbul’s Gazi neighborhood. Based on a field study in the neighborhood between 2014 and 2015 and eventually revisiting it in 2019, we analyze the local political dynamics with regard to different cemevis. By so doing, we aim to acknowledge and underline two phenomena: the dialectical tension between faith and modernity as well as the fragmented nature of the Alevi identity. The latter task is crucial since most recent studies concerning Alevis have focused on their so-called ‘awakening’ or the ‘discovery’ of their identity. We look at the other side of the coin as well, namely the fragmentation of Alevi identity that has also been under way in recent decades. By this means, we hope to contribute to the literature on contemporary Alevi identity and politics.
By: Behçet Kemal Yeşilbursa
Abstract: This article sets out to explore the formation of the Central Treaty Organisation (CENTO), 1959-1979. It seeks to determine the aims with which CENTO was established, its failings, and the struggle that was undertaken against it by hostile countries. It examines the events surrounding its formation, development and collapse, and Anglo-American attempts to contain the Soviet Union in the Middle East. It also deals with British and American post-war defence policies in the Middle East and their collective defence projects in the region, such as the Middle East Command, the Northern Tier and Baghdad Pact, which led to CENTO. In addition, it looks at the policies of the local members and the organisation’s internal structure. It poses questions of how the members of CENTO perceived the question of Middle East defence, what their basic aims were, and what problems they faced while trying to achieve these aims and implementing their chosen solutions. CENTO had its genesis in the Pact of Mutual Cooperation signed by Turkey and Iraq in Baghdad on 24 February 1955. Britain joined the Baghdad Pact on 5 April 1955, followed by Pakistan on 23 September and Iran on 3 November of the same year. While the United States strongly supported the creation of the Pact, for purely technical reasons of budgeting procedures, it never took up formal membership. On 14 July 1958, there was a military coup in Iraq, led by Brigadier Kassem, in which King Faisal, the Crown Prince, and the Prime Minister, Nuri Said, were all murdered. The new military regime did not immediately withdraw from membership, but it no longer participated in the work of the alliance. For the Baghdad Pact as a whole, the result was serious but not fatal. In October 1958, the Pact headquarters was moved from Baghdad to Ankara. On 24 March 1959, Kassem withdrew Iraq from the alliance and on 19 August 1959, it was announced in Ankara that the name had been changed from the ‘Baghdad Pact’ to the ‘Central Treaty Organisation’, abbreviated as CENTO. The membership remained unchanged: namely Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and Britain, with the US as a full participant. CENTO survived until 1979 when Iran withdrew from CENTO on 11 March following the Islamic revolution, claiming that ‘it only protected interests of the imperialist states’. Pakistan followed suit on 12 March, because it believed that ‘the organisation was not able to protect Pakistan’s security’; and the next day Turkey proclaimed that ‘CENTO had in effect lost its function in the region’. The history of CENTO has not so far been extensively researched and, as a result, the formation of CENTO and its overall aims are still surrounded by controversy. There are no comprehensive studies on the subject, though general information is given in a number of scholarly works. This article is based upon a range of primary and secondary sources. Much of material for this study was gathered from the National Archives, the United Kingdom.
Russian foreign policy and geopolitics in the Post-Soviet space and the Middle East: Tajikistan, Georgia, Ukraine and Syria
By: Babak Rezvani
Abstract: This article reviews and discusses the Russian foreign policy towards several countries in the Post-Soviet Space (Tajikistan, Ukraine and Georgia), and the Middle East (Syria). The Russian policy towards its near abroad shows elements of both (neo-)realism and constructivism. A realist perspective of Russian foreign policy seems evident as Russia pursues its own national (or imperial) geopolitical interest. However, it may not explain the Russian interventions satisfactorily. Analysing Russia’s intervention in these conflicts, it is important to look also at Russia’s own geopolitical vision; i.e. how Russia views the world, notably its near abroad, and Russia’s place, role or even mission in it. Russia has reacted to the NATO and European Union (EU) enlargements in its (former) geopolitical spheres of influence and has helped its ally Bashar Assad remain in power in Syria. The conflict in Ukraine is not irrelevant to that in Syria and the Russian experience in Chechnya and Tajikistan may have codetermined Russian intervention in Syria.
The development gap between the cities of Jaffa and Tel Aviv and its effect on the weakening of Jaffa in the time of the Mandate
By: Tamir Goren
Abstract: At the time of the British Mandate in Palestine the development of Tel Aviv, which the Jaffa Arabs regarded as the realization of the Zionist enterprise, was perceived as a real threat to Jaffa’s future. The two cities’ geographic proximity threw into bold relief the differences between the two levels of development. As the years passed the two cities’ development demonstrated Tel Aviv’s supremacy over Jaffa. From the years of the Arab revolt (1936-1939) the gap between the development of Tel Aviv and of Jaffa inexorably widened. By time the Mandate ended Jaffa’s condition had so deteriorated that the need to narrow the gap had become urgent. Jaffa had to be transformed into a modern city, but also – indeed principally – to be restored to its former strength and status in the context of the worsening Arab-Jewish conflict. The will to achieve this aim intensified as long as Tel Aviv continued to flourish. The article evaluates how far the chasm between the two cities in their development influenced Jaffa’s condition in the declining years of the Mandate. It shows that it damaged Jaffa, being a significant factor reducing its status as an urban center.
By: Ronnen Ben-Arie
Abstract: Natzrat Illit (‘Upper Nazareth’) was one of the dozens of ‘new towns’ established by the state of Israel during the 1950s, following the 1948 war. However, because of its unique location, in the midst of a region widely inhabited by a Palestinian population, and the specific objectives of its establishment, the penetration of a Jewish population into the region and the reinforcement of control over Nazareth, the only Palestinian city that survived the war and remained within the borders of the newly established state, it demanded particular means and forms of action. Based on archival materials, this article delineates the particular methods and practices used to confront and overcome the specific conditions set for the establishment of Natzrat Illit. These methods and practices will later become advantageous when similar objectives would be set for the state-led expansive settlement project into new territories.
By: Doron Bar
Abstract: Between 1948 and1967, Muslim cemeteries in the State of Israel saw many changes. The present article examines how the state elected to treat the many deserted Muslim cemeteries within its limits: should these cemeteries be protected by the Jewish state? Or should they be demolished, their remains removed from the evolving Israeli landscape? Israeli archival sources facilitate the study of this phenomenon, highlighting the duplicitous nature of the Israeli bureaucratic approach toward Muslim cemeteries. Charged with safeguarding the sites, the Ministry of Religious Affairs’ Muslim and Druze Department attempted to confront the state’s propensity to evacuate the cemeteries and use the vacant space for different needs. Yet, at the same time, other Israeli actors – various governmental offices, municipalities, and even the army – played a part in the process of neglect, damage, and appropriation that these cemeteries suffered.
Technopolitics, development and the colonial-postcolonial nexus: revisiting settlements development aid from Israel to Africa
By: Haim Yacobi, Chen Misgav, Smadar Sharon
Abstract: This article focuses on the interrelationship between colonial development in Israel and the export of knowledge and practices to Africa. We argue that at the core of the Israeli aid project to Africa is the Cold War and the global technopolitics of this era, that is, the use of technological methods and practices to achieve political ends. The main question to be discussed throughout this article is whether the Zionist settlement enterprise and its ‘export’ to Africa is not only a unique historical event but rather is part of the global imperial debate. We point to the way in which the technopolitics of development in Israel is directly related to the concepts prevalent in the country during the period under discussion in several interrelated ways. First, it was embedded in an Orientalist discourse in which the ‘backward native’ becomes a consumer of modern technologies migrating from a territory where knowledge is produced to the territories that consume its products. Second, the view of Africa was part of a wider epistemological system in which orientalism was also ‘inward’ both toward the Jewish Mizrahi population and to the Palestinian population.
By: Arieh Josef Kochavi
Abstract: On 7 June 1981, Israeli warplanes attacked Iraq’s Osiraq nuclear reactor and destroyed it. Surprised by the raid, the Reagan’s administration was puzzled about how to react. Some officials supported punishing Israel, while others recognized the advantages of the attack though they could not say it publicly. Washington knew that its moderate Arab allies expected a firm reaction, especially as Israel used American airplanes in the attack, apparently violating the 1952 Agreement between the two countries. Under the lead of President Ronald Reagan, Washington opted for a mild reaction, practically indirectly recognizing Israel’s right to destroy the atomic reactors of its Arab enemies.
By: Siavush Randjbar-Daemi
Abstract: This article will examine the Tudeh Party of Iran’s (TPI) attitude and agency towards the peasant question between its foundation in 1941 and the end of the party’s ability to operate in the domestic political scene in 1953. Based on a close reading of party printed material and other relevant primary sources from those dozen years, the study will analyse the TPI’s attempt to formulate a coherent and practicable stance on the pressing issue of the amelioration of the peasant condition during the early stages of its formation and develop a lasting presence, with varying degrees of success, within the large peasant contingent of the Iranian population of the time until the August 1953 coup d’état which brought an end to the activities of the party’s front organisations, including the body devoted to the peasant question. Besides focusing on the formations through which the Tudeh sought to engage directly with rural communities and formulate a platform based on their grievances and requests, this article will also compare the Tudeh’s agency within this segment of the Iranian population with its efforts across other strata of the Iranian society at the time as well as the party’s reactions to peasant-oriented initiatives carried out by both local and national administrations during this period.
Narratives of nationalism in culture and heritage production of the Arabian Peninsula: bringing the state back in
By: Courtney Freer, Yasmine Kherfi
Abstract: Over the past decade, all six states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have invested considerably in the development of their local heritage industries. In parallel, these states have expanded their efforts at fostering home-grown nationalism. What scholarship exists on the topic of expansion of the heritage industry tends to be anthropological, sociological, or linked to museum studies, while literature on nationalism tends to remain in the realm of political science. This article addresses disciplinary gaps by taking special account of the state’s role in producing heritage and culture to foster nationalism. This development has been neglected or taken for granted in past studies of heritage production and preservation in the Gulf, and therefore deserves more substantial academic inquiry. In the first part of this article, we assess ways in which the Arabian Peninsula provides a unique environment for the study of heritage sites, before looking at how different actors, including grassroots initiatives and more substantially the state, engage in heritage production to promote select narratives about citizens’ shared history and common identity. In so doing, this piece offers a critical reflection on the ongoing processes through which heritage-making, political power, and nation-building are uniquely intertwined in the GCC.
By: Athol Yates, Ash Rossiter
Abstract: It has long been observed that the development of professional security institutions is a key stage in modern state formation. Leaders of many proto-states embarking on programs of rapid development – such as many of the rulers of the Arab Gulf States in the 1960s – have brought in foreign professional expertise to assist in building up fledgling state institutions, including militaries, police forces and intelligence services. We know little, however, about the relationship between ruler and these key expatriates performing these functions. To help fill this lacuna, this article examines the first three expatriate professional heads of Abu Dhabi Police over the period 1959-68 and their relationship with their paymasters – first Shaikh Shakhbut bin Sultan Al Nahyan, then his brother, Shaikh Zayed. It details the difficulties these professional expatriates faced in operating within this ruler-dominated political-administration system. We believe observations made in this study have relevance to the contemporary Gulf, where governments continue to employ highly skilled expatriates in their security institutions and much else besides.
By: Tancred Bradshaw
Abstract: One of the notable characteristics of Britain’s imperial role in the Trucial States (United Arab Emirates from 1971) was the establishment of armed forces and security services. The Trucial Oman Scouts (TOS) were the most important proto army in the sheikhdoms. During the last decade of the pax Britannica in the Trucial States competing units were also established in the region. The Foreign Office also sought to counter the potential threat of opposition groups inspired by several models of Arab nationalism by developing the internal security forces of the sheikhdoms. The establishment of these military organisations was attractive because they were much cheaper than deploying British forces. In January 1968 the Labour government decided to withdraw from East of Suez. The armies of the Trucial States formed the basis of the UAE armed forces, and British played a central role in creating the security state in the Emirates.
By: Omer Faruk Topal
Abstract: In modern Turkey, male circumcision is so inextricably linked with Muslim identity that one may assume it a practice universally performed by them for centuries. However, a significant number of Muslims in the late Ottoman Empire were uncircumcised. This article argues that circumcision became a universal Muslim practice through the infrastructure and bodily surveillance of the Ottoman central state and modern physicians who considered circumcision a requirement for public health, rather than solely as a key religious practice. Through circumcision, the late Ottoman state not only aimed to crystallize the Islamic character of its Muslim population but also to secure its political loyalty through the link of religious and political identity. The growing state infrastructure, specifically modern education and conscription enabled the central state to interfere with the bodies of its population in a way previously impossible. This process, however, should not be understood as a mere state imposition on the society. Local populations usually welcomed the state-led circumcision campaign as it relieved them of a financial burden. Thus, circumcision became ingrained in Muslim life as a result of the Ottoman modernization in which state and local interests, traditional and modern elite interests, and religious symbolism and secular strategies overlapped.
By: Vedit İnal
Abstract: Up until the late eighteenth century, the economic understanding of the Ottoman elite was based on the worldview of the scholars of the Madrasah system. The first Ottoman treatises in modern economics began to be written in the second quarter of the nineteenth century, close to 300 years after the emergence of the subject during the Mercantilist era. The nineteenth century witnessed a gradual increase in economic analyses, together with the introduction of the subject in various institutions of higher education. However, a breakthrough in the development of economic thinking in the country had to wait until the foundation of the Republic in 1923, the emergence of the journal Kadro and the establishment of Istanbul University a decade later. This article traces the emergence and development of economics in the Ottoman Empire and in the first decade and a half of the Turkish Republic.
The orphan, the donor and the photograph: humanitarianism and photography in post-First World War Jerusalem
By: Abigail Jacobson
Abstract: This article uncovers the short history of the American Colony Christian Herald Orphanage, operating in Jerusalem following the First World War. Hosting around 36 Christian and Muslim girls, the orphanage relied on the financial support of the American-based Christian Herald newspaper. Through the close analysis of this institution, and the comparison with a Jewish orphanage in Jerusalem, the article will critically discuss the links between humanitarianism and photography. The sources used are an annotated photograph album documenting life in the Orphanage, as well as the Record Book documenting the girls who received support through the orphanage. Using these visual materials, the article addresses the ways photographs were used as part of fund-raising, missionary work and relief efforts in the context of Mandatory Jerusalem, and discusses the complex relationship between the orphan girl, the donor who supports her, and the way this relationship is constructed in the photograph.
Building the capital: thoughts, plans, and practice in the process of making West Jerusalem the capital city of the State of Israel, 1948–1967
By: Assaf Selzer
Abstract: The Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel makes no mention of the country’s aspirations regarding its borders; neither does it mention the name of the state’s capital. The absence of these features was due to the state of war that the country faced at the time of the declaration, as well as the fact that according to the Partition Plan (UN Resolution 181), Jerusalem was supposed to come under international control. This article discusses Israel’s actions in the area of Jerusalem under its control. In December 1949, it was officially decided to transfer the institutions of government to Jerusalem. The state institutions were initially scattered around the city, but a government compound began to be developed later. The article will focus on the development of this compound, presenting the decisions that were implemented in order to turn it into a capital within a city.
By: Muhammad Suwaed
Abstract: This article focuses on the Bedouins’ part in the Great Arab Revolt in Palestine – during the time of the British mandate; what motivated some clans/tribes to join a given side, and why others chose to remain neutral – and it also refers to the later implications of these different choices. The article briefly overviews the social and political developments that led to the Revolt, explains the unique status of the Bedouin within the Arabic-speaking population in the area, and describes the internal diversity among Bedouin groups and the different alliances they made with the British Mandatory authorities and with other segments of the population. The article refers to the development and extension of Arab nationalism, its impact on political developments in the area, and the violent outbursts of 1936–1939 resulting from the above-mentioned factors. Rather than presenting an overview of the Arab Revolt and its general historical impact, it focuses on the involvement of the Bedouin in certain incidents or Events, and explains the reasons why some Bedouin groups chose to join a specific side, while other Bedouin groups chose to refrain, an aspect that has not been investigated in depth until now. It explains the diversity among the Bedouin and the reasons why they have no set political views and behavioral patterns; as a result, each Bedouin group/tribe adopted a policy that suited its particular interests. This article lists and describes the Events in which specific Bedouin groups were involved, in their historical order, and provides information regarding the militia groups founded or joined by the Bedouin: their areas of operation, the details of their commanding officers, tribal affiliation and alliances, relations between specific Bedouin tribes and other segments of the population: the Arabs in Palestine (both the urban and rural sectors), the Christian population, the Jewish population and the British authorities, and how these relationships affected the actions and political views of various Bedouin groups. In retrospect, it seems that ties and alliances formed between the various Bedouin groups and other components of the population during the era of the Ottoman regime affected the political position adopted by these groups at the time, positions that later determined the civil status of the Bedouin in modern Israel.
By: Ofir Winter
Abstract: This article analyzes the Egyptian regime’s quest to establish Islamic legitimacy for the transition from conflict to peace with Israel between 1977 and 1981. Based on an integrative analysis of a wide range of sources, it demonstrates that Islamic argumentations were at the core of Egypt’s official state campaign for peace. The appeal to Islamic justifications facilitated the regime’s efforts to describe its innovative peace policy as a natural link in the chain of traditional religious sequences and enclosed it within deeply socially embedded Islamic concepts and principles. Through a comparative analysis with the Islamist anti-peace campaign that the regime sought to refute, the article highlights that ‘Islam’ has no essential, consensual stance on peace with Israel. Rather, it demonstrates that different Muslim actors draw divergent – sometimes diametrically opposed – positions from Islamic texts in accordance with their particular needs and outlooks.
By: Tancred Bradshaw
Abstract: The British imperial project in the Bahrain, Qatar and the Trucial States originated in the early nineteenth century when the Government of India signed treaties with the rulers of the sheikhdoms. It was a model of low-cost imperialism in which the British secured their economic and strategic interests. Whitehall rarely intervened until the Labour Party came to power in 1964. Domestic economic and political considerations led Harold Wilson to announce in January 1968 that the British would withdraw from the Gulf by the end of 1971. This decision was devoid of any strategic rationale, and was regarded with dismay by the rulers of the sheikhdoms. The rulers were responsible for establishing a political structure, and until the summer of 1970 the Foreign Office left them to their own devices. The election of the Conservative government in June 1970 led to a fundamental re-evaluation of the Foreign Office’s policy and Sir William Luce was appointed to establish a viable political structure for the sheikhdoms. Against the odds, Luce and the Foreign Office played a key role in creating the United Arab Emirates. Bahrain and Qatar became independent states.
By: Athol Yates
Abstract: The accepted understanding of what constitutes executive government in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is that power rests with the Cabinet. This is, however, only partially correct. In reality, executive power over national security is excised from the Cabinet, and instead rests with a group of legislatively-defined agencies and posts. In other words, institutionally the UAE’s executive branch is bifurcated, with one part handling ‘high’ policy, meaning national security, and the other ‘low’ policy, that is all the rest. This article describes the unobserved part of the UAE’s executive branch. In doing so, it provides a significant advance in the understanding of the somewhat opaque nature of government in the UAE. Importantly, it provides a more nuanced understanding of the sources of power as they relate to the powerful Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a person often (mis)characterised as the de facto leader of the UAE.
By: Faisal Mukhyat Abu Sulaib
Abstract: This article aims to examine the issue of stateless ‘bidoon’ in Kuwait. The study explores the historical background of the bidoon issue in Kuwait. It finds that the bidoon issue has been influenced by internal and external factors since the emergence of this problem in the 1950s in Kuwait. However, the main object of this study is to trace the relationship between statelessness and political alienation. Thus, it examines the case study of the bidoon in Kuwait to determine whether they feel political alienation. The study relies on a survey to answer this question. A questionnaire, which comprises the three main aspects of political alienation, powerlessness, normlessness, and isolation, was distributed to a sample of 719 bidoon individuals in Kuwaiti society. The study found that most of the research sample of bidoon in Kuwait feel political alienation. Therefore, the study concluded that the feeling of political alienation among bidoon has critical effects on Kuwaiti national security, including crimes and political violence.
By: Rashed Alrasheed, Simon Mabon
Abstract: Religious discourse has a fundamental impact on sectarian violence, stability and sovereignty across the Gulf region. Amidst an increasingly volatile political and social situation, fatwas serve as a prominent factor in the behaviour and beliefs of individuals and groups across the Gulf. Fatwas have long been a source of great interest in religious studies and international law yet very little work has been undertaken in politics. This article aims to analyse the impact of fatwas from Shiʿi and Sunni clerics in the promotion of sectarian violence across Bahrain in the aftermath of the Arab Uprisings. In this article, it will be argued that religious discourse has a significant impact in determining the nature of the political relationship between the components of society in Bahrain. We argue that fatwas serve a key role in regulating life across the island and, in the aftermath of the 2011 uprisings, in facilitating sectarian violence.
Muqarnas (Volume 37)
Mind and Hand: Early Scientific Instruments from al-Andalus, and ʿAbbas ibn Firnas in the Cordoban Umayyad Court
By: Glaire D. Anderson
Abstract: This essay explores the symbiotic relationship between visual culture and the exact sciences that is revealed by the career of ʿAbbas b. Firnas (d. circa 876), as recounted in the Cordoban court chronicle compiled by the historian Ibn Hayyan (d. 1076), and by early scientific instruments from al-Andalus. Ibn Firnas is today remembered as a polymath and early scientist, yet neither historians of art nor of science have fully explored the implications of his reputation among medieval intellectuals as the wellspring of an Andalusi tradition of fine scientific instrumentation. This essay considers the Arabic account of Ibn Firnas as a maker of such objects, alongside early scientific instruments, exploring what these reveal about connections between elite intellectual culture and craft, between science and art making. It argues that considering the objects and texts in tandem reveals that intellectuals, especially those working in the exact sciences, were also “makers” of medieval Islamic visual culture.
By: Bea Leal
Abstract: Glass wall mosaic is a major feature of early Islamic architecture, surviving above all in the Umayyad monuments of the Dome of the Rock and the Great Mosque of Damascus. These grand mosaics inspired periodic revivals from the eleventh century onwards. The centuries between the Umayyad commissions and the first of the documented revivals, however, have been seen as a period of decline for the craft; the Abbasid dynasty that defeated the Umayyads in 750 has not traditionally been associated with the medium. This article reexamines the question, looking at textual and material evidence for Abbasid mosaic production. It argues that, in fact, there was a continuous mosaic tradition well into the ninth century, under the patronage of both caliphs and lower-ranking officials. The first part of the article considers written evidence for mosaics in Mecca and Medina. The second part looks in detail at a surviving example that, it will be argued, dates to the Abbasid period, on the Bayt al-Mal (Treasury) of the Great Mosque of Damascus. The concluding section discusses factors behind the general decline in mosaic production in the tenth century and the possibility of pockets of continuity.
By: Friederike Weis
Abstract: This essay addresses the significance and status of Chinese art in sixteenth-century Iran through the lens of Safavid scholars, painters, and album compilers, as well as their patrons. It focuses on the album that Dust Muhammad compiled for Bahram Mirza, completed in 1544/45 and largely preserved in its original arrangement. A close examination of the relationship between the Chinese and Persianate paintings in this album—and comparisons with other paintings and drawings—demonstrates the ways in which Chinese artworks were perceived, adopted, and self-consciously adapted during Shah Tahmasp’s reign (r. 1524–76). Furthermore, my analysis of Dust Muhammad’s preface to the Barham Mirza Album and other important contemporary primary sources, such as the poem Āyīn-i Iskandarī (The Rules of Iskandar, 1543/44) by ʿAbdi Beg of Shiraz, reveals an early Safavid reluctance to embrace optical naturalism, which was strongly associated with the Chinese aesthetic. This analysis also elucidates the growing sense of a distinct pictorial style in Safavid Iran, which was thought to derive from an inner vision situated in the mind or heart of the painter. The mimetic abstraction of this Safavid-Shiʿi aesthetic, initially connected to Imam ʿAli, was considered superior to the optical naturalism of the Chinese aesthetic.
By: Charles Melville
Abstract: The aim of this paper is to introduce information provided by Fazli Beg Khuzani Isfahani (d. after 1640) in the third volume of his chronicle, Afżal al-tavārīkh (The Best of Histories), concerning the building program and patronage of Shah ʿAbbas I (r. 1587–1629), emphasizing his activities away from the capital Isfahan. In the account of a single year, Fazli Beg documents Shah ʿAbbas’s patronage of the dynastic shrine at Ardabil, providing details on both the architectural development of the shrine and the endowment (waqf) deed drawn up to support its charitable work. In the course of his account, Fazli Beg also mentions various local officials whose existence is otherwise unknown.
Picturing the Square, Streets, and Denizens of Early Modern Istanbul: Practices of Urban Space and Shifts in Visuality
By: Çiğdem Kafescioğlu
Abstract: Exploring intersections of spaces, practices, and representations of urbanity and the city in late sixteenth-century Istanbul, this paper traces the emergence of a new set of themes centered on the main public square, the streets, and the denizens of the Ottoman capital in illustrated court histories. It considers new visual imaginings of city and urbanity in view of three issues that resonate with the history of early modern Istanbul: modalities and the lexicon of vision as they took shape parallel to changing spatial practices; the making of a new urban public, and polyphonic forms of representation concomitant to the emergence of new publicities; the conflicted political environment that turned the city’s public spaces into arenas of contestation in the later decades of the 1500s. To this end, the article focuses on narrative paintings and texts of a set of manuscripts created between the late 1580s and the turn of the seventeenth century, and with particular attention to the Sūrnāme-i Humāyūn (Book of Festivities, 1588), explores the notions and connections that shaped them.
By: Sinem Erdoğan İşkorkutan
Abstract: Not available
By: Deniz Beyazıt
Abstract: This article analyzes a little-known painting of the sanctuary at Mecca in the Uppsala University Library, Sweden—one of the most sophisticated depictions of its kind. Datable to ca. 1700 and attributable to Cairo, the painting is among the earliest known depictions of the Holy Places in an illusionistic style with a bird’s-eye view, composed according to linear perspective. With minutely rendered details accompanied by more than seventy inscriptions, the work functions as an early map of Mecca. The Uppsala Mecca painting exemplifies the complexity of artistic exchange between Europe and the Ottoman world, which yielded highly original results. This discussion sheds light on the long, hybrid journey of Ottoman art towards realism, applied to a large-scale topographic landscape composition. The work marks a turning point in the history of Mecca painting and served as a model for European prints, through which the imagery spread all the way to East Asia. This study attempts to unravel the mysterious origins of the painting in the context of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Egypt and the power struggles to control Egypt, the Hijaz, and the Hajj.
By: Neşe Gurallar
Abstract: On the Armenian border of Turkey, Kars was under the rule of tsarist Russia between the years 1877 and 1917. In this period, Kars was rebuilt with a gridded urban plan and furnished with magnificent churches and other public buildings. This article studies the urban and architectural history of Kars in order to gain a deeper understanding of the complex relations between modernity, Russian colonization, and the memories of the city’s traumatic past. An embryo of modern urban bourgeois life emerged in Kars during the Russian occupation. Symbols of urban modernity—regular street patterns, European-style buildings, public squares, city parks, monuments decorating public spaces, macadamized streets and squares, public spaces lit at night, a vivid cultural life, banks and loans, shops with luxury goods—all came to fruition in Kars at this time, not only to modernize the city, but also to lighten its depressed look.
By: Ridha Moumni
Abstract: During the period of the “Great Reforms” (1837–81), the Ottoman province of Tunisia underwent major changes in its political, military, and economic arenas. This was also the case in the field of archaeology, where the history of excavations in Tunisia had been characterized by competition among foreign archaeologists seeking to enrich their national museums as a reflection of European imperialism. This dynamic would soon change thanks to Muhammad Khaznadar, the elder son of the grand vizier Mustafa Khaznadar. Through a unique trajectory that led him to study with the French historian Ernest Desjardin in Paris from 1863 to 1865, Muhammad Khaznadar developed a passion for antiquities that he would later apply by being the first Tunisian to excavate Carthage. The young dignitary rapidly gathered an important collection of antiquities that he displayed at the World’s Fair in Paris and acquired an international reputation as a modern man. Soon, he secured a “monopoly over antiquities,” which prevented the export of archaeological artifacts from Tunisia. Based on unpublished archives, this inquiry focuses on the rise of Muhammad Khaznadar as a collector and his role in the major cultural reforms that led Tunisians to claim the material remains of their pre-Islamic heritage.
Near Eastern Archaeology (Volume 83, Issue 4)
Adorning and Protecting: Glass Intaglios and the Changing Character of Being a Sardian in the Early Imperial Period
By: Jane DeRose Evans
Abstract: Glass intaglios found on a hilltop in Sardis, Turkey are dated by archaeological context to the Augustan period. Iconographic details and the state of the intaglios show that they were made in Sardis, very likely near where they were found. The group of about forty gems gives us insight into the changing sociocultural history of the Sardians at a time when they are adapting to new political realities; they also give us a glimpse of favored motifs of the lower classes, in contrast to the magistrates who paid for local coinages and other euergistic projects.
Rediscovering the Heartland of Cities: Early Southern Mesopotamian States in Their Setting through New Field Research
By: Nicolò Marchetti, Federico Zaina
Abstract: The 2016–2018 QADIS survey project is a joint Iraqi-Italian initiative aimed at achieving a new understanding of the processes that led to the formation and development of urban centers in central-southern Iraq from the fourth millennium BCE to modernity. The project applied an integrated methodology including a combined set of techniques, from remote sensing to aerial mapping, from archaeological surface collection to test soundings, from geoarchaeological investigation to the study of epigraphic materials. As a result, a more detailed reconstruction of the urban layout of several ancient Mesopotamian centers, as well as a comprehensive understanding of the cultural landscape of the region through time, is now possible.
By: Alireza Khosrowzadeh, Aliasghar Norouzi, Hossein Habibi
Abstract: The two first seasons of excavation at the large settlement of Tappe Bardnakoon unearthed remarkable archaeological material, including huge architectural structures, a large corpus of 559 clay bullae and sealings, and collections of ceramics, gems, and metal and stone objects from the Sasanian period. The acquired data indicate that Bardnakoon is a hitherto unidentified administrative center of the late Sasanian Empire. The space excavated in Trench B possibly locates a repository at this center where the used sealings were kept. Given the location of the site in a region between different Sasanian provinces, its discovery offers new insights into the structural organization of the state. Further examination of the findings may cast light on the onomastica, either personal or place names, beliefs, and interregional interactions in a strategic yet largely overlooked region in the late-antique Central Zagros.
By: Kimiyoshi Matsumura
Abstract: The circumstances behind the emergence of the Hittite kingdom remain one of the unsolved questions in Hittite history. In particular, the decades between the end of the kārum period and the establishment of Hattusa as the Hittite capital remain largely unknown. The site of Büklükale, a second-millennium BCE city situated on the banks of the Kızılırmak River in central Anatolia, is a promising candidate for filling this gap. Eleven years of research have revealed a large-scale, fortified city that was settled throughout the second millennium BCE. In the excavations on the citadel area, traces of intensive settlement in the Hittite period and a substantial building constructed using cyclopean masonry in the kārum period were found, indicating continued settlement into the Hittite period. Finds such as a Hattian foundation ceremony, a Hurrian glass bottle, and early Luwian hieroglyphs also reveal the multicultural character of the site. Its multicultural nature may be a clue to comprehending the emergence process of the Hittite Kingdom in Anatolia.
By: Lori Khatchadourian
Abstract: Since the early 2000s, public archaeology has begun to ask how archaeological education can be unfettered from preservation and stewardship, instead responding to wider educational or social needs among the publics it is meant to serve. This new direction in archaeological education has yet to influence informal education programs offered in the context of research-based fieldwork, particularly in southwest Asia. In 2017 and 2018, the Aragats Foundation, a nonprofit organization affiliated with the American-Armenian research initiative known as Project ArAGATS, organized an archaeological camp for girls in the Republic of Armenia. This program was designed in response to social-justice concerns surrounding gender inequality in Armenia and disparities in opportunities between rich and poor, as well as urban and rural children. The camp harnessed the full research capacities of Project ArAGATS to provide girls with a multidimensional, hands-on learning experience that emphasized science and technology over heritage preservation.
Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies (Volume 50)
Desert tombs: recent research into the Bronze Age and Iron Age cairn burials of Jebel Qurma, north-east Jordan
By: Peter M.M.G. Akkermans, Merel L. Brüning, Monique Arntz, Sarah A. Inskip, Keshia A.N. Akkermans
Abstract: Not available
On the nature of South Arabian influences in Ethiopia during the late first millennium BC: late pre-Aksumite settlement on the margins of the eastern Tigray plateau
By: Anne Benoist, Iwona Gajda, Steven Matthews, Jérémie Schiettecatte, Ninon Blond, Saskia Büchner, Pawel Wolf
Abstract: Not available
By: Agnieszka Magdalena Bystron
Abstract: Not available
By: Jose C. Carvajal López, Kirk Roberts, Laura Morabito, Gareth Rees, Frank Stremke, Anke Marsh, David M. FreireLista, Robert Carter, Faiṣal ‘Abd Allāh al-Na‘īmī
Abstract: Not available
By: Corinne Castel, Olivier Barge, Blandine Besnard, Tara Beuzen-Waller, Jacques Élie Brochier, Lionel Darras, Emmanuelle Régagnon, Séverine Sanz
Abstract: Not available
By: Guillaume Charloux, Maria Guagnin, Jérôme Norris
Abstract: Not available
By: Alexandre P. De Rorre, Jean-François Berger, Massimo Delfino, Jonathan M. Kenoyer, Elena Maini, Valentina M. Azzarà
Abstract: Not available
By: Mick de Ruyter
Abstract: Not available
By: Michel de Vreeze, Bleda Düring, Eric Olijdam
Abstract: Not available
By: Stephanie Döpper, Conrad Schmidt
Abstract: Not available
By: Takeshi Gotoh, Kiyohide Saito, Masashi Abe, Akinori Uesugi
Abstract: Not available
By: Steven Karacic, Ali Abdu Rahman Al Meqbali, Abdulla Khalfan Al Kaabi, Dia Eddin Abdullah Altawallbeh, Hamad Ahmed Fadel, Peter Magee
Abstract: Not available
By: Fabien Lesguer, Jérémie Schiettecatte
Abstract: Not available
Trade and contacts between southern Arabia and East Asia: the evidence from al-Balīd (southern Oman)
By: Alexia Pavan, Chiara Visconti
Abstract: Not available
Ceramic exchange in the northern UAE during the Late Bronze Age: preliminary results of macroscopic and petrographic analyses
By: Maria Paola Pellegrino, Sophie Méry, Anne Benoist, Sophie Costa, Julien Charbonnier
Abstract: Not available
Excavations at the Old Fort of Stone Town, Zanzibar: new evidence of historic interactions between the Swahili coast and Arabian Gulf
By: Timothy Power, Mark Horton, Omar Salem al-Kaabi, Mohamed Matar al-Dhaheri, Myriam Saleh al-Dhaheri, Noura Hamed al-Hameli, Henry Webber, Rosie Ireland
Abstract: Not available
Late Islamic ceramic distribution networks in the Gulf: new evidence from Jazīrat al-Ḥamrāʾ in Ras al-Khaimah
By: Seth M.N. Priestman
Abstract: Not available
Some thoughts on the burial space inside QA 1-1, an Umm an-Nar tomb in Wādī al-Fajj (Oman): a case of incomplete paving of the tomb’s floor
By: Łukasz Rutkowski
Abstract: Not available
Assessing Kalba: new fieldwork at a Bronze Age coastal site on the Gulf of Oman (Emirate of Sharjah, UAE)
By: Christoph Schwall & Sabah A. Jasim
Abstract: Not available
Taxation and public labour in ancient Sabaʾ: an examination of ḫrṣ using the Leiden and Munich minuscule inscriptions
By: Jason Weimar
Abstract: Not available