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The international relations of the Middle East have long been dominated by uncertainty and conflict. External intervention, interstate war, political upheaval and interethnic violence are compounded by the vagaries of oil prices and the claims of military nationalist and religious movements. Fred Halliday sets this region and its conflicts in context, providing on the one The international relations of the Middle East have long been dominated by uncertainty and conflict. External intervention, interstate war, political upheaval and interethnic violence are compounded by the vagaries of oil prices and the claims of military nationalist and religious movements. Fred Halliday sets this region and its conflicts in context, providing on the one hand, a historical introduction to its character and problems, and, on the other, a reasoned analysis of its politics. In an engagement with both the study of the Middle East and the theoretical analysis of international relations, Halliday, one of the best known and most respected scholars writing on the region today, offers a compelling and original interpretation. Written in a clear, accessible and interactive style, the book is designed for students, policymakers, and the general reader. Fred Halliday is Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics. He is the author and editor of several publications including Two Hours that Shook the World: September 11, 2001: Causes and Consequences (Tauris, 2002), Islam & the Myth of Confrontation (Tauris, 2002), The World at 2000: Perils and Promises (Macmillan, 2001), and Nation and Religion in the Middle East (Lynne Rienner, 2000).


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The international relations of the Middle East have long been dominated by uncertainty and conflict. External intervention, interstate war, political upheaval and interethnic violence are compounded by the vagaries of oil prices and the claims of military nationalist and religious movements. Fred Halliday sets this region and its conflicts in context, providing on the one The international relations of the Middle East have long been dominated by uncertainty and conflict. External intervention, interstate war, political upheaval and interethnic violence are compounded by the vagaries of oil prices and the claims of military nationalist and religious movements. Fred Halliday sets this region and its conflicts in context, providing on the one hand, a historical introduction to its character and problems, and, on the other, a reasoned analysis of its politics. In an engagement with both the study of the Middle East and the theoretical analysis of international relations, Halliday, one of the best known and most respected scholars writing on the region today, offers a compelling and original interpretation. Written in a clear, accessible and interactive style, the book is designed for students, policymakers, and the general reader. Fred Halliday is Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics. He is the author and editor of several publications including Two Hours that Shook the World: September 11, 2001: Causes and Consequences (Tauris, 2002), Islam & the Myth of Confrontation (Tauris, 2002), The World at 2000: Perils and Promises (Macmillan, 2001), and Nation and Religion in the Middle East (Lynne Rienner, 2000).

30 review for The Middle East in International Relations: Power, Politics and Ideology

  1. 4 out of 5

    Alanoud (Anna)

    I'm just gonna include my book review that I wrote for my IPE class. The Middle East in International Relations: Power, Politics, and Ideology Introduction: The Middle East in International Relations is a book written by Fred Halliday, who was an Irish writer and academic specializing in International Relations and the Middle East, with particular reference to the Cold War, Iran, and the Arabian Peninsula. (Cambridge University Press, 2005) Halliday’s purpose of writing this book is to explain the M I'm just gonna include my book review that I wrote for my IPE class. The Middle East in International Relations: Power, Politics, and Ideology Introduction: The Middle East in International Relations is a book written by Fred Halliday, who was an Irish writer and academic specializing in International Relations and the Middle East, with particular reference to the Cold War, Iran, and the Arabian Peninsula. (Cambridge University Press, 2005) Halliday’s purpose of writing this book is to explain the Middle East in terms of International Relations and historical sociology in addition to their categories and theories. If a theory failed to explain a situation in that region, the theory “could not fly”. He opted for the historical method as his methodology in conducting his research of the Middle East region. His thesis aims to illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of International Relations approaches through their analysis on the Middle East and the international relations in general. Summary: The author’s introduction sets the tone of the book; International Relations is a tricky social science when trying to be applied to the Middle East. Halliday identifies certain aspects such as language that contribute to the understanding of the Middle East, hence his use of the term “Arabist.” However, he intends for this book to provide an introduction to the politics and relations in the region. Additionally, he points out his engagement with the countries in that region –his PhD was on South Yemen- their policy-makers, academics and critics and culture that have contributed to writing this book. Part I: Concepts, regions and states Halliday starts his analysis of the Middle East through five approaches. He includes criteria to his theory selection based on a funny analogy; mushrooms (edible, poisonous and indifferent). He highlights the importance of basing the politics in the Middle East on a theory. Halliday divides the literature into fives broad categories: Historical Analysis: while the narrative is a necessary basis and “gate-keeper”, yet there is not enough representation. Realism: covers the argument of security, it gives a narrow concept of the state and ignores the state-society and transnational factors. Foreign Policy Analysis: allows for insider insights on society and decision-making process yet compromise losing focus on the state. Ideologies, perception and norms: following up on foreign policy, understanding ideas and values could help understand the interests of states. However, it creates certain difficulties such as the ideology of west vs. Islam. Historical and International sociology: offers the most promising analysis. It shows how politics and international relations are conducted in addition to the historical origins and basic activities of a state, which ultimately helps the study of the region in terms of conflict, state-society, state-class and ideology. After introducing those categories, Halliday discusses them in details and how they can be applied to a state within a context. Not only does it serve that, it helps explain the state’s foreign policy, which ultimately controls the parameters of international relations. Bureaucratic interests, public opinion, state capacity, norms and external contexts allow for a structured multileveled analysis of the Middle East. Part II: History Halliday presents the narrating of state formation of the new modern Middle East. He starts with the confrontation with Europe from 1600-2000 to cover colonialism and independence. This provides an understanding of the region as it was previously colonialized. It caused pressure and provided a significant role that set the road for external factors. With the social change from the WWI and the then WWII and later the USSR, political dimension of the Middle East kept on changing as well. The author covers in detailed narration the consequences and effects of such events (colonialism, WWII..) The Cold War played another equally important role as it provided a global conflict and caused regional upheavals. With the global confrontation and asymmetric interests and through the help of allies in the Middle East, it created a new international context. Iran was an addition as a major influence. The revolution of 1979 shaped not only the relations between the Iranians themselves but also internationally. Turkey and the Arab-Israeli dispute were another examples of regional and global conflicts. After those events, the world was facing the greater West Asian crisis that framed a new international changed with regional consequences. There was the start of new inter-state conflicts such as the Gulf-War. According to the author those are believed to have produced the issues that contributed to the attacks of 11 September 2001. With the fall of USSR and a weak Russia, USA appeared to be the hegemon and in the region as well. This did create some regional alignments. Part III: Analytic issues The author does seem to have had an appetite for a depressing history as he moves to cover some military conflicts: war, revolt, and strategic rivalry. Halliday takes the previously mentions regional conflicts and adds a few with additional explanations as to what they had as implications for the formation of the new Middle East. These conflicts created some nationalist movements, regional rivalries and internal warfare that shaped the politics of the region. The author didn’t forget about the modern ideologies: political and religious that were evident with the continuous growing –metaphorically- of the region. The concepts of “Agents”, “Values”, “explicit”, ”implicit” dominated the following analysis of the book. He does include other cultural dimensions such as interests, class, ethnicity and social elite that add to the political power in the region. Those also create Middle Eastern variations and different nationalisms. Fundamentalism too is an aspect to be considered as it has an influence on the state, its modernity and international relations. Informal ideologies such as perception and beliefs need to be considered, as they are a part of a discourse that shapes domestic and foreign politics. However, a new challenge to the state is shown as transnational movements appear. Muslim Brotherhood is one example. The author provides five case studies: • Nationalist movements. • Islamism: the return of the state. • Political violence. • Culture and media. • Diasporas. He concludes with the question of whether transnational is a long-term movement of not. International Political Economy is his final chapter in part III. He examines the implications of the international political economy system in the Middle East over the years. Issues like modernity and the curse of the black gold generated economic growth that shaped or/and distorted some states in the region. Critical Analysis: The author’s focus on the Middle East as a region to test the applicability of international relations theories is the premise of this book. Halliday’s argument is that this could help us point out the pros and cons of each theory and therefore can be generalized. His use of certain analogies helped simplify certain issues, yet it would have helped to elaborate on some of those terms. An example would be “to fly”, it felt that a few interpretations could be drawn from this. Halliday’s analysis of history combined with sociology and economy paints a picture of the factors controlling the interrelation of a state in the Middle East. His footnotes are great informative sources that add a brief explanation. The great amount of examples: Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, and Israel are some of the states discussed in his book that provide data to accompany his analysis. His referencing of some major theorists like Marxism, also historical sociologists and many experts in the field added a sense of credibility and importance to the writing of this literary work. Yet there were certain points that the author failed to connect. International Political Economy is one of them. In part III, the last section of the chapter (9) the author discussed IPE over the 200 years that has a role in the region. It seemed a bit late to discuss such an important aspect. The author’s structure to write this book failed to present his findings in a simplified way, as he tended to include a lot of historical background information. Trying to see the prove of his argument was lost between the theoretical and historical analysis. His objective to conceptualize the region within IR theories could have been improved to include a clear structure of actors, agents and outcomes. However, truth to be told his explanation of a set of issues were discussed in great lengths that could add value to anyone interested in the Middle East. Halliday persisted to present his argument in various forms and against a few challenges (hence the 5 approaches in part I). His coverage of historical narration of the Middle East was impressive and very detailed, especially as documenting previous conflicts and wars did prove to help build his case. It sets the tone to what to expect in the following chapters. It did seem that the book was intended to cover the basics of International Relations in the Middle East, however, I couldn’t help but notice that the author did include a lot of material that left me a bit overwhelmed. Conclusion: Reading a book on the Middle East that puts things into a better perspective is rarely found. The author’s choice of topic and outline is believed to be insightful. While the books offers historical analysis, Halliday excels in combining the aspect of international relations literature to cover theories like realism and constructivism. It helps to notice that Halliday isn’t a historian; he didn’t write the chapters in a chronological order. However, his presentations help make a point; in order for international relations theories to “fly” in the Middle East, they do need to provide an accurate analysis of the power, politics, and ideologies in that region.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Muhammed KARAKUŞ

    Anladığımız uluslararası ilişkiler literatüründen ziyade dış politika bağlamında kavramları, teorileri ve olayları analiz eden bir kitap. Alışmış olduğumuz kişileri ve bakış açısını göremeyince kitap biraz zor bitti. Dış politika çalışanlar için işe yarar olduğu kanaatindeyim

  3. 5 out of 5

    Melike

    Even though there are some missing points in the book, this must be one of the best resources to understand the IR in the Middle East. The book was separated into different chapters to make the reader find what he is searching for easily. Mr.Halliday's smooth explanation and simple construction makes you feel more willing to read the book. Just like the previous review, I also wonder why he has not mentioned about water which is the essential part of the Middle East. I also found some parts quite Even though there are some missing points in the book, this must be one of the best resources to understand the IR in the Middle East. The book was separated into different chapters to make the reader find what he is searching for easily. Mr.Halliday's smooth explanation and simple construction makes you feel more willing to read the book. Just like the previous review, I also wonder why he has not mentioned about water which is the essential part of the Middle East. I also found some parts quite repetitive.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    In comparison to some of his other books, this was way to hard to read and very long. It did have great ideas that I used in my dissertation, but man write it so everyone can read it dang it! An amazing academic acheivement.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    Thorough examination of the Middle East throughout history and how well different IR theories explain the Middle East.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Fiona Cochrane

  7. 4 out of 5

    Max Christopher Perry

  8. 5 out of 5

    Artur

  9. 4 out of 5

    Yasmin Mohammed

  10. 4 out of 5

    Baerbelz

  11. 4 out of 5

    Azmy Hedrah

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nazlı Deniz

  13. 4 out of 5

    Federica Smith

  14. 5 out of 5

    Gökalp

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jack

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bobby

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amal El-maaytah

  18. 5 out of 5

    Naghem

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kate

  20. 4 out of 5

    Marcos

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mike

  22. 4 out of 5

    Aram Doski

  23. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Netzband

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ovunc

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mathew Lewis

  26. 5 out of 5

    Yusuf Ak

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ahmed

  28. 4 out of 5

    Amr Magdi

  29. 4 out of 5

    Wes

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ben

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