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The Middle East in International Relations


  • 5 maps 6 tables
  • Page extent: 388 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.57 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521597418 | ISBN-10: 0521597412)

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The Middle East in International Relations

Power, Politics and Ideology

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. The purpose of this book is to set 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, the author, who is one of the best known and most authoritative 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, policy-makers and the general reader.

FRED HALLIDAY is Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics. His publications include Nation and Religion in the Middle East (2000), Two Hours that Shook the World (2001) and 100 Myths about the Middle East (2005).

    The Contemporary Middle East 4

        Series editor: Eugene L. Rogan

Books published in The Contemporary Middle East series address the major political, economic and social debates facing the region today. Each title comprises a survey of the available literature against the background of the author's own critical interpretation which is designed to challenge and encourage independent analysis. While the focus of the series is the Middle East and North Africa, books are presented as aspects of a rounded treatment, which cut across disciplinary and geographic boundaries. They are intended to initiate debate in the classroom, and to foster understanding amongst professionals and policy makers.

1 Clement M. Henry and Robert Springborg, Globalization and the Politics of Development in the Middle East
hb 0 521 62312 X pb 0 521 62631 5
2 Joel Beinin, Workers and Peasants in the Modern Middle East
hb 0 521 62121 6 pb 0 521 62903 9
3 Zachary Lockman, Contending Visions of the Middle East: The History and Politics of Orientalism
hb 0 521 62080 5 pb 0 521 62937 3

The Middle East in International Relations

Power, Politics and Ideology

Fred Halliday
London School of Economics and Political Science

Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo

Cambridge University Press
The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 2RU, UK

Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York
Information on this title:

© Cambridge University Press 2005

This book is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception
and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements,
no reproduction of any part may take place without
the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2005

Printed in the United States of America

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

Library of Congress Cataloguing in Publication data
Halliday, Fred.
The Middle East in International Relations / Fred Halliday.
p. cm. – (The contemporary Middle East ; 4)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0 521 59240 2 – ISBN 0 521 59741 2 (pbk.)
1. Middle East – Foreign relations. 2. Middle East – Politics and government – 20th century. I. Title. II. Series.
DS63.18.H354 2005
320.956′09′045 – dc22 2004052643

ISBN-13 978-0-521-592406 hardback
ISBN-10 0-521-592402 hardback
ISBN-13 978-0-521-597412 paperback
ISBN-10 0-521-597412 paperback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this book, and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.


  List of maps page vii
  List of tables viii
  Acknowledgements ix
  Introduction: world politics, the Middle East and the complexities of area studies 1
Part I Concepts, regions and states
1   International Relations theory and the Middle East 21
2   The making of foreign policy: states and societies 41
Part II History
3   The modern Middle East: state formation and world war 75
4   The Cold War: global conflict, regional upheavals 97
5   After the Cold War: the maturing of the Greater West Asian Crisis 130
Part III Analytic issues
6   Military conflict: war, revolt, strategic rivalry 167
7   Modern ideologies: political and religious 193
8   Challenges to the state: transnational movements 229
9   International political economy: regional and global 261
Part IV Conclusion
10   The Middle East in international perspective 303
  Appendices 325
1   Maps and tables 326
2   Chronologies 338
  Select bibliography 356
  Index 367


1   Middle East states, 1900 page 326
2   Middle East states, 1930 328
3   Middle East states, 2000 330
4   The Arab–Israeli dispute, 1949 332
5   The Arab–Israeli dispute, after June 1967 333
6   Movements of oil exports from the Middle East, 2000 334


1   Middle Eastern states: population growth to 2050 page 335
2   Proven world oil reserves, 2000 336
3   World oil production by region, 2000 336
4   Middle Eastern oil production, 2000 337
5   Military expenditure by region, 1999 337
6   Foreign direct investment by region, 1999 337


Any introduction of this kind must hint at, but cannot do justice to, the influence and friendship of those who have over the years (in my case, for forty) sought to encourage, correct and inform the author. Three constituencies of people have been particularly important for me. In the first place, friends and comrades from the region itself. Secondly those, be they academics, journalists or general writers, who, while often of different, sometimes very different, orientation to the author, were my teachers and who served to inspire, and contest with me, the study of the region. I may not have accepted, or now accept, their conclusions, but I certainly have remembered their questions. Finally, and in an ongoing community of critique, interaction, theoretical debate and the rushed but treasured, exchange of political jokes from the region, the specialists and academics with whom I have worked over the years. This third category includes MERIP in Washington, the Gulf Committee and the Middle East Study Group in London, many colleagues in British and other western, including Russian, universities, and journalists, from the region and without. A special word of praise and thanks too to LSE’s neighbours at Bush House in the Aldwych, London, for my colleagues of the BBC World Service in English, and the Arabic, Turkish and Persian services. They have been objects of entrapment and vilification by those with power, and universally admired and respected throughout the region: these, not the spokesmen of governments, the munafiqin of east and west, and the pedlars of supposedly holy texts and ancient entitlements, nor, in academe, the traders of epistemological trickery and cargo cults, are the real heroes of the dialogue of peoples, of civilisations, and indeed of the construction of a saner, more informed and more peaceful, world.

   In all cases it would be odd, a disappointment indeed, if there had been complete agreement between us, but without interaction with these colleagues no insight would ever have been achieved. I have been privileged to know them, now over four decades, and to discuss the shared interests that we face. Against all of this background, I claim little originality, but rather partnership in an ongoing, and internationalist, endeavour. I stand, in the best sense of intellectual and academic continuity, on the shoulders of these people, as well as amidst a never-ending milieu of information, disputation and good humour.

   In regard to the second group, those under whom I studied, I would mention, in particular, those whom I would call, in the old and valid phrase, not eroded by post-modernity or epistemological fashion, or the transnational banalities of globalisation, my teachers. Those whom I knew personally, at Oxford, at SOAS, and in the broader Middle East and social science communities of the 1960s and 1970s: Hamza Alavi, Tony Allan, Terry Byers, Donal Cruise O’Brien, Ernest Gellner, Thomas Hodgkin, P. J. Holt, Albert Hourani, Nikki Keddie, Abbas Kelidar, Anne Lambton, Bernard Lewis, Robert Mabro, Roger Owen, Edith Penrose, Maxime Rodinson, Teodor Shanin, P. J. Vatikiotis, Bill Warren. They were people at once wise and of their times, cosmopolitan, concerned and, where they judged appropriate, awkward in their views and judgements. Despite all differences of opinion, they are respected and read in the Middle East as much as in the west. Successor generations in universities, the media and policy fields would do well to learn from their scholarship, not least their linguistic abilities, and from their independence of mind. Here a time-honoured saying is especially relevant: they do not make people like that any more.

   In writing a book of this kind there are also many contemporary colleagues and friends to whom I owe appreciation and gratitude. To the readers of the manuscript in whole or in part – Louise Fawcett, George Lawson, Roger Owen, Eugene Rogan, David Styan – I express warm thanks for their criticism and careful reading. Eugene Rogan, of St Antony’s College Oxford, and Marigold Acland, of CUP, were the ideal commissioning editors, patient but insistent. In production, Alison Powell and Carol Fellingham Webb were the most supportive and efficacious of allies. At LSE, my colleagues the late Philip Windsor, one of the most economical and wisest of observers, and Katerina Dalacoura, who brings to the teaching of our students at LSE the political acumen for which her people have been known for more than two thousand years, and a sensibility for the variant idioms, conceits and cultures of the Mediterranean. To the veterans of IR 419, now ‘The International Relations of the Middle East’, quondam ‘The Middle East and the Great Powers’, drawn from east and west, from diasporas emigrant and homeward-looking, and onto whom, in future years, the responsibility of understanding this region will pass, I express my thanks for their stimulation, questions, reading suggestions and, not least, pertinent regional anecdotes. My Departmental Convenors, Michael Yahuda and Margot Light, were of special assistance, at once, as befits their station, exigent and permissive, while Jennifer Chapa was, as ever, supportive and astute in helping with the preparation of the manuscript, and resilient in the face of multiple versions and drafts.

   Among those others who have, over the years, enriched my understanding of the international relations of the region I would, in particular, mention: Ervand Abrahamian, Ayhan Aktar, Abdullah al-Ashtal, Shlomo Avineri, Mohammad Ayoob, Nazih Ayubi, Hanna Batatu, Jahangir Behrooz, Azmi Bishara, Mehdi Boroujerdi, Musa Budeiri, Stan Cohen, Victor Philip Dahdaleh, Khalid al-Dakhil, Mohamed-Reza Djalali, Abdulnabi al-Ekry, Anne Enayat, Hamid Enayat, Louise Fawcett, Abdel-Aziz al-Filali, Fawaz Gerges, Mai Ghoussoub, Said Hammami, Roger Hardy, Khalid Hariri, Mohammad Salman Hassan, Rosemary Hollis, Stephen Howe, Faleh Jabar, Omar al-Jawi, Deniz Kandiyuoti, Rifaat Kandiyoti, Ibrahim Karawan, Mostafa Karkouti, Ahmad al-Khatib, Gilles Kepel, Joseph Kostiner, Robert Mabro, Kanan Makiya, David Menashri, Ali Muhammadi, Ghanim al-Najjar, Vitali Naumkin, Tim Niblock, Gerd Nonnemann, Jim Paul, James Piscatori, Ruhallah Ramazani, Johannes Reissner, Barbara Allen Roberson, Barry Rubin, Muhammad Rumaihi, Malise Ruthven, Farian Sabahi, Abdulaziz Sager, Hazem Saghie, Abdullah Yousef Sahar, Rosemary Said, Yezid Sayigh, Yousif Sayigh, Israel Shahak, Sharon Shalev, Udo Steinbach, Joe Stork, Yasir Suleiman, Charles Tripp, Daphna Varzi, Alexei Vassiliev, Giorgio Vercellin, Shelagh Weir, Tony Zahlan, Sami Zubaida.

   In particular, the members of two communities that have their origins in the early 1970s, if not before – the Middle East Study Group in London and MERIP Reports in Washington – have, over more than three decades, provided a stimulating personal and intellectual context for discussion of the region. In all of these years, and in the writing of these pages, my family, Maxine and Alex, were of indispensable support, not least in visiting some of these countries with me and in following, in moments of quiet as of high and painful drama, the events unfolding in the Middle East itself, let alone in debating the relevance, or lack thereof, of broader issues of social theory and historical analysis to the events of this region in modern times.

   A special word of thanks is also due to my research students at LSE since 1983. Over more than twenty years they have been a source of stimulation, challenge, sometimes of quite a spirited kind, and intellectual confirmation: if Socratic questioning of the assumed is a major part of the learning process, there are times, more often than one is professionally enjoined to admit, when one wonders who is the teacher and who the taught. I could write a paragraph of thanks to each.

   The past four decades were years of high hopes, and bitter moments, or revolution, counter-revolution, war and political violence. The Middle East specialists of my generation lived, and argued, through these times. It is now for others to take this analysis, and some of theoretical perspective and ‘complex solidarity’, into the times to come: the least one can say is that, on the basis of the information we have, and the most basic historic sense, the next decades will be at least as momentous, and intellectually challenging, as those now past. The advice of the late Maxime Rodinson, al-murshid al-akbar, ‘the greatest guide’, quoted by way of conclusion to this book, at the end of chapter 10, should serve us all.

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