Emergence of the state system in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region
36913The regional history is predominated by the presence and then collapse of the Ottoman empire and the presence and withdrawal of European colonial powers that had various arrangements with local leaders. As discussed above, the emergence of independent states was marked by forces pulling in different directions. Arab nationalism had the potential to unite many countries in the region while more narrow interests and the benefits of sovereign power undermined this unity. Further, the varying course of national independence had profound effects on political development in each state.
For this discussion, focus on how historical circumstances are reflected in contemporary relations as you address the following questions:
1. To what extent does either the Syrian war ( https://www.nytimes.com/topic/destination/syria ) or the sectarian conflict in Iraq ( https://www.cfr.org/report/renewed-violence-iraq ). reflect competing forces that were present as far back as the emergence of the state system? In other words, how can these current conflicts be better understood by first understanding the historical context?
2. Is it a viable solution to problems rooted partially in the past –in the bringing of the European state system to the Middle East—to dismantle sovereign Iraq or Syria into more functional smaller states? Be sure to explain and justify your response, using what you have learned about the emergence of the state system in the region.
Fawcett, L. (2013). International Relations of the Middle East. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1-59.
• The following books go into more depth about the state building process in the region and will help you better understand the historical context:
o Selvik, K. and Stenslie, S. (2011). Stability and Change in the Modern Middle East [PDF file size, 27.46 KB] London: I.B. Tauris, pp.21-45. Retrieved from www.ebscohost.com.
o Schwarz, R. (2011). War and State Building in the Middle East [PDF file size, 43.60 KB] Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1-30. Retrieved from www.ebscohost.com.
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