16 Pages

Political Studies
Course Code
POLS 348
Oded Haklai

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1 POLS 348: Middle East Politics Midterm Notes Themes - Authoritarianism: why has it been so persistent in the Middle East? - Arab Spring: why now, and what are the consequences? - Religion & Politics: Is Islam compatible with democracy, or is it antagonistic towards democracy? Why is it that Islamic organizations provide the most opposition to authoritarianism in the region? - Role of ethnicity in the politics of the region (i.e. clan loyalties/ethnic ties have served to reinforce authoritarianism i.e. Libya) - Role of women in society and politics - State-building process (different even than democratization, which comes later) o State building vs. regime change Two Rival Approaches to the Middle East 1. Area Studies: scholars focus on the particularistic qualities of the region and interpret political events based on that knowledge i.e. language, culture, customs, etc. - Assert that analytical social scientists suffer from oversimplification – preoccupied with abstract models that are detached from reality - Research that is uninformed by cultural and historical contexts cannot be an accurate explanation of the politics of the region 2. Disciplinary Social Science: emphasis on general theoretical insights - Argue that Area Studies favours description over explanation, lacks analytical insight - Preoccupied with detail and specificity that are of little use for analysis; can provide us with information but can’t explain why In reality, the approaches are not so dichotomous, and there is value in incorporating aspects of both. Political Culture: The accumulation of values, beliefs and attitudes of a society towards its politics; in how politics interacts with peoples’ own lives in a country (for the purpose of this course, does not extend to international politics) - Aggregation of shared beliefs, values, norms of a society pertaining to its politics; i.e. many people in liberal democracies believe they can influence political decisions, even if they don’t actually do so: participatory political culture - If you believe your actions do not have influence: passive or cynical political culture - As in many other places that underwent European colonialism, Middle Eastern countries/citizens tend to believe they have very little influence over government/policy o Does this explain why liberal democratic principles are an unlikely outcome? o Area Studies would justify this using tradition/hierarchies from history, however the P.C. argument is distinguished from Area Studies? Political Economy: Sees political outcomes as the result of economic relations and distribution of economic resources, and their subsequent impact on social structures - Does not see politics as outcome of culture/customs like P.C. argument - On one hand the economies of the region lack an industrialized base, but they are also rich in an important resource: oil 2 o Rent money paid by foreign countries for pumping oil = rentier states in which the ruling oligarchy becomes wealthy o Also determines capacity to build autonomous counter powers to the state i.e. lack of middle class o Society remains too weak to challenge strong authoritarian state, thus no democracy o Societal implications of unequal distribution of wealth; 1/3 of adults in the region are illiterate, compromising both elite and mass commitment to democracy; impoverished masses do not prioritize democracy, and elites have much to lose from reform Institutionalism: Focus on political institutions, the “rules of the game” in society - State laws, constitutions, conventions, the legislature, the monarch - Do not have to be formal institutions, can be informal rules that organize power and resources in society i.e. convention of birthday presents… norms regarding social behaviour - Sometimes informal rules clash with formal institutions i.e. Iraq under Saddam Hussein; state law prohibited informal violent mechanisms for solving disputes – use judicial system if dispute cannot be solved, vs. informal code whereby disputes between clans are resolved by certain types of feuds - Weber: the state is the institution that exercises a monopoly of force in a defined territory; state sets the rules and enforces them in the territory under its jurisdiction - Not all states are the same, not all have the same institutional structure and capacity - Eva Bellin: provides an institutionalist explanation for the lack of democracy in the Middle East; states’ capacities to maintain monopolies on the means of coercion are typical in M.E. Rationality/Rational Choice: focus on individuals as the unit of analysis - Underlying assumption that individuals act in self interest - Self utility maximization prevents cooperation towards democracy - Cost-benefic analysis in which mass scale collective action towards democracy is unlikely because the risks associated with dissent under an authoritarian regime are high, and chances of success are low; would pay high personal price and not necessarily benefit - More likely to try to manage as best they can within the system, try to increase own utility at minimum cost - Differs from political economy model because the focus is on the individual, rather than the structures of economics - Immigrants: a cog in the authoritarian machine, because it is a better individual choice to emigrate than to stay and be repressed or to protest o New generation in Libya, Syria, Egypt, is willing to sacrifice their lives for political reasons, towards what is seen as the collective good - Rational choice cannot really capture these altruistic individual actions Historical Context: 622-632 10 year process in which Muhammad had conquered most of the Arabian Peninsula; area now subjected to new Islamic faith, which spread to Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Iran - Until this point, Egyptians and Syrians were not Arabs, their identity transformed with arrival of the new faith - Amalgamation occurred through intermarriage and adoption of the language of the conquerors from the South - With Muhammad’s first successor, religion an political amalgamated; CALIPH became both religious and political leader 3 - 661-750 Umayyad Dynasty/Caliphate: transformed from a theocracy into an Arab secular state; hereditary dimension was retained, thus had to be born into dynasty to succeed as Caliph; Arab social caste dominated - 747 open revolt against the regime, leading to the replacement of the Umayyad Dynasty by the Abbasid tribe - 750-1258 centre of political power shifted from Syria to area of Baghdad - Abbasid rule characterized more do by intellectual and cultural achievements than by military conquests - Whole populations converted to Islam because non-Muslims were subjected to special taxes; conversion allowed access to social mobility/dominant elements of society (unlike during the Umayyad Dynasty, social mobility was possible under Abbasid provided one was connected) o Conversion led to clientelistic ties in order to make connections with Arab nations o “Arab” is primarily a linguistic attribute; in more geographically remote areas like Turkey, the Arab empire had declined before Arabization could take place; but Islam continued to spread through conversion into the Baltics and Eastern Europe, as well as to South Asia through missionaries - Term: Hadith, after Muhammad died, issues arose that are not dealt with in the Qur’an; Hadith are a collection of statements attributed to Muhammad by his followers, and th collectively form the Sunna or common law of Islam; only in 9 century did Sunna gain states as genuine source of Islamic law - Term: Sharia, overall religious law comprised of Qur’an, Sunna according to the Hadith, and consensual rulings of jurists up until the 110 century; by the 10 century it was decided to prevent further additions to Sharia Sects of Islam st - Largest is the Sunni (90% of Muslims were Sunni at the beginning of the 21 century) - Sunni and Shiite split occurred over succession; Ali, Muhammad’s son in law was assassinated, replaced by Umayyad - War ensued in which Hussein, son of Ali, and his followers, resisted and were later massacred (year 680) - Those who supported Ali’s line of succession formed Shiite sect - Umayyad favoured Arabs, therefore Shiite sect absorbed many disenchanted non-Arabs, most notable neighbouring Persians, who are present-day Iranians - Arab/non-Arab divide declined after end of Umayyad but Persians remained largely Shiite - Different sects/offshoots of both Sunni and Shiite; significantly, Alawi is very small Shiite sect, but current Syrian regime is Alwai - Gradually internal fragmentations caused decline of Arab empire; Christianity re-emerged in 13 century, causing Arab empire to retreat back to the Middle East - Early 16 century, Ottoman Empire control; characterized in particular by its religious dimension as a Sunni Muslim Empire o Diversity of ethnic, linguistic and religious groups o Subjected groups organized into Millet system, which allowed non-Muslims a relatively large degree of autonomy, yet still treated as second class subjects o Ottoman Empire was ruled by Sultan-Caliph, combined political and religious leader o Empire was riddled with favouritism and corruption, eventually led to its decline as European powers gradually gained superiority th o Tanzimat reforms by the empire were too little too late in the early 19 century, as leaders looked to the West for modernization of bureaucracy and education systems 4 o World War I brought about collapse of the O.E., which had sided with Germany o Britain and France took over the region, new administrative units were established that effectively created the state structure of today Term: IMAM = religious leader; Shiites believe that Ali was handed a succession by divine authority in a line of Imam’s with unusual powers - After Ali and his sons, there were other imams, the last of whom disappeared and is expected by Muslims to reappear as the saviour of society (appears as the Mahdi) - Until the Mahdi’s arrival, Islam is to be interpreted by 12 scholars (Imami) acting as the Mahdi’s agents; unlimited time until Mahdi arrives… - Grand Ayatollah of the Iranian regime; do these leaders make the claim/utterance that they are holy/special/by divine right, or do their followers project this onto them? o Either legitimacy eminating from below, or capacity to enforce from above o Making false claim to Imamhood is punishable by death A new political order arises in the aftermath of World War I - Current state system in the region was brought about by the war - Turkey became independent, Egypt was quasi-independent, most Arab provinces were divided into what would become separate states - New forms of nationalism emerged: pan-Arab as well as localized o Arab nationalism had already emerged in the 19 century but the political division into separate units brought about newer, localized nationalisms, each of which claimed exclusivity for governance in given territory - Balfour Declaration: British Foreign Minister Lord Balfour promised Zionist leader a Jewish national homeland in the area that Britain captured in the war from the O.E. - France declares protection over Lebanon (economic investments and Christian minority) - Britain wanted to protect trade routes over land and sea to India; Russia had interests in Turkish straits where their exports and imports passed - 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, Turkey experienced national movement - U.S.A. emerged from the war as growing international power - Woodrow Wilson’s 14 Points: right to people’s self-determination; Wilson argued that imperialism was root cause of conflict in the world, conflicts between empires, which therefore had to be scaled back with advancement of national self-determination - League of Nations sanctioned British and French mandates in the region (peoples not yet “able” to govern themselves, to be “guided towards independence by advanced nations”); also included in the mandate was the Balfour Declaration, giving it legality - Britain divided Palestine into two regions, created Iraq from three distinct provinces that had previously had very little to do with each other administratively (access to water was from the South, and oil wealth lay mainly in the North, therefore combine the two) - “Churchill Hiccough”, myth of the creation of Jordan’s borders - Great Britain had made promises to its allies during the war, had to “pay up” afterwards i.e. King established in Transjordan, Hashemite dynasty still rules today - Territories in the M.E. were full of diverse peoples with religious and ethnic differences, sometimes thrust together in an arbitrary or strategically drawn boundary/country i.e. Iraqi King Faysal was Sunni Arab, but south was populated largely by Shiites - Jordan was created without any national resources or economic viability, and became dependent on foreign aid 5 - Legitimacy of the news states was questioned by their own populations at the outset; states were not created from within, and many locals saw divisions as serving foreign interests - Pan-Arabism blossoms, with emphasis on unity and called for obliteration of national boundaries separating Arab peoples - There was need to spend money on border security for the powers in control, which was ultimately spent at the expense of spending on the welfare of populations i.e. education, infrastructure, healthcare; any infrastructure usually served interests of the empire - How to achieve national unity in such conditions? Need for national flags, anthems, other symbolism; leaders of new regimes never openly rejected pan-Arabism, paying it lip-service at conferences, etc., however they were unwilling to give up their power and sovereignty o 1958 Egypt and Syria formed a brief United Arab Republic: Egypt was politically and economically far stronger than Syria, and power was centralized in Cairo; marginalization of local Syrian leaders caused Syria to withdraw in 1961 o Since 1960s pan-Arabism has declined significantly Creation of monarchy vs. republic - Monarchies were Egypt, Iraq, Jordan - Advantage to having a king was a measure of continuity, potentially for a very long tie; could always dismiss a popularly elected government that threatened British interests, as monarch was dependent on G.B. Emergence of Authoritarianism in Egypt - British presence since 1882, though legally E was part of O.E. until WW I - Following the war, demands by Egyptian nationalists to follow through on promise of national self-determination; Egypt was not a new creation, but had a very long history and traditions, and had itself been an imperial power in ancient times - Shortly after WW I British arrested and deported Egyptian politicians who expressed nationalist sentiments; 1919 uprising encompassed all strata of society, put down in 2 months with brutal force - 1922 Egypt granted conditional independence while G.B. retained control over defence, foreign policy and key economic interests, esp. wanted to retain control of Suez Canal - Conditional independence was actually a unilateral step by G.B.; didn’t consult nationalists, who were therefore not satisfied - WAFD nationalist political party was most popular political force in Egypt - Communists and the Muslim Brotherhood joined the Wafd in a coalition against G.B. control 1952 officers’ coup/July Revolution - Led by Nasser, turning Egypt from monarchy to independent republic that did away with the British; coalition included Wafd, communists and the M.B. - How did authoritarianism emerge? Why would Nasser not establish a democracy? - All three sects of the coalition had different aspirations (Nasser a secularist, conflicted with M.B., wanted to pass land reform, but didn’t want old elite to mobilize against him) - Different forces pitted against each other in democratic debate would have derailed Nasser’s program for Egypt; elections would have been compromised by rich land owners co-opting or threatening peasants who lived on their land - Nasser was a populist, man of the people; could not afford concessions to old elite or his program would fail, thus democracy was ruled out 6 Emergence of Authoritarianism in Iran (Persia) - Northern Persia was occupied by Russia, South by the British at the beginning of WW I - Bolshevik Revolution led to Russian withdrawal, and British moved into rest of Persia - 1919 Britain attempted to impose a treaty on Persia that would have made it a protectorate; it was so unpopular and humiliating that even the G.B. influenced government could not ratify - G.B. did not have resources to maintain an occupying force in Persia, therefore the British allied themselves with Reza Khan, charismatic military officer guided by personal ambition - Reza Khan outmanoeuvred political opponents and with British support, seized power and created a republic in 1926; proclaimed himself Shah, parallel with monarch - Politically he was motivated by several authoritarian leaders of the time including Mussolini and the Turkish dictator; despised and mistrusted liberal democracy New Order Policy - National consolidation, economic development, modernization and westernization - Expanded civil and military bureaucracies, waged war against tribes and secessionist movements that the Shah saw as threatening modern national identity - Promoted a unified Persian national identity - Nationalism advanced by Shah saw religion as primitive and anti-modern, Islam did not play a role in his ideology; therefore, had to prove that the nation had pre-Islamic roots - Replaced Arabic and Turkish signs with Persian, eliminate Turkish/Arabic words - Outlawed religious and ethnic cults, commissioned new school curricula, set up a propaganda machine designed to disseminate the “appropriate” beliefs - Significant cultural shift away from tribal and religious identities, including dress codes modelled after the West - Adopted state-directed economic policy to ensure development and eliminate foreign control of the economic; nationalized Iranian bank to replace British Imperial Bank; protectionism, including tariff barriers; import substitution industrialization - Confiscated landholdings of wealthiest landlords, setting up government monopolies over land and industry - Great Britain and other European powers, however, wanted Iran and other M.E. states to integrate into world market and expand trade - Shah replaced judicial system with secular civil law, eliminating Sharia - Restricted religious practices that he deemed barbaric i.e. prohibited women wearing the veil - Societal changes are still felt today; fundamental shift from largely tribal based rural society to urban society with urban industrial elite - Large segments of society were disaffected; religious elites and faithful, as well as disposed landowners and newly created urban working class, which had been subject to forced migration from self sufficient farms during urban restructuring - There was corruption at all levels of government, esp. in the Shah and his family - No checks and balances, accountability or transparency - Working class, religious and landowners joined to cooperate in 1978-79 Revolution Turkey - Nationalism, much in common with Iran; both were based on ruins of dynastic empires, th reformist groups in early 20 century challenged the empires - Military forces joined with nationalist forces - Like Iran, Turkey was refashioned with centralized bureaucracy, secular legal system; state- led development, reforms imposed on society with little discussion - Mustafa Kemal Ataturk 7 o Governance was far less personal than in Iran; a political party, not a man, ruled o Some meaningful institutions existed i.e. Grand National Assembly o (Thus less personalized, more institutionalized) o Kemal tried to persuade other Turkish leaders to turn their loyalty away from the O.E. o Grand National Assembly established once Turkey became impendent (?); GNA represented diverse beliefs and societal forces, making it acceptable across Turkey o Kemal did not have British allies, and therefore had to engage in a bargaining process with people who disagreed with him o People’s Party successful in 1923, abolition of Caliphate in 1924 o However, GNA was made up of a number of members who still viewed the sultan- caliph as the ideal leader, and Kemal took measures to dominate the Assembly o Marginalized opponents to create a single-party system and undertook revolution Six principles of Ataturk’s ideology (Kemalism, meant to characterize new national identity) - Republicanism, nationalism, populism, statism, secularism, reformism (modernizing forces) - Republican People’s Party, tried to turn it into an encompassing national organization; established electoral system that would ensure his party would always have a majority by way of high thresholds for representation o Statism: state control of the economy with extensive bureaucracy (like Iran)  Bureaucracy and political party often overlapped; joining the party could be route to bureaucratic success, therefore incentive to join party o Secularism like Iran; republicanism = breaking away from caliphate regimes, modern and western remodelling o Nationalism: there was no coherent national identity in Turkey following Ottoman Empire; need to establish unity and get rid of other religious, ethnic and tribal identities i.e. Kurdish; no minorities or alternatives to national I.D. acknowledged o Populism: Idea that the regime represents all of society, all people, not religious elite based regime, or a regime based on elite land ownership o Until today, these six principles are still considered the foundations of the current Turkish state; government may not openly challenge these principles, even when Islamic part was popularly elected around 10 years ago - Kemal died 1938, but his style of government remained until well after his death - About a decade afterwards, however, a new kind of Turkish entrepreneurial/bourgeoisie class emerged; trying to break through, engaging in non-state owned trade - 1946, Democrat Party was created to challenge RPP, winning elections in 1950 and gradual transition to democracy - Took 10 years because it was not easy to convince the Turkish people that Ataturk, father of the Turks, was not right about all things - Coups happened, but not intended to move from civilian to military rule Authoritarianism: The Arab Spring has brought changes in a minority of countries in the region, and authoritarianism is still the predominant form of government: why? Roger Owen: relatively small number of people control an extensive apparatus, thus authoritarianism arises and persists General characteristics of the Middle East: Power is highly centralized; cccepting that the central government seeks to exercise monopoly over all legal political activity (pluralism/alternative power sources are suppressed) 8 Authoritarianism in the Middle East: Combine brutal suppression with economic incentives to broaden support bases; characteristic of the M.E. in particular Two types of authoritarian rule - 1. Republics: based on single-party o Include Syria, Egypt, Iraq until the fall of Saddam Hussein - 2. Monarchies: based on family-rule o Include Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia - Distinction between the two is not always clear; republican regimes also contain family ties at the core of power; i.e. In Syria, Hafiz al-Asad was replaced by his son Bashar, in Egypt, Hoseni Mubarak would have been replaced by his son Gamal; Hussein in Iraq was also grooming his sons so one of them could take over in time - Is Egypt still authoritarian? It is now a regime in transition, but we do not know what the end point will be - A more accurate distinction can be made between those regimes that experienced revolutions and those that did not; old monarchs associated with colonial powers were overthrown, normally replaced by military and singly party rule in Egypt (1952), Iraq (1958) and there were coups over several decades in Syria Expansive Bureaucracies - When Arab states gained independence, state bureaucratic apparatuses expanded greatly, increasing power and pervasiveness of the regime/state Why the expansion? - 1. The need to maintain internal order and security after the departure of colonial powers - 2. Desire to establish control over defined territory vis-à-vis external rivals - 3. State was also responsible for processes that had not existed before i.e. import substitution industrialization required massive expansion of state bureaucracy/employment - 4. Need for administration to promote social welfare programs for population, including health care workers
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