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POLI 341 (39)
Chapter 2

Chapter 2 - Middle East Regional System

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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 341
Imad Mansour

FPMESChapter 2 the Middle East regional system The ME in this book is taken to be the Arab League members including Turkey Iran and Israel Although the ME may look like it operates as one unit it is very fragmentedWhen the Arab world is divided its very vulnerable to penetration from the great powers and to threats from its nonArab neighbors Although Turkey Iran and Israel are nonArab state they are very involved in the regions conflicts and are therefore an integral part of the regional balance of power The Arab core is weak so it finds itself seeking alliances with external powers to stabilize its coreBetween Identity and Sovereignty There is a fracture btwn the nation identity ad the territorial state sovereignty The problem with the ME is such that there isone nation many states further complicating FP The Arab WorldThe language of Arabic is used as the ingredient of nationhood it helped the Arabic media which is very influential in the region to become more homogeneousIt instills this idea of shared experience and identity it makes the ME seem like avast sound chamber Niblock argues that interests of the separate Arab states are too intertwined and that as a result transstate identity Arabism and Islam are to many ppl more what they identify with rather than identifying with the stateSome view the extreme fragmentation of the region as a dive and rule strategy once used by the imperialists and is a cause of Arab weaknessThis idea was manifested in Arab nationalism was viewed all Arabic speakers as a part of one nation All Arab speakers should act together and have the same intereststhe result of this was the rise of bathism a single state embracing this nationArabism is enshrined in state constitutionsThe historical memories of greatness under unity like the 1973 war and the use of theoil weapon and the idea that they are readily dominated when divided has kept Arabism alive The 1967 defeat has shamed all Arabs while the 1973 war inspired solidarity across the region The fact that most of the ME shared Lebanons euphoria at Israels evacuation of southern Leb under Hezbollah in 2000 shows foreign policymakers that there is a powerful sway in the ME regarding sentiments to act for common Arab causes not simplyreason of state Territorial fault lines in the region could potentially generate identities supportive of territorially bases as opposed to linguistically or ethnically based separate nationsMultiple levels of identity coexist with varianceSome states identification with the separate states overshadows without wholly displacing Arabism in otters state and Arab identities overlap while in yet others state identities remain subordinate to Arabism At the far end of the spectrum there are rentier states like Kuwait where state identification comes first The geographical separate Maghreb North Africa has also always identifies less with Arab nationalism than local statehoodHowever the strong reaction in the Maghreb to the 1991 western attack on Iraq shoes that Arab Islamic identities remained powerful Egypt on the other hand there was a strong territorial identity based on the Nile valley and a history of statehood predating the Arabs Pharaonic Towards the late 1970s when Egypt was moving away from its PanArab ideologies there was still a strong sense of Egyptians feeling that they are a part of the Arab nation and that they are natural leaders in the ME
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