Pol. Sci. 121 Government and Politics of the Middle East

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Pol. Sci. 121

Government and Politics of the Middle East

Fall 2012 Tuesday-Thursday 11:00-12:20 CSB 101

Professor Sanford Lakoff

Office Hour: Tuesday 1:15-2:15 SSB 442. Home telephone 619-296-1039; fax 619-688-1684

E-mail: slakoff@ucsd.edu
Course requirements: mid-term exam (25 percent), final exam (75 percent). Midterm exam (80 minutes) will cover material in Part I only. Final exam (3 hours) will cover the work of entire course, emphasizing Parts II-IV. Term paper is optional. Term paper grade will be counted only if it raises the course grade. Course grade would then be composed of midterm (20 percent), paper (40 percent) and final exam (40 percent). Term paper must be on a suggested (see list below) or approved topic, between 2,000 and 2,500 words. Final deadline for submission of term paper is Dec. 5. If submitted by no later than Nov. 19, it will be returned with comments and a provisional grade one week later, and may be revised and resubmitted by the final deadline; the higher of the two grades will count.
Written versions of each week’s lectures will be posted, along with other required or optional readings, on the Geisel Library website by Friday or Saturday of the week in which they are scheduled. They are accessible via reserves.ucsd.com. You will need a student network ID and password for access, or, from off campus, a browser configuration. For info on this see http://www-no.ucsd.edu/documentation/squid/index.html. If you encounter problems of access, contact the Geisel Library Reserves desk.
Required for purchase: Mary Habeck, Knowing the Enemy: Jihadist Ideology and the War on Terror (Yale UP, paperback); Ellen Lust, ed., The Middle East (Congressional Quarterly Press, 13th edition only); recommended: a subscription to the Monday-Friday editions of The New York Times for the ten weeks of the course.

Recommended for Purchase: For prior history of the Arab-Israeli conflict: either Mark Tessler, A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (paperback), or Howard M. Sachar, A History of Israel (paperback). For the recent history: Dennis Ross, The Missing Peace: the Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace; for the possible resolutions: Asher Susser, Israel, Jordan, and Palestine: the Two-State Imperative. For the rise of al Qaeda, Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower. For the “Arab Spring,” Bruce K. Rutherford, Egypt After Mubarak (2013 edition with a new introduction, in paperback) is highly recommended.
For Information: CIA, The World Fact Book (maps, basic data country by country) – on the internet.

I. Overview, History, and Background

Sept. 26 Lecture 1: Turmoil and Transition: An Overview of the Region

Oct. 1 Lecture 2: The Middle East in Early Modern History

Oct. 3 Lecture 3: The Middle East Since World War I

Oct. 8 Lecture 4: Islam, Islamism, and Jihadism

Oct. 10 Lecture 5: Conflict, Insecurity, and Political Violence in the Region

Oct. 15 Midterm Exam Prep: Class discussion of assigned reading

The Middle East, chapters 1-3, 5 (pp. 1-142, 193-237)

Habeck, entire. R

Recommended: Introduction to the paperback edition, Rutherford, Egypt After Mubarak

optional: Lakoff, “The Reality of Muslim Exceptionalism,” Journal of Democracy (October 2004), pp. 133-139; Lakoff, “Making Sense of the Senseless: Analyzing the ‘War on Terror’” (public lecture)

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17, MID-TERM EXAM (on material in Part I)

II. Comparing the Regimes

Oct. 22 Lecture 6: Regime Types and Explanatory Variables

Oct. 24 Lecture 7, 7a: Authoritarian-Dynastic: Saudi Arabia and other Arab Gulf states; Authoritarian-Dictatorial: Syria; Proto-Totalitarian: Iraq under Saddam Hussein, Libya under Qadhafi

Oct. 29 Lecture 8: Authoritarian-Theocratic: Iran (and Sudan for a time, Afghanistan under the Taliban)

Oct. 31 Lecture 9: Semi-Authoritarian Constitutional Monarchies: Jordan, Morocco; Semi-Authoritarian/Republican: Algeria

Nov. 5 Lecture 10: Democratic (1): Turkey, Lebanon (1943-1975)

Nov. 7 Lecture 11: Democratic (2): Israel

Nov. 12 Regimes in Transition: Iraq, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen
Reading: The Middle East chaps. 4, 9-24 (pp. 143-192, 371-778).

Lakoff, “Power to the People? Prospects for Democracy in the Middle East” (work in progress, on Library web reserve)

III. The Arab/Muslim/Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

Nov. 14 Lecture 12: Zionism as Ideology and Movement

Nov. 19 Lecture 13: Palestine during British Rule under the League of Nations Mandate (1920-1948)
Nov. 21 Lecture 14: From War to War—and Partial Peace (1948-1979)

Nov. 26 Lecture 15: The Rise of Palestinian Arab Nationalism and the Split Between Fatah and Hamas


Dec. 3 Lecture 16: The “Peace Process:” from the Oslo Accords (1993) to the Present

Reading: The Middle East, chapter 6 (pp.238-311); optional: Lakoff, “Herzl as an Intellectual” (public lecture)

Recommended: Books by Tessler, Sachar, Quandt, Peace Process; Ross; Susser.

IV. The U.S. and the Middle East

Dec. 5 Lecture 17 and class discussion: Defining and Pursuing the National Interest: U.S. Policy in the Middle East

Reading: Lakoff, “Leading from Behind: the ‘Obama Doctrine’ and the Middle East,’ IINS, Strategic Survey (2013); The Middle East, chaps. 7-8; optional: Lakoff, “Desert Snowstorm: Revisionism and the Gulf War” (Journal of Policy History, 6:2, 1994), pp. 209-231

Suggested Topics for Optional Term Paper (Other topics acceptable with approval)
1. The Two-State Solution: Can It Be Made to Work?

The premise underlying the 1993 Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO and the later “Road Map” and Annapolis Summit agreement is the creation of a viable Palestinian state in territories on the West Bank of the Jordan River and Gaza, coupled with a permanent agreement on boundaries, the status of refugees, and other issues. What are the major obstacles to the achievement of such a solution? Might an alternative be more feasible?

2. Islam and Democracy

Common to most Middle Eastern Muslim societies, David Pryce-Jones notes, “is the rule of a single power holder around whose ambitions the state has been arranged…. Every Arab state is explicitly Muslim in confession. Nowhere is there participation in the political process corresponding to any conception of representative democracy. No parliament or assembly except by appointment of the power holder, no freedom of expression throughout rigidly state-controlled media, no opinion polls, nothing except a riot to determine what public opinion might be.” But some Muslim-majority countries (such as Indonesia and Turkey) are democratic to a significant degree and others (Iraq, Egypt, Libya) are undergoing democratization. How might these countries reconcile Islam and democracy – or is that too difficult?

3. Religion and the State

Is a “wall of separation” between religion and politics essential to civil liberty? Discuss in regard to tensions between religion and secular culture in one or two Middle East countries, such as Israel, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, or Egypt.

4. What Future for Iran?

In view of the dissatisfaction of so many of its people, especially the young and middle class, as evident in the “Green movement,” could Iran’s “Islamic Republicanism” evolve in the direction of western-style democracy, as other authoritarian regimes have? Or does its foundation on religious principles enforced by an entrenched clerical regime united with the Revolutionary Guard militate against a peaceful transition?

7. Electoral Reform in Israel

Many democracies rely on proportional representation (PR) as an electoral system. In Israel’s case, however, PR has been criticized for encouraging a destabilizing fragmentation and political irresponsibility. Would Israel’s democracy be strengthened or weakened if its reliance on proportional representation were seriously modified or replaced?

8. Islam and the Status of Women

What is the status of women in Islam and in practice in the Islamic countries of the Middle East? Is their status compatible with universal standards of human rights? (You may wish to restrict the number of countries you consider.)

9. “Holy Terror:” “Islamism” and the New “Jihadis”

Various groups of Middle Eastern origin that engage in terrorism—Al Qaeda, Hamas, the Algerian A.I.G., Hezbollah, and others—portray themselves as “jihadis,” religious warriors defending Islam and the Muslim umma against attacks from “infidels” and corruption by “apostates.” Others who do not engage in terrorism also embrace the doctrine that has been called “Islamism” or “Islamic fundamentalism”—a highly politicized form of Islamic belief. Are these movements using a distorted version of Islamic belief or does their widespread existence point to a “clash of civilizations”—i.e., some deep fundamental antagonism between Islamic and modern non-Islamic values?

10. The Arab Spring and the Prospects for a Democratic Transition
What are the main obstacles to a transition to liberal democracy in Egypt and the other Arab countries in which authoritarian regimes have been overthrown? What measures might be taken to improve the prospects for transition?

Select Bibliography

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