This special issue is devoted to the study of not only political changes in the Middle East but also to the implications of these changes in regard to the global international system of the 1970s. We can observe that through the 1970s, there developed a growing interdependence between the Middle East, the global system as a whole and other regional systems. This interdependence has had far-reaching effects on other regions. In retrospect, the Third Arab-Israeli War of 1967 caused the following political changes in the Middle East in the 1970s: (1) The change of power in the Arab World As a result of the War, the power balance of the Arab World changed radically in favour of the conservative and oil producing regimes which came to aid the defeated hardliners. Nasser's Pan-Arabism disappeared from the Arad political scene. Each Arab state chose her foreign policy based on her geopolitical position and the national interest. This has split the Arab World and led to multipolarization. (2) The re-emergence of the Palestinian liberation movement In the aftermath of the Six Day War, the Palestinians started their armed struggle against the Israeli forces. The PLO was reborn with Arafat as its chairman. The Palestine question has come to international recognition as a fundamental element in the Middle East conflict. (3) The politicization of oil The oil producing states enhanced their position vis-à-vis the international oil companies and the consuming states in the 1970s. Arab states exploited their oil resources as a political weapon for settling the Arab-Israeli conflict in favour of their cause in 1973. (4) The activation of Islam as a political force In August 1969 arson caused damage to the al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's holy place in Jerusalem under Israeli occupation. This matter was taken up in the first Islamic Summit the following month. Furthermore, the psychological impact upon the Muslims caused by Israeli liberation of Jerusalem and the socio-cultural impact resulting from the rapid modernization of the oil producing states have made domestic politics more fluid, to the extent that a crisis of identity has occurred. (5) Israel as a regional power Israel's survival is no more in jeopardy. With security unchallenged and nationalistic sentiments heightened, Israel has been more concerned about the internal developments of neighbouring Arab states. This can be seen, for example, by Israel's strong reaction to Jordan's crisis of 1970, Lebanon's civil war after 1975, and the arms build-up of Arab neighbours. In the global international system, both the United States and the Soviet Union, which began putting the Middle East under their control after World War II, are steadily on the decline. In the late 1960s, when both powers reached an impasse in their military-economic positions, the global international system was transformed in the direction of multipolarization as a consequence of the loosening of ties in their own camps. The above-mentioned phenomena of the Middle East from 1967 onwards, created a major impact in the global system. The October War of 1973 is an example. During the War the Arab oil producing countries imposed the “oil weapon” on the industrial countries urging pro-Arab policy statements. This accelerated the multipolarization of the global system. The Western countries, which depended increasingly on Arab oil, differed sharply on how to formulate policies on such issues as oil and Palestine in the face of Arab blackmail. The United States could no longer dictate to the EC and Japan concerning Middle East issues. Moreover, in the early 1980s, the United States and the Soviet Union respectively lost military prestige in Iran and Afghanistan. In Iran angry Iranians took the American Embassy staff hostage. But the United States could do nothing for more than a year with the exception of one attempted rescue operation.
Some argue that the Iranian Revolution is a reaction to the rapid modernization carried out by the Shah. According to others it is an “Islamic” revolution. The perceptions in part stem from the dominant role played by the traditional religious establishment in Iran. The former views it as a negative reactionary force, while the latter views it as a positive progressive one. Reality, however, lacks the neatness of these hypotheses. If the former is correct, then why was there no reaction in the period 1974-77 when the “modernization” drive was proceeding at full speed? Why did it come only in 1978 when the Iranian economy had already slowed down? On the other hand, if one attributes the cause of the revolution to the doctrine of Islam, particulary to its Shi'ite version, then one is again hard pressed to explain why the Shi'ite establishment could coexist with several Iranian monarchies for longer than four centuries since Safavid times. Why has the allegedly “revolutionary” ideology of Islam remained dormant for so long, only to be awakened in the late 1970s? This paper rejects both of the above hypotheses and argues instead that the particular set of economic, political and social conditions in Iran during the late 1970s is responsible for the revolution. The existence of the traditional social institutions of Iran, not the ideology of Islam, has given their guardians (Mullahs) the commanding position in the revolution. They are Madrese, Bazar, Zur Khane, and Taziyeh theater and others. The colonialists and their successors have emasculated these institutions in other Islamic societies, while in Iran they were left relatively untouched, for Anglo-Russian rivalry had kept Iran independent as a buffer state. Mutual antagonism between these parties prevented the development of Iran by concessionaires (oil being a conspicuous exception). The Mullahs utilized these traditional organizations to mobilize the disenchanted masses, first to overthrow the Shah, and then to overwhelm the liberals and the leftists. The other contributing factor is the historically enjoyed autonomy of the Iranian religious institutions from the state. Neither of these two elements exists in other Islamic countries. Therefore, we are unlikely to see another Iranian-type revolution. The perception of the revolution as “Islamic”, however, has boosted an already surging movement of Islamic Fundamentalism. The continuing failure of the Arab regimes to recover Palestine has been feeding this movement, especially since Nasser's defeat in 1967. The Fundamentalist forces have found an “ally” in an odd quarter, Begin's Israel. The revolutionaries in Iran and supporters outside see that the way to liberate Palestine lies in spreading the Islamic revolution into the Arab world. Thus they are hostile to the current Arab regimes. On the other hand, Israel is determined to first take on the immediate enemies such as Iraq and the PLO, ignoring the distant drums of Fundamentalists. Here, the short-term goal of Begin and Khomeini merge. As a matter of fact, Israel has aided Iran in the Gulf War in order to weaken Iraq. Begin is helping Fundamentalism indirectly, too. Israel's invasion of Lebanon has painfully proved the impotence of the Arab political leadership including that of the PLO. This has accelerated the growth of the Fundamentalist influence among Palestinians, engendering the distinctive possibility that Palestinian Fundamentalists may split the liberation movement by breaking away from the secular leadership of the PLO. Israel is not unmindful of this potential when it tolerates the inflow of Iranian influence and money into the West Bank. Thus, both religious states have practically entered an “alliance” of a sort against the moderate Arab leadership: Zionist Israel to defend Jerusalem, and Islamic Iran to liberate it.
The purpose of this paper is to present a brief account of the political changes in Syria since the Baa'th first came into power in 1963 and the development of inner-politics from the beginning period of the Baa'th regime to the present. It is also designed to offer an interpretation of these developments to help explain the kaleidoscopic character of the changing relationships among power-centers. In particular, this paper attempts to elucidate the following points: Firstly, in a major intra-party split that took place in February 1966, the moderate wing of the Baa'th party was purged by radicals; this political coup signaled the party's further turn to the Left in policy. These changes only further alienated conservative and pious Islamic opinion. However, the regime's mounting clashes with the West and Israel have temporarily disoriented Muslim opinion. Secondly, after General Hafiz al Asad's rise to power in 1971, the question arises as to how he managed to revise Syria's domestic and foreign policies. By late 1976, however, the regime's policies were faltering and domestic grievances were accumulating; relations between the Baa'th and urban centers of opposition again began to sour, a disaffection that gradually built up into the anti-regime explosions of 1970-80. The regime's intervention in Lebanon—in paticular, its drive against the Palestinians and the Sunni Left—required it to suppress domestic opposition, thus weakening its own support base, and antagonizing segments of Sunni opinion, which viewed it as an Alawite suppression of Sunnis in favor of Christians. Most dangerous of all, the intervention seriously exacerbated sectarian cleavages in the army. By the late 1970s, the regime's foreign policy increasingly appeared to have reached a dead end. Finally, the political Islam, the main alternative. to the Baa'th, is now trying to undermine the regime led by the Alawites. If a realignment of political forces, pitting the whole Sunni community on the basis of sectarian solidarity, in alliance with all other disaffected elements, against the numerically much inferior Alawites entrenched in the regime can be attained, the Syrian political scene will change completely its impact affecting the politics of the Fertile Crescent. But this would require breaking the cross-sectarian coalition at the center of the Baa'th state; destroying military discipline and party solidarity; and detaching the peasant, worker, and employee elements at the Baa'th base.
I. The Cyprus problem was one of the important international conflicts in the Middle East in the 1960s and 1970s. It was essentially an ethnic conflict between the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots, which developed into an international conflict. It was one of the fierce outbreaks of ethnic conflicts which are characteristic of the contemporary Middle East. II. In the modern age, the Western impact destroyed the traditional world system implying a self-sufficient Middle Eastern Islamic World and in the following process of “modernization”, the nature of its basic political units, the structure of identity and the style of co-existence among the ethnic groups, changed greatly. Before the coming of the Western impact, the Middle East was one of the relatively self-sufficient traditional world systems. In the Middle Eastern Islamic World, the idea of the unity of the Islamic World prevailed. There were, in fact, political units called “dawla.” Notwithstanding, the identity of the Middle Eastern peoples who belonged to dawlas was not based on ascription to political units but on religion. The various ethnic groups, which were the components of the mosaic-like societies in the Middle East, formed communities according to religions. And there existed a traditional style of co-existence among them. This traditional style of co-existence in the Middle Eastern Islamic world was not based on the principle of the equality of each ethnic group, but on the principle of the supremacy of the Muslims over the non-Muslims. Non-Muslims were thus second class citizens in Islamic political society. Notwithstanding, considering the limited range of political participation and the structure of the identity of the people of the time, the traditional Middle Eastern style of co-existence, which was institutionalized as a “dhimmi” institution in the classical period and completed in the form of a “millet” institution in the Ottoman Empire, functioned rather well in the complicated mosaic-like societies of the Middle East. Only under the influence of modern nationalism did it begin to dissolve and ethnic conflicts begin to surface. The Cyprus problem is one of these ethnic conflicts of the modern Midddle East. III. Because of its strategic position, Cyprus was occupied by one nation after another. The ethnic composition of Cypriot society also became complicated. When the Ottomans conquered Cyprus in 1571, the largest ethnic group was the Greeks together with some other minor ethnic groups. After the Ottoman conquest, the Turkish soldiers and peasants emmigrated and became at least the second large ethnic group. The millet system, the Ottoman form of the traditional Middle Eastern style of co-existence, was applied to these ethnic groups. The millet system functioned and the fierce outbreak of ethnic conflicts were rarely seen. The beginning of ethnic conflicts came with the impact of the West. Especially, the rise of nationalism and the independence of Greece affected the situation in Cyprus. And the idea of enosis, namely the reunion of Cyprus with Greece, emerged in Greece. Greek nationalism gradually penetrated Cyprus. Because of the rise of the nationalism of non-Muslim subjects, there was an attempt to reform the principle of inequality between Muslims and non-Muslims. In this period, the traditional style of co-existence of ethnic groups was also changing. However, the relationship of co-existence among ethnic groups continued. IV. At the end of this period, in 1878, Cyprus came under British rule. Under British rule, the nationalism of the Greek ethnic group and the Turkish ethnic group developed. The separated educational system of each ethnic group under British rule contributed much to this development. The development of the nationalism of the Greek Cypriots oriented to enosis was especially outstanding. Because of
The independence of Trans-Jordan, which was formerly a part of the Britishruled Palestine Mandate, paved the way for the League of Nations resolution on the division of Palestinian land, which, by a United Nations resolution, gave birth to the State of Israel. The Arabs rejected the resolution pointing to the contradictions behind the Palestine Mandate. The Palestinian War then became inevitable. The breakthrough in the battle became evident when the Arab Legion of Trans-Jordan moved into the West Bank. “The Unity” between the East and West Banks of the Jordan river was instigated by this, following the Palestine Conference and Jerrico Conference on November 1 and December 1, 1948 under King Abdullah's leadership. “The Unity” in turn put an end to the hegemony that traditional Mufti Amin al-Husaini had enjoyed in the West Bank. The negotiations over the mutual non-aggression pact between Israel and Jordan broke down. Nonetheless, the de facto occupation of the West Bank by Jordan occurred. With the West Bank in the hands of Jordanians, Palestinian Arabs came to pledge political loyality to the Amman regime under the civilian order of Jordan, a loyality which reflects no less than the ambivalent sentiments of Palestinans. The Palestinian leaders in the West Bank, however, found themselves subjugated to the Nashashibis of Abdullah while maintaning support for the cause of Palestinians within and without Jordan. Palestinian refugees, on the other hand, pledged loyality to Abudullah in November 1948 at the Palestine National Conference. Their pledge was betrayed, however, as their, political came to be suppressed from 1959 onward. “Palestinian identity” as a slogan for political action emerged in 1962, but the cause never flourished. In fact, the dominance of the Amman regime, with the execption of the period of Sulayman an-Nabulsi's regime between 1956-57, has prevailed throughout the country. Furthemore, the PLO itself has failed to gain public support for its status as the unifying voice of the Palestinians, having suffered from internal feuds between the moderates and the radicals. All these combined events precipitated the conditional legitimacy of the royal regime of Jordan and the Palestinian Right. With Israeli's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967, the issue of the status and the prospect of the above regimes came to the attention of international public opinion. The status of Israel, on the one hand, was ‘Lawful belligerent Occupant’ responsible for occupation and on the other hand, the legal status of Jordan was that of ‘Trust Occupant’. Jordan was also in a position to promote the political development of Palestinians. Moreover, under UN resolution 242 (1967) Jordan was entitled to ‘the right of return’ of the West Bank to her, although Palestinians in the West Bank did not always desire to see this happen. Alternative solutions to the Palestinian problem lay either in holding a direct referendum, which would clarify the political will of the locals, or in accepting the PLO as their negotiator against Israel. Israel on her part has rejected negotiations with the PLO, which Israel considers a terrorist organisation. In addition, the Palestinians have not desired to continue to support ‘the return to Jordan’ proposal, for it implies denying their rights of self-determination. At present discussions with respect to the so-called “Jordan Option” over the West Bank are under way. The PLO claims to be the legitimate position governing body in the West Bank. The Arabs in Israel appear to endorse this position. To be sure, following the formation of the PLF (the Palestine Liberation Front) in August 1973, the PLO came to be confirmed as the legitimate body of the Palestinians at the National Congress which took place in Jerusalem, October 1978.
The contemporary societies of the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia) are fundamentally ruled by three main relations: large scale relations with the industrialized countries, particularly with France, the former colonial power; sociocultural relations between the Maghreb states and informal Islamic institutions that structure the space of everyday life; and politico-economic relations with the Sub-Saharan African states. The present article focuses upon the first set of relations as a way of posing and examining the followng questions: (1) Why and how, even today, Maghreb's economic dependence upon industrialized economies is maintained through the emigration of Maghreb's labor force; (2) How Maghreb's external trade relations based on raw materials determine the nature of the economic and social development of the Maghreb; (3) How relations with the industrialized world can be placed in a Mediterranean geo-political context. If most studies agree on the existence of dependent relations between Maghreb society and the industrialized world, the determination of the precise components of dependence varies from one study to another. An analysis of the cultural and agricultural aspects of the movement of labor allows us to understand the motivation and role of each emigrant in perpetuating the movement. On the other hand, the anatomy of a natural resource oriented economy shows us the limited possibility of autonomous development based on the international valorization of local resources. Further, the external prospects for Maghreb society are more uncertain than ever because of the sustained world recession. That is the reason why an alternative scenario of a Mediterranean bloc is being discussed professionally as one of the regional solutions to world-wide uncertainty. This scenario corresponds with the mutually expanding interests of the EC and the Arab World. An example of the closer ties is a network of agreements which the EC has established with almost all of the Mediterranean countries, including those with the Maghreb, concluded in 1976. These treaties are restricted to economic relations. Another example is the Euro-Arab Dialogue (DEA). This idea appeared in the aftermath of the Arab oil embargo in 1973. In a series of negotiations between the EC and the Arab countries, politics in the Middle East has come to the surface as a policy issue, though policies are yet to be formulated. It is obvious that the geo-political location of the Mediterranean Sea is strategically important for both the Maghreb and France. Since the late 1970s, France in particular has advocated a regional plan of cooperation based on the strategic location of the Mediterranean region. In comparison with former plans, this plan mentions that France, as the sole nuclear power in the region, is expected to make a contribution to security in the area; second, the Mediterranean countries —Southern Europe, the Maghreb and the Middle East— are located on the periphery in the structure of world capitalism. How this scenario develops still remains to be seen.
1. The Nasser regime was characterized as a military regime in which military officers and ex-officers occupied central and dominant positions in the economic-political system. The July Revolution of 1952 by the Free Officers implied such orientation, because they had carried out the Revolution without the participation of any other civilian groups. This reflected their intention to continue to occupy the position of political power. Under the Nasserite regime, the strategic offices in the government and state organizations were occupied by the Free Officers, who attemped to control state apparatus through their political influence. But through the passage of time, this system has undergone change. In the midsixties and later, the influence of the technocrats increased due to the rapid expansion of the state apparatus. From the beginning of the sixties the Egyptian bureaucracy was expanded through the adoption of “Arab Socialism” as an official ideology, which demanded large scale nationalization of the economy. Military officers. could not manage such expanded organizations without the. aid of professional technocrats, whose political status was thus strengthened. Of course, they were still under the control of military officers, but they began to emerge as an important political force. This trend continued and, especially after the defeat of the June War in 1967, the balance between the two political forces began to change and it became unstable. At the same time, other objective changes coincided with this trend: a change in the army and military officers. As the military establishment expanded, military officers became less inclined to become engaged in a kind of political lobbying. In the 1960s, there was no room to carry out a movement similar to that of the Free Officers, who changed from being “the vanguard of the Revolution” to being “professional army officers.” 2. Even before the defeat in the June War, Nasser's Egypt faced a difficult situation, Nasser being forced to reassess national strategy. The Syrian secession from the United Arab Republic in 1961 led to the breakup of the union which symbolized the success of the Pan-Arab nationalist movement. From 1962 onwards Egyptian involvement in the Yemen Civil War followed, but this led to the deterioration of Egyptian-Saudi relations and, furthermore, conflict with the United States. These events had a great impact upon the economic situation as well as politics. Nasser tried to search for a new alternative in order to overcome these difficulties. One of his efforts as such was to reshuffle his cabinet. The Zakariyya Mohieddin Cabinet was thus formed to reorient Egyptian policy and especially to reactivate her deteriorated economy. But this attempt failed and Egypt entered a war with Israel in 1967. 3. The defeat in the June War further worsened Egypt's critical situation. By Israel's occupation of the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt lost two promising sources of foreign currency: money from the ships passing through the Suez canal, and oil in the Sinai. In addition to such economic impact, Egyptian leadership and prestige in the Arab world were greatly damaged. One of the important changes after the war was the decisive dependence of Egypt on the Soviet Union militarily and economically. This development restricted her freedom of action in international politics. Domestically the defeat created a crisis in Nasser's political legitimacy, because the growth of anti-military feelings among the population was a serious challenge to his military regime. Against this background, Ali Sabri, one of the Nasserite power elites, whose political base was in the Arab Socialist Union, the only political party in Egypt, capitalized on these feeling in the power struggle with the military. He succeeded in expanding his own political influence. Under strong criticism, armed forces had to recede.
The purpose of this paper is to examine various aspects of the “liberalization” policy undertaken on the initiative of Sadat in 1974, concentrating particularly on the country's economic and socio-political conditions. First, the “open-door” policy aimed to achieve economic development mainly by depending on external financing—economic aid and private investment extracted from the Western major powers and oil-producing Arab countries. For instance, U. S. president Nixon promised large-scale economic aid to the tune of two billion dollars when he visited Egypt in June, 1974. As a matter of fact, both domestic private capital and foreign capital did not flow into the manufacturing sector, which was a sector with a high investment risk, but was rather concentrated in the commercial sector, real estate in urban areas and agricultural land for commercial crops. Also the gap between the rich and poor widened. While a few nouveaux riches appeared, being parasites on foreign capital, the living standard of the middle and lower classes —at least 90 percent of Egypt's population— did not show a significant sign of improvement. The food riots which erupted in January, March, 1975 and January, 1977 reflected such discontent of the poor. Second, in the socio-political realm, Sadat incorporated a controlled multi-party system in November, 1976 although its institutionalization was incomplete from the point of view of parliamentary democracy. It is very doubtful whether Sadat intended to allow plural political parties to compete for power. Probably, as David Hirst and Irene Beeson indicate, he intended to make the National Assembly play a new role—the role of “lightning conductor” to prevent the anticipated eruption of the discontent of the poor. But on the positive side, the minority parties such as the Liberal Socialist Party were given the opportunity to express their criticism of the regime through debates in the National Assembly and the publication of their party organ. Also, importantly, under the Sadat regime, the police-state and reign-of-terror factor which had been characteristic of the Nasser regime lessened, so that a feeling ofrelease and a sense of freedom could be seen in civil life. On the other side of the coin, however, anti-regime movements, such as the Islamic fundamentalists' movement which led to the assassination of Sadat in October, 1981, gathered momentum, especially with the mounting economic discontent of the poor as a catalyst. The problems that the Egyptian economy are facing are very serious and common to the developing countries in general. To promote political liberalization under such conditions does not so much mean to increase the structural legitimacy of the regime as to amplify the anti-regime movements. This points to the slow-down of political democratization in the foreseeable future. Indeed as John Waterbury indicates, “Egypt is the prisoner of its economy.” And Egypt's case of the interwining of politico-economic problems can be generally seen throughout the Arab states, regardless of the state form; kingdom, republic, military or socialist regime.
The purpose of this paper is to shed a new light on the question of why it has been so difficult to solve the Palestine problem. The emphasis is put on the psychological framework within which the Arabs could have been able to accept the existence of Israel. My conclusion is that Israel was too new and strange for the Arabs to accept. The period dealt with here was when the Arabs and the Jews were engaged in diplomacy to settle some disputes which made it difficult to enjoy peace in or around Palestine. The most serious points at dispute were those of the repatriation or resettlement of Palestinian refugees, and the territorial adjustment of the 1947 UN Partition version. The year 1949 began with the armistice negotiation between Egypt and Israel at Rhodes, under UN auspices. The other Arab countries took part in admistise negotiations successively. Independently, a general peace settlement was pursued in another UN commission: the Conciliation Commission for Palestine (CCP). CCP was in essence the instrument of American Palestine policy. America was one of the three member countries of CCP. The armistice negotiations were almost completely successful. In contrast, by as early as the summer of 1949, CCP failed in attaining peace, or even bringing both parties to the same conference table. This failure has been said to result from various causes. The greatest one, I think, is that none of the parties in the CCP had a perspective of what international political order was to be established in Palestine after the first military collision of the two stubbornly nationalistic peoples. After the possibility of a comprehensive peace settlement disappeared, the only way to bring about peace was by a bilateral agreement between Jordan and Israel. This secret peace negotiation made steady progress in a few months, but the opposition both within and without Jordan blocked final agreement. For any Arab nation, the Palestine problem was and continues to be by no means an external problem. The fate of Palestine bore upon the identity of the Arabs, who were eagerly striving to get rid of Western domination. The Arabs' refusal to accept Israel terminated in “an agreed indifference” to the Jews. On the first April 1950, the Arab League decided that any member state should be eliminated from the Arab community if it had any contact with Israel. This decision still holds true even after about thirty years have passed since this decision was made. It is this as well as Israeli rejectionism that seems the biggest psychological barrier to the peace of Palestine.