The system by which the Middle East is divided into separate states is not self-evident. It is largely an artificial, colonial construct that emulates the European state order, whereby territories with defined borders, contain predominately homogeneous peoples, comprised of inhabitants sharing a common language, such as the French in France, or the Germans in Germany. In practice, none of the states in the Arab Middle East fits this bill. In recent years, especially after the US invasion of Iraq, a pervasive sense of uncertainty has gripped the capitals of the Middle East in regard to the continued stability of the region’s state order. The crushing of Iraq has sent shockwaves throughout the Arab East. The relative weakness of the Arab state system, the spread of radical Islam, and the reassertion of primordial sub-state identities threaten to undermine the cohesion of some key Arab states. How are they coping with these challenges? To what extent are their efforts succeeding? These are the crucial questions that this compendium seeks to examine.
The Moshe Dayan Center / הוצאת מרכז משה דיין