Guilty Bystanders

by Pete Moore
published in MER257

The Iran-Iraq war was fought entirely within the boundaries of the two combatant nations, but it was nonetheless a regional war. The war machine of Saddam Hussein’s regime was lubricated with billions of dollars in loans from the Arab oil monarchies, which were anxious to see the revolutionary state in Tehran defeated, or at least bloodied. Iraqi warplanes harried ships seeking to load Iranian oil at the Kharg island terminal and points south on the Persian Gulf coast. In 1987, the US Navy intervened to protect tankers and other commercial traffic from Iranian reprisals. These heated entanglements presaged the degree to which the war was to transform the political economies of many countries in the vicinity.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

Bouteflika’s Triumph and Algeria’s Tragedy

by Jacob Mundy | published April 10, 2009

Shoes and pants soaked with rain, I tagged along with a journalist from the popular Arabic daily Echorouk—his paper my umbrella—while he visited polling stations in the Belcourt neighborhood of Algiers on the day of local elections in November 2007. At the first site, disgruntled party officials quickly ejected us. We did not have the right papers, they said, and the police who looked on bored were inclined to agree. At the second station, we kept our distance. Watching for half an hour, we could count the voters who entered on two hands. Next to us stood four youths, escaping the rain under a shop awning. They laughed at us when we asked if they were going to vote. Down the road we saw an older gentleman on his way back from voting.

Egyptian Textile Workers Confront the New Economic Order

by Joel Beinin , Hossam El-Hamalawy | published March 25, 2007

For the last ten years Muhammad ‘Attar, 36, has worked in the finishing department at the gigantic Misr Spinning and Weaving Company complex at Mahalla al-Kubra in the middle of the Nile Delta. He takes home a basic wage of about $30. With profit sharing and incentives, his net pay is about $75 a month. His 33-year-old wife, Nasra ‘Abd al-Maqsoud al-Suwaydi, makes about $70 a month working in the ready-made clothing division of the same firm.


European Ambitions in the Mediterranean

by Sheila Carapico
published in MER220

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

The Decline (But Not Fall) of US Hegemony in the Middle East

by Yahya Sadowski , Fareed Mohamedi
published in MER220

Americans who voted for “compassionate conservatism” in the November 2000 presidential election have been disappointed. George W. Bush has proven to be much more radical than his moderate campaign rhetoric implied. In the area of environmental policy, Bush’s moves to lift regulations on pollutants, promote the use of nuclear power and “clean coal” and encourage oil exploration off the coast of Florida and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge have triggered opposition even on the right. Where Ronald Reagan sought to overturn the social policies of Franklin Roosevelt, George W. seems to seek an even wider reversal of the health and labor regulations instituted by Theodore Roosevelt.

Economic Reform in Egypt

by Agnieszska Paczynska
published in MER218

Texts Reviewed

Ray Bush, Economic Crisis and the Politics of Reform in Egypt (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1999).
Nicholas S. Hopkins and Kirsten Westergaard, eds. Directions of Change in Rural Egypt (Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 1998).
Marsha Pripstein Posusney, Labor and the State in Egypt: Workers, Unions and Economic Restructuring (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997).

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

Internalism of the Left

by John Chalcraft
published in MER238

Isam al-­Khafaji, Tormented Births: Passages to Modernity in Europe and the Middle East (London: I. B. Tauris, 2005).

Any book-length comparison of the historical trajectories of Western Europe and the region “extending from Iran in the east to Egypt in the west, and from Turkey in the north to the Arabian Sea in the south” is ambitious by definition. In the outstanding Tormented Births, “written and researched over two decades in exile” from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, Isam al-Khafaji has attempted more than comparison. He has attempted a new narrative for both European and Mashriq histories. The goal is nothing less than to “show the non-uniqueness of the third world path to modernity, which means by implication the non-uniqueness of the point of reference: Europe’s path to modernity.”

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

Power and Patronage

The Political Economy of Pakistan

by Sameer Dossani
published in MER246

Only a dead nation remembers its heroes when they die. Real nations respect them when they are alive.
―Abdul Ghaffar Khan

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto on December 27, 2007 sparked outrage and mourning, not least in the Western media. Exhibiting the overstated piety one might expect upon the death of an elder statesman, commentators called her an “exemplary democrat” and condemned the “fascism” of the Muslim extremists presumed responsible for her killing. Footage of emotional demonstrations and angry rioting in her home province of Sindh bolstered an image of Bhutto -- one that she herself liked to project -- as a tribune of the Pakistani poor.