America's Egypt

Discourse of the Development Industry

by Timothy Mitchell
published in MER169

Open almost any study of Egypt produced by an American or an international development agency and you are likely to find it starting with the same simple image. The question of Egypt’s economic development is almost invariably introduced as a problem of geography versus demography, pictured by describing the narrow valley of the Nile River, surrounded by desert, crowded with rapidly multiplying millions of inhabitants.

A 1980 World Bank report on Egypt provides a typical example. “The geographical and demographic characteristics of Egypt delineate its basic economic problem,” the book begins:

Class Acts in the Middle East

by Karen Pfeifer
published in MER170

Berch Berberoglu, ed., Power and Stability in the Middle East (Zed, 1989).

Alan Richards and John Waterbury, A Political Economy of the Middle East: State, Class and Economic Development (Westview, 1990).

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The Bourgeoisie and the Baath

A Look at Syria's Upper Class

by Volker Perthes
published in MER170

Iraqi Contractors: Clients, Loyal Supporters or Interlopers

by Kiren Aziz Chaudhry
published in MER170

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Arab Economics After the Gulf War

by Yahya Sadowski
published in MER170

On February 6, 1991, Secretary of State James Baker admitted before the House of Foreign Affairs Committee that economic factors, particularly widespread Arab resentment that oil wealth was not more equitably distributed, had played a role in the dynamics leading to the Gulf war and would remain one of the primary “sources of conflict” in the region. To ease these tensions, he proposed the creation of an economic organization through which oil-rich states could fund the reconstruction and development of their poorer neighbors. [1] The following day, Baker advocated the creation of a multinational “Middle East Development Bank” to attain these objectives. [2]

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Funding Fundamentalism

The Political Economy of an Islamist State

by Abbashar Jamal
published in MER172

While Islamic fundamentalism has become a major political force in the Arab world in recent years, particularly in the countries of the Maghrib, it is in Sudan where the Islamist movement has realized its greatest ambition: controlling the levers of state power and setting itself up as a model for similarity oriented movements. Its leaders in Sudan have actively supported groups elsewhere -- reportedly helping to plan a recent failed military coup in Tunis and convening meetings with high officials of Algeria’s Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) in Khartoum. [1]

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The Fall of BCCI

by Fareed Mohamedi
published in MER173

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Women, Islam and the State

by Deniz Kandiyoti
published in MER173

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Amin, Eurocentrism

by Georg Stauth
published in MER174

Samir Amin, Eurocentrism (trans. Russell Moore) (Monthly Review Press, 1989).

The awakening of the Third World and the formation of nation states in the former colonies has brought about a liberalizing philosophy of cultural affirmation of local traditions. One could conveniently characterize this process as a reaction to Western cultural domination from the colonial era. Samir Amin argues that “Eurocentrism” today operates not only as a form of external domination but also as a mechanism of cultural formation within non-European cultures.

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