Identity and Foreign Policy in the Middle East

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Shibley Telhami, Michael N. Barnett
Cornell University Press, 2002 - 207 pages

Most area specialists recognize the effects of national identity on the regional politics of the Middle East. However, those same specialists have proceeded as if identity matters little for understanding how nations determine their foreign policy in this volatile region. Shibley Telhami and Michael Barnett, together with experts on Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, and Syria, explore how the formation and transformation of national and state identities affect the foreign policy behavior of Middle Eastern states.

The contributors to this volume support theory with concrete narratives focusing on actual policy. The boundaries of group loyalty and membership in the Middle East have fluctuated greatly over the past century, and will continue to do so. Identity and Foreign Policy in the Middle East offers convincing evidence that the international policies of this area can be fully comprehended only if the power and scope of identity politics are taken into account.

Contributors: Michael Barnett, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Adeed Dawisha, University of Miami, Ohio; Ibrahim A. Karawan, University of Utah; Marc Lynch, Williams College; Suzanne Maloney, Brookings Institution; Yahya Sadowski, American University of Beirut; Stephen Saideman, Texas Tech; Shibley Telhami, University of Maryland, College Park


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Recreating the Unthinkable
Identity and Change in Irans Foreign Policy
The Definition and Redefinition of Identity in Iraqs
The Evolution of Political Identity in Syria
The Case of Egypt
Thinking Theoretically about Identity and Foreign Policy

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About the author (2002)

Shibley Telhami holds the Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland, College Park, and is a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is coeditor of International Organizations and Ethnic Conflict, also from Cornell. Michael Barnett is Harold Stassen Chair at the Hubert H. Humphrey School and Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of Eyewitness to a Genocide: The United Nations and Rwanda and coeditor of Rules for the World: International Organizations in Global Politics, both from Cornell, and coeditor of Power and Global Governance.

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