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The Middle East in International Relations: Power, Politics and Ideology (The Contemporary Middle East) [Paperback]

Fred Halliday
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

24 Jan 2005 The Contemporary Middle East (Book 4)
The international relations of the Middle East have long been dominated by uncertainty and conflict. External intervention, interstate war, political upheaval and interethnic violence are compounded by the vagaries of oil prices and the claims of military, nationalist and religious movements. The purpose of this book is to set this region and its conflicts in context, providing on the one hand a historical introduction to its character and problems, and on the other a reasoned analysis of its politics. In an engagement with both the study of the Middle East and the theoretical analysis of international relations, the author, who is one of the best known and most authoritative scholars writing on the region today, offers a compelling and original interpretation. Written in a clear, accessible and interactive style, the book is designed for students, policymakers, and the general reader.

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The Middle East in International Relations: Power, Politics and Ideology (The Contemporary Middle East) + International Relations of the Middle East + The International Politics of the Middle East (Regional International Politics Series)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 386 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; New Ed edition (24 Jan 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521597412
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521597418
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 62,093 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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'A masterly survey by a scholar with a long and unusually rich personal experience of the region.' E. Roger Owen, Harvard University

'Mr Halliday offers an authoritative analysis of the armed conflict, social upheaval and political economics that formed the background to the attack on America in 2001 and the invasion of Iraq nearly two years later.' The Economist

'A most worthwhile study that should become compulsory reading for all students of the Middle East.' Contemporary Review

'The Middle East in International Relations may well be regarded as his chef d'oeuvre, bringing together as it does not only the borad range of his earlier writings on the area but also a formidable array of other contributions.' Asian Affairs

'Firstly, Halliday arouses curiosity when he compares political theories to mushrooms: Some are eatable, some enjoyable and a third category is simply poisonous …Halliday explains particularly convincingly the reasons for the fast and thorough adoption of the exogenous ideology of nationalism in the Arabic region. … The real value of the chapter lies in the question that Halliday poses about which movements/phenomena/factors are international (inter-state) and which are truly trans-national. He answers this question in an extraordinarily conclusive way using the five case studies of nationalist movements, … a well thought through appendix of maps, charts, diagrams, and statistic information … The exquisitely comprehensive selection of sources by itself would justify the 'subsequent use'. This publication, therefore, belongs in every serious Near East library' Henner Fuertig

Book Description

Fred Halliday is one of the most authoritative scholars writing on the Middle East today. His book has been composed as an introduction to the subject for students, and those new to the field, with the objective of setting the Middle East within the broader context of contemporary international relations.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterclass from an Inspiring Teacher 2 May 2005
By A Customer
The beauty and importance of this book lies in its timeliness. Planned before the events of 2001, it appears now, when the question of the Middle East demands a wider understanding of a situation with all the complexity of the forces in place at the beginning of the Thirty Years War. It fulfils the need for an authoritative source available to all.
Coming within a few months of Robert Fisk's eagerly awaited book on The Great War for Civilisation and accompanied by a companion volume on 100 Myths about the Middle East, this book provides a framework for examining the problem in all its dimensions.
The book is logically structured to cover the history of the region and the varied and often contradictory dimensions that the region can be studied in. It starts by proposing that a study of the languages of the area is a necessary but not sufficient condition for understanding of the region. It goes on to analyse the ideological, political, economic, sociological and military aspects of the problem along with the legacy of colonialism and the proxy conflicts of the cold war period.
Over and over again the reader is struck by the sheer erudition of the author where, in a couple of well chosen finely honed words, he lets us know that he has read about assessed and understood some economic, sociological or political theory that might have relevance and applied it to his analysis. The range of these illustrates the breadth of the subject. The personal insights ranging from the coincidence of his finishing his undergraduate examinations in 1967 on the day of the classic strike from the sea to his confession of the identity of his hero add a leavening humanity to the intricacies of the region.
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4.0 out of 5 stars very important source 29 Aug 2011
By Melike
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Even though there are some missing points in the book, this must be one of the best resources to understand the IR in the Middle East.

The book was separated into different chapters to make the reader find what he is searching for easily. Mr.Halliday's smooth explanation and simple construction makes you feel more willing to read the book.

Just like the previous review, I also wonder why he has not mentioned about water which is the essential part of the Middle East. I also found some parts quite repetitive.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars difficult but rewarding for the determined reader 23 Jun 2005
By D. Dobkin - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is not an easy read. The first chapter and a half are wasted in a diatribe about the proper approach to analysis of international relations, no doubt important for the academic community but of little interest for the lay reader. The book is dense and the author's writing style is disfigured by an excess of comma-delineated clauses I haven't seen since John Norman's 'Gor' fantasies of the early 70's: some sentences take four or five readings to decipher.

Once past these obstacles, the reader will benefit from the insight of someone who obviously has both extensive personal experience in the region and broad knowledge of the language, culture, and history of the Middle East, without any of the idealogical crap that passes for discourse in the US popular press. Prof. Halliday's basic points are: 1] the Middle East as we see it was mostly the product of the years 1918-1924 or so, when the political geography of the region was formed from the remnants of the Ottoman empire. Claims of ancient provenance for many disputes and attitudes are in the author's wonderful term 'ahistorical', that is, based on a highly selective view of the past hardly reflecting any reality. 2] the basic dynamic of the Middle East is the actions of the governments of states, and their opponents, competing for political power (and ruining the economies of the region in the process).

The reader who struggles through this book will be rewarded with the basis for a proper understanding of the region, devoid of both uber-terrorist paranoia and illusions about the role of the West in the region.
2.0 out of 5 stars Some value but afraid of wrong approach 10 May 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Having read the above reviews, I decided to make some effort to go through the book. The style is aesthetic, which can be good. However, after I read the summary of the book on p.36 which says ".... of the stronger insights of Marxism ...." Using Marxism as a major tool to analyse Muslim countries? Are you kidding? The book is suitable to someone who is (far/extreme/)left and wish to move left further. Not for me or general readers.

Another objection is that I cannot understand why the author makes no mention of Bernard Lewis who is a towering figure in Middle East History.
4.0 out of 5 stars Very balanced and readible explination of the region. 17 Oct 2013
By Jonathan D. Bradley - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Reading this for a grad class and have enjoyed it. Flows briskly and reads easily. Clear examples are used to put everything in an IR focus. Good for grad level and upper underclassmen.
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