Sunday, April 7, 2013

MERIA Journal (Spring 2013): Israel elections/Lebanon/Arab armies/China/Azerbaijan

The Spring 2013 issue of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal Volume 17, Number 1, Spring 2013 is now available. Read these articles free by clicking the link:


For the first time since the 1970s, there was no serious dispute as to who would emerge as prime minister from the 2013 Israeli elections campaign.  Despite the lackluster campaign, the election results and the government that emerged from them do represent a certain change. Most notably, the election campaign focused on internal issues. This is because a core, centrist consensus on external and national security affairs now exists among a critical mass of Israeli Jews.  This is also reflected in the new government.  The governing coalition consists of the entire center, right and national religious bloc (with the exception of the rump Kadima party, with 2 seats, which has not entered).  Labor, the largest opposition party, is centering its criticism of the government on internal, socioeconomic issues, on which it (rightly) perceives the new government to have a fairly united and coherent identity.


William Harris' Lebanon: A History, 600-2011 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011)
This extract from William Harris, Lebanon: A History 600-2011 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011) discusses the most recent period in that country's history, from its devastating era of civil war and striff (1975-1990), the period of Syrian control, after 1990, and the present-day implosion of neighboring Syria in its own civil war. 

Crowds in Tiraxtur al-Jari hold banner, "South Azerbaijan is not Iran," February 2013.
  This article deals with the Azerbaijani minority in Iran and its potential and real security threat for the country’s internal affairs and for the entire Caspian region. The article opens with an introduction on the ethnic and religious identities of Iranian Azerbaijanis and the community’s historical development in Iran--with a particular emphasis on the 1990s and onward. Next, it reviews the current situation in the region and the group’s primary motives and goals


Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff greets the various commanding generals of U.S. Forces, Iraq in Baghdad on July 27, 2010. Mullen's final stop in Iraq wraps up the ten-day, around the world trip to meet with counterparts and troops engaged in the war on terrorism. DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley
This article is a personal account of retired U.S. Army Colonel Norvell De Atkine’s experience in dealing with Arab militaries for over 40 years. Based on observation and study of Arab military establishments, he concludes little of significance has happened to change the deeply embedded character of the Arab militaries.


Azerbaijani soldiers  during a military training. (Photo by Spc. Stephen Solomon)
This article discusses cooperation between Israel and the Republic of Azerbaijan in order to neutralize foreign threats and ensure regional security. Expanding and improving ties with Azerbaijan has been part of Israel's newly adopted strategy toward non-Arab Muslim states. Also addressed is Iran's attitude towards Azerbaijan and the political and ideological opposition between the two mainly Shi'a-populated countries. 
Fig 5 (2)
Since the Arab Spring, China has been quietly asserting its influence and fortifying its foothold in the Middle East, while the United States pivots to the Asia Pacific after a decade of war.  It is aligning with states that have problematic relations with the West and are also geo-strategically placed on the littoral of the “Four Seas”--the Caspian Sea, Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea, and Arabian Sea/Persian Gulf. 

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