futureofmideastalliances - Middle East Alliances They'll...

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Middle East Alliances: They’ll Change Tomorrow Anyway. Western scholars have come to the understanding that “Middle East politics are primarily shaped by ideology.” (Rubin, 1998) It is believed that alignments and the way nation-states interact with one another is mostly the result of the ideals of a particular nation – and not so much its state interests. Pan-Arabism has been one particular ideology that has been given a “bad rap” and has been used to justify the alignments that many Middle Eastern states make with each other. Pan-Arabism is essentially a movement started during the post-colonial, Cold War era, and it called for political unification among Arab nations in order to defend the Middle East from pervasive Western influence. (Columbia Encyclopedia, 2001) Many scholars believe that Pan-Arabism, though it peaked in the 1960s, is a very viable explanation for shifting alignments in the Middle East. Essentially, the desire for a united Arab world with no national boundaries leads Arab states to align with other Arab states and non-Arab states to find security in other non-Arab states. This ideological foundation to Middle Eastern politics may have been a somewhat effective angle from which to view the Middle East several years ago – in the late 20 th century. Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, the War on Terrorism, and the Iraq War, however, this is no longer the case. In this post-Cold War, post-September 11 era, though ideology will always be a factor, there is more to Middle Eastern politics than who is a Muslim and/or Arab and who is not. Though Middle Eastern politicians are quick to use Islamism or Arabism as an excuse or motivational factor to justify their major policy 1
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decisions, alignments have much more to do with state interests than collective Arab/Islamic pride. An example of this is the Cold War. Alignments during the Cold War fell on one of two sides in a bipolar world: the United States or the Soviet Union. The states that joined either side did not align themselves with a particular superpower simply because they have similar ideologies. Military and economic support from the US or the USSR (depending on a country’s alignment) was at least slightly more important to these nations. The case is same in the Middle East in the late 20 th century, according to Daniel Pipes. In his article “The Real ‘New Middle East,’” Pipes proclaims that the Middle East is shifting towards bipolarity, and each state in the Middle East and its surrounding area is finding that it needs to make a decision between two very different blocs. It is essential to keep in mind, however, that Pipes’ assertions are made before September 11 or the Iraq War, and so, even though some of his analyses on the alignments in the Middle East
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futureofmideastalliances - Middle East Alliances They'll...

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