Two key themes in the Middle East region are, of course, democratization and women's rights. In our first article, Emily Regan Wills addresses the "democratic paradox" that occurred in Kuwait beginning in 1999, when the emir granted women the right to vote, only to have the elected parliament repeal it six months later. She traces the history of the issue through the subsequent electoral cycles to the 2012 elections.
Next, Ian Lustick of the University of Pennsylvania examines recent efforts by those favoring Israel's annexation of all or most of the West Bank to downplay the demographic challenge that Palestinian population growth presents to Israel's Jewish identity. After a careful review of statistics used in these efforts, he argues that a systematic manipulation of population statistics has occurred.
In the wake of the controversies sparked by the disputed 2009 Iranian presidential elections, and with presidential elections approaching again this summer, Hamid Mavani of Claremont Graduate University addresses attempts to reconcile Ruhollah Khomeini's concept of wilayat al-faqih with efforts to reflect the will of the population.
In the midst of the current confrontation between the US and Iran over Iran's nuclear program, it may be useful to revisit an earlier stage in the complex evolution of the relations between the two countries. Stephen McGlinchey of the University of the West of England in Bristol examines US arms credit sales to Iran during the Johnson Administration, a prelude to the strengthening ties between the US and Iran during the subsequent Nixon years.
In our last issue, I introduced new, occasional policy essays which address topics of current interest and are not subjected to the lengthy scholarly review process. There are two such shorter articles in this issue: Geoffrey Aronson on US policy options in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Charles Freilich, a former Deputy National Security Advisor in Israel, on improving Israel's security decision-making process.
This issue's Book Review Article, by Robert Springborg of the US Naval Postgraduate School, "GCC Countries as Rentier States Revisited," reviews four recent books on the Gulf economies. There is also the usual range of individual book reviews and our quarterly Chronology, which has appeared continuously since our first issue in 1947.
And, between issues, pay a visit our website at http://www.mei.edu, soon to be much expanded, and also keep in mind that I blog daily at the MEI Editor's Blog, at http://mideasti.blogspot.com. [End Page 171]
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