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Editor’s Note

The tragedy of Syria continues to deepen, and two of our articles address the situation in that country, though from two quite distinct viewpoints.

Rebecca Joubin traces the course of developments in Syria, from initial hopes for reform under Bashar al-Asad, to disappointment and growing resistance, though the prism of a Syrian television program originally seen as a sign of liberalization. Meanwhile, Philippe Droz-Vincent traces the course of the Syrian Revolution and its dynamics from the initial Arab Spring-style protests through the growing violence and increasing sectarianism that we are witnessing today.

In a contribution to the growing literature on radical Islamist movements, Joas Wagemakers offers a study of Jordanian radical group called Bay‘at al-Imam, which he calls “a Terrorist Organization that Never Was,” and which is notable for the early involvement of Abu Mus‘ab al-Zarqawi, of later notoriety.

In the Israeli-Palestinian peace process there is no more contentious issue than Jerusalem. Dina Jadallah offers what many will find a controversial interpretation of Israeli policies in that city, which she interprets in colonialist terms. While many will reject that interpretation, it remains part of the debate over the city’s identity.

Finally, Hamed El-Said and Jane Harrigan examine the impact of economic liberalization programs spurred by the IMF and the World Bank on the social welfare programs in four case study countries: Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia, questioning whether these reform programs have had a negative social impact.

Our lead Book Review Essay is slightly different this issue, with reviews of two books touching on the Iranian nuclear issue, but reviewed by two different reviewers, Ehsan Arari and Olli Heinenen; be sure to note them both.

As always, we have our Chronology of the region as well, a key reference tool appearing in the Journal since 1947.

And between issues, let me remind you to regularly follow the MEI website at, and my Editor’s Blog at [End Page 7]