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  • Editor’s Note
  • Michael Collins Dunn

The controversy over Iran’s nuclear program remains a major issue for the US and the West, and is closely watched by Iran’s neighbors in the region. Is the seemingly zero-sum confrontation we have been experiencing the only approach that might be applied? Our lead article, something of a departure for us, argues for an alternative, regional approach. “John C. Shenna” is the pseudonym of a European diplomat, writing pseudsonymously because his proposals do not reflect the official view of his government. This is not our normal research article, but rather a nuanced policy proposal, based on his own diplomatic experience in the region.

Iran’s mindset today is clearly influenced by the experience of the Islamic Revolution of 1979, but equally so by two other events which followed: the long confrontation with the US, and the eight-year war with Iraq, which Iranians call “the imposed war.” That war broke out 20 years ago this fall. Ray Takeyh of the Council on Foreign Relations offers us a reassessment of the war (especially from the Iranian perspective), twenty years on.

Yemen has drawn a great deal of attention lately, due to the increasing activities of Al-Qa‘ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the so-called Huthi rebellion, and other concerns. This issue has two articles on differing aspects of Yemen. April Longley Alley of the Center for Applied Strategic Learning at the National Defense University describes what she calls “The Rules of the Game,” an examination of the dynamics of patronage politics in Yemen. Nora Colton of the Royal Docks Business School, University of East London, offers an overview of Yemen’s economic plight.

Finally, Donald L. Losman of National Defense University explores the concept of the “rentier state” in connection with the performance of national oil companies in the Gulf.

In our Book Review Article, Brice Harris of Occidental College reviews five new books on the history, diplomacy, and politics of the Arab world.

I hope readers find the issue rewarding. Between issues, I again welcome you to follow the MEI Editor’s Blog at [End Page 339]



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