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  • Editor's Note
  • Michael Collins Dunn

This issue marks the first issue of our 65th year, and I hope continues our long tradition of providing varied and informative research and analysis of the modern Middle East.

Our first article, by Katherine Blue Carroll of Vanderbilt University, is based on field research conducted in Iraq under the US Army's Human Terrain program, and looks at the role of traditional tribal law in dispute resolution since the invasion.

Most Middle East specialists, like most governments, have long felt that a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is inevitable, although it has proved difficult to achieve. There have always been dissenting voices, however, and as the peace process has stagnated, both some Palestinians and increasingly some Israelis have suggested that a one-state solution might become inevitable, given demographic (and democratic) realities. Two of our articles explore the possible alternatives to a two-state solution. Leila Farsakh of the University of Massachusetts in Boston examines the challenges and options of a one-state solution for Palestinians. Attorney Nathan Witkin offers a different approach: an "interspersed nation-state system" in which the two states would share the same land.

We publish these two rather different approaches without intending to endorse either, but rather to raise the question of what the implications are if a two-state solution remains out of reach.

When Islam conquered the Sassanian Empire, the ancient Persian faith of Zoroastrianism gradually began to give way through conversion to Islam, though like Middle Eastern Christianity and Judaism, the old faith lived on as as minority faith in its homeland of Iran, in India, and in a diaspora. Most studies of Zoroastrianism in modern Iran predate the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Professor Richard Foltz of Concordia University in Montreal brings us up to date with a survey of Iran's Zoroastrian community today.

Finally, Prof. Martin Hvidt of the University of Southern Denmark looks at what he calls the "Dubai model" of economic reform in the Gulf States, which he sees as an emerging alternative to the traditional rentier state model.

Our book review article for this issue, by Professor Bruce Lawrence of Duke, covers no fewer than ten recent books on Islam today, emphasizing the complexity of the many faces of Islam in both the Islamic world and the West.

Let me remind you that, in between the quarterly issues of The Middle East Journal, the MEI website ( offers regular online publications, as well as podcasts and videos of MEI events. In addition, I continue to comment on the region daily on the MEI Editor's Blog at [End Page 9]

This article is for personal research only and may not be copied or distributed in any form without the permission of The Middle East Journal.



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