- Editor’s Note
This issue deals with a diverse range of subjects at a time when the Middle East continues to witness transition, instability, and shifting alliances. I hope you will find it enlightening.
At a time when Afghanistan is going through a presidential succession, and when the events in the Crimea have reminded us of the potency of latent irredentist claims, Faridullah Bezhan of Monash University reminds us of Pashtunistan, the efforts by the former Afghan monarchy and Pashtun nationalists to fulfill the dream of incorporating the predominantly Pashtun regions of newly-created Pakistan after the 1947 Partition of British India. It is a historical piece, but one with resonances for the present.
Our second article examines a long-standing but often overlooked regional relationship: the political and security ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The Middle East Institute’s own Marvin G. Weinbaum and Abdullah B. Khurram examine the history of these ties and their benefits to both parties.
Jordan did not suffer the sort of upheavals of some other countries during the “Arab Spring,” but it was not immune to dissent and protests. Assistant Professor Sean L. Yom of Temple University examines the so-called Hirak movement in which various associations, often tribally based, rallied to assert demands on the Hashemite kingdom. In the process he offers us a good analysis of the political dynamics in Jordan today.
The Middle East Journal has a long history or running detailed analyses of Knesset elections in Israel. In keeping with that tradition, Haifa University’s Aviad Rubin, Doron Navot, and As’ad Ghanem provide us with a look of the 2013 elections, which saw the emergence of new parties, new leaders for some old parties, and a clear emphasis on social and economic issues rather than on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Also in Israel, and somewhat related, Benjamin Acosta of Claremont Graduate University examines the shifting demographics in Israel since the founding of the state and how those changes have affected national identity. The increasingly complex mosaic that is the Israeli body politic, certainly on display in several recent elections, is analyzed in detail.
Our Book Review section leads off in this issue with an review essay by University of London Emeritus Professor Sami Zubaida that covers three books on the sectarian dimensions of developments, two of them dealing specifically with the Gulf. And of course, we have our usual range of other book reviews.
In addition, we have the latest edition of our quarterly Chronology.
I hope you enjoy the issue, Between issues, keep in mind the extensive content available at the Middle East Institute’s website, mei.edu, and my daily MEI Editor’s Blog at mideasti.blogspot.com [End Page 195]