CIAO DATE: 07/04

The International Spectator

Volume XXXIX No. 1 (January — March 2004)

IAI Library Notes

By Maritza Cricorian


The Greater Middle East

After the war in Iraq : defining the new strategic balance / edited by Shai Feldman. - Brighton : Sussex Academic Press; JCSS, c2003. - viii, 208 p. - ISBN 1-903900-75-1
A timely collection of essays generated by a series of brainstorming sessions at the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies on the implications of the war in Iraq as seen from various disciplinary angles. The collection is divided into two parts, the first deals with the international context, the second, the impact on the region, especially Israel.
The first part is made up of eight essays: the first examines the interaction between US foreign policy and the international system; the second the evolution of the Bush administration’s foreign and defence policy, from the beginning of its mandate up to and past the Iraq war; the following two chapters are dedicated to specific dimensions of US policy, namely defence strategy and arms control respectively; chapter five analyses the relation between the Iraq war and the campaign against international terrorism; the sixth draws the military lessons to be learned in Iraq; the seventh deals with the impact of the war on the world oil market; and the eighth is devoted to the media strategy during the last Iraq war and “embedding”, that is, facilitated but controlled media access to the conflict, aimed at gaining popular support and trust.
The second part is made up of six essays: the post-Iraq scenarios; the influence of the war on the prospects for peace between Israelis and Palestinians; hypotheses concerning the fate of the weapons of mass destruction before the outbreak of the conflict; a strategic balance of the region; the attitude of Israeli public opinion during and after the war; Israel’s home front defence policy and its implications for the future. Two addenda complete the book: a chronology of international inspections in Iraq between 1991 and 2003; the text of the Bush administration’s strategic rationale for the Iraq war, “The National Security Strategy of the United States of America”.

Balancing act : US foreign policy and the Arab-Israeli conflict / Vaughn P. Shannon, . Aldershot : Ashgate, c2003. - viii, 148 p. - (US foreign policy and conflict in the Islamic world). - ISBN 0-7546-3591-0
This essay highlights the continuity and change, the political constants and factors of innovation in US foreign policy with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While the slant is historical-chronological, the methodological approach is analytical and unfolds on three planes: the international, the national and the individual.
An initial introductory chapter is followed by chapter on the background to the conflict and future prospects. The third chapter illustrates US policy during the Cold War. Chapter Four deals with the “balancing acts” and the birth of a “special relationship” with Israel. The fifth chapter goes from the war period (1967 and 1973) up to the Camp David agreements, pointing out US support for Israel but at the same time the pressure the US exerted on Israel to solve the conflict. Chapter Six analyses the period extending from the Russian invasion of Afghanistan to the first Gulf war (1979-1991), underlining the emergence of new threat perceptions and the influence of the strategic context on US policy. The seventh retraces the Oslo process and the difficulties and promises inherent in it. The eighth chapter deals with the post-Oslo period, the reflaring of the conflict and the impact on US policy and strategy of the new strategic context following the 11 September attack. Summarising the theses presented in the book, the ninth and final chapter points to the implications and provides recommendations for the United States.

TBanca e finanza islamica : autonomia e cooperazione / [a cura di Roberto Aliboni]. - Roma : Camera di commercio italo-araba, 2003. - 171 p. - (Quaderni della Camera di commercio italo-araba)
The proceedings of a conference on “Islamic banks” organised in Rome in December 2002 by the book’s publisher and others, such as the Islamic Development Bank, with the aim of making the Islamic banking system more widely known and, basically, of bringing together different cultural systems.
A phenomenon that sprang up in the seventies, the Islamic banking system has reached considerable proportions regionally and is, above all, destined to expand further considering the growth of the Muslim community in the West alone. Thus the need for Western countries to adopt instruments in keeping with the ethical principles of Islamic finance and to adapt their fiscal and legal contexts to the nature of operations carried out by Islamic banks. The contributions contained in the book analyse the functioning and prospects for expansion of Islamic finance from various points of view, the convergence of interests with conventional finance and the obstacles standing in the way of collaboration.

A bitter harvest : US foreign policy and Afghanistan / Tom Lansford. - Aldershot : Ashgate, c2003. - 206 p. - ISBN 0-7546-3615-1
As the title states, this book is an analysis of US policy in Afghanistan, the factors that determined it, the implications for the US and for Asian countries, the successes and failures, the opportunities taken and missed and, finally, the behind the scenes activity of Islamic terrorism. Ordered chronologically, from colonialism to the fall of the Taliban , the analysis - after an essential introduction to the ethnic complexity of the country and the influence it has had on the country’s past and present - centres on the role of history in forging the country’s people and its political geography; on the legacy left on US policy by the Cold War and particularly the fifties; on the rise and fall of the Taliban and the subsequent beginning of the Karzai leadership; on the role of the United States in the country’s future, particularly as concerns the harm and/or benefits of a possible pull-out in Afghanistan. “The US must not only stay in Afghanistan, but it must deepen its presence” ( p. 185).

Blood on the doorstep : the politics of preventive action / Barnett R. Rubin. - New York : The Century Foundation Press, c2002. - xvi, 256 p. - ISBN 0-87078-474-9
The lessons of Afghanistan : war fighting, intelligence, and force transformation / Anthony H. Cordesman. - Washington : The CSIS Press, c2002. - viii, 168 p.. - ISBN 0-89206-417-X
Two books, both American, both dated 2002, to be read with hindsight. The first, reflecting the activity of the Center for Preventive Action of the Council on Foreign Relations, of which the author is the founder and director, tries to identify ways to prevent violent conflict and to work out recommendations for their application. With 9/11, the United States experienced how apparently distant and marginal conflicts can threaten the construction of the international community and, in particular, damage its interests. The study is limited to situations of ethnic conflict, failing states and humanitarian disasters. An initial chapter describing the typologies of conflicts and their causes is followed by four case studies: Burundi and the Great Lakes region of Central Africa; the southern Balkans, Nigeria and the Ferghana Valley. In the third part, the author outlines his vision of a global strategy for prevention, based above all on global governance and transnational cooperation.
The second book, while a little premature in coming out, attempts to draw the initial consequences of the military campaign in Afghanistan, defined as an “asymmetric war”, in order to apply them to other conflict situations, such as Iraq …
After three background and introductory chapters on the specificities of the case, the following chapters illustrate the various obstacles that have to be overcome to make such military operations a lasting success: the attempt by the adversary to involve other states to broaden the conflict; the instrumentalisation of the attacking forces; the use of civilians and civilian aircraft as a shield and the symmetrical necessity to find instruments - material and non - to limit damage to civilians. Requirements range from the need to have a peace plan included in the war plans, as the inevitable price to pay for obtaining lasting benefits; the need not to base military force only on airborne forces and not to duplicate “base operations”, to the need to create regional and local command structures, to develop thorough human intelligence, to ensure the presence in the field of experts and analysts and to improve the capacity for political and psychological warfare, etc, etc, without overlooking the ability of the enemy to adapt to the requirements of the conflict and improve technologically! “The Afghan fighting has not shown that the United States can count on its power, intelligence assets, and targeting capabilities to weaken Iraq in the same way as these factors weakened the Taliban and Al Qaeda forces” (p. 35).

Culture e conflitti nel Mediterraneo / a cura di Rodolfo Ragionieri e Ottavia Schmidt di Friedberg. - Trieste : Asterios Editore, 2003. - 422 p. - (Lo stato del mondo). - ISBN 88-86969-62-7
The result of a multi-year research project by the Forum for the Problems of Peace and War in Florence, this book aims to identify the main problems related to and provide an analysis of the trends and conflicts in the Mediterranean region, seen neither as the “cradle of culture” nor as the site of a “clash of civilisations”, but as a dynamic area undergoing transformation.
The effort reflects the different approaches and assessments of the individual contributors which have deliberately not been levelled off in search of a homogeneous compromise.
The book is composed of four parts: the first sets the region and its political culture in the post Cold War context, with particular reference to the second Gulf war. The second part deals with development, migrations and above all the impact of the European integration process. The third part of the book analyses the conflicts in specific geographic areas: the Maghreb, the Balkans, the Middle East and Turkey. The fourth and last part examines ways to solve the conflicts and, in particular, the role of international organisations, cooperation in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and decentralised cooperation in the Maghreb.

Le dinamiche palestinesi nella politica giordana, prospettive per la stabilità di un pivotal state / Roberto Storaci. - Gaeta : Artistic Publishing Co., 2002. - 503 p. - (CeMiSS ; 2.27). - ISBN 88-88391-32-0
Derived from a graduate thesis and a number of research trips to Jordan, this book reconstructs the internal and external Palestinian dynamics of Jordanian foreign policy from 1951, the year of the assassination of Abdallah I, to the first years of the reign of Abdallah II.
Following a chapter introducing the singular decision-making process of this country, the book chronologically retraces the main landmarks in Jordan’s political history and, in particular, the reign of King Hussein, in an attempt to determine the causes of stability and possible instability. The author concludes the volume, updated to December 2001, hypothesising that the country’s substantial stability and traditional pro-Western stance will continue, albeit in the midst of difficulties and strong tensions that could strongly influence the balance of power inside and outside the country.

Euro-Med integration and the “ring of friends”: the Mediterranean's European challenge, volume IV / edited by Peter G. Xuereb. - [Malta] : European Documentation and Research Centre. University of Malta, c2003. - xii, 401 p. - ISBN 99909-67-22-9
TResulting from the work of the EU-Med Transnational Regional Research Network, this book is focused on the Euro-Mediterranean integration process and the EU’s new neighbourhood policy. Thirteen contributions: the first two deal with the new neighbourhood policy, the first analysing the proposals of the European Commission and their potential impact on Euro-Mediterranean integration, and the second examining the process of regional integration in the Mediterranean from various angles. The next five contributions turn the spotlight on security: the relation between democracy, development and stability in the Mediterranean and Europe’s “carrot and stick” policy, the concept of “cooperative security”, and the instruments with which to implement it (the “cross-pillar approach”, that is resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, establishment of a Conference on Security and Cooperation in the Mediterranean, etc.), two case studies on the catalytic role of the EU in Cyprus after April 2003 and the impact of the new Community Immigration Policy on the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. Two chapters follow on the evolution of civil society: the impact of “Europeanisation” on the domestic policies of Cyprus and the promotion of the grass-roots movements in Morocco. The last group of contributions is made up of four case studies on as many aspects of the setting up of a EU-Mediterranean Free Trade Area and Single Market: marketing policy in Morocco, regulations on origin and competition policy in Tunisia patent protection in Turkey.

Euro-Mediterranean security : a search for partnership / Sven Biscop. - Aldershot : Ashgate, c2003. - xviii, 160 p. - (The international political economy of new regionalisms series). - ISBN 0-7546-3487-6
Negotiating the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership : strategic action in EU foreign policy? / Ricardo Gomez. - Aldershot : Ashgate, c2003. - x, 209 p. - ISBN 0-7546-1922-2
These two books, both the result of PhD theses, are broadly on the same subject and share the critical assessment of the effectiveness of the EU’s Mediterranean policy, but have different conceptual approaches.
The first focuses on “hard security”, that is the political and military aspects of security, namely the first basket of the EMP, but always in the context of the Partnership’s general objectives and an extensive interpretation of the concept of security. The five chapters correspond roughly to the author’s objectives: to determine the EU’s interests in the Mediterranean and which of these is shared by the Mediterranean partners (Chap. 1); to analyse and assess the EU’s Mediterranean security policy (Chap. 2) and European policy towards specific areas and conflicts (Chap. 3); to put forward suggestions and recommendations to optimise the Mediterranean security policy and conflict resolution policy of the EU (Chaps. 3 and 4). The fifth and last chapter provides an overall summary.
The second book centres on the effectiveness of the EU’s Mediterranean foreign policy and on negotiations as that policy’s main mode of policy-making. The first chapters provides the conceptual and theoretical framework. The second offers the historical background to EU-Mediterranean relations, retracing the first steps of Europe’s Mediterranean policy. The third chapter examines the rethinking of that policy required at the end of the eighties (post-Cold War). The fourth chapter analyses the progress and development of the Barcelona Process. The fifth provides an analytical summary of the theory and practice of the Mediterranean policy. Chapters 6 and 7 present two case studies of the Union’s diplomatic activity in the region during the nineties (the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the Algerian crisis). The eighth chapter contains the conclusions.

Globalization and the Middle East : Islam, economy, society and politics / edited by Toby Dodge and Richard Higgott. - London : The Royal Institute of International Affairs, c2002. - xii, 208 p. - ISBN 1-86203-133-9
This book springs from a series of seminars organised by the RIIA in London and, in particular, the symposium held in Abu Dhabi in November 2000 on “Globalisation: trends, implications and responses”. Five of the chapters are papers presented on that occasion, the remaining four were commissioned after 2000, but only one, the second, after 11 September. The book is divided into three parts, three chapters each. The first part attempts to set the experience of globalisation in the Middle East in a global perspective. Chapter 1 focuses on the debate on - and the perception of - globalisation in the North and the South of the world and its interaction with the geographic and cultural specificities of the society on which it acts; the second analyses the homogeneity and fragmentation of globalisation in the Middle East and the opportunities it offers the region; the third chapter highlights the minority and potentially marginalised position of countries in the area in a globalised world. The second part of the book, centred on the relation between globalisation and the Gulf countries, starts with a chapter of detailed analysis of the situation in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, followed by a chapter on the Al-Jazira phenomenon and the impact of Arab public opinion, ending with a chapter on the “Iranian way” to globalisation. The third part of the book, finally, takes a comparative look at the effects of globalisation on the region, starting with an analysis of the political and religious philosophy of Islamic activists and continuing with an essay on the “return” of the bourgeoisie to the dominant elite, a phenomenon that has marked the rise of liberal authoritarianism (rather than liberal democracy). The volume ends with a comparison of the effects of economic globalisation on Egypt and Saudi Arabia, identifying a “global community of difference” consisting of Islamic economists who try to develop local economic theories to contrast the negative effects of “top down” globalisation.

Il Mediterraneo nella politica estera italiana del secondo dopoguerra / a cura di Massimo de Leonardis. - Bologna : Il mulino, c2003. - 358 p. - ISBN 88-1509487-3
This book presents the proceedings of a conference organised in Milan in November 2001 by the Centro di Ricerche sul Sistema Sud e il Mediterraneo Allargato (CriSSMA) of the Università Cattolica of Milan and the Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale (ISPI). The volume’s structure reflects that of the conference: three sessions and a final roundtable.
The first session, “L'Italia media potenza regionale” [Italy a medium-sized regional power] provides the general framework for the subject matter, also in the context of transatlantic relations, and analyses two constant factors of Italian policy in the area: the perception of “the risks to the South” and energy considerations. The second and third sessions examine international cooperation, with particular attention to the economic and cultural aspects, and the strategic dimension of Italian foreign policy. The roundtable discusses the role of Italy in the Mediterranean.
The speakers included not only experts on the subject but also diplomats and military personnel, each broaching the subject from their specific perspective but with a deliberately historical slant, while the discussants were tasked with concentrating more on current events.

Turkey and the EU : an awkward candidate for EU membership? / Harun Arikan. - Aldershot : Ashgate, c2003. - xiv, 241 p. - ISBN 0-7546-3433-7
This essay, a revised version of a PhD thesis, examines the EU’s policy towards Turkey in comparison with other countries aspiring to membership. It intends to show that the EU has in this case developed a different approach which can be defined as “containment”, designed to postpone membership indefinitely while keeping Turkey in the European sphere of influence. Each chapter analyses a major political issue. Thus, the second (following the introductory chapter) seeks to conceptualise, that is offer a general model, of the EU’s enlargement policy; the third looks into the instruments - or rather the inadequacy - of the Association Agreement between the EU and Turkey; the fourth chapter analyses the EU’s economic instruments for the integration of Turkey; the fifth and sixth chapters focus on the human rights issue and the Greek-Turkish dispute; the seventh chapter analyses the security factors underlying the Union’s policy towards Turkey; the eighth and final chapter summarises the results of the analyses and assesses Europe’s policy towards Turkey, with particular attention to its effects on the country’s internal development and to its difficult relationship with Greece.

Turkey's foreign policy in the 21st century : a changing role in world politics edited by Tareq Ismael, Mustafa Aydin. - Aldershot : Ashgate, c2003. - xvi, 224 p. - ISBN 0-7546-3501-5
The contributions to this volume analyse Turkey’s foreign policy in relation to both the West and its neighbours.
Following an introduction on the challenges to Turkish policy posed by the military coup (the eighties) and the end of the Cold War (the nineties), the second part of the book analyses developments in US-Turkish relations after the fall of the Soviet Union; the obstacles and points of friction in the Euro-Turkish partnership; the political and economic as well as technical and military aspects of EU-Turkish security coordination; the role of the “identity question” in Euro-Turkish relations.
The third part of the book examines Turkey’s relations with its neighbours: the Arabs and Turkey’s vocation to act as a bridge between the West and the Muslim world; the Russian Federation and the recent tightening of relations between the two states; the independent states of central Asia and the Caucasus which emerged after the Cold War and Turkey’s potentially stabilising role in the region; Greece and the elements of a possible solution to the controversy between the two neighbours; Iran and the obstacles to positive bilateral relations; Syria and the current tensions.

Water, power and politics in the Middle East : the other Israeli-Palestinian conflict / Jan Selby, . London : I.B.Tauris, c2003. - xii, 275 p. - ISBN 1-86064-934-3
The product of a PhD thesis, this book is rooted in a research study in the field begun in 1994. It is an empirically grounded case study that nevertheless throws a careful eye on the more general political and structural context in which the conflict has emerged. The slant is “explanatory” rather than descriptive, in the sense that the author aims to identify the causes of the conflict. In fact, he uses a socio-political approach that tries to determine cause and effect relationships between the various dimensions of the problem: the nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the nature of the Israeli and Palestinian economies, policies and societies and their position in the global world. The text is broken down into two sections: the first introduces the historical and conceptual parameters (the causes of the water crises, the causes of the international conflicts over water, Israeli-Palestinian water relations during the direct occupation from 1967 to 1993); the second is dedicated to an analysis of post-1993 Israeli-Palestinian water politics (the Oslo process, the politics of hydrology in the Israeli-Palestinian arena, the Oslo negotiations, the domestic Palestinian arena, the daily practice of the southern West Bank Palestinian consumers). A final chapter points out some practical and political implications.