The survival of the Middle East, as we knew it, is in doubt. The future of Iraq, plagued by violence and war
The survival of the Middle East, as we knew it, is in doubt. The future of Iraq, plagued by violence and war since 2003, has become unclear. Even greater uncertainty surrounds the continued existence of Syria, which has been a war zone since 2011. Libya and Yemen have ceased to be functioning states, now serving merely as cauldrons for confused conflicts. If one had to single out one key event that changed things fundamentally, it would be the occupation of Iraq by the United States and its ‘coalition of the willing’ in 2003. The Arab uprisings from 2010-1 may be seen as a reflection of these fundamental changes, rather than their primary cause. In this power vacuum, an unstable system structured around partial hegemons such as Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey has started to emerge. Recent events have been speeding up the historic retreat of the US from its role as the dominant global power – also in the Middle East. The United States might be able to insulate themselves from most of the consequences of the reordering of the Middle East. But for its closer neighbors –Europe included– this is not an option. The Middle East with which we were once so familiar has gone, never to return.
Prof. Dr. Maurus Reinkowski has chaired the Institute of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the Department of Social Sciences, University of Basel, since 2010. After research positions held at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem (1995-6) und at Orient-Institut Istanbul (1996-8), he has been teaching at Bamberg University (1998-2003), Munich’s Ludwigs-Maximilians University (2003-4), Albert-Ludwigs University in Freiburg (2004-2010) and Sabanci University, Istanbul (2015). He specializes in the history of the late Ottoman Empire, the Republic of Turkey, and the modern Middle East. He has published on the beginnings of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, nationalism and minorities in the Middle East, imperial order, conspiracy theories, conversion and crypto-religiosity. Among his more recent publications are Conspiracy Theories in the United States and the Middle East. A Comparative Approach (2014, coedited with M. Butter), World War I and the End of the Ottomans (2015, coedited with H.L. Kieser and K. Öktem) and Arabellion – From Rise to Fall (2017, coedited with Th. Demmelhuber and A. Paul). Available in Turkish is his 2017 Düzenin Şeyleri, Tanzimat’ın Kelimeleri: 19. Yüzyıl Osmanlı Reform Politikasının Karşılaştırmalı Bir Araştırması.
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