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“Turning Points” is the seventh chapter in the book Politics and Change in the Middle East by Anderson, Seibert, and Wagner. It explains several turning points in the history of the Middle East: the Palestinian rebellion, the period of the meltdown of the USSR, and the Gulf War of 1990-1991(Anderson, Seibert, & Wagner, 2011). The authors made a good attempt to cover several interesting topics through the discussion of several events in the country such as the process of globalization and its impact on Arabs, the question of Arab nationalism, the development of international organizations, and the evaluation of several political aspects of Islam including the US invasion of Iraq and the political legitimacy in the Gulf region.
According to the authors, globalization is the process when the nation gets a chance to increase its economic, political, and cultural independence (Anderson, Seibert, & Wagner, 2011). Its reasons and outcomes on the Arab people have to be identified and discussed to clarify the future development of the country. The international order was changed considerably after the USSR’s breakup. The nations needed new areas’ identification. People believed that political and economic ideologies should not be the only basis for global development. Therefore, much attention was paid to cultural and religious aspects. The process of globalization motivated people to rethink their borders and opportunities. The results of such rethinking were the idea of the clash of civilizations with Islam and the West being on the opposite sides and the spread of Al-Qaeda’s power.
The beginning of Arab Nationalism could be dated when the European powers tried to impose the territorial borders to the Middle East. The representatives of Middle Eastern governments were not satisfied with the idea that Arab nations had to be under the impact of certain forces and could not make their independent decisions. The region needed to prove the power of Arab unity and make other countries recognize it. Wars, military conflicts, invasions, and revolutions turned out to be the only possible ways for the region to protect their ideas and demonstrate their intentions. The Arab world was under the impact of the decisions made by the United Nations. However, the representatives of the United Nations were not satisfied with the steps taken by the Arabs and tried to control the events developed in the region.
It was necessary to define the organizations that could promote control and analysis of the activities in the Arab world. The authors mention that there were two types of international organizations in the Middle East: on the one hand, there was a group of organizations under the control of constituent member states such as the United Nations; and on the other hand, there were international NGOs including Amnesty International (Anderson, Seibert, & Wagner, 2011). Despite the existing differences between the organizations, all of them faced almost the same challenges such as the inabilities to promote peace on the Arab land and established the same goals including the necessity to resolve conflicts and clarify the abilities of individual governments to engage citizens in national building and development processes.
The authors underline that all events in the Middle East did not occur in a vacuum. Several economic, cultural, social, and political changes took place. Arab people could not understand their worth and took the steps that led to new conflicts and wars. Therefore, the citizens wanted to find out the roots of their “good life” to get the answers and solutions. Numerous religious movements were developed. Still, their effectiveness was not as great as the impact of the political movements in Islam. People wanted to promote the changes in the existing political system to meet their goals and achieve the required portion of success. The first changes occurred in the sphere of leadership when Hizbollah decided to participate in Lebanese elections, and an Islamic Party tried to gather the required number of votes during the elections 1995 (Anderson, Seibert, & Wagner, 2011). Then, it was necessary to attract the attention of ordinary people and make them participate in different political conflicts.
US Invasion of Iraq
The US Iraq invasion resulted in numerous controversies at the local and international levels. It was proved that Iraq had the weapon of mass destruction, and the USA had to take some actions to avoid a catastrophe in the future. Also, the post-war situation in Iraq created new challenges, and it was necessary to stabilize the situation. There were many parties to the conflict with their personal goals and abilities. The situation was cleared up in the middle of the 2000s when the US government decided to leave the territory.
Political Legitimacy in the Gulf Region
The Gulf monarchies faced several difficulties and could not gain the required portion of control and power in the region. Besides, wars and conflicts were expensive, and the governments had to take the steps to cover the losses. Media freedom was increased, international inspectors were invited to evaluate the current situation in the region, and the leaders were changed.
Anderson, R.R., Seibert, R., & Wagner, J.G. (2011). Politics and Change in the Middle East (10th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.