Gasiorowski, Mark, ed.: "The Government and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa."(Book review)

Author:Magnarella, Paul J.

Gasiorowski, Mark, ed. The Government and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2014.

Unlike previous editions of The Government and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa, Professor of Political Science at Tulane University Mark Gasiorowski served as the sole editor of the seventh edition. The book's individual chapters, each written by a country specialist, cover states from Iran in the East to Morocco in the West. It also contains a chapter on "The Palestinians," not the "State of Palestine." The United Nations granted Palestine nonmember observer state status in 2012. By then, it had already received state recognition by over 90 countries. By September 2015, 136 countries (over 70 percent of UN member states) had granted it state recognition. This collection, however, follows the US-Israeli position by not identifying Palestine as a state. Nonetheless, Glenn E. Robinson, the author of the chapter on the Palestinians, penned a well-written, informative contribution on the subject.

The collection of essays opens with an introductory chapter by Gasiorowski covering the history, geography, socio-economic conditions, and domestic politics of the region. He makes reference to Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program, but is silent on Israel's nuclear weapons arsenal. A serious omission, since Israel is the only country in the vast region of the Middle East and North Africa that possesses nuclear weapons. Each country chapter follows a similar organizational structure: a historical overview, discussion of socio-economic and geopolitical factors, followed by sections on foreign policy and future prospects. All chapters are accompanied by country maps that too often lack place names that appear in the text. Even more problematic, the book chapters only cover events up to 2012. Because so much has happened in the region since then, the book is already outdated. Nonetheless, most authors have done an excellent job presenting information to that point. Especially impressive is Professor of Political Science at Auburn University Jill Crystal's presentation of the historic and political complexities of the Eastern Arabian States of Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.

One exception to this praise is the chapter on Israel by David H. Goldberg, the Research Director at Dynamic Global Information Service in Toronto. The chapter is so unbalanced and one-sided that readers might regard it as...

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