The Unraveling Middle East
Shifting Sands: The Unraveling of the Old Order in the Middle East

Wainer, Kit Adam

Publisher:  Against the Current
Date Written:  01/07/2017
Year Published:  2017  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX21621

Book review of Raja Shehadeh's and Penny Johnson's Shifting Sands: The Unraveling of the Old Order in the Middle East.



This collection would have been stronger, however, had it included essays on the histories of the modern labor and women's movements. That would have made it easier for the reader to contextualize the rise of political Islam and the decay of Arab nationalism. The absence of such work weakens the second section of the book, which addresses current developments.

Essays on labor or women's movements might also have left the reader with a more accurate picture of the Arab Spring. Unfortunately Tamim al-Barghouti's essay highlights this weakness. While the author does a good job tracing the historical failures of Arab nationalist states, he suggests that the resistance to them took the form of ideas which circulated with minimal agency.

The Iraq War of 2003, he argues, shattered any illusion that Arab states could defend their populations. Consequently, new unorganized types of resistance arose.
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