11. Post-war developments in the Middle East 1945 ‑ 2000

One thing that is not well understood in the West is the diversity of the Middle East. Even though the countries of Europe share a common religion and political structure, there are tremendous cultural differences between a Swede and a Greek, a German and a Spaniard. ... So it makes little sense to talk about a "European"; most citizens of Europe will define themselves by their national identity. There is a similar level of diversity in the Middle East. A Morrocan is quite different from a Jordanian or a Yemeni. Even though most Arab countries share a common religion, Islam, and a common language, Arabic, there are important cultural and historical differences between them, and they are also home to significant religious minorities. ... So it makes as little sense to make sweeping generalizations about all "Arabs" as it does with all "Europeans".

King Abdullah II of Jordan, (2011) Our Last Best Chance: The pursuit of peace in a time of peril, Viking, New York (p. 142)

This section deals with the issues of nationalism, communalism, modernization and westernization in the Middle East post-1945. It requires examination of the issues ofdomestic reforms and the extent to which they proved acceptable and/or successful in achieving their aims, as well as consideration of the influence of outside interference on developments within the region generally or in specific states. Relationships between Arab states and the relationship of Arab states (individually and/or collectively) with Israel following the war of 1973 should also be investigated.
  • Egypt under Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak: nature of the state; political developments; economic and social policies
  • Modernization and Westernization under Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi in Iran: impact of Western influence; White Revolution; nature of society; 1979 Revolution
  • Lebanon: civil wars, outside interference and reconstruction; confessional state; economic tensions; growth of militias and PLO
  • Pan-Arabism: the UAR and the search for Arab leadership and unity; short-lived nature of UAR; longer-term impact on Islamic unity
  • The Arab world and Israel: uneasy relations and conflicts; attempts at peacemaking; tensions caused by consequences of conflict (Occupied Territories, Intifada)
  • Case study of one Middle Eastern state (excluding Egypt): the nature of the government; domestic policies; opposition and dissent (suitable examples could be Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria or any other relevant state) - but I recommend you do Israel.


Habibi et al, (2010) History of Europe and the Middle East: IB Programme Course Companion, Oxford, Oxford.
King Abdullah II of Jordan (2011) Our Last Best Chance: The pursuit of peace in a time of peril, Viking, New York


Good overview from Zionism to Gulf War I:

Timeline of the Arab-Israeli conflict:

Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs: 'The Arab-Israeli Wars

Israel's story in maps: http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Facts+About+Israel/Israel+in+Maps/
(Israel's YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/Israel

Interactive Map (with data) of Arab League (The Economist)

Negotiations Affairs Dept of Palestinian Liberation Organisation

Women in the Middle East (includes a few names of famous women writers & politicians and covers a range of 'daily life' sections such as marriage & family, the veil and education.

Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive:
Birth of Israel and its defence: http://www.spielbergfilmarchive.org.il/kv/birth1.html
Immigration and Absorption: http://www.spielbergfilmarchive.org.il/kv/immig1.html

Links to US/Middle East Relations: http://www.princeton.edu/~bsimpson/Hist%20725%20Summer%202006/Middle%20East.htm