Stephen Zunes : Middle East–Overview

Overview of Self-Determination Issues in the Middle East
5 June 2001

As in much of the third world, many of the national boundaries of the Middle East and North Africa are artificial creations of the colonial era. Because most of the region’s inhabitants are Muslim Arabs and thanks to relatively high tolerance levels for minorities in traditional Islamic societies, the denial of self-determination has not been as widespread as in many parts of the world. Still, disputes in the Middle East involving people struggling for the right of self-determination remain some of the most dangerous and intractable conflicts in the world today.

Continuing Storm: The U.S. Role in the Middle East
1 April 1999

Throughout the centuries, Western nations have tried to impose their order on the region now commonly known as the Middle East. For certain periods of time they have succeeded, only to find themselves at the receiving end of a popular and oftentimes violent backlash. Now, with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the triumph in the Gulf War, the United States stands—at least for a time—as the region’s dominant outside power.