The Middle East state system is hardly self-evident and is, by and large, an artificial colonial construct. In recent years, especially after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, a pervasive sense of uncertainty has gripped the capitals of the Middle East in regard to the continued stability of the region's state order. The unrest in Iraq sent shockwaves throughout the Arab East. The relative weakness of the Arab state system, the spread of radical Islam, and the reassertion of traditional sub-state identities threaten to undermine the cohesion of some key Arab states. How are they coping with these challenges? To what extent are their efforts succeeding in maintaining cohesion of the Arab States? These are the crucial questions that this compendium seeks to examine.
ASHER SUSSER is a senior fellow and former director of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University. He is the author or editor of eight books on the politics of the Middle East.