Government and Politics in the Middle East
Paper instructions:
This is a 12-point type-size, 12 pages, double space, normal one inch margins paper. There is not a specific topic assigned, so there is freedom in choosing the subject matter. However, it does need to be inspired by one of the following themes:
– Legacy of colonialism
– Diversity
– War
– Legitimacy
– External power intervention
– Political development and institutions
– Religion
– Popular protests
Argument: do you have a well-articulated and focused research question? Do you answer it in a structured, comprehensive and clear manner? = 60%
Research: do you have a reasonable number of scientific references? (and do you actually use them) = 20%
Writing: clarity, grammar, spelling = 20%

I have attached a syllabus for the course. The required readings for the course where “Tareq Y. Ismael and Jacqueline S. Ismael (2011). Government and Politics of the Contemporary Middle East. London and New York: Routledge” and “Mehran Kamrava (2011). The Modern Middle East. London and New York: Routledge, 2nd edition”.

Department of Political Science
PSCI 3203 A
Government and Politics in the Middle East
Thursday, 18h05-20h55
Please confirm location on Carleton Central
Instructor: Thomas Juneau
Office: LOEB B646
Office hours: Thursday, 5:00-6:00
Telephone: 613 520 2600 ext.1598
Email: [email protected]
Course Description
The aim of this course is to introduce students to the main factors and events which have led to the emergence of the modern Middle Eastern state system. We will focus on key states, by studying their evolution after World War I:
• How they emerged from the era of European colonialism;
• How the Cold War affected their internal political development and their international relations;
• How the end of the Cold War, the era of US preponderance and the events that followed the attacks of 9/11 impacted the Middle East;
• Moreover, we will look into the causes and potential consequences of the Arab uprisings.
In addition, some lectures will introduce key themes which have played an important role in the political development of the Middle East, such as state/society relations, economic development, war, terrorism and democratization.
Every lecture will be divided into two or three parts:
• a discussion on a specific country or group of countries;
• in some cases, an overview of a particular theme of the region’s political development;
• the third hour of every lecture will consist of either a class debate, a presentation by a guest speaker or the viewing of a documentary.
Students are invited to actively follow developments in the Middle East. The following websites can be particularly useful:
• Al-Jazeera English (
• The Middle East Channel, Foreign Policy (
• BBC (
• The New York Times (
• The Guardian (
• The Arabist blog (
• The Daily Star – Lebanon (
• The Jordan Times (
• Ha’aretz – Israel (
• The National – UAE (
Both books for this class are available at the Carleton bookstore:
• Tareq Y. Ismael and Jacqueline S. Ismael (2011). Government and Politics of the Contemporary Middle East. London and New York: Routledge.
• Mehran Kamrava (2011). The Modern Middle East. London and New York: Routledge, 2nd edition.
Every other required reading is available electronically: on the Carleton University Library site in the case of academic journal articles, and freely on the web in other cases.
Course evaluation
1. Book review (due in class on 26 September) – 20%
Students will be required to produce a book review. The book chosen must be written by a university professor and published by a university press, and have as its central topic an issue covered in this class. If you are in doubt, please verify with the instructor or the TA. The review must be 6 pages in length (double spaced, 12-point type size, Times New Roman, normal one inch margins).
The first part of your review should provide a summary of the book. This summary can include chronological elements, but in the short space that you have, you should focus instead on highlighting the key elements or themes of the book (what is the topic? what is the main argument? what are the case studies? Why is this topic important?). The second part, roughly equal in length to the first, should provide a critical analysis and discussion of the book (do you agree with the author’s main argument? Why? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the book? What have other authors said on comparable topics?). You should also include a brief (no more than half a page each) introduction and conclusion.
Marks will be allocated on the following basis:
• Writing (clarity, grammar, spelling) – 20%
• Summary (comprehensiveness, clarity) – 40%
• Analysis (do you have a focused argument which you express clearly and in a structured manner?) – 40%
2. Term paper (due in class on 28 November) – 35%
Students will be required to write a final paper. Papers must be 12 pages (double spaced, 12-point type size, Times New Roman, normal one inch margins). Topics and criteria for evaluation will be discussed in class.
For both the book review and the paper, students will be penalized by one letter grade for each late day (i.e., an A paper handed in one day late is downgrade to an A-; Saturday and Sunday together count as one day).
3. Final exam (during the exam period) – 35%
The final exam will include long and short answers. Questions will cover class lectures, guest speakers, class debates, documentaries and course readings from the entire semester.
4. Attendance and participation – 10%
Students will be evaluated on the basis of their attendance to the lectures and of their participation.
• 5%: attendance is required every week; an attendance sheet will be circulated.
• 5%: students will receive additional marks for their participation during regular lectures and in class debates.
Weekly program
Class 1 (5 September): Introduction
• Ismael and Ismael, ch.1
• Kamrava, Introduction
Class 2 (12 September): The burden of history; Islam
Class debate
• Ismael and Ismael, chs.2 and 3
• Kamrava, chs.1 and 2
• There is some overlap between these four chapters; feel free to skip redundant sections.
Class 3 (19 September): Egypt; nationalism
Guest speaker
• Ismael and Ismael, ch.9
• Kamrava, ch.3
• Hani Sabra (2013). “The New Egypt at (Almost) Two,”, 14 January. (
• I will provide at the beginning of the term a reference for another (short) article on recent events in Egypt, to make sure that we are up to date.
Class 4 (26 September): Israel/Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict (book review is due; discussion of paper topics)
Class debate
• Kamrava, chs.4 and 7
• Yosef Kuperwasser and Shalom Lipner (2011). “The Problem is Palestinian Rejectionism,” Foreign Affairs, November/December, 2-9.
• Ronald Krebs (2011). “Israel’s Bunker Mentality,” Foreign Affairs, November/December, pp. 10-18.
Class 5 (3 October): Turkey; democratization
Guest speaker
• Ismael and Ismael, ch.4
• Kamrava, ch.10
• Seymen Atasoy (2011). “The Turkish Example: A Model for Change in the Middle East?” Middle East Policy 18(3), 86-100.
• Steven A. Cook (2012). “Overdone Turkey,”, 21 November. (
Class 6 (10 October): Iraq and the Gulf wars
Documentary: The Iran-Iraq War
• Ismael and Ismael, ch.6
• Kamrava, ch.6
• Toby Dodge (2012). “Iraq’s Road Back to Dictatorship,” Survival 54(3), 147-168.
• The Economist (2013). “Special Report; Iraq Ten Years on: The Slow Road Back,” 2 March.
Class 7 (17 October): Saudi Arabia and the Arab petro-monarchies of the Gulf; oil and economic development
Class debate
• Ismael and Ismael, ch.10
• Kamrava, ch.8
• Martin Hvidt (2011). “Economic and Institutional Reforms in the Arab Gulf Countries,” Middle East Journal 65(1), 85-102.
• Hugh Eakin (2013). “Will Saudi Arabia Ever Change?” New York Review of Books, 10 January. (
Class 8 (24 October): Syria/Lebanon and state/society relations
Documentary: The 1982 War
• Ismael and Ismael, ch.7
• Kamrava, ch.9
• Joshua Landis (2012). “The Syrian Uprising of 2011: Why the Assad Regime Is Likely to Survive to 2013,” Middle East Policy 19(1), 72-84.
• Toby Matthiesen (2013). “Syria: Inventing a Religious War,” New York Review of Books 12 June. (
Class 9 (7 November): Iran
Guest speaker
• Ismael and Ismael, ch.5
• Kamrava, ch.5
• Mohsen Milani (2009). “Tehran’s Take: Understanding Iran’s U.S. Policy,” Foreign Affairs July/August, 46-62.
• Shaul Bakhash (2012). “Iran’s Deepening Internal Crisis,” Current History, December, 337-343.
Class 10 (14 November): Yemen; state fragility and terrorism
Guest speaker
• Thomas Juneau (2011). “Yemen: Prospects for State Failure – Implications and Remedies,” Middle East Policy 17(3), 134-152.
• Robert Rotberg (2003). “Failed States, Collapsed States, Weak States: Causes and Indicators,” Brookings Institution. (
• CTC Sentinel Special Issue on the death of Ben Laden (May 2011). Read articles by Hoffman, Tawil and Johnsen. (
• William McCants (2011). “Al Qaeda’s Challenge,” Foreign Affairs, September/October, 20-32.
Class 11 (21 November): The Arab uprisings I: Causes
• Jack Goldstone (2011). “Understanding the Revolutions of 2011,” Foreign Affairs, May/June, 8-16.
• Gregory Gause (2011). “Why Middle East Studies Missed the Arab Spring,” Foreign Affairs, July/August, 81-90.
• Ann Lesch (2011). “Egypt’s Spring: Causes of the Revolution,” Middle East Policy, 18(3), 35-48.
• Olivier Roy (2012). “The Transformation of the Arab World,” Journal of Democracy 23(3), 5-18.
• Glenn E. Robinson (2012). “Syria’s Long Civil War,” Current History, December, 331-336.
Class 12 (28 November): The Arab uprisings II: Consequences
Debate: the consequences of the Arab uprisings
• Thomas Juneau (2012). “Competing Visions of the State: Political and Security Trends in the Arab World and the Middle East,” World Watch Expert Notes, Canadian Security Intelligence Service, May. (
• Seth Jones (2013). “The Mirage of the Arab Spring,” Foreign Affairs, January/February, 55-63.
• David Lesch (2012). “Prudence Suggests Staying Out of Syria,” Current History November, 299-304.
• Stephen Kinzer (2012). “Libya and the Limits of Intervention,” Current History, November, 305-309.
• Nabeel Khoury (2013). “The Arab Cold War Revisited: The Regional Impact of the Arab Uprising,” Middle East Policy 20(2), 73-87.
Class 13 (5 December): The future of the Middle East; semester review
• Kamrava, ch.11
Academic Accommodations
The Paul Menton Centre for Students with Disabilities (PMC) provides services to students with Learning Disabilities (LD), psychiatric/mental health disabilities, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), chronic medical conditions, and impairments in mobility, hearing, and vision. If you have a disability requiring academic accommodations in this course, please contact PMC at 613-520-6608 or [email protected] for a formal evaluation. If you are already registered with the PMC, contact your PMC coordinator to send me your Letter of Accommodation at the beginning of the term, and no later than two weeks before the first in-class scheduled test or exam requiring accommodation (if applicable). After requesting accommodation from PMC, meet with me to ensure accommodation arrangements are made. Please consult the PMC website for the deadline to request accommodations for the formally-scheduled exam (if applicable).
For Religious Observance: Students requesting accommodation for religious observances should apply in writing to their instructor for alternate dates and/or means of satisfying academic requirements. Such requests should be made during the first two weeks of class, or as soon as possible after the need for accommodation is known to exist, but no later than two weeks before the compulsory academic event. Accommodation is to be worked out directly and on an individual basis between the student and the instructor(s) involved. Instructors will make accommodations in a way that avoids academic disadvantage to the student. Instructors and students may contact an Equity Services Advisor for assistance (
For Pregnancy: Pregnant students requiring academic accommodations are encouraged to contact an Equity Advisor in Equity Services to complete a letter of accommodation. Then, make an appointment to discuss your needs with the instructor at least two weeks prior to the first academic event in which it is anticipated the accommodation will be required.
Plagiarism: The University Senate defines plagiarism as “presenting, whether intentional or not, the ideas, expression of ideas or work of others as one’s own.” This can include:
• reproducing or paraphrasing portions of someone else’s published or unpublished material, regardless of the source, and presenting these as one’s own without proper citation or reference to the original source;
• submitting a take-home examination, essay, laboratory report or other assignment written, in whole or in part, by someone else;
• using ideas or direct, verbatim quotations, or paraphrased material, concepts, or ideas without appropriate acknowledgment in any academic assignment;
• using another’s data or research findings;
• failing to acknowledge sources through the use of proper citations when using another’s works and/or failing to use quotation marks;
• handing in “substantially the same piece of work for academic credit more than once without prior written permission of the course instructor in which the submission occurs.
Plagiarism is a serious offence which cannot be resolved directly with the course’s instructor. The Associate Deans of the Faculty conduct a rigorous investigation, including an interview with the student, when an instructor suspects a piece of work has been plagiarized. Penalties are not trivial. They include a mark of zero for the plagiarized work or a final grade of “F” for the course.
Oral Examination: At the discretion of the instructor, students may be required to pass a brief oral examination on research papers and essays.
Submission and Return of Term Work: Papers must be handed directly to the instructor and will not be date-stamped in the departmental office. Late assignments may be submitted to the drop box in the corridor outside B640 Loeb. Assignments will be retrieved every business day at 4 p.m., stamped with that day’s date, and then distributed to the instructor. For essays not returned in class please attach a stamped, self-addressed envelope if you wish to have your assignment returned by mail. Please note that assignments sent via fax or email will not be accepted. Final exams are intended solely for the purpose of evaluation and will not be returned.
Grading: Assignments and exams will be graded with a percentage grade. To convert this to a letter grade or to the university 12-point system, please refer to the following table.
Letter grade
12-point scale
Letter grade
12-point scale
Grades: Final grades are derived from the completion of course assignments. Failure to write the final exam will result in the grade ABS. Deferred final exams are available ONLY if the student is in good standing in the course.
Approval of final grades: Standing in a course is determined by the course instructor subject to the approval of the Faculty Dean. This means that grades submitted by an instructor may be subject to revision. No grades are final until they have been approved by the Dean.
Carleton E-mail Accounts: All email communication to students from the Department of Political Science will be via official Carleton university e-mail accounts and/or cuLearn. As important course and University information is distributed this way, it is the student’s responsibility to monitor their Carleton and cuLearn accounts.
Carleton Political Science Society: The Carleton Political Science Society (CPSS) has made its mission to provide a social environment for politically inclined students and faculty. Holding social events, debates, and panel discussions, CPSS aims to involve all political science students at Carleton University. Our mandate is to arrange social and academic activities in order to instill a sense of belonging within the Department and the larger University community. Members can benefit through numerous opportunities which will complement both academic and social life at Carleton University. To find out more, visit or come to our office in Loeb D688.
Official Course Outline: The course outline posted to the Political Science website is the official course outline.


Government and Politics in the Middle East