Introduction to Middle East Politics


The Middle East & North African countries are in the midst of political, social, and religious transformations of tectonic proportions.  In light of the looming energy crisis due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the region will acrue greater strategic importance to the U.S. and the global economy.  This course explores the main forces, ideologies, and institutions that drive these transformations in key countries.  We will assess the internal dynamics, their interconnectedness, and their implications for the region and international politics.

This is an introductory course that assumes little or no prior knowledge of the covered topics.  It is designed to build from the most general to the more specific and complex aspects of Middle East politics.  We will begin with a general overview of the region to cover the issues that affect all or most of the countries.  These include for example the weight of history and religion and the challenges of social modernization and economic development.  We will then focus on the political system of each country and how it affects a country’s domestic policies and international behavior.  For our purpose, the Middle East includes the Arab-majority states stretching from Morocco to the Gulf, in addition to the region’s non-Arab states: Iran, Israel, and Turkey.

Introduction to political systems, processes, movements, and conflicts in the Middle East.
Curriculum Codes
  • CCI
  • EI
  • CZ
  • SS