Northern Illinois University                                        Dustin Berna

Fall 2008                                                                     Dberna@niu.edu

                                                                                    815-991-5341 (home)

                                                                                    815-753-1022 (office)

Office Location: Zulauf 411

 

Political Science 375: Politics of the Middle East

 

There is no such thing as a Palestinian people.  It is not as if we came and threw them out and took their country. They didn't exist.

  Golda Meir

 

The question is what shall we do to enter the world state?  We need to force what our enemy would not have.  This force should be superior to technology and weapons.  Our balancing force is the newly born and awakened Islam that is prepared to make sacrifices throughout the world and our Islamic Republic will survive if it’s backed by global force.

– Ayatollah Khomeini

 

Oil is too important a commodity to be left in the hand of the Arabs

– Henry Kissinger

 

I can’t tell you if the use of force in Iraq today will last five days, five weeks or five months, but it won’t last any longer than that.

 – Donald Rumsfeld

 

People say to me, you [the Iraqis] are not the Vietnamese, you have no jungles and swamps to hide in.  I reply let our cities be our swamps and buildings our jungles.

 – Tariq Aziz

Course Description: 

                                    

This course is an advanced seminar in Middle Eastern politics and will provide the student a broad-based understanding of the diverse socioeconomic and sociopolitical systems of the Middle East and the greater Islamic world.  We will look specifically at topics such as: Islamic fundamentalism, terrorism, nuclear weapons, oil, the Iraq War, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the displacement of the Palestinian people and Israel’s right to exist, the political movements of Hezbollah and Hamas, tans-national Islamic extremism such as Al-Qaeda, and the United State’s Middle Eastern policy.  Finally, we will investigate the current sociopolitical and socioeconomic problems that plague both the Middle East and the greater Islamic world and the probable results and possible solutions. 

 

Grading:

           

5 short papers:                                    75%                

Participation:                                       25%

 

Regular attendance is mandatory and will be taken at the beginning of each class.  Any student arriving late to class after attendance is taken will be marked absent; there will be no exceptions.  More than 2 absences will result in a five-point reduction on final grade for each additional absence.  Please note that a significant number of absences will result in a failing course grade.  The best way to perform well in this course is to attend and prepare for each class.  25% of your grade is participation.  If you do not attend class then you cannot participate.  For every class you miss you will loose a percentage of the 25% from your final grade. 

 

Paper Requirements:

 

For each of the 5 papers, you are expected to critically evaluate five of the semester’s readings.  Each weekly paper should be between 4-6 pages and consist of two sections.  First, a brief overview of a single reading or several readings, here you are expected to sum-up the author’s major arguments and findings.  Secondly, critically evaluate what you have read and you may be as critical as you wish.  You are encouraged to use previous readings as a starting point for your criticism and you are welcome to bring in ANY outside source.  No student is allowed to hand in more than one paper per week.  This means that if you wait until mid-April to start your papers you will run out of time.

 

The following questions may help you to think of what to include in your papers:  

 

1)      What are the main hypotheses (or arguments) in the week’s reading(s)?

2)      How does this week’s reading fit together (if there is more than one reading per week)?

3)      How does the week’s readings relate to past readings? 

4)      What does this week’s reading add to the literature?  Does it critique it?

5)      What have you taken from the readings?

6)      What are the implications of the topics covered in the readings?

7)      According to the readings what are the causes of Middle Eastern conflict?

8)      According to the readings what are the consequences of Middle Eastern conflict?

9)      What are your critiques?

 

Guidelines on Grading Papers:

 

Grade

Total Points

A+

150

A

140

A-/B+

120

B

100

B-C+

80

C

60

C-/D+

40

D

30

 

Academic dishonesty on papers will not be tolerated and will result in an automatic F on the assignment without the opportunity to re-do or re-write the assignment for replacement credit.     

 

Required Text(s):

 

Keddie, Nikkie. 2006. Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution. ISBN: 0300121059

 

Liam Anderson and Gareth Stansfield. 2004. The Future of Iraq: Dictatorship, Democracy, or Division? ISBN: 1-4039-7144-7

 

Levitt, Matthew. 2007. Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad. ISBN: 0300122586

 

Palmer-Harik, Judith. 2005. Hezbollah: The Changing Face of Terrorism. ISBN-10: 1845110242

 

Rick Fawn and Raymond Hinnebusch. 2006. The Iraq War: Causes and Consequences. ISBN: 1-58826-438-6

 

John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt. 2007. The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. ISBN: 978-0-374-53150-8

 

Ilan Pappe. 2007. A History of Modern Palestine.  ISBN: 978-0-521-68315-9

 

Asma Barlas. 2002. Believing Women in Islam: Unreading Patriarchal Interpretations of the Qur’an. ISBN: 978-0-292-70904-1

 

Hamid Algar. 1981. Islam and Revolution: Writings and Declaration of Imam Khomeini. ISBN: 0933782039

 

John Bradley. 2005. Saudi Arabia Exposed: Inside a Kingdom in Crisis. ISBN: 1-4039-7077-7

 

Method of Teaching:

 

Instruction in this course will follow a Socratic format.  A thorough exchange of ideas among students on various current events, weekly readings or lecture topics is expected.   

 

Student Learning Objectives:

 

After successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

 

  • Explain and understand the socioeconomic and sociopolitical systems of Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian Territories, Israel, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Egypt.   
  • Explain and understand the significance Islam plays in Middle Eastern sociopolitical institutions and the impossibility of separation of church and state.
  • Explain and understand the causes and consequences of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
  • Explain and understand the role U.S. foreign policy has had in the Middle East and the greater Islamic world.
  • Understand the role Islamic Fundamentalism plays in the global community, specifically the Middle East and how to stop it from spreading.
  • Understand the role terrorism plays in the global community, specifically the Middle East.
  • Explain and understand the history of Islam, the Middle East, and individual Middle Eastern states and how that history still affects the contemporary sociopolitical structures.
  • Explain and understand the main religious and ethnic actors in the Middle East.
  • The ability to compose a college level essay that expresses his/her views and/or ideas as they relate to the weekly readings either.
  • Student is expected to be able to think critically.
  • Realize and understand the significance of being politically and socially aware and active.

 

Additional Information:

 

Extra Credit: Under NO circumstances will extra credit assignments be given to any student attempting to raise his/her final grade.

 

Students with Disabilities: Northern Illinois University is constitutionally required to follow the Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 regarding the provision to provide reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities.  Therefore, if you have a disability that will negatively impact your performance in this course NIU MUST provide you with any needed instructional and/or examination accommodation.  If you need additional assistance please contact me ASAP.  Also, you will need to register with the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR), the designated office on campus to provide services and administer exams with accommodations for students with disabilities. CAAR is located on the fourth floor of the University Health Services building (753-1303).

 

Plagiarism Policy: According to the NIU Undergraduate Catalogue “Students are guilty of plagiarism, intentional or not, if they copy material from books, magazines, or other sources without identifying and acknowledging them. Students guilty of, or assisting others in, either cheating or plagiarism on an assignment, quiz, or examination may receive a grade of F for the course involved and may be suspended or dismissed from the university.”  If you intentionally plagiarize on any paper I will give you an F on that paper.  

 

Religious Observance: If classes or assignments coincide and conflict with your religious observance, please let me know ASAP so that you can be accommodated.

 

Undergraduate Writing Awards: The Department of Political Science will recognize, on an annual basis, outstanding undergraduate papers written in conjunction with 300-400 level political science courses or directed studies. Authors do not have to be political science majors or have a particular class standing. Winners are expected to attend the Department’s spring graduation ceremony where they will receive a certificate and $50.00. Papers, which can be submitted by students or faculty, must be supplied in triplicate to a department secretary by February 28th. All copies should have two cover pages-one with the student’s name and one without the student’s name. Only papers written in the previous calendar year can be considered for the award.

 

Department of Political Science Web Site: Undergraduates are strongly encouraged to consult the Department of Political Science web site on a regular basis. This up-to-date, central source of information will assist students in contacting faculty and staff, reviewing course requirements and syllabi, exploring graduate study, researching career options, tracking department events, and accessing important details related to undergraduate programs and activities. To reach the site, go to http://polisci.niu.edu.

 

January 13: Course Introduction

 

Topic One: Islamic government and Ayatollah Khomeini  

 

Hamid Algar. 1981. Islam and Revolution: Writings and Declaration of Imam Khomeini. ISBN: 0933782039

 

Topic Two: Iran

 

Keddie, Nikkie. 2006. Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution. ISBN: 0300121059

 

Topic Three: Saudi Arabia

 

John Bradley. 2005. Saudi Arabia Exposed: Inside a Kingdom in Crisis. ISBN: 1-4039-7077-7

 

Robert Sullivan. 1970. Saudi Arabia in International Politics. The Review of Politics. 

Pages 436-460

 

John Bradley. 2005. Al-Qaeda and the House of Saud: Eternal Enemies or Secret Bedfellows. The Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Pages 139-152.  

 

Rachel Bronson. 2005. Rethinking Religion: The Legacy of the U.S.-Saudi Relationship. The Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Pages 121-137.

 

 

Topic Four: The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy   

 

John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt. 2007. The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. ISBN: 978-0-374-53150-8

 

Stephen Walt: 2002. Beyond bin Laden: Reshaping U.S. Foreign Policy. International Security. Pages 56-78 (Project Muse)

 

Jonathan Monten. Spring 2005. The Roots of the Bush Doctrine: Power, Nationalism, and Democracy Promotion in U.S. Strategy. International Security. Pages 112-156

 

David Hastings Dunn. 2006. A Doctrine Worthy of the Name? George W. Bush and the Limits of Pre-Emption, Pre-Eminence, and Unilateralism. Democracy and Statecraft. Pages 1-29.

 

Francois Heisbourg. A Work in Progress: The Bush Doctrine and its consequences. The Washington Quarterly. Pages 75-88.

 

Topic Five: Palestine

 

Ilan Pappe. 2007. A History of Modern Palestine.  ISBN: 978-0-521-68315-9

 

Topic Six: Hamas

 

Levitt, Matthew. 2007. Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad. ISBN: 0300122586

 

Topic Six: Lebanon and Hezbollah

 

Palmer-Harik, Judith. 2005. Hezbollah: The Changing Face of Terrorism. ISBN-10: 1845110242

 

Topic Eight: Iraq

 

Liam Anderson and Gareth Stansfield. 2004. The Future of Iraq: Dictatorship, Democracy, or Division? ISBN: 1-4039-7144-7

 

 Rick Fawn and Raymond Hinnebusch. 2006. The Iraq War: Causes and Consequences. ISBN: 1-58826-438-6

 

Joshua Walker. 2006. Turkey and Israel’s Relationship in the Middle East. Mediterranean Quarterly. Pages 60-90.

 

 Topic Nine: Women and Islam

 

Asma Barlas. 2002. Believing Women in Islam: Unreading Patriarchal Interpretations of the Qur’an. ISBN: 978-0-292-70904-1