The Middle East is a place where identities have been turned upside-down by modern history. The break-up of the Ottoman Empire, the rise of nationalism, the resurgence of religion, and the crises of the state, have sharpened primordial allegiances and prompted violence. A few excursions:

  • Arab Nationalism: Mistaken Identity runs briskly through the rise, heyday, and decline of the idea of one Arab nation. (This is the most-visited article on this website.)
  • Rude Arab Awakening reflects on the deterioration of Arab politics in the mirror of Fouad Ajami’s Dream Palace of the Arabs.
  • The Middle East, Old and New, is a mid-1990s think-piece on the state of identity in Israel, Iran, Turkey, and the Arab Middle East.
  • When Minorities Rule, inspired by the Iraq war, asks whether minority rule is always illegitimate in a Middle East with no tradition of democracy.