Winds of Change: The Challenge of Modernity in the Middle East and North Africa.

Cyrus Rohani and Behrooz  Sabet (Eds).

(London: SAQI Books, 2019, 304 pp).

The winds of change blow in a good number of directions;  and at different strengths within the Middle East and North Africa.  At times;  the wind seems calm;  and then suddenly;  there is a renewal.  It is useful to have a good guide to the political struggle;  to achieve modernity and the problems encounteres along the way.

However;  weather forecasting is not yet a science;  although the price of oil may be as close to forecasting criteria;  that we can get for the area since the 1973 Kippour War.  In addition to the political winds blowing from the States of the area;  there are world-wide influences from countries such as Russia, the USA, and increasingly Turkey.  There are also trans-frontier non-governmental ideological currents;  such as those from the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic State.

The Muslim World.

With the emergence of the Arab Spring in 2011;  the question of democracy and pluralism within  the Muslim world has become a crucial concern. Efforts to promote a reduction of tensions and negotiations in good faith to end the armed conflicts of the area;  will depend on peace activists of the area and abroad.  Non-governmental organizations such as the Association of World Citizens need to promote policy proposals;  which can attract consensus.  Policy proposals need to draw on interdisciplinary studies;  such as those presented in this book. 

As the editors state: 

We believe that broad and inclusive studies are essential for any meaningful understanding of the history, culture, and policies of the Middle East particularly the geopolitics of the region in relation to the global system… The focus of this book is on long-range approaches that will require a fundamental transformation of the current system of values and patterns of thought…The menacing chaos and hostility that has seeped into the reality of the Middle East will require long-term solutions that will involve the entire region as well as an ever-increasing network of global interdependency.”

World Citizens promote a set of values that is genuinely universal;  and capable of having a unifying influence.  World Citizen values can fill an ideological vacuum;  in which radical Islamism has been able to take advantage. Thus;  World Citizen peace proposals need to be translated into problem-solving practices;  which can be taken quickly in the armed conflicts in Syria, Libya, and Yemen.  This book is a real contribution to the social and political forces;  which must be taken into consideration as World Citizen conflict resolution steps are set out.

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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