Remaking the Middle East
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Remaking the Middle East

How a troubled region may save itself.

The Middle East is going through a period of concentrated turmoil unlike anything since the end of World War II. Uprisings, coups and wars have seen governments overthrown, hundreds of thousands killed and millions displaced. Parts of the region have become ungoverned or ungovernable. Extremists have carried out acts of terror inside and outside the Middle East.

Anthony Bubalo argues that the current turmoil is the result of the irrevocable decay of the nizam – the system by which most states in the region are ruled. But amid the ferment there are also ‘green shoots’ of change, which could remake the Middle East in ways that are more inclusive, more democratic, less corrupt and less violent.

Remaking the Middle East is available to purchase from all good bookstores ($9.99) and online. An e-book version is also available. The Lowy Institute’s Bligh Street headquarters has a limited number of copies available for purchase at our reception.


Introduction: Claude Rains — 1

PART I: Decay — 9
al-Nizam — 11
Social defaults — 15
Bad karama — 26
The hammer and the anvil — 34
The weary hegemon — 46
Divide and misrule — 57

PART II: Green shoots — 67
Za’atari — 69
Uncivil society — 74
Slow journalism — 87
The new entrepreneurs — 96
The republic of women — 107
Impious politics — 117
Crash through or crash — 129

Epilogue: Cynics and enthusiasts — 139

Endnotes — 151
Acknowledgements — 165

Photo: Flickr user Robert Haandrikman

Areas of expertise: Australian policy in West Asia; West Asia-East Asia linkages; Egypt; Saudi Arabia; the Israeli-Palestinian dispute