Accueil > Conflicts and negociations in the middle east


Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Autumn 2017-2018

Number of hours : 42

Language of tuition : English

Voir les plans de cours et bibliographies



Course Description

This graduate course will highlight the specificities of the Middle East in international relations, by reflecting on the complex interaction between the various local and outside actors. The historical perspective is key to understanding how the regional system is evolving and how it was shaped through the continuous interference of external powers. Case studies and follow-up of undergoing conflicts and negotiations will help to focus on the different dimensions of the crisis management and peace process.


  • FILIU, Jean-Pierre (Professeur des universités à Sciences Po)
  • TANNOUS, Manon-Nour (Assistant)

Course validation

Two written papers will account for 50% (mid-term paper, some 10,000 characters long, including space) and 50% (take-home exam) of the grade. Class attendance is mandatory.

Required reading

  • On top of those four books, documents and articles will be provided at each class to be read in preparation for the following one
  • Rashid KHALIDI, Brokers of deceit, Boston, Beacon Press, 2013
  • William QUANDT, Peace process, American diplomacy in the Middle East, Washington, Brookings, 2005
  • Itamar RABINOVITCH, Waging peace, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2004

Additional required reading

Fred HALLIDAY, The Middle East in international relations, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2005

Plans de cours et bibliographies

Session 1: International rivalry

  • The competition between the colonial powers, the carving up of the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East as a power “generator” up to the Cold War.

Session 2: American visions

  • The successive American projects in the post-1989 Middle East, from George H. Bush’s “New World Order” to Barack Obama’s Cairo speech

Session 3: Minorities and Diasporas

  • The Middle East as a historical safe haven for minorities and the influences of the Diasporas on the international arena

Session 4: Diplomats and public opinions

  • How the great powers trained a bureaucracy of Middle East specialists, sometimes accused of being biased in the public debate

Session 5: The special envoys

  • How presidential envoys (in the USA) or special envoys (for the European Union) are supposed to “embody” the diplomatic action

Session 6: The international conferences

  • From the Geneva peace conference (1974) to Madrid (1991) and Annapolis (2007), with a special mention to the “donors’ conference”

Session 7: Camp David 1978 and 2000

  • Comparative study of two US-sponsored Israeli-Arab negotiations, one successful (Egypt, 1978), one failed (PLO, 2000)

Session 8: Religious diplomacy and sectarian polarization

  • The diplomatic choices of the Holy See and of the Organization of the Islamic Conference; the competition between Iran and Saudi Arabia

Session 9: A role for Europe

  • The increasing, but disputed, influence of Europe, since the Euro-Arab dialogue (1974) to the Union for the Mediterranean (2008)

Session 10: United Nations

  • UN as a reference for regional stability and international legitimacy, the UN specialized agencies and the UN peacekeeping forces, with a focus on the recent UN mediation efforts in Syria, Yemen and Libya

Session 11: Non-state actors

  • The civil society and its impact in the Western interaction with the Middle East, especially on the human rights issues, parallel to the rising international power of the militarized parties, such as Hezbollah or ISIS

Session 12: “Old” and “new” medias

  • From the Voice of the Arabs, the Egyptian radio of the fifties, to the rivalry between CNN and Al-Jazeera in the nineties, and now Internet and the social networks

General Bibliography

  • Zeid AL-ALI, The Struggle for Iraq’s future, Newhaven, Yale University Press, 2014.
  • John BOYKIN, Cursed is the peace maker, Belmont, Applegate press, 2002.
  • Jean-Pierre FILIU, From Deep State to Islamic State London, Hurst, 2015.
  • David FROMKIN, A peace to end all peace, New York, Holt, 1989.
  • Phil GORDON, Winning the right war, New York, Holt, 2007.
  • Richard HAASS, War of necessity, war of choice, New York, Simon and Schuster, 2009
  • Daniel KURTZER and Scott LASENSKY, Negotiating Arab-Israeli peace, Washington, USIP, 2008.
  • Roger LOUIS and Avi SHLAIM (editors), The 1967 Arab-Israeli war, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2012.
  • Aaron MILLER, The much too promised land, New York, Bantam, 2008.
  • Eugene ROGAN, The Arabs, a history, London, Basic Books, 2011.
  • Dennis ROSS, The Missing peace, New York, Farrar and Strauss, 2004.
  • Patrick SEALE, Asad, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1989.
  • Avi SHLAIM, Lion of Jordan, New York, Allen book, 2007.
  • Charles TRIPP, The power and the people, Paths of Resistance in the Middle East, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2013.
  • Richard YOUNGS, Europe and the Middle East, Boulder, Lynne Rienner, 2006.

Biographical information