Celebrating the work of Keith McLachlan, a well-known and much-admired geographer of the Middle East and North Africa, this book combines three interrelated topics that define the region. The Middle East has been integral to the growth of the global oil industry, an aspect of its evolution since 1908 which has had profound geopolitical implications as well.
The territory was also the arena for the last European experiment in colonialism, a development that has left its legacy even today. And, historically, it has been the location of the great hydraulic civilisations of Egypt and Mesopotamia yet is still dependent on the flow of its two major river systems – the Nile and the Tigris-Euphrates – in an era of impending climate crisis. These themes form the essence of themes that are discussed in the chapters that follow. Keith McLachlan played a significant role in our understanding of these themes and of their effects in the contemporary world, as the comments of those who worked with him and have contributed towards this book reveal.
Examining agriculture, oil and state construction, this volume offers an insight into how the contemporary Middle East was constructed after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. It is a key resource for scholars and students interested in geopolitics and the geography of the Middle East.
Table of Contents
1. Geographic Realities in the Middle East and North Africa: State, Oil and Agriculture
George Joffé and Richard Schofield
Part I: Boundaries and the State
2. Back to 1975 and All That: Linking the Technicalities and Underlying Dynamics of Iraq’s Border Disputes at the Head of the Persian Gulf
3. A Border that has Defied Unification
4. A Geopolitical Perspective of Boundary Change and Buffer Function in Jordan, 1920–1994
Kieran J. Rankin
5. Can Insecure States Achieve Secure Borders? The Continuing Search for Security in the Evolution of Modern South Asia’s States
Robert W. Bradnock
6. Boundary Delimitation: The Role of History
Part II: Oil and Iran
7. The Geopolitics of Energy Security: a Brief History
8. A Failure of Imagination? Britain, ‘The Narrative of Liberalisation’ and the Fall of the Shah
9. The International Oil Companies and Iran: A Classic Love–Hate Relationship
Part III: Agriculture and Water
10. Agriculture in MENA Rentier Economies: Coping with Extremely Unstable Revenues and the Arrival of Revolutionary Regimes in Libya and Iran
11. Water and Agriculture in Iraq’s Euphrates Valley: The Challenges
12. An Afghan Shepherd’s Life
George Joffé, former deputy director at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA) and former Lecturer in the international relations of the Middle East and North Africa at POLIS, University of Cambridge. In addition to publishing co-authored and edited books, he has published articles in the Journal of North African Studies and book chapters in Islamist radicalisation in North Africa (2011) and Civil Resistance in the Arab Spring (ed. Roberts et al. 2016) amongst others.
Richard Schofield, Reader in geography at King’s College, University of London, is a specialist in archival sources for the study of boundary and territorial disputes, particularly of the Arabian Peninsula and Persian Gulf. His publications include Territorial Foundations of the Gulf States (1994) and articles in various journals like Mediterranean Politics and Geopolitics.