International Relations of the Middle East

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Fawaz Gerges CLM 4.06


This course is available on the MSc in Global Politics, MSc in Global Politics (Global Civil Society), MSc in International Affairs (LSE and Peking University), MSc in International Relations, MSc in International Relations (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in International Relations (Research), MSc in International Relations Theory and MSc in Theory and History of International Relations. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

All students are required to obtain permission from the Teacher Responsible by completing the Student Statement box on the online application form linked to course selection on LSE4You. Admission not guaranteed. 


A knowledge of the international political system and of the major issues in its contemporary development is required. Background in IR and/or political science and/or history is a prerequisite. 

Course content

The course is intended to provide an analysis of the regional politics of the Middle East since 1918, and of their interaction with problems of international security, global resources and great power/super power/hyperpower politics. The emergence of the states system in the Middle East during the inter-war period. The interplay of domestic politics, regional conflicts and international rivalries. The Cold War and post-Cold War significance of the Middle East in global politics. The importance of oil and other economic factors and interests. Conflict in the Gulf and the Arab-Israeli conflict. The foreign policies of major Middle Eastern states and the Lebanese civil war. The role of ideologies and social movements: Arab nationalism, militarism, political Islam and global jihadism. State and non-state actors. Democracy and human rights issues. International relations theory and its significance for the study of Middle East politics. Watch a short introductory video on this course:


10 hours of lectures and 12 hours of seminars in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT. 2 hours of lectures and 3 hours of seminars in the ST.

Formative coursework

Seminar attendees will be expected to submit three 2,000-word essays, based on past examination papers, to be marked by the seminar teacher. Essay questions are to be based on past examination papers and will be marked by seminar teachers. 

Indicative reading

Students are not particularly advised to purchase any book. However, they are advised to have read, before the beginning of the course: M E Yapp, The Near East Since the First World War; and R Hinnebusch & A Ehteshami (Eds), The Foreign Policies of Middle East States.

In addition they are recommended to consult: Reinhard Schulze, A Modern History of the Islamic World; B Lewis, The Middle East; F Halliday, Islam and the Myth of Confrontation; F Ajami, The Arab Predicament; B Korany & A Dessouki (Eds), The Foreign Policies of Arab States; John Roberts, Visions and Mirages, The Middle East in a New Era; Fred Halliday, The Middle East in International Relations; Fawaz A. Gerges, The Superpowers and the Middle East: Regional and International Politics. A detailed reading list will be distributed.


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.

Student performance results

(2009/10 - 2011/12 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 13.1
Merit 46
Pass 38.7
Fail 2.2

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2012/13: 44

Average class size 2012/13: 11

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information