The overarching question imparting urgency to this exploration is: Can U.S.-Russian contention in cyberspace cause the two nuclear superpowers to stumble into war? In considering this question we were constantly reminded of recent comments by a prominent U.S. arms control expert: At least as dangerous as the risk of an actual cyberattack, he observed, is cyber operations’ “blurring of the line between peace and war.” Or, as Nye wrote, “in the cyber realm, the difference between a weapon and a non-weapon may come down to a single line of code, or simply the intent of a computer program’s user.”
A seminar with Nader Hashemi, Director, Center for Middle East Studies and Associate Professor of Middle East and Islamic Politics, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver; Danny Postel, Assistant Director, Middle East and North African Studies Program, Northwestern University; and Paulo Gabriel Hilu Pinto, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies and Professor of Anthropology, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Brazil, on their new book Sectarianization: Mapping the New Politics of the Middle East (Hurst Publishers, February 2017).
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Co-sponsored by the CMES Middle East Forum.
About the book:
As the Middle East descends ever deeper into violence and chaos, ‘sectarianism’ has become a catch-all explanation for the region’s troubles. The turmoil is attributed to ‘ancient sectarian differences’, putatively primordial forces that make violent conflict intractable. In media and policy discussions, sectarianism has come to possess trans-historical causal power.
This book trenchantly challenges the lazy use of ‘sectarianism’ as a magic-bullet explanation for the region’s ills, focusing on how various conflicts in the Middle East have morphed from non-sectarian (or cross-sectarian) and nonviolent movements into sectarian wars. Through multiple case studies — including Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen and Kuwait — this book maps the dynamics of sectarianisation, exploring not only how but also why it has taken hold. The contributors examine the constellation of forces — from those within societies to external factors such as the Saudi–Iranian rivalry — that drive the sectarianisation process and explore how the region’s politics can be de-sectarianised.
Featuring leading scholars — and including historians, anthropologists, political scientists, scholars of religion and international relations theorists — this book will redefine the terms of debate on one of the most critical issues in international affairs today.
For reviews, purchasing, and more, visit the Hurst Publishers website.
About the Editors:
Nader Hashemi is Director of the Center for Middle East Studies and an Associate Professor of Middle East and Islamic Politics at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies. He is the author of Islam, Secularism and Liberal Democracy and co-editor of The Syria Dilemma and The People Reloaded: The Green Movement and the Struggle for Iran's Future.
Danny Postel is Associate Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies. He is the author of Reading ‘Legitimation Crisis’ in Tehran and co-editor of The Syria Dilemma and The People Reloaded: The Green Movement and the Struggle for Iran's Future.
Paulo Gabriel Hilu Pinto is Director of the Center for Middle East Studies and Professor of Anthropology at the Universidade Federal Fluminense, Brazil.