The Middle East and North Africa in the lens of Marxist International Relations theory

Authored by: Jamie Allinson

The Routledge Handbook to the Middle East and North African State and States System

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  November  2019

Print ISBN: 9780367358877
eBook ISBN: 9780429342486
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter surveys the contribution of Marxist approaches to the international relations of the Middle East, both as they have sought to explain the character of the international relations within the region and the place that episodes such as the 2003 invasion of Iraq have occupied in broader Marxist accounts of IR. The chapter argues that Marxists have grappled with “classical lacuna” in their approach to the region: the separation of geopolitical-external logics of explanation from sociological-internal ones. The chapter focuses on the contributions of Marxists focusing on the region, and then on the place of the region in Marxist debates about the contradiction or otherwise between the logics of capital and state and in particular the salience of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 for these debates. The chapter concludes by surveying scholars using the idea of “uneven and combined development” (UCD) who have to move beyond the dichotomy in the study of the Middle East by arguing that there are no purely “internal” social relations, nor asocial external ones.

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