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Constitutional Politics in the Middle East

With special reference to Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan

Editor(s): Said Amir Arjomand
Media of Constitutional Politics in the Middle East
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Published: 17-01-2008
Format: PDF eBook (?)
Edition: 1st
Extent: 222
ISBN: 9781847314055
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Series: Oñati International Series in Law and Society
RRP: £34.19
Online price : £27.35
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Loren Epson

About Constitutional Politics in the Middle East

This book is the first comparative and interdisciplinary study of constitutional politics and constitution-making in the Middle East. The historical background and setting are fully explored in two substantial essays by Linda Darling and Saïd Amir Arjomand, placing the contemporary experience in the contexts, respectively, of the ancient Middle Eastern legal and political tradition and of the nineteenth and twentieth century legal codification and political modernization. These are followed by Ann Mayer's general analysis of the treatment of human rights in relation to Islam in Middle Eastern constitutions, and Nathan Brown's comparative scrutiny of the process of constitution-making in Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq with reference to the available constitutional theories which are shown to throw little or no light on it. The remaining essays are country by country case studies of Turkey, Afghanistan and Iraq, the case of Iran having been covered by Arjomand as the special point of reference. Mehmet Fevzi Bilgin examines the making and subsequent transformation of the Turkish Constitution of 1982 against current theories of constitutional and deliberative democracy, while Hootan Shambayati examines the institutional mechanism for protecting the ideological foundations of the Turkish Republic, most notably the Turkish Constitutional Court which offers a surprising parallel to the Iranian Council of Guardians. Arjomand's introduction brings together the bumpy experience of the Middle East along the long road to political reconstruction through constitution-making and constitutional reform, drawing some general analytical lessons from it and showing the consequences of the origins of the constitutions of Turkey and Iran in revolutions, and of Afghanistan and Iraq in war and foreign invasion.

Table Of Contents

Saïd Amir Arjomand
Islamic Empires, the Ottoman Empire, and the Circle of Justice
Linda T. Darling
Islam and Constitutionalism since the Nineteenth Century: The Significance and Peculiarities of Iran
Saïd Amir Arjomand
Bargaining and Imposing Constitutions: Private and Public Interests in the Iranian, Afghani, and Iraqi Constitutional Experiments
Nathan J. Brown
The Respective Roles of Human Rights and Islam: An Unresolved Conundrum for Middle Eastern Constitutions
Ann Elizabeth Mayer
The Guardian of the Regime: The Turkish Constitutional Court in Comparative Perspective
Hootan Shambayati
Constitution, Legitimacy and Democracy in Turkey
Mehmet Fevzi Bilgin
Crafting a Constitution for Afghanistan
Barnett R. Rubin
From Interim to Permanent Constitution in Iraq
Andrew Arato


“…the unique feature of this book is that it is one of the first, or even the first, which describes the constitutional development in a large variety of Islamic, Middle Eastern countries in a broad comparative perspective, highlighting peculiarities, similarities, and problems of the different legal systems…not only does the compilation give great insight into constitutional development in the region, but it also provides innovative parallels between various constitutional systems, which have scarcely been noticed…hitherto…it is highly advisable for anyone working on the public and constitutional law of the region to read this book.” –  Ramin Moschtaghi, European Journal of International Law, Vol 20, No 2

“...both important and [welcome] because it sheds light on the murky spaces in the constitutionalism discourse and dispels many myths about Islam...By comparing Iran's constitutional experience with that of its neighbor, Afghanistan, Arjomand sharpens our understanding of the central questions of the role and potential of Islam in effecting social insightfully capturing the complexity and challenges of constitution-making in the Middle East, the book lives up to its editor's hope that its topic indeed "deserves the same attention as other salient contemporary trends."” –  Vijayashri Sripati, Human Rights Quarterly, Vol 30

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