In his epic study of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, historian Tom Segev recounts a popular joke told by Israelis after their swift victory over the Arabs. Two officers are talking about how to spend their day. “Let’s conquer Cairo,” one proposes. The other replies: “But what will we do after lunch?”
Nobody should be laughing now. Our Special Report: Fifty Years after 1967, describes a Middle East in chaos, and a struggle over Palestine that continues half a century later with no end in sight. In our lead essay, “Ripples of the 1967 War,” Ahmad Samih Khalidi explains how the crushing Arab defeat resulted in the resurrection of the Palestinian national movement as well as in a settler occupation that has made peace difficult to imagine. Ilan Pappé authors “Myths of the Six-Day War,” in which he debunks the common falsehoods that the Arabs forced Israel into war, and that the Israelis were willing to achieve peace with Arab states and Palestinians afterwards.
In “Winds of Change,” former Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy discusses how domestic battles between progressives and regressive fundamentalists, sclerotic economies, globalization, and a bulge in the youth population present continuing challenges to Arab governments. On top of that, Fahmy argues, the dramatic domestic and geopolitical shifts involving America, Russia, Europe, and China require the urgent attention of Arab leaders.
We’re very grateful to Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc. for permission to publish an extract from David B. Ottaway’s latest book, The Arab World Upended: Revolution and Its Aftermath in Tunisia and Egypt. “Inside Tunisia’s Power Struggle” is a detailed account of what many experts consider the Arab Spring’s sole success story: in the country where the uprisings began, Islamists and secularists found a way to work together after the ousting of the Ben Ali dictatorship.
Finally, in “Turkey’s Authoritarian Legacy,” Halil Karaveli reports on the country’s ongoing repression under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Further afield, Michael Kugelman explains the remarkable transition of India’s prime minister from global pariah to international dealmaker in “Modi’s Bold New World.” And, in the wake of President Donald Trump’s wavering commitment to NATO, “Holding the Center” by Tobias Bunde reports on how leaders in Berlin are rethinking German foreign policy.