Vol 5, No. 1 (Trinity 2021)

Editors’ Foreword

Dear reader,
We are proud to present to you the fifth edition of the Oxford Middle East Review (OMER). OMER was founded in 2016 at St Antony’s College, Oxford, by two Middle Eastern Studies students, who sought to create an engaging forum for students and aspiring scholars to critically discuss issues pertaining to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. After five years, the journal now counts fifteen team members and received a record number of submissions for this volume. 

This year’s issue of OMER is unique as it has been developed almost entirely through a long series of lockdowns. It is a testament to both our team of editors and copy editors and all the wonderful submissions we have received that we can deliver yet another thoughtful and stimulating issue, even in such testing times. 

This volume’s theme is revolution, with a capital ‘R’ or without. We invited scholars from a range of disciplinary backgrounds to interpret this theme creatively. The result is three fascinating research articles and three thought-provoking policy pieces, analysing contemporary and historical revolutionary movements and politics in Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. 

In anthropology, revolutions have been framed as moments of transition, which involve a loosening of social normativity and the entrance into a stage of liminality. In this new realm, social normativity dissolves and agency is foregrounded, creating new and exciting potentialities. In many ways, the pandemic has propelled the world, including OMER, into this liminal space. Whilst this has, at times, been incredibly difficult, it has also been an incredibly productive stage in OMER’s journey. With submissions from Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America, we have expanded our base whilst also cementing other newer aspects of the journal, such as the policy section. Whilst liminality offers little certainty and requires considerable flexibility and resilience, it seems clear that OMER, despite the challenges we faced, is growing thanks to the committed support of the fabulous and committed group of students that wants to work for the journal, as well as the inspiring community of academics from around the world who constantly push Middle Eastern Studies to new and exciting frontiers.

The Managing Editors
Frederike Brockhoven
Tom Coyne

Contributing Editors

Juliet O’Brien, Ryan Musto, Sawsene Nejjar, Lina Volin, Felix Walker, Sara Elbanna, Alexandra Boothroyd, Francesca Vawdrey, Easa Saad, Nilsu Celikel, Piotr Schulkes, Mathew Madain


Non-Hierarchical Revolution: Grassroots Politics in the First Palestinian Intifada
Jack McGinn

From Protest, to Committee, to Consensus: Co-optation of the 2011 Revolutionary Movement in Yemen
Aylin Junga

Syria’s Experience with Post-Totalitarianism: The Need for Havelian Pre-Political Thinking
Marwan Safar Jalani


Understanding the cause of Iraq’s ‘October Revolution’ during the Adil Abdul-Mahdi administration
Zainab Mehdi

The contentious life of Basij revolutionary politics in poor neighbourhoods of Iran
Ahmad Moradi

Gendering the Revolution: Analysing Women’s Role in Sudan’s Revolutionary Transition
Miriam Aitken

Vol 4., No. 1 (Trinity)

Editors’ Foreword

Dear reader,
As managing editors, we are excited to present the fourth issue of the Oxford Middle East Review (OMER). The journal was founded in 2016 at St Antony’s College, Oxford, by two Middle Eastern Studies students, who sought to create an engaging forum for students and aspiring scholars to critically discuss issues pertaining to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Today, the journal provides a platform for young aspiring academics and hopes to provide them with a platform by publishing their best work.

While continuing OMER’s interdisciplinary approach, the current issue features articles around the theme of Identity and the Middle East. Undoubtedly, the study of identity has long been a staple of the field, from the early studies of Arab nationalism to the contemporary focus of sectarianism in the Persian Gulf. In the current issue however, we have tried to challenge our contributors to provide new perspectives on this much treaded terrain. With articles covering topics from inter-religious solidarity and tribal identity to issues of identity in education and sexual violence, we believe this has been a fruitful endeavour. The articles of the current issue will undoubtedly advance the academic debates within their respective fields.

Another feature of this year’s issue is the inclusion of three shorter policy pieces that engage with the current affairs of the region. By doing so, we hope to expand OMER’s relevance beyond academic circles and make it more accessible to policy makers and observers of current affairs in the Middle East.

Like everything in our world today, OMER has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The vast majority of our editors have not been able to remain in Oxford and the many complications related to the pandemic have led to a delay in publication. The current issue will therefore be published online without the launch event normally held in May every year. The launch event would have given the authors an opportunity to present their work and we are deeply saddened that it had to be canceled. While the current issue has been published online, we hope to produce printed copies at a later point when academic life in Oxford returns to normal.

Despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic, we are delighted that this year’s issue is published without impediment and hope that it will stimulate our readers with fresh insights on the Middle East.

The managing editors,

Nia Clark, St. Antony’s College
Eirik Kvindesland, Balliol College
Zein Nasser, Mansfield College

Contributing Editors

Frederike Brockhoven, Thomas Coyne, Mazen Loan, Gilang Lukman, Nadine Lutzelschwab, Mathew Madain, Michael Memari, and Piotr Schulkes.


Shaykhs and tribal entrepreneurs: Tribal hierarchies, governmental development policies, and the struggle over representation in Petra’s tourism economy
Nicolas Reeves

Remembered One Hundred Years Later: Al-Salt, Transjordan, and the First World War
Mathew Madain

#Masaktach: Social Media and Sexual Violence Against Women in Morocco
Ella Williams


The JCPOA is dead, long live the JCPOA: Understanding Iranian foreign policy thinking
Mahshad Badii

Policy Implications of Alternate Medical and Nursing Education in northwest Syria
Adrienne Fricke, Valerie Dobiesz, Rahaf Safi, Bharathi Radhakrishnan, Timothy Erickson and Phuong Pham

Teacher identity formation in the Arab region: A key to renewal
Amin Marei