Chapter

Mandated Sovereignty? The Role of International Law in the Construction of Arab Statehood during and after Empire

Michelle Burgis

in Sovereignty After Empire

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780748643042
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653270 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748643042.003.0005
Mandated Sovereignty? The Role of International Law in the Construction of Arab Statehood during and after Empire

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This chapter considers how international law has shaped and continues to shape Middle East and North Africa (MENA) states by examining the inter-related factors of international legal personality, self-determination claims and the adjudication of boundary disputes. It focuses on three case studies in the colonial and postcolonial periods: the mandate states; the case of Western Sahara's (failed) self-determination bid; and some of the small states of the Gulf. The chapter takes issue with traditional narratives of rupture and instead points to continuities. In particular, it focuses on the inter-war period of the mandate system to highlight the inseparable relationship between formal and informal empire and its enduring legacies across the Arab world. It argues that international law has played an important role in delimiting and limiting the possibilities of post-colonial statehood in the MENA region. Thus, it is only in understanding international law in the colonial and mandatory eras that we can make sense of the present.

Keywords: international law; Middle East; North Africa; international legal personality; self-determination claims; boundary disputes adjudication; empire; post-colonial statehood

Chapter.  9690 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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