Gerasimos Gerasimos
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Migration and the state in the modern Middle East: a history
in Migration diplomacy in the Middle East and North Africa
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This chapter provides an introduction to the politics of migration in the Middle East, paying particular attention to the importance of state policies. There are, broadly, four time periods that should be discussed: the colonial period, encompassing the era of the Ottoman Empire and the colonial Mandate period that ended, roughly, in the years following the end of World War Two. This is a period characterised by a rather-free circulation of movement within this broad region, as well as long-distance emigration to the Americans, Europe, and sub-Saharan Africa. It is also marked by waves of immigration into the region from Europe. The postcolonial period, from the late 1940s until the late 1960s, coincides with the rise of Arab nationalism, as cross-border population mobility is driven mainly by political, rather than economic, factors. The oil boom period, from the late 1960s until the early 1980s, is dominated by economically driven cross-border migratory flows, although national and regional politics continues to play an important role. Finally, the period of de-Arabisation, from the 1980s to today, is characterised by an influx of Asian and sub-Saharan migrants and the rise of irregular migration, as well as increasing cooperation between Arab and European states.

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