This course introduces students to the contemporary politics of the Middle East from both comparative politics and international relations perspectives. It starts with a brief historical introduction to the region, and focuses on patterns of decolonization and the formation of the state. Then the course looks at aspects of current domestic politics of three smaller regions within the larger Middle East: the Levant, the Gulf, and North Africa. Major attention is paid to regimes, institutions, ethnic and religious cleavages, and energy politics. The second part discusses the international linkages of the Middle East with major powers such the United States and the European Union, as well as with states that have an increased interest in the region, such as Russia and China. It finishes with a discussion on how the Middle East relates to non-traditional security threats such as international terrorism and illicit trafficking, and to larger forces of globalization, such as economic liberalization and identity politics.