Bahgat, Gawdat G.

views updated

Bahgat, Gawdat G.

PERSONAL:

Born in Cairo, Egypt. U.S. citizen. Education: Cairo University, B.A., 1977; American University in Cairo, M.A., 1985; Florida State University, Ph.D., 1991.

ADDRESSES:

Office—100 Keith Hall, Department of Political Science, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA 15705-1069. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Radio Cairo, Cairo, Egypt, journalist, 1977-85; American University in Cairo, Department of Middle Eastern Studies, research assistant, 1984-85; Florida State University, Tallahassee, department of political science, research assistant, 1987-88, teaching assistant, 1988-91, instructor, 1991-92; University of North Florida, Jacksonville, visiting assistant professor of political science, 1992-95; Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, assistant professor of political science, 1995-99, associate professor, 1999—, and director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies.

AWARDS, HONORS:

U.S. Federal Government Peace Scholarship, 1982-83; Florida-Israel Institute grant to study Floridian attitudes toward the Middle East, 1994-95; grants from Indiana University of Pennsylvania Senate Committee, 1995-96, 1996-97, and 1998-99.

WRITINGS:

NONFICTION

The Persian Gulf at the Dawn of the New Millennium, Nova Science Publishers (Commack, NY), 1999.

American Oil Diplomacy in the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea, University Press of Florida (Gainesville, FL), 2003.

Israel and the Persian Gulf: Retrospect and Prospect, University Press of Florida (Gainesville, FL), 2006.

Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in the Middle East, University Press of Florida (Gainesville, FL), 2007.

Contributor to books, including Oil and Water: Cooperative Security in the Persian Gulf, edited by Bjorn Moller, I.B. Tauris (London, England), 2001; and Oman in the 21st Century, edited by Joseph A. Kechichian, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2001. Contributor to journals, including American Political Science Review, Arab Studies Quarterly, Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, and Middle East Journal.

SIDELIGHTS:

Gawdat G. Bahgat is a specialist in the Middle East, Persian Gulf, Central Asia, and the Caucasus, with particular interests in issues of security, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, energy, ethnic and religious conflicts, the Islamic revival, and U.S. foreign policy. In American Oil Diplomacy in the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea, he analyzes U.S. relations with the various oil-producing nations in this region, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan. He details how America's energy commerce with these nations affects foreign policy, oil prices, and the worldwide oil supply. He also notes how political upheavals have affected that commerce; for instance, the fall of the Soviet Union has meant greater freedom for the Cas- pian states to engage in the oil trade worldwide, providing a new source for U.S. buyers. He further touches on the environmental effects of energy production and consumption.

Several critics found the book a thorough and evenhanded treatment of its subject. "Bahgat's analysis of U.S. policy and the issues in these multifaceted relationships is detailed, careful, well-documented, and balanced," reported R. Michael Smith in International Social Science Review, adding: "This is the work of a policy analyst, not that of a policy advocate or ideologue." In a similar vein, Middle East Journal contributor Paul M. Mecray III said Bahgat had produced "a dispassionate history of the region's oil industry without succumbing to personal biases—quite an accomplishment for any writer familiar with the ethnic, religious, and political rivalries in that part of the world." The author, Mecray continued, "manages to fill 173 pages with vital statistics, but still produces a readable, objective narrative."

Some reviewers noted that the Middle East and foreign policy are subject to frequent change that can cause books about them to become dated easily. Smith remarked: "Situations change, policies change, and today's arguments concern different issues than yesterday's arguments." For example, Bahgat finished his book before the U.S. war in Iraq began in the spring of 2003 and was able to go into only the possibilities of what a decision for or against invasion would bring. Still, Smith and Mecray both thought Bahgat's work would remain relevant longer than some other policy studies. He "provides considerable historic context," Smith observed. "When the policy discussions are no longer current, the history perspectives will retain their usefulness." Mecray added: "From a longer term viewpoint, Bahgat does a superb job explaining regional tensions and rivalries … and their implications for the oil industry." To Brenda Shaffer, writing in the Middle East Quarterly, in some of Bahgat's analyses, his "attempts to keep the text up to date actually hurt their shelf life." She specifically cited his projections on Iraq and on negotiations concerning a pipeline in the Caspian area. Still, she called his book a "welcome addition" to the small number of volumes on this topic of ever-growing significance.

Israel and the Persian Gulf: Retrospect and Prospect is a study of the Jewish state's relationships with Iran, Iraq, and other Gulf nations, largely Arab and Muslim. Oil commerce is a factor in these relationships, as is U.S. support of Israel. The Gulf states' attitudes toward Israel often have less to do with reality than with perception, which is informed by ideology, according to Bahgat, who also says the Gulf nations generally do not see any practical, national-security reasons to ally themselves with Israel. Some, like Saudi Arabia, realize they must keep Israel's U.S. ties in mind in order to maintain their own friendly dealings with the United States. Joseph Kostiner, reviewing the book for the Middle East Journal, remarked: "Bahgat's analysis is rich in knowledge and revealing in the complexities of the relationships explored." He praised the author's writing as "clear and balanced," and found the work overall "a worthy book on an important and hitherto insufficiently researched subject."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Asian Affairs, March, 2005, Michael Denison, review of American Oil Diplomacy in the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea, p. 90.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, April, 2000, P. Clawson, review of The Persian Gulf at the Dawn of the New Millennium, p. 1528; March, 2004, A. Klinghoffer, review of American Oil Diplomacy in the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea, p. 1367; July 1, 2006, F. Tachau, review of Israel and the Persian Gulf: Retrospect and Prospect, p. 2068.

International History Review, September, 2007, Frederick F. Anscombe, review of Israel and the Persian Gulf, p. 682.

International Social Science Review, September 22, 2004, R. Michael Smith, review of American Oil Diplomacy in the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea, p. 160.

Middle East Journal, winter, 2004, Paul M. Mecray III, review of American Oil Diplomacy in the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea, p. 155; summer, 2006, Joseph Kostiner, review of Israel and the Persian Gulf, p. 586.

Middle East Quarterly, winter, 2006, Brenda Shaffer, review of American Oil Diplomacy in the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea, p. 586.

Reference & Research Book News, February, 2000, review of The Persian Gulf at the Dawn of the New Millennium, p. 32.

ONLINE

Indiana University of Pennsylvania Web site,http://www.iup.edu/ (April 18, 2008), curriculum vitae and brief biography.