Eastern Cauldron: Islam, Afghanistan, Palestine, and Iraq in a Marxist Mirror

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Overview

The route to any coherent understanding of our time runs through the issues addressed in this collection of essays: the political meaning of Islam, the relation of the West to the Islamic world, the new form of imperialism signaled by the Soviet and U.S. occupations of Afghanistan, the intractable conflict over Palestine. In confronting these inescapable issues, global power is being reshaped and the ends for which it will be used are being decided.

This volume brings together Gilbert Achcar's major writings on these issues over the past decades. The essays collected in Eastern Cauldron describe and explain the resurgence of Islamic fundamentalism, the fate of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and its aftermath, and above all the Palestinian conflict—in which the regional stakes are so dramatically embodied and contested. Achcar analyzes the social bases, strategies and tactics of PLO, Hezbollah, Israel and the United States from the establishment of the state of Israel to the second Intifada. He pinpoints the contradictions of the Israeli state—seeking at the same time to be Jewish and yet democratic—and the impact of these contradictions on all parties to the conflict.

Eastern Cauldron is primarily aimed at producing a better understanding of the conflicts of the region. Achcar's work is informed by strong moral and political commitments but is never limited to polemic. His work demonstrates the immense capacities of Marxism to illuminate economic, political, and ideological developments without losing sight of their concrete singularity and their complex interconnection. His analyses are supple and inventive, and consistently informed by reflection on rival traditions of political thought and a deep knowledge of the region.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781583670958
  • Publisher: Monthly Review Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Meet the Author

Gilbert Achcar grew up in Lebanon and now teaches politics and international relations at the University of Paris—VIII. He is a frequent contributor to Le Monde Diplomatique and the author of The Clash of Barbarisms: September 11 and the Making of the New World Disorder (Monthly Review Press, 2002).

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Table of Contents

Preface 7
Introduction : U.S. imperial strategy in the Middle East 9
Pt. I The resurgence of Islamic fundamentalism 47
1 Eleven theses on the resurgence of Islamic fundamentalism 48
2 The swan song of Khomeini's revolution 60
3 The Arab despotic exception 69
Pt. II Afghanistan : Quagmire of the great powers 75
4 On the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan 76
5 Afghanistan : balance sheet of a war 79
6 The agreement on Soviet withdrawal 98
7 The "Lebanonization" of Afghanistan 112
Pt. III Palestine : from one Intifada to the next 115
8 The Palestinian uprising 116
9 The uprising's fourth month 124
10 Where is the PLO going? : the long march... backwards 129
11 Where is the PLO going? : the state, the PLO, and the Palestinian left 154
12 The dynamic of the Intifada 175
13 The Washington accords : a retreat under pressure 189
14 Zionism and peace : from the Allon plan to the Washington accords 205
15 Hezbollah's victory 223
16 Israel's military onslaught and U.S. interests in the Middle East 228
Pt. IV Iraq : from one war to the next 233
17 The long tragedy of the Iraqi people 234
18 Operation oil : why the United States wants a war 242
19 The empire prepares to strike 247
20 Washington and London's problems have only just begun 252
21 The war in Iraq and the establishment of a "new imperial order" 254
22 Letter to a slightly depressed antiwar activist 258
Notes 265
Index 280
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