Levant: A Fractured Mosaic (Princeton Series on the Middle East) / Edition 2

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At the outset of the 21st century, perhaps the most interesting feature of the Levant (in Arabic, Bilad al-Sham), in the midst of an overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim Arab world, is the command of the entire coastal zone from Cilicia south to Sinai either by non-Arabs or by Arabs who are not Sunni Muslims. This reality overshadows the Levantine interior. In the central Levant the mountain has come to town with the Alawi political ascendance in Damascus in the south, Israeli military and economic power dominates the Palestinians and Jordanians. The transformation in less than a century is remarkable. The revolutionary alteration in the affairs of the Levant through the 20th century has obviously caused great tension. The character and viability of all of the new states created in Bilad al-Sham since 1920 is in continuous flux; national, ethnic, and sectarian frictions have shaped the contemporary geopolitics of the region. These frictions play themselves out in a setting characterized by limited space, rising population pressure, resource shortages, and international strategic interest. In the north, the Arabs face the Turks, who command the main water source. In the center, Lebanon and Syria have yet to settle their identities and interrelationship in a situation of regime insecurity, sectarian sensitivity, and economic crisis. In the south, the confrontation between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs lurches toward some sort of denouement. A Fractured Mosaic attempts an overall assessment of the contemporary affairs of the Levant, in the context of the history of the region since Roman times.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this vivid memoir, Davidow, U.S. ambassador to Mexico from 1998 to 2002, sheds light on the curious profession of diplomacy and enjoyably depicts how such work ranges from the fascinating to the foolish. Davidow reveals how, in the sensitive and often covert dealings of U.S.-Mexico relations, ambassadors must perform petty damage control while simultaneously tending to the more pressing issues of U.S. national security, most importantly the war on drugs. As he sees it, uninformed and intrusive American officials don't mix well with prickly Mexicans who seem convinced the White House spends much of its time plotting ways to undermine Mexico's sovereignty. The author's casual tone should not discourage the more academic reader; Davidow shares vital new insights in the growing debate over Mexican immigration. He also dishes valuable descriptions of the cast of political characters involved in U.S.-Mexican diplomacy, not to mention some good gossip. Davidow argues that no nation in the world affects the daily life of average Americans as much as Mexico, thus making relations with that country tremendously important. His many years of experience in the U.S. Foreign Service, his profound knowledge of Mexico and his affinity with that country's people and culture make his a valuable perspective, spiced with poignant humor and sharp criticism that will delight readers interested in what goes on behind closed doors in Washington and Mexico City. Illus. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of Maps vii
Abbreviations viii
Acknowledgements ix
Introduction xi
Chapter 1 The Strategic Geography of the Levant 1
Vulnerable Frontiers 4
Strategic Pivot 8
Internal Fragmentation 15
Population Growth, Limited Resources, Compressed Space 21
Panorama: From the Romans to the Ottomans 27
Chapter 2 Rome, Islam, and Byzantium 31
The Roman Levant 31
Umayyads and 'Abbasids 46
The Byzantine-Fatimid Standoff 58
Seljuk Turkish Intervention 65
Conclusion 68
Chapter 3 Crusaders, Mamluks, and Ottomans 71
Crusaders and Muslims 71
Mamluk Supremacy 88
The Ottoman Levant 103
Conclusion 117
The Jews of the Levant from the Islamic Conquest to Zionism 119
Chapter 4 The Modern Levant 123
Overview, 1918-2002 124
Israel, the Palestinians, and the Arabs 137
The Arab Levant States 152
Turkey in the Levant: The New Byzantium? 165
Epilogue: What's Next in the Levant? 171
Notes 181
Glossary 193
References 202
Index of Names 208
About the Author 212
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