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The Middle East: a region that's almost never off the front pages, yet one most Americans know little about. The mainstream media and Ivy League academics only make matters worse by casting everything in the usual politically correct mold: Arab terrorists are just desperate freedom fighters, and the region's one free democracy-Israel-is the oppressor, not least because of its alliance with America. And if Islamic...
The Middle East: a region that's almost never off the front pages, yet one most Americans know little about. The mainstream media and Ivy League academics only make matters worse by casting everything in the usual politically correct mold: Arab terrorists are just desperate freedom fighters, and the region's one free democracy-Israel-is the oppressor, not least because of its alliance with America. And if Islamic extremism is a problem, the establishment tells us, it's only because it's rooted in that source of all evils: religion. A different strain of political correctness has seeped into some minds on the right-most notably the Bush administration, which, so ready to buy into the egalitarian myths we are all taught, believed that Western-style democracy could flourish anywhere. Now, in The Politically Incorrect Guide™ to the Middle East, veteran Middle East correspondent Martin Sieff puts the lie to all these myths and clichés, giving you everything you need to know about the region to understand its past, its present, and its possible future. In The Politically Incorrect Guide™ to the Middle East, you'll learn:
* How, for three decades, the British supported parliamentary democracy throughout the Middle East, but it didn't work
* Why Britain's post-World War I Middle East policy was a comedy of errors and incompetence that soon escalated into tragedy
* Where America went wrong in Iraq: how U.S. policymakers vastly underestimated the intransigent, unsophisticated, and anti-Western nature of its competing communities
* How Saudi Arabia's security forces defeated alQaeda-and why you never heard about it
* Why we'll miss the Arab dictators when they're gone
* How the Muslim nations of the Middle East took an irrevocable turn toward radical Islam not in the tenth century or after the fall of Baghdad to the Mongols in the thirteenth century-but in 1979
* How the Arab states openly declared their determination to prevent a Jewish state from being born in 1947-twenty years before the West Bank and Gaza were first occupied
The Politically Incorrect Guide™ to the Middle East is a bold first step toward facing the hard truths necessary for peace.
Posted May 23, 2009
This book is no Idiot's Guide or Dummies book. It is not nearly as well organized and reader friendly as those series are. I expected a much more refined chronological or topical discussion of the issues and events. As one reviewer stated, the book is "uneven", I would add "sloppily organized."
Now to substance.
Three main themes fall far short of reality:
One, the Arab-Jewish conflict predates the creation of Israel (1948). This is true. But regretably, this line if thought is not carried far enough. I expected Sieff to go back to 2000 BC, not merely to 1917. The earlier history of the of Jewish/Arab strife is significant in the larger context. Yes, there have been more recent periods of passivity of Arabs toward Jews (during Ottoman rule), but this is obviously the exception given 4000 years of history.
Two, the author claims "Radical Islam Isn't Ancient." I guess this results from his ignoring Islamic history prior to the Ottoman Empire. He cites no credible Islamic experts such as Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer, Michael Rubin, and Habib Malik among many others who would provide volumes of evidence against his shallow claim. The Quran and countless Muslim leaders in text after text, speech after speech, exhort the obligation of the Muslim to destroy Jews, to destroy the infidel, to be intolerant of other religions, to fight for supremacy over other forms of government, and to mimic the latter portion of Muhammads life of violent Jihad. The passive periods of Islamic history are what modern Islamists correctly teach is NOT the true Islam.
And third, the author suggests that Iraq and the middle east ought to be handed over to Saudi Arabia because that Wahabbi/Islamic nation will be as successful at maintaining law and order as the Ottomans were. If that's the case, we ought to have left Hussein in power. He maintained law and order as well. Seiff is ignorant of the role of Saudi Arabia's sponsorhip of Islamic schools worldwide, many in the US. In the US, these schools teach children and young adults Islamic supremacy and ways to subvert our culture and government toward Islamic sharia law and wahabbist intolerance. Many are centers for stealth, if not violent jihad.
This book is dangerously inaccurate becasue it reaches erroneous conclusions without considering many obvious facts about the nature of Islam and Saudi Arabia.
Much better choices would be any be any book by Robert Spencer, or Mark Steyn's "America Alone".
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Posted April 15, 2013
Never have I read a more biased account of the history of the modern middle east, and I'm a classic conservative. The thesis is poverty, despair, and despotism is the historic fate of the muslim world and since the saudi's are really good at it, get over it. They screw us and Israel when they want...but hey..get over it. Syria.."effective governance", Saddam? The monster we should have left in power for stabilities sake. Hey..you want the oil..pay the toll..the "guide" this provides is HEY! Those wacky Wahabbi's have our best interests at heart..so pay the freight and get your mind straight.:
Posted July 6, 2008
Posted March 19, 2011
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Posted September 18, 2011
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