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Khalidi (Resurrecting Empire) provides a compelling history of modern conflict in the Middle East, arguing that current conflicts are by-products of the cold war and the policies, strategies and priorities of the United States and the Soviet Union. The author illustrates how the cold war rivals saw the Middle East-with its vital location and vast oil and gas reserves-as a tool to further their parallel agendas: the Soviets and Americans both subordinated the goal of Arab-Israeli peace and supplied weapons at a profit to both Iraq and Iran during their eight-year war, while the U.S. sought to further its dominance of the region by backing a coup to overthrow democracy in Iran. Khalidi concludes by charting how George W. Bush's "Global War on Terror" has allowed for a massive military expansion in the Middle East and resulted in futile and feckless policies that may have increased the actual risk to American citizens and wreaked havoc on the region. Khalidi has written an important book, essential for anyone concerned about the stability of the Middle East. (Mar.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.