The Levant: A Fractured Mosaic Updated 2008 Edition

Overview

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 ...
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Overview

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.

Outstanding Academic Book of the Year --- Choice Magazine

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
Packed with solid information about the complex reality of the Levant (East Mediterranean littoral) in its historical, geographical, and political aspects during the past two millennia. The historical patterns and parallels, however, are superseded by a frightening summary of the region's future (and perhaps unsolvable) prospects: overpopulation, declining water resources, global warming, and it's regional consequences, inefficient and corrupt governments. These prospects are compounded by local and regional, political and religious rivalries among the mosaic of peoples and ubiquitous sects that permeate the area and maintain the divisiveness. The nationalist ideologies of Israelis and Palestinians are the headline grabbers, but this conflict only temporarily masks the rivalries and problems described above, including ancestral border disputes with surrounding states, primarily Turkey.
Harris also notes the role of Western powers and analyzes their political and economic inroads into the area. In short, the book summarizes libraries of research to provide an up-to-date guide to present and future problems in this flash-point of Western civilization.
The survey is remarkably balanced in its depiction of ideologies and rivalries and is replete with useful maps and bibliography. ... Highly recommended.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558764514
  • Publisher: Wiener, Markus Publishers, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/28/2008
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 260
  • Sales rank: 1,406,264
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

William Harris, University of Otago, New Zealand, is the author of Faces of Lebanon and other books.
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