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The New Middle East: The World After the Arab Springby Paul Danahar
Synopses & Reviews
For the past forty years the story of the Middle East has been simple. The news images flashing across our TV screens from the Middle East provoked anger, outrage and, sometimes military action from the international community. But now the handful of dictators who ruled over hundreds of millions of people with an iron fist are locked up, exiled, fighting for their lives or buried in unmarked graves, leaving behind countries in turmoil. Saddam Hussein, Assad, Ben Ali, Muammar Gaddafi and Hosni Mubarak all lived lives of cartoonish excess, stalked their own people, snatched them from their beds and murdered them before their children. The West propped these men up because, so the story went, the alternative was states falling under the influence of the communist block or later into the arms of radical Islam.
That narrative of the old Middle East lasted as long as the old Arab dictators did. But now these men are gone. In 2011 the people of the western world realised for the first time that the people of the Arab world weren't all brooding fanatics who needed to be kept in check by a reign of terror. If now is the first time that they can speak openly then it is also our first chance to listen. We can ask what kind of societies they are going to build and learn how their decisions will change our lives. The countries engulfed by the Arab Spring -Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria - are on a journey from dictatorship to democracy and together they will shape a New Middle East. Danahar also reveals the quiet but equally profound revolution going in Israel where tensions between religious and secular Jews are threatening the fabric of society. He investigates how that and the changing regional dynamics while shape the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"For decades, America's foreign policy in the Arab world — ostensibly dedicated to preserving regional stability and ensuring a constant flow of oil — 'dealt on very personal terms with the ruling family elite.' Yet 'some of those key relationships have gone,' leaving the U.S. at a loss as to how to approach the region at the very moment when engagement is most critical. In his first book, the BBC's new U.S. bureau chief (previously, bureau chief of the Middle East) explores how revolutionary fervor and growing Islamism are forcing the U.S., Israel, Iraq, and Iran to reassess their priorities and restructure their alliances. Like reactions to the Arab Spring, the book begins optimistically but grows progressively darker. Speaking of post — Arab Spring difficulties, Danahar cogently notes that building a representative democracy is 'not a learning curve, a sheer cliff' made all the more precipitous by mixed messages from the international community. (To illustrate this, Danahar juxtaposes Hillary Clinton's condemnation of 'the use of violence by Egyptian police... against protestors' with the fact that the tear gas canisters used by those police sported labels declaring 'Made in the U.S.A.') Danahar's analysis and projections are incisive and will appeal to policy wonks, while his conversational tone and ability to engage with a wide range of subjects will benefit a general readership. Agent: Karolina Sutton, Curtis Brown (U.K.)." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book News Annotation:
Author Danahar was the Middle East bureau chief for the BBC News from 2010 to 2013, during the Arab Spring period. In this first-person narrative for general readers, he describes lives and perspectives of ordinary people, including women, students, laborers, servants, and activists, as well as the actions of political and religious leaders of the region. Country chapters bring readers to Egypt, Israel, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. In several chapters overviewing the region and the situation, the author reflects on the current and future impact of the events of the Arab Spring for the Middle East and the West. Several b&w maps are included. Annotation ©2015 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)
BBC bureau chief Paul Danahar sets out the new order in the Middle East following the Arab Spring, and explains what it will mean both for the region and the West.
About the Author
Paul Danahar is the BBC's Middle East Bureau Chief and ran the organizations news coverage of the Arab Spring. He has reported from Iraq, Iran and North Korea—every nation in the “Axis of Evil.” Follow him @pdanahar.
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History and Social Science » Asia » General