The Tragedy of the Middle East

Barry Rubin, Author Cambridge University Press $35.99 (296p) ISBN 978-0-521-80623-7
For a brief period in the 1990s, peace in the Middle East seemed possible. Now that that's over, Rubin seeks to explain what went wrong. In his sixteenth book on the region, he argues that Arab leaders balked at peace because it presented too great a threat to their own power. Blaming external enemies Israel and the United States has long enabled Arab regimes to channel frustration away from their own failures, Rubin writes, and governments across the region reverted to this strategy when peace seemed likely to break out. This is not the first time that Rubin, who is the editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs, has carefully summed up very recent events. His widely acclaimed 1999 book, The Transformation of Palestinian Politics: From Revolution to State-Building, analyzed the inner workings of the Palestinian Authority. But while the tone of that book was cautiously hopeful, in his new work he sees no realistic path to a brighter future. This is a dense but well-argued read, and timely, too, as Westerners seek an explanation for why most if not all of the September 11th hijackers hail from U.S. allies Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Reviewed on: 09/02/2002
Release date: 09/01/2002
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 296 pages - 978-0-521-60387-4
Open Ebook - 297 pages - 978-0-511-67505-8
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