First of all, let me say I always travel with Lonely Planet books (even in my native Pacific Northwest) as there is no better product on the market for the independent traveler. Others may have their niche: Let's Go! for the college party crowd, Footprints Handbooks for the snooty, Frommer's and Fodor's for those who don't know any better, etc etc etc.
With that said, I cannot believe that LP's definition of the "Middle East" contains Egypt and Libya, but not Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. The nerdy geographically conservative will certainly protest that those are part of Africa. But even they would not defend the omission of virtually the entire Arabian peninsula from a book on the Middle East. That's right, Lonely Planet's guide to the Middle East does not include Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Yemen, or any other countries located on the Arabian peninsula. They might say it's due to space constraints, but I doubt it. This book has 716 pages. Yet my LP Mexico, which costs $1.00 less according to the SRP on the back, has 1028 pages. And we all know that whenever and wherever LP has a more specific guide covering an area, it always errs on the side of excessive skimping on info in the wider guide. That is certainly no exception even in this half of a travel guide. Since Algeria is off limits to travelers, I am sure they could have covered the rest of North Africa (Tunisia and Morocco) in 100 pages. And 200 more pages to cover the Arabian peninsula (how many non-Muslims venture to Saudi Arabia anyways?) would have been a cinch for information-pinching LP editors. Such a tome would still have had less pages (1016) than LP Mexico, as well as leaving an extra buck for profit. As it sits now in order to get LP's take on the whole Middle East you need to buy four books and shell out around $100 bucks.
One might be tempted to blame LP founder Tony Wheeler directly for such extravagance, but I think slurking corporate insiders might have more to do with it. Mr. Wheeler has made enough dough to keep his whole clan in the sauce for at least a few more generations. As his company has developed and he has grown more distant from day to day operations, he has probably succumbed to more and more "professional" business types who invent scams like this one to make more money in order to justify their salaries. Here's hoping that the Rough Guide and Moonbooks start getting their products up to snuff ASAP so we can all stop subsidizing this type of underhanded customer abuse.