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THE BEST introduction to the middle east
le 19 juin 2004
As one of the first books I read about Middle East, and its
conflicts, I RECOMMEND this book STRONGLY for everyone: those that
are new to the region, needing an introduction to the Middle East,
as well as those who want to refresh their knowledge of the region
and the various forms of conflict so common there.
The Middle East can be a confusing place but Friedman sorts it out
for you. FRIEDMAN IS SUCH A TERRIFIC WRITER he made me feel
confident in my new found knowledge, relieved to have his insight
as my foundation, and so wanting to learn more about the entire
I read "From Beirut to Jerusalem" for the first time just before
the first Gulf War; now it is my touchstone, reading parts, or
all of it, again when things over there get crazier.
While Friedman focuses on Lebanon and Israel in this book, he
really is providing you with an understanding of the whole
framework of the Middle East and its conflicts: between countries,
within countries, amongst religions, between peoples of different
ethnic, cultural or racial backgrounds.
Warring religious conflicts within Lebanon may remind you of the
religious tensions between the Sunnis of northern Iraq and the
Shi'ia of south. Syria's late Assad's massive killing of his own
people will immediately remind you of the murder by Saddam Huessin
of the Kurds in northern Iraq.
Even if Israel didn't exist, many of these conflicts would have
happened anyway...and will continue to happen.
Now the fastest growing portion of the Arab and Muslim populations
are the school-aged and young adults. Most have limited
educations and little in the way of meaningful employment to look
forward to. Is it therefore any surprise some of them are so very
frustrated, dissatisfied and unhappy they would become militant
Although Israel has done some good things for the peoples of the
West Bank, it is unfortunately outweighed by the bad its done there and in Gaza.
And with Israel's peoples being so different than most of the
Middle East and carrying Mohammed's Qu'ran stories of the Jews'
friendship and then perceived betrayal of Mohammed over 700 years
ago, one can see why attacking Israel is a whole lot easier for
these terrorists than challenging the regimes they live under for
I wish all Americans, at least, would read this book so they
would be better versed in what happens in the rest of the world.
This is a GREAT BOOK.