- Paperback: 324 pages
- Publisher: Transaction Publishers; 1 edition (Jan. 1 1988)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0887388493
- ISBN-13: 978-0887388491
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.9 x 23.5 cm
- Shipping Weight: 363 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,758,389 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Long Shadow Paperback – Jan 1 1988
“The book is a treasure trove of insights on Middle Eastern affairs. . . . As a historian, an Islamic scholar, and a concerned observer of international affairs, Mr. Pipes, along with his writings, should always be welcomed.”
—Sol Schindler, The Washington Times
“The Long Shadow is a provocative and insightful tour through the pitfalls of Middle East politics, history and culture.”
—Steven L. Spiegel, The Wall Street Journal
“The book provides, in a single volume, a great deal of information on many important issues relating to the Middle East. . . . It is recommended reading”
—Farzeen Nasri, Perspective
“Here is an entertaining and informative volume which establishes this well-known essayist as an important and authoritative commentator on all aspects of politics and policy affecting the Middle East. . . . And - astonishingly - the book as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts. . . . Pipes’ method is a powerful statement in favor of knowledge about the language, culture, and history of the peoples about whom one is writing, especially in the Middle East. . . . The chapters flow in a thoroughly logical and coherent fashion and they produce two central themes. . . . Long before the position of the Muslims of Soviet Central Asia were making headlines, Pipes was already predicting their emergence from a quasi-colonial status. ”
—Middle East Insight, December 1989
“Uniformly well written, controversial, and tendentiously right wing. . . . The unifying theme is his contention that Muslim fundamentalist fanatics, Syrian and PLO ‘pan-Arabists,’ and the Soviet Union collaborate in a campaign seeking ‘the extirpation of Western civilization from the Middle East.’”
—Y. M. Sadowski, Choice
“This is a book consisting of twenty-two essays written by a practiced hand. It represents, on a whole, a deft performance by a professional historian. . . . A book of such breadth and variety, covering such a wide range of interests, cannot be conveniently summarized or reduced to a single formula. . . . Readers already familiar with Pipes’s occasional pieces will be grateful to find them here assembled in a single volume, to be read and enjoyed anew, while others who may not yet have come across his work as a publicist are bound to be impressed by the dazzling performance of a writer of formidable intellect and sharp critical acumen.”
—Alain Silvera, MESA Bulletin
“What distinguishes this volume from the hundreds of monographs on the Middle East is Pipes’ successful attempt to bring specialized topics and areas of research to the general reader. . . . A valuable, penetrating overview of the major tensions and conflicts of the Middle East.”
—Paul Kerbel, Conservative Judaism
“22 papers and essays collected in The Long Shadow . . . are valuable precisely in that they allow the reader the perspective needed in observing and appraising a situation so much in flux. . . . The essays and papers collected in The Long Shadow . . . are all instructive . . . and some present surprises even for scholars of this region and its developments.”
—N.B. Argaman, The Jerusalem Post
About the Author
Daniel Pipes, a historian, is the president of the Middle East Forum. A former official in the US departments of State and Defense, he has taught at the University of Chicago, Harvard, Pepperdine, and at the US Naval War College. The author of twelve prior books, Pipes writes a bi-weekly column for The Washington Times, The National Review, and other publications.
|5 star (0%)|
|4 star (0%)|
|3 star (0%)|
|2 star (0%)|
|1 star (0%)|
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
A case in point: In April 1981 a semi-official Egyptian weekly pronounced Ibn Taymiya, the renowned Syrian theologian who lived from 1268 to 1328, the most harmful influence on Egypt's youth. A few months later, Ibn Taymiya became the basis for the actions of 3 of Anwar Sadat's 4 assassins, who had read him extensively.
Pipes divided the book into 5 sections, each including 4 or 5 articles. He groups them somewhat loosely and the articles run the gamut.
Islam and Public Life first discusses fundamentalist views of America and Russia, also touching on how the secular, traditional and reform branches of Islam relate to public life. It next examines religious similarities between Judaism and Islam--both of which stress correct action, compared with Christianity's focus on faith. Pipes shows the far-reaching extent of Muslim anti-Semitism, which stemmed from a patronizing view of other religions that became virulently anti-Jewish in the 20th century--and found welcome among Western Protestants, human rights activists, reporters, academic committees and even liberals seeking a "respectable forum in which to vent their own views about Jews." Pipes also covers the Muslims of Central Asia--which border Taliban Afghanistan's fundamentalist hotbed.
A section on the Persian Gulf attributes the origins of the Iraq-Iran war not to religious differences, but to economic and geographic factors--including the Shatt al-'Arab River and its vast water resources. Pipes also discusses the dangers that oil wealth poses to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Libya. The oil windfall made these desert sheikdoms dependent on a continued oil boom, unless new sources of income could be found. So far, none have emerged. Pipes praised Kuwait in 1986 when its government refused to buckle under US pressure to release imprisoned terrorists, and later toured the oil state as the guest of Minister of Information, Sheik Nasir. He found the Bedouin descendants' grand hospitality and intellect reflective of the Arabian Nights. Next, he considered the Saudi Arabian kingdom formed by Wahhabi leader Abd al-Aziz, dissecting various histories, including Peter Mansfield's The New Arabians, funded by the Bechtel Corporation.
Pipes' prescient take on the Arab-Israeli conflict also still holds value. The conflict is fueled, he believes, not by Israel but by the conflicting claims of Palestinian separatists, Arab nationalists and the Jordanian and Syrian governments, among others, over Palestine and its boundaries. The latters' perpetual incapacity to unify stems from irreconcilable goals. An Arab government's sponsorship of the PLO grows, he wrote, proportionate to its distance from Israel. Pipes considered no Arab nation eager to end the conflict. By implication, he believed that nothing Israel could do unilaterally would improve the conflict's complexion. Were the PLO, fundamentalists or Syria to inherit the Arab claim, he predicted that the conflict would last longer--which is precisely what happened with Arafat's violent rejection of Oslo in 2000. Pan-Arabism spawned the PLO, prompting Saudi Arabia to give Arafat's organization $250 million a year by the late 1970s, and other oil states, smaller sums. But this funding dictated that PLO behavior would reflect weighted-Arab demands for Israel's destruction, more than Palestinian needs. Meanwhile, the PLO dictatorship brutalizes its own people, as evidenced during its reign of terror in Southern Lebanon from 1975 through 1982.
Another real gem is the section on terrorism. Pipes provides background for suicide terrorism, which is not rooted so much in Islam as in state-sponsorship. The first major instance of suicide terror was the 1981 destruction of the Iraqi embassy in Beirut, which killed 27 and wounded over 100. The phenomenon picked up political steam with the 1982 murder of Lebanon's Bashir Jumayyil and went international with the 1983 bombing of the US embassy in Beirut, which killed 63. Later the same year, a truck bomb killed 241 US servicemen, also in Lebanon. State sponsorship, he shows, was behind most suicidal actions. Many suicides were recruited via blackmail or under other duress. The way to combat it, he wrote, is to punish states that sponsor this violence.
And finally, for the finale, we learn pointedly what is wrong with media coverage of the Middle East. "Put simply, American journalists are interested in only two topics in the Middle East: Israel and the United States. Whatever takes place that is related to these countries is amplified...;whatever does not is ignored." From 1972 to 1980, for example, ABC, CBS and NBC devoted an average of 98.4 minutes annually to Israel, only 54.7 minutes to Egypt, 42.4 minutes to the PLO, 25.7 minutes to Syria, 18.4 minutes to Lebanon, 12.7 minutes to Saudi Arabia, 8.5 to Jordan and 7.2 to Iraq. But the US and the Middle East won an average of 153 minutes of coverage annually. "Israel is imagined to be more powerful than it really is because it is watched so closely," Pipes writes. Similarly, attention given to Palestinian refugees far is out of proportion to their suffering, which in any case is caused by their own leaders' refusal to accept peace. During the same era far greater numbers of Vietnamese, Cambodian, Afghan, Somali and other refugees , whose ranks now include some 2 million Sudanese, suffered far worse tribulations, which shamefully got far less press attention. Being overexposed, Pipes rightly concludes, means that Israel is "held to impossible moral standards." Israel is measured "not in relation to [its enemies] or other states, but in relation to abstract ideals."
Pipes offers 10 times the wisdom of many other volumes, despite the book's age. Alyssa A. Lappen
Pipes points out that he writes as an historian, placing events in their larger historical context. And that there are two main factors that make this perspective worthwhile. First, there is the feeling that things today are going poorly, which leads to a fascination with the past. Second is the unsettled politics which make recent events hard to explain unless one can put them in a larger context.
There's an essay about the risks of supporting fundamentalist Muslims against communism, something we all should have taken more seriously. There's an article comparing Jewish and Muslim life, and pointing out that in both religions, people are becoming less observant of traditions, and that as a result, there has been more emphasis on faith in both religions, making them both a little more like Christianity in that respect. There's another fine essay about the roots of Muslim antisemitism and Western receptivity to it. And some interesting material about the Muslims of Central Asia (my ancestors!) as part of the then Soviet Empire. We also get to read about the origins of the Iraq-Iran war.
We discover how oil-rich Saudi Arabia and Kuwait treat foreign workers (mostly Muslim Arabs themselves). And there is a (pre-invasion) analysis of Kuwait in particular: it has become very rich from its oil. What will it do with all that wealth? Anything useful?
We all know that many Arabs want to get rid of Israel. Pipes asks what they want to replace it by. A bigger Syria? A bigger Jordan? A Pan-Arab nation? A local Arab tyrant? A fundamentalist state? A nation of local residents? And he asks why Arafat was always so unsuccessful militarily. Most folks who keep losing battles either start winning or get replaced. Why was Arafat so successful at getting support even though he never accomplished anything of value to anyone in the region? Pipes explains that Arafat's support came from Arab states, not from local Arabs.
There's an article on suicide terrorism, "the new scourge," which also ought to have been taken more seriously fifteen years ago.
An excellent essay deals with the way President Carter mishandled the Iran hostage situation. Objectively, Carter did a terrible job here, allowing American foreign policy to be determined "on the interests of a handful of individuals." Pipes predicted that this could set a precedent for more American helplessness when confronted by terrorists.
Three of the more interesting articles deal with the United States and the Middle East. The author points out that the debate between American pro-Israeli and anti-Israeli camps crosses party lines. One can be liberal or conservative and support either side. The pro-Israeli side sees the Arab conflict with Israel as a symptom of Arab instability. It recommends Arab reform and says that were Israel to vanish, all the Arab problems would remain. The anti-Israeli side sees the Arab conflict with Israel as a cause of Arab instability. It blames Israel for all the problems between the Arabs and the West and recommends doing something about Israel. It says that were Israel to vanish, we'd all live in peace together, our problems gone. Pipes explains that the fact that people on both sides are taking similar positions gives the United States a unique opportunity to help resolve the conflict. And he then gets into the question of the extent to which American Presidents determine our Middle East policy (it's to a significant extent). And how our record in that region isn't too good: we've come up with a big bunch of plans for resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict and none have gotten off the ground (by the way, in the ensuing fifteen years, we've come up with many more plans and we're no closer).
Perhaps the most interesting essay is near the end of the book, on the media and the Middle East. As Pipes shows, the media do not merely report the news here, they create a fair amount of it. And he quite properly says that the preoccupation on Israel and on Arafat certainly gave us all a very narrow and misleading view of the region. It made Israel appear far more important than it is in real life. And I think it made Arafat appear to be something like the most important person who ever lived. While one can make a hero out of anyone (consider Horst Wessel), it isn't always useful to do so.
Yes, this book is still worth reading, in spite of all the wild happenings and misadventures that have gone on in the region in the past fifteen years.