POLITICAL INSTABILITY, TURMOIL. & CONFLICT IN THE MIDDLE EAST: BOOK REVIEWS FROM THE MIDDLE EAST QUARTERLY
Al-Jazeera, the first twenty-four-hour news station in the Arabic language, has become a household name. Best known for featuring videos of Osama bin Ladin, for its on-the-spot CNN-like reporting from throughout the Middle East, and for its coverage of the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, al-Jazeera attracts millions of viewers daily.
Enthusiasts argue Al-Jazeera is an objective news station, featuring controversial im- ages and talk shows that discuss topics previously untouched by Arabic-language media. Critics question the station's journalistic integrity while American detractors in particular claim that Al-Jazeera serves as a platform for anti-American sentiment and a vehicle for incitement to violence. Arab governments often express unhappiness with Al-Jazeera's coverage of domestic issues and have closed down station offices and ejected reporters. Others question the Qatari government's motivations in funding Al-Jazeera, coupled with the station's reticence to discuss domestic Qatari affairs.
Al-Jazeera, the first full-length study on the station and its impact, explores the history, funding and programming, while offering amusing anecdotes, as well as an interesting if brief analysis of Qatari history. The book explores how both friend and foe view station policy and programming; its biggest attraction is its short length and the fact that it can easily be read in an evening. However, written in a florid style with repetitive themes, Al-Jazeera gives the impression of having been written in a hurry, so as to capitalize on a receptive market.
All this does not add up to genuine analysis or in-depth investigation. The authors do not weigh in on controversies surrounding the station or opine on whether the station is free- wheeling or has a militant Islamic agenda. Their evidence, however, points to Al-Jazeera falling somewhere in the middle of this spectrum.
Avi J. Jorisch
Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Al-Qaeda: Brotherhood of Terror. By Paul L. Williams. Indianapolis and Gary: Alpha, 2002. 240 pp. $14.95, paper.
Williams, a Ph.D. and seasoned terrorism consultant for the Federal Bureau of Investi- gation (FBI), had all the right credentials to produce a path-breaking book on al-Qa‘ida, given that few authors on the subject have come from inside the intelligence community. Sadly, Al-Qaeda: Brotherhood of Terror falls far short of expectations.
For one, the book begins with the sensationalist testimony of one "Tex Barker," the pseudonym for a soldier of fortune who requested anonymity. Based on his experiences in Afghanistan, Barker dispenses advice on "meeting al-Qaeda and staying alive" dur- ing an interview with the author in Las Vegas. Among Barker's absurd advice, he states, "never gaze at a man, not even in passing. A member of al-Qaeda might assume you are gay." To prove you are a Muslim, Williams relays, "you will have to expose your mem- ber to show proof that you have been circumcised."
It can't get any worse from there. Still, pages 18 through 72 are maddening in other ways. Rather than addressing the subject of the book (al-Qa‘ida), the author puts on the hat of a theologian and attempts to sum up the intricate belief systems of the Islamic faith and its 1,400 years of rich history. Oversimplifications abound. One chapter bears the ridiculous title "The Jewish Invasion," and attempts to explain in ten pages why Muslims take issue with the State of Israel, leaving the reader with more questions than answers.
The book improves after that, but only in the sense that it addresses al-Qa‘ida. The most interesting segments are directly lifted from the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, Newsweek, Time, and even another book on the subject, Yonah Alexander and Michael S. Swetnam's Usama bin Laden's al-Qaida.
To learn more about al-Qa‘ida, the reader would be advised to read only appendices B and C of William's book. They provide a bibliography of websites and books on the sub- ject written by persons more qualified.
Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Ayatollahs, Sufis, and Ideologues: State, Religion, and Social Movements in Iraq. Edited by Faleh Abdul-Jabar. London: Al Saqi Books, 2002. 290 pp. $55.
Iraq is usually thought to be divided in three main demographic units: Kurds, Shi‘ite Arabs, and Sunni Arabs. The seventeen essays on the sociology of religion in Iraq pre- sented here offer a definitive commentary on that perception, somewhat confirming it and somewhat altering it. Many of the authors bring out the ways in which Arab Sunnis dominated Iraqi government, economy, and society, something that had become partic- ularly marked under the Baath Party's rule after 1968. Other chapters introduce nuance into the picture; several chapters, for example, document how Kurdish society is marked by receptiveness to religious pluralism, including a proliferation of heterodox sects.
Only one essay, by Basim al-‘Azmi on the Muslim Brethren, centers on the Arab Sunni community; it would have been interesting to know more about organized religion and religious practice in that community.
The particular strength of Ayatollahs, Sufis, and Ideologues lies in its analysis of Shi- ‘ites. The fourteen authors include the world's leading experts on the matter, drawn from universities across Europe and America (including an Israeli-American, Yitzhak Nak- hash). Faleh Abdul-Jabar analyzes the religious leadership of the community, including a useful table on the main leaders of the last 150 years. Pierre-Jean Luizard and Ali Ba- bakhan explore conflicts between the Baath government and the Shi‘ite community. Ab- dul-Halim al-Ruhaimi recounts the history of the main Shi‘ite Islamist party, the Da'wa Islamic Party. Four essays analyze the main trends in modern Iraqi Shi‘ite thought, in- cluding expositions on the positions of the two most important past leaders, Ayatollah Abu al-Qasim al-Kho'i (by his relative Yousif al-Kho'i) and Ayatollah Muhammad Baqr Sadr (by Talib Aziz). The picture that emerges is of a community that is devout, but also nationalistic, frequently politically quietistic, but also dissatisfied with its second-class status.
Colonial Effects: The Making of National Identity in Jordan. By Joseph A. Massad. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001. 276 pp. $49.50 ($19.50, paper).
Massad has done a thorough job of mastering the source material, but his ideological bias runs deep and devalues the results. Massad portrays Jordanians as the malleable creatures of others, non-participants in their own national enterprise who think only the thoughts Westerners imbed in their minds. Or, in the characteristically obtuse jargon of this book: the "juridical-military dyad introduced by British colonialism was both a re- pressive and a productive success. Today's Jordanian national identity and Jordanian national culture are living testament to that achievement."
Since these Westerners, like Glubb Pasha, were infected by Orientalist biases, they im- parted an Orientalist mindset to their hapless Jordanian wards, from King Hussein on down: "Note, how the king's nationalist views … are in tandem with Glubb's Orientalist views of Jordanians as Bedouins … the latter being part of Glubb's … de-Bedouinization and re-Bedouinization campaigns in the country." To believe Massad, Glubb simply de- Bedouinizes and re-Bedouinizes the mindless Jordanians at will, and King Hussein, without a thought of his own, trails along as if on a leash. Jordanians, incapable of imag- ination, are but putty in the hands of one grand mental manipulator: Glubb Pasha.
Had Massad given the Jordanians their due in the molding of their own identity, he might have redeemed part of his argument. The "colonial effects" are there; no one would sensibly deny them. But by inflating them, Massad deflates his own credibility.
Factual distortion and sheer invention would also seem perfectly permissible in Mas- sad's account. Three examples of many:
Asher Susser Tel Aviv University
Dangerous Neighborhood: Contemporary Issues in Turkey's Foreign Policy. Edited by Michael S. Radu. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2002. 220 pp. $44.95.
In sharp contrast to the four decades of the Cold War, when Ankara was largely preoc- cupied with the Soviet threat, the post-Cold War era forced Turkish policymakers to modify some established foreign policy principles and develop new strategies as insta- bility and conflict broke out close to Turkey's borders in the Middle East, the Caucasus, and the Balkans. Turkey's foreign policy agenda became crowded with new issues and problems; for example, while Ankara sought to play a more activist role in its regional environment, it faced the specter of political Islam and Kurdish separatism at home. Dangerous Neighborhood offers useful and important essays that analyze Turkey's response to some of those challenges.
Radu highlights the theme of Turkey living in a "dangerous neighborhood" by noting that it shares "hundreds of thousands of miles of land borders" with "three rogue states." Living next door to Syria, Iraq, and Iran brought many dangers, but the Kurdish issue was of greatest concern. Syria and Iran actively provided logistical support for the Kurdish terrorist organization, the Partiya Karkaren Kurdistan (PKK), or Kurdistan Workers Party; the instability in northern Iraq enabled the PKK to establish bases there. Essays by Svante Cornell and Michael Radu (respectively, on the Kurdish issue and the PKK) shed much light on the nature of Turkey's Kurdish question and the fac- tors that led to the PKK's rise and fall.
The Kurdish issue also lies behind Ankara's efforts to pressure Damascus and thus was a major factor in the emergence of the new strategic partnership with Israel. In a de- tailed and informative analysis, Efraim Inbar underscores how both Israel and Turkey "reaped strategic dividends" from this partnership in an effort to "preserve the regional status quo and fend off common threats." Other essays focus on the role of human rights and security arrangements in Turkey's relations with Europe; Turkey's approach to political and security issues in the Caucasus; and U.S.-Turkish relations in the post-Cold War era.
Developments in Israeli Public Administration. Edited by Moshe Maor. London: Frank Cass Publishers, 2002. 147 pp. $62.50 ($24.50, paper).
Maor, a professor of political science at the Hebrew University, attempts the by-no- means simple task of guiding a non-Israeli through the history and complexity of "public administration"—a polite term for Israel's political bureaucracy.
Israel's public sector is in many ways larger and more intrusive as compared with those in other modern countries. The problem is not simply a Scandinavian-style welfare state, for aside from income redistribution, the Scandinavian bureaucracy is relatively unobtru- sive in the lives of citizens. In Israel, the bureaucracy intrudes in a far more aggressive manner in a far larger number of aspects of civic life. This is only in part a consequence of security problems.
The Maor anthology is only partly successful. Promising an analysis of Israeli public ad- ministration based on assorted theories, the volume is largely restricted to simple insti- tutional description. And these descriptions suffer from a handicap specific to Political Science; there is no measurement of anything, and specifically, not of "power." Several authors fall into the pitfall of measuring the scope of power of an administrative body by the size of its budget or manpower. The book contains some duplication (such as the histories of the growth of the bureaucracies by both Aharon Kfir and Eva Etzioni-Halevy, or the descriptions of Israel's system of fiscal allotments). Chapters are glaringly lacking on such important matters as the tax system and the role of the bureaucracy in oversee- ing the construction sector.
The best chapters are those by Yoav Dotan (on Israel's judiciary) and Ira Sharkansky (on the "informal"—that is, unwritten—rules imposed by the political bureaucracy). Dotan gives the reader a brief introduction to Israel's imperious judiciary—out of con- trol, self-perpetuating and non-democratic, operating largely on the basis of the anti- democratic doctrine of judicial "activism," which amounts to judicial non-accountability. He manages only to scratch the surface; Frank Cass might wish to devote an entire volume to this issue.
Sharkansky (and to a lesser extent Asher Friedberg in his chapter) discusses what Is- raelis understand only too well, but outsiders find surprising, namely, the wide gulf be- tween formal laws and regulations and informal sets of rules, some arbitrary, imposed by the bureaucracies. It's fair to say that those "informal" rules constitute one of the more serious obstacles to daily life in Israel.
Maor's own piece on Israel's electricity monopoly is less satisfactory because he fails to explain many of the real issues involved, such as monopoly pricing and resource distor- tion, natural monopoly considerations, vertical monopoly issues, etc. Nor does he discuss the debate over the past decade or so over whether to "privatize" at the margin to allow outsourcing or purchase of power from private-sector providers. And he never even mentions the free electricity for electric company employees, for decades one of the more controversial and outrageous achievements of Israel's "public administration."
University of Haifa
Diplomacy and Murder in Tehran. By Laurence Kelly. New York: I.B. Tauris Publishers, 2002. 288 pp. $45 ($24.50, paper).
A century and a half before Iranian radicals seized the U.S. embassy and took fifty-two hostages, a frenzied Iranian mob spurred on by the mullahs stormed the Russian legation in Tehran and massacred all but one member of the mission. Among those murdered was Alexander Griboyedov, playwright and Russia's chief diplomat in Tehran. While largely forgotten, the massacre illustrates yet another example of the Iranian clergy's xenopho- bic and violent reaction to foreign challenges.
In 1828, the Tsar dispatched Griboyedov to Iran in order to implement the humiliating Treaty of Turkmanchai that ended the second Russo-Iranian war. Under terms of the treaty, Iran forever forfeited its claim to what is now Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia; paid exorbitant reparations; and granted diplomatic immunity and other privileges for Russian merchants.
The treaty's implementation was complicated by a culture clash. Griboyedov offended the Iranian Royal Court by not removing his boots in front of the Shah and further an- tagonized the Shah by demanding the release of numerous Christian slaves seized by Iran in the preceding decades.
Well-written, with extensive notes and sixty-five illustrations, Diplomacy and Murder in Tehran is worth the price for those interested in the tragic life of a young writer and dip- lomat. For historians of Iran, however, the value will be limited. Kelly seeks to absolve the English from persistent accusations that they egged on the Iranian mobs who slaughtered the Griboyedov mission. Point taken, but irrelevant to all but one hundred or so historians of Qajar-era Iran.
Diplomacy and Murder in Tehran is not for those seeking a more general introduction into Iranian history. Less than one-quarter of the text follows Griboyedov's experiences in Tehran and Tabriz. Other chapters cover his experiences in Georgia and the Crimea and Griboyedov's early life in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Far more engaging for those interested in the great diplomatic competition between Russia and Britain over Iran and Central Asia will be Peter Hopkirk's Great Game, a broader account of the spies and diplomats sent into deadly competition in the region. Also excellent is Denis Wright's The English Amongst the Persians, which reproduces excerpts and accounts from a number of early visitors. While many accounts exist of Europeans' experiences in the Middle East, readers may enjoy the opposite in English translation of the diary of Nasir ad-Din Shah (r. 1848-96) during his 1873 European tour.
American Enterprise Institute
Divided Jerusalem: The Struggle for the Holy City. By Bernard Wasserstein. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001. 432 pp. $29.95 ($17.95, paper).
Of the dozens of books about Jerusalem, Divided Jerusalem is one of the more authori- tative and unbiased. Wasserstein accomplishes this by de-emphasizing religious claims to the city and focusing instead on its political history. Here, the author demonstrates, there are far fewer interpretations.
His account begins with what he calls the "wars of the consuls" during the long period of Ottoman rule, 1516-1917. He focuses on diplomatic intrigues between the French, Ger- mans, English, Greeks, and Russians to attain what he calls "spiritual imperialism," or religious primacy, over a city that is holy to all of Christianity's competing sects. Jerusa- lem entered a new phase when the Ottomans lost control of the city in 1917 to the Brit- ish, who ruled it until 1948. Those three decades saw Jews and Muslims exert to estab- lish rights over the city; during this time, the "spiritual imperialism" from outside largely waned. In retrospect, this would have been the moment to internationalize Jerusalem, but when the British relinquished their control in 1948, it was too late. Muslims and Jews were making war plans, which included control over Jerusalem.
While Wasserstein describes the centrality of Jerusalem in the subsequent Arab-Israeli conflict, he notes that, for much of the twentieth century, Palestinians did not stress "Je- rusalem as a priority." After the 1964 founding of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Jerusalem, the movement "placed curiously little emphasis on the city." It was not until the Palestinian intifada of 1987-1992 that Jerusalem became synonymous with the Palestinian cause. Today, Palestinian political leaders and terror groups iterate their intentions to form a state with "its capital in Jerusalem."
Indeed, the Oslo diplomacy crumbled in 2000 in part due to Palestinian intransigence over Jerusalem. The Israelis, for their part, will likely not budge on the issue, particu- larly in light of a 1980 Israeli law stating that the city, "complete and united, is the cap- ital of Israel." Hence, as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict drags on, the well-documented account in Divided Jerusalem is likely to remain salient for years to come.
Factional Politics in Post-Khomeini Iran. By Mehdi Moslem. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2002. 320 pp. $29.95, paper.
For the entire twenty-four years since the Islamic Revolution, Americans have been searching for moderates within the Iranian elite. The effort has been frustrating and puzzling. On the one hand, Iran clearly has strongly differing political factions; indeed, Iranian politics often seems to be more combative than that of the Western democracies. On the other hand, the United States has had a decidedly mixed record at finding moder- ates with whom it can successfully work. There have been spectacular failures, such as the Iran-contra affair, and ambiguous semi-successes, such as the two countries' con- sultation and competition in post-Taliban Afghanistan. It is tempting to think that Wash- ington's indifferent record is due to imperfect understanding of Iran's factional politics and that more profound study of Iranian factions would improve the U.S. policy record.
Moslem's account will help little in this regard. He has produced a serviceable account of Iranian factions in the first decade after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's 1988 death. The facts about the factional disputes are all there, including a guide through the shifting pat- tern of factions, which have split and reformed regularly. And Moslem lays out the com- plicated story in a clear manner, relying on original sources and giving a straightforward, unbiased account.
But his book lacks color or insight. Moslem writes almost entirely about the "high poli- tics" of what the various leaders said and did, with little to nothing about the impact of these differences into society writ large. He barely refers to what resonance the factions and their disputes have on the popular media, on religious life, or on students and intel- lectuals. He makes little effort to connect the changing political scene to changes in Iranian society in the last two decades, or to explain how botched policies of one or the other faction have weakened the support they enjoy. And Moslem stops the story in 1998, whereas the most exciting development has been the emergence of an explicitly secular, determinedly democratic trend (without any qualification about Islamic democ- racy). This trend, while intensely nationalistic, has no patience for the reflexive anti- Westernism of the factions Moslem analyzes.
The main conclusion the reader is likely to take away is that politics in the Islamic Re- public of Iran is complicated and poisonous—not a bad summary, and one which suggests that no matter how well Washington understands Iranian politics, it would encounter dif- ficulties using factional differences to its advantage.
Inside Al Qaeda: Global Network of Terror. By Rohan Gunaratna. New York: Columbia University Press, 2002. 240 pp. $22.95 ($14, paper).
Gunaratna, researcher at Scotland's University of St. Andrews, has done a fine job ana- lyzing al-Qa‘ida's history, strategy, and structure. What may be most important about this study is its detailed description of al-Qa‘ida's worldwide reach, drawing upon a wide body of open source material and some intelligence. This network allows al-Qa‘ida to share intelligence, operatives, and materiel across the Middle East, Europe, South America, Asia, and North America.
His is a worthwhile and thorough study of what will surely be one of America's foremost strategic enemies for years to come. In a sea of books known to regurgitate near-iden- tical anecdotes about al-Qa‘ida, Gunaratna sets this book apart by presenting refresh- ingly new information. For example, he quotes Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) offi- cials as saying that "one-fifth of all Islamic NGOs [non-governmental organizations] worldwide have been unwittingly infiltrated by al-Qaeda and other terrorist support groups." He also cites Sheikh Kabbani of the Islamic Council of America as saying that "over 80 percent of the mosques in the United States" have been infiltrated by Islam- ists.
Also of note is the author's assertion that Osama bin Ladin ordered the assassination of his mentor and fellow al-Qa‘ida founder, ‘Abdullah ‘Azzam, on November 24, 1989. Ac- cording to Gunaratna, "the power struggle between Osama and Azzam had to culminate in the removal of one of them." Thus he portrays bin Ladin as power-hungry and ruthless in his bid to take the reigns of the organization that the two founded together. It is fur- ther interesting to note Gunaratna's account of how the arrest of the "twentieth hijack- er," Zaccarias Moussaoui, pushed up the date of the operation that eventually took place on September 11, 2001, and how Hizbullah operative ‘Imad Mughniyah schooled bin Ladin on the use of coordinated, simultaneous attacks.
Though his book is excellent, Gunaratna might consider making several tweaks in his next edition. For one, he labors to draw distinctions between what he calls revolutionary, ideological, utopian, and apocalyptic Islamists. At best, these distinctions remain unclear. Also, in his description of the Lebanese network, he omits mention of Asbat al-Ansar, the al-Qa‘ida affiliate now working out of the Palestinian refugee camp, Ein al-Hilwe.
Israeli Historical Revisionism: From Left to Right. Edited by Anita Shapira and Derek J. Penslar. London: Frank Cass Publishers, 2002. 190 pp. $62.50 ($26.50, paper).
There is a dangerous pitfall in the trendy relativism that infects so much of academia, where all "narratives" and all "historiographies" are held to be equally legitimate and acceptable, no matter how outlandish. When it comes to Israel, outlandish theories seem to proliferate. Israeli Historic Revisionism has two main weaknesses: it deals with the New Historians as though they were a serious group of scholars, and it wrongly asserts that historic revisionism is as common on the Israeli Right as on the Left.
In the opening essay, Michael Walzer relates how as a child he believed certain myths, and then as he matured, he learned they were myths or partial truths. He uses this as metaphor to insist that all national movements create myths that are then amended with national maturity.
A long essay by Daniel Gutwein tries to establish the symmetry found in the title of the book. Gutwein holds that ideologues of Israel's radical Left and its neoconservative Right are essentially and equally "post-Zionists" and "New Historians" who reject Zionism. The representation of the thinkers of the Right in this way is as remarkable as it is false. Gutwein argues that traditional Zionism was closely bound with notions of utopian Socialism, central planning, and a vague hostility to religion, therefore thinkers from the Israeli Right, especially those associated with the Shalem Center, should be seen as post-Zionists because they reject these underpinnings of Zionist thought. That is a bit like saying that today's historians at Harvard are anti-American because they do not wear wigs and ride horses with muskets.
Mark Lilla, like Gutwein, focuses on the Shalem Center's Yoram Hazony and makes interesting points about "counter-intellectuals," individuals who promote ideas that are hostile and radically opposed by the intellectual elites in their countries. Penslar has a shallow piece on Zionist oppression of Israeli Arabs. Uri Ram, a sociologist, says that Jews have no more right to Palestine than the British to India and all Israeli establish- ment historiography is but myths to hide the crimes and injustices of Israel's creation. And so on.
But not all is lost. Anita Shapira, a first-class historian, describes the emergence of his- toric revisionism in Israel coolly and objectively. Historian Yoav Gelber, in the collec- tion's best piece, documents the errors of Israel's revisionist historians and explains the dangers to Israel from such nonsense. Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin writes well on the polit- icization and distortion of history in school texts and in the Israeli curriculum. They are the main reasons for not consigning the book to the paper shredder.
University of Haifa
The Middle East in 2015: The Impact of Regional Trends on U.S. Strategic Planning. Edited by Judith Yaphe. Washington, D.C.: National Defense University Press, 2002. 237 pp. $19.
What will the Middle East look like in a decade or so? The Central Intelligence Agen- cy's National Intelligence Council asked the National Defense University to gnaw on this question and the twelve essays making up The Middle East in 2015 are the result. Chap- ters cover Egypt, Israel, the Palestinians, Iran, Iraq, the Gulf monarchies, Algeria, and Morocco, along with contributions on arms control and the Israel-Turkey relationship.
The picture that emerges is one of a region ripe for change. When discussing politics, society and economy, the authors document the poor performance and dismal prospects if the present course—well described by one author as "immobility"—continues. In country after country, the basic question the authors pose is, can the regime survive? Can the present order continue? Depressingly, that is true for U.S. friends at least as much for those hostile to the United States. Indeed, the pessimistic tone extends to the analysis of Iraq: Yaphe and Adeed Dawisha ask if another Saddam is on the horizon, after this one is overthrown. Ironically, the only notes of optimism are about the Levant, where several authors hold out the hope that by 2015 the Palestinian issue will be well on the way to resolution and the Arab-Israeli conflict will no longer be the defining element in regional politics—hopes that look less foresightful today, after more than two years of sustained violence and such deep disillusion, than in the more hopeful moment in 2000- 2001 when these essays were written.
It is noteworthy that this book, written before September 11, 2001, barely touches on the terrorist threat from the Middle East. Indeed, the authors lightly skim over the risks of violence from Islamists, which they seem to regard as a spent force. Were they to recon- vene today, one suspects, at least some of the authors would be even more pessimistic than they were three years ago.
If what the CIA presented to the President as the most likely path for the Middle East reflects the forecasts of these authors, then it is little wonder that the Bush administra- tion is contemplating making a major commitment to promoting the transformation of the Middle East.
Militant Islam Reaches America. By Daniel Pipes. (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2002). 309 pp. $25.95.
In the war on terrorism, who is the enemy? Sounds like a trick question—it's terrorists, right?—but Pipes, more than any other public intellectual at the intersection of scholar- ship and policymaking, has forced America's leaders and leading pundits to think again. As he argues in this insightful and often prophetic set of essays, the threat to American lives, values, and interests that has triggered the war on terrorism does not come from some featureless group of high-tech criminals but rather from a highly motivated, ideo- logically-driven slice of the world's billion-plus Muslim population, those who subscribe to what Pipes calls "militant Islam." Focusing our rhetoric and our actions on terrorists rather than on militant Islam, he says, is to focus on the tactical threat rather than the strategic danger, akin to saying that German panzers or Japanese kamikaze pilots— rather than Nazism or imperial militarism—were America's enemies in World War II.
Pipes (Publisher of the Middle East Quarterly and adjunct scholar of the institute I di- rect) has been studying Islam in general, and the phenomenon of militant Islam in par- ticular, all his adult life. This book gathers together twenty-three essays (one with co- author Mimi Stillman), written over a dozen years, on two broad themes: the phenome- non of militant Islam and the evolution of the Muslim presence in the United States. September 11, 2001, is the pivot point that makes these two themes frightfully comple- mentary.
Throughout this collection, Pipes plays different roles—variously advocate, analyst, and historian. Conventional wisdom often comes in for blistering attack and withers under the onslaught. Can one usefully discern moderate militants from militant militants? Does poverty make Muslims into militants? U.S. and European governments, as well as le- gions of academics, have said, yes, to both questions for years; Pipes convincingly ar- gues, no. Bravely staking out a position to the Right of President Bush, Pipes calls the Commander-in-Chief to task for walking the walk but not talking the talk, i.e., for fight- ing militant Islam in far-flung places around the globe, but failing to identify it as the real enemy. To help law enforcement and political leaders at home, he offers a detailed how- to guide to "fighting militant Islam, without bias." Elsewhere, Pipes leavens this mild- mannered but tough-talking policy advocacy with historical vignettes on fascinating but little-known episodes of Islam's growth inside the United States, ranging from the per- sonal stories of Elijah Muhammad and Jamil al-Amin to the Muslim consciousness of African slaves.
Throughout, Pipes is exceedingly careful neither to be, nor to seem to be, anti-Muslim. Given the high percentage of the world's Muslims he believes are adherents or fellow- travelers of the militant creed—10-15 percent of a billion-plus people is a lot of people —it would be easy to slide down the slope of indicting all Muslims for the sins of this (admittedly sizable) minority. But Pipes is both knowledgeable and sensitive enough to know that the religion of Islam is not the problem; rather it is the ideology of militant Islam that we—the United States, free peoples, and non-militant Muslims around the world yearning for a more liberal, humane version of Islam—all have to fight. Those who denounce Pipes for alleged intolerance toward Islam or Muslims have simply never read what he has written. They—and even more importantly, the American political leaders who direct the war on terrorism—should.
Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Political Parties in Turkey. Edited by Barry Rubin and Metin Heper. London: Frank Cass Publishers, 2002, 160 pp. $59.50 ($24.50, paper).
Political parties have been largely responsible both for the achievements and the failures of Turkey's experience with democratic politics in the more than fifty years that Turkey has had a multiparty system. This collection of essays (originally published as a special issue of the Turkish Studies journal) analyzes the country's major political parties, with special emphasis on developments during the 1990s. It looks at their electoral support, organizational attributes, ideology, and their impact on shaping public policies. Other than Rubin's brief introduction, all the essays are written by Turkish scholars.
They find that party politics followed several important trends in the 1990s. These in- cluded the declining electoral appeal of the pro-secular centrist parties, the growing strength of the Islamist and Far-Right nationalist forces, and the rise and fall of succes- sive coalition governments that generally failed to address critical economic, social, and political problems. The essays in Political Parties in Turkey offer useful insights and explanations about these trends. The weakening of the centrist parties such as ANAP, DYP, and CHP, resulted largely from their failure to adapt to changes in Turkish society, to strengthen their grassroots organizations, or provide leaders with appeal to broad segments of the electorate. In addition, charges of political corruption significantly tar- nished their image.
The Islamist and extreme nationalist parties benefited from the setbacks suffered by the centrist parties, with the Islamists particularly successful in adapting to their environ- ment. They combined an ideology emphasizing a greater role for Islam with an organiza- tional network that catered to the needs of the urban poor. The upsurge in the votes for the extreme nationalist MHP in the 1999 elections reflected both the growing disillu- sionment of the Turkish voters with the country's centrist parties and the rising tide of nationalism.
The November, 2002, elections resulted in a landslide victory for the Islamist AK Party, accompanied by further erosion in the popularity of the secular and centrist parties. Po- litical Parties in Turkey is a valuable guide to understanding why this event marked a major transformation in the Turkish party system with potentially far-reaching implica- tions.
La Question Irakienne. By Pierre-Jean Luizard. Paris: Fayard, 2002. 366 pp. € 20, paper.
Americans are prone to think of the French as reflexively anti-American, inventing con- spiracy theories and twisting facts to fit a preconceived image. French intellectuals have established a reputation for seeing America as a force for evil, aiding oppressors, stir- ring up wars, and exploiting Third World peoples.
Luizard's book fits this reputation perfectly. No contortion is too tortured for him in the pursuit of blaming America for every ill to befall Iraq. For instance, consider Saddam's massive military machine: Luizard writes repeatedly about the American role in arming Iraq, and it would take a particularly careful reading to notice that the United States never actually sold Iraq arms (it sold some items with dual military and civilian uses). Meanwhile, he has exactly two references to the billions in dollars of arms France sold Iraq. Even then he blames America, writing, "The Americans even permitted the French to deliver Super-Etendard [fighter planes] to Baghdad." Paris asks Washington's per- mission before selling French arms to other countries? That's a good one.
What is so discouraging is that this drivel comes from a great scholar of modern Iraq. Luizard's 1991 book on the Shi‘ites in early twentieth century Iraq, La Formation de l'Irak Contemporaine: Le rôle Politique des Ulémas Chiites à la Fin de la Domination Ottomane et au Moment de la Création de l'État Irakien, is a true masterpiece. And Luizard clearly knows modern Iraq; the present book has a fascinating fifty-page chapter about the Iraqi opposition to Saddam, including movements rarely analyzed, such as the Sunni religious opposition and the Communists. But his main theme—detailed in two chapters totaling seventy pages, but running throughout the text—is American responsi- bility for Saddam's crimes.
La Question Irakienne is the main book available in French about contemporary Iraq. It seems fair to say that French government policy is well in tune with the views of France's leading expert on Iraq.
Targeting Terror: U.S. Policy Toward Middle Eastern State Sponsors and Terrorist Organizations, Post-September 11. By Matthew Levitt. Washington, D.C.: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2002. 137 pp. $19.95, paper.
Targeting Terror focuses on the U.S. government's diplomacy in the war on terror, a topic otherwise little covered. From a solid base of research, Levitt analyzes the policy of Washington (and, to a lesser extent, of European capitals) in dealing with Middle East- ern terrorist states and organizations. The result is a compelling and informative analysis that readers in government and media, especially, will find useful.
Levitt argues that the Bush administration has changed some aspects of its approach to terrorism, but others—particularly those run by the U.S. Department of State—remain unchanged. He finds that the State Department continues to deal with several entities and states—such as the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Saudi Arabia—on the premise that their links to terrorist groups do not exist. Even as the Department of the Treasury freezes terrorist assets and the Department of Justice prosecutes terrorists, State re- peatedly meets with groups and individuals tightly linked to terrorism. One disturbing example: the State Department ignored clear-cut proof of the direct complicity of Pales- tinian leaders in terrorism, found in abundance in documents seized by the Israeli au- thorities, and declared instead that there "is no conclusive evidence that the senior leadership of the PA [Palestinian Authority] or PLO were involved in planning or ap- proving specific acts of violence." Another example is the State Department's dealing with Riyadh as though the extensive evidence tying it to terror did not exist.
Levitt also argues that wide collaboration among terrorist organizations requires the U.S. government to restructure the way it handles terrorism; one cannot fight al-Qa‘ida, while maintaining cordial relations with Yasir Arafat. As the overlap of terrorist groups grows through their collaboration, the war on terror must target all those groups and all their supporters.
Director, SITE Institute
War Plan Iraq: Ten Reasons Against War on Iraq. By Milan Rai, with a chapter by Noam Chomsky. London: Verso, 2002. 230 pp. $15, paper.
Published by Active Resistance to the Roots of War, a self-described antiwar advocacy group, War Plan Iraq argues against removing Saddam Hussein from power. It does so in six incongruous parts: pleas against war by pacifists who lost relatives in the Septem- ber 11, 2001 attacks; a Chomsky screed equating U.S. foreign policy with terrorism; an unsubstantiated account claiming the Bush administration declined an opportunity to extradite Osama bin Ladin; a chronicle alleging the United States facilitated Iraqi re- armament following the 1991 cease-fire; photographs showing smiling Iraqi children; and a list entitled "ten reasons against war on Iraq," which (oddly) does not appear until halfway through the book and devotes only a few pages to address each point.
Indeed, for all of Rai's professed sympathy for the victims of September 11, he does not address—never mind take seriously— the strategic lessons of that attack, namely: the dangers of inaction and the benefits of preemptively striking terrorist camps and regimes that support them. War Plan Iraq reads like a manifesto and is more fit for an Anarchist chat-room than the library, except as an exposé of the mind of a delusional protester.
Washington Institute for Near East Policy
 Yonah Alexander and Michael S. Swetnam, Usama bin Laden's al-Qaida: Profile of a
Terrorist Network (Ardsley, N.Y.: Transnational Publishers, 2001).
 Samir A. Mutawi, Jordan in the 1967 War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), p. 77.
 New York: Kodansha International, 1994; reviewed in the MEQ, June 1995.
 New York: Palgrave-St.Martin, 2001.
 J.W. Redhouse, trans., The Diary of H.M. the Shah of Persia, during His Tour through Europe in A. D. 1873 (London: J. Murray, 1874).
 Paris: Editions du CNRS, 1991.
War & Peace in the Real World
Page Two Page One
Islamist Terrorist Attacks on the U.S.A.
Terrorism & U.S. Homeland Security
Osama bin Laden & the Islamist Declaration of War
Against the U.S.A. & Western Civilization
Islamist International Terrorism &
U.S. Intelligence Agencies
U.S. National Security Strategy
The original version of the foregoing collection of book reviews appeared in the Middle East Quarterly, Summer, 2003) and
can be found on the Internet website maintained by the Middle East Forum.
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