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The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Middle East (Politically Incorrect Guides) [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   230
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 7.25" Height: 8.75"
Weight:   0.85 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 28, 2008
Publisher   Regnery Publishing
ISBN  1596980516  
EAN  9781596980518  

Availability  0 units.

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Item Description...
Examines the Middle East from the decline of the Ottoman Empire to the present, discussing such topics as the history of radical Islam, the conflicts between the Arabs and Israelis, and political movements in Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.

Publishers Description
Why most of what you think you know about the Middle East is wrong
The Middle East: a region that's almost never off the front pages, yet one most Americans know little about. The mainstream media and Ivy League academics only make matters worse by casting everything in the usual politically correct mold: Arab terrorists are just desperate freedom fighters, and the region's one free democracy--Israel--is the oppressor, not least because of its alliance with America. And if Islamic extremism is a problem, the establishment tells us, it's only because it's rooted in that source of all evils: religion. A different strain of political correctness has seeped into some minds on the right--most notably the Bush administration, which, so ready to buy into the egalitarian myths we are all taught, believed that Western-style democracy could flourish anywhere. Now, in The Politically Incorrect Guide(tm) to the Middle East, veteran Middle East correspondent Martin Sieff puts the lie to all these myths and cliches, giving you everything you need to know about the region to understand its past, its present, and its possible future. In The Politically Incorrect Guide(tm) to the Middle East, you'll learn:
* How, for three decades, the British supported parliamentary democracy throughout the Middle East, but it didn't work
* Why Britain's post-World War I Middle East policy was a comedy of errors and incompetence that soon escalated into tragedy
* Where America went wrong in Iraq: how U.S. policymakers vastly underestimated the intransigent, unsophisticated, and anti-Western nature of its competing communities
* How Saudi Arabia's security forces defeated al Qaeda--and why you never heard about it
* Why we'll miss the Arab dictators when they're gone
* How the Muslim nations of the Middle East took an irrevocable turn toward radical Islam not in the tenth century or after the fall of Baghdad to the Mongols in the thirteenth century--but in 1979
* How the Arab states openly declared their determination to prevent a Jewish state from being born in 1947--twenty years before the West Bank and Gaza were first occupied
The Politically Incorrect Guide(tm) to the Middle East is a bold first step toward facing the hard truths necessary for peace.

Buy The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Middle East (Politically Incorrect Guides) by Martin Sieff from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9781596980518 & 1596980516

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More About Martin Sieff

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Martin Sieff was previously chief news analyst for United Press International and has received three Pulitzer Prize nominations. He has appeared as an international affairs expert on CNN, NPR, Fox News, and the BBC.

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1Books > Subjects > History > Middle East > General   [1506  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
An East Coast establishment Machiavelli   Sep 28, 2008
This is an extremely curious book. On the one hand, it's written in an unserious, almost frivolous style, with the author constantly trying to provoke his intended readership of "idealist liberals" and "PC Neo-Conservatives" (you heard me). Sometimes, the book sounds like a parody on Mideast foreign policy ghost-written by Michael Moore. And the cover shows a happy, smiling camel on it's way to Cairo! Often, I found myself wondering whether Martin Sieff really is a former foreign correspondent, or some kind of fraud?

But no, he isn't. I think the guy really means it!

What makes "The PIG guide to the Middle East" so interesting, is that Sieff takes an (almost) unabashed, Machiavellian line on the region. He says openly what the American establishment only says behind closed doors. Or used to say, since Shieff believes that Kissinger and Reagan had a better foreign policy than Clinton and Bush Junior. I guess it takes a cynical, worldly-wise foreign correspondent to tell the truth: Machiavelli "R" Us. And he likes every minute of it! Personally, I don't. I'm one of the idealist liberals, I suppose. Still, reading a book by a cynical truth-teller is better than reading the propaganda. I mean, David Horowitz? Please come on...

Sieff believes that democracy can't work in the Middle East. The Arabs are a bunch of primitive, tribalist barbarians. Always have, always will be. They are religious fanatics too. The Iranians are somewhat better, but not much. Democracy in the Middle East means extremists in power, usually anti-American ones. The solution? "Bring back the Ottoman Empire". When the Turks were in charge, the Arabs were kept in check. They were poor, barefoot but not too pregnant. Population figures were low, modern development non-existent, law and order upheld. That's the only way the Middle East can be controlled: by an iron fist, imposed from above. And the iron fist must be Muslim, since Muslims wont accept "infidel" masters. Then the stupid, idealistic Young Turks took power, and they blew it...

It's not entirely clear whether Shieff really believes the story so far, or simply relishes in shocking the PC audience he hopes will pick up his book. But yes, he does say all of this.

The rest of the book is Realpolitik brought up-to-date. The author argues at length that Saudi Arabia is the best US ally in the region, apart from Israel. He further argues that Saddam Hussein, although a crazy butcher, was nevertheless better than Khomeini's Iran, and that Syria have always been better than Iraq, since the Syrians, although anti-American and anti-Israeli, aren't as crazy as Saddam, and better understand the rules of the Machiavellian game. The policy is really a simple one: support Israel to the hilt, strike an alliance with conservative Muslims who hate revolution, and play the others.

The book further argues that Islam isn't really that bad, a humorous contrast to other books in this series, which tend to be anti-Muslim and pro-crusader. For centuries, the author argues, Islam was a politically passive, quietist and conservative religion, Shia Islam in particular. Muslim fundamentalism is a recent, cultish phenomenon, probably inspired by Communism.

In the most controversial part of this "PIG guide", the writer takes on the Iraqi war. He regards the war as a total failure and a deviation from true Realpolitik. For starters, the troops were too few. Perhaps an additional 100,000 might do the trick? More fundamentally, Bush and the Neo-Cons actually think they can create democracy in Iraq. By organizing free elections, dissolving the Baathist security forces, and recruiting Iraqi collaborators, the US have simply fanned the flames of sectarian conflict, emboldened the extremists, and plunged the entire Iraqi nation into bloody civil war. It's not entirely clear, however, what Shieff wants the US to do instead. Withdraw? Call the New York City police? (At one point, he exclaims that "police action" is the best way to deal with insurgents. Since when?)

Of course, our author isn't entirely Machiavellian. He supports Israel 110%, which from a Machiavellian standpoint makes little sense. Indeed, the reason why Sieff wants the US to intervene in the region is the oil. But there is no oil in Israel, and he freely admits that Israel can't police the region. Saudi Arabia can, or so Shieff believes, and they have oil. They also have the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. So why doesn't he simply back the Saudis? Nor does Shieff mention the Iran-Contra Affair. Too Machiavellian, perhaps? Or perhaps he simply doesn't like loosers like Oliver North?

Finally, let's note the irony of having this book published in the PIG Guide series. First, it seems to be the only guide that comes close to criticizing the Iraqi war. Second, it's the only guide that takes "pro-Muslim" positions. It's obvious from some of the other customer reviews that many of the conservative reviewers just don't get it. "Grunt, did he say Saudi Arabia? Grunt, grunt". Yes, he did say that. You've been Conned again. And Regnery Publishing is laughing at you, LOL.
Required reading   Sep 15, 2008
Should be "required reading" before opening one's mouth about any Mid-East topic. Excellent summary
A most insightful work (as far as it goes)  Aug 26, 2008
This book is not a scholar's take on the Middle East. There are no pesky footnotes, no sources provided for many of the fascinating socio/politico/historical facts brought to the reader's attention. Nonetheless, this is an excellent guide to understanding the Middle East, because it is written from the point of view of a NON-cultural relativist, that is, someone who doesn't believe in the multiculturalist axiom that all cultures or civilizations are equal, or one burdened by "white man's guilt syndrome" who deep down believes that non-Western cultures are superior to Western civilization.

This work is a page-turner, with a fresh insight, little-known factoid, or counterintuitive take on practically every page. If you want to better understand the Mideast, you won't go wrong buying this book!

In spite of my encomiums for this book, it has one huge shortcoming. It is actually a big shame that the book pretty much ignores the elephant in the room, the overarching ideological, social, political, cultural and civilizational influence for 1,400 years in what until the 1960s used to be called the Orient (as contradistinguished from the Occident, nowadays, the West), then the Near East, today the Mideast. Martin Seiff inexplicably leaves out a decent primer of indisputably far-and-away the overrarching influence in the region, I-S-L-A-M.

At the dawn of Islam in the 7th Century, most of what is now the Middle East was either Christian or Zoroastrian, with Jews sprinkled about everywhere. North Africa (peopled by the then Euro-centric Berbers) and Egypt (also non-Arab descendants of the ancient Pharoanic Egyptians) were Greco-Christian civilizations, the Levant, Anatolia and Mesopotamia were likewise Christian lands (likewise peopled by non-Arab ethnicities), and Persia was Zoroastrian. All of these non-Muslim, non-Arab lands were conquered by Jihad, and then fully Arabized and Islamicized, with many millions killed or enslaved, and their native civilizations completely annihilated.

The Arabs were and are the greatest imperialists of all time, following the example of the founder of Islam, Mohammed, a socio-political control freak and warrior unsurpassed in world history, because people die every day somewhere in the world in Jihad -- most world terrorism is carried out by Islamists -- in accordance with the teachings of Mohammed, known as the Sunna.

There are a number of highly respected commentators who conclude that the theology of Islam is essentially incompatible with Western-style liberal democracy, individual, minority and human rights, and a civil society marked by rule of law rather than autocracy or dictatorship. Diana West, Serge Trifcovic and the pseudonymous "Spengler" at Asia Times Online come to mind: none of them buy the neocon twaddle that Muslim lands in the Middle East can become democracies, because they understand the role of Islam, the doctrines of Jihad and submission (all Muslims must "submit" -- that is what the word "Islam" means!) -- slavelike, to Allah -- who is akin to an Oriental despot, not the loving God of the Old and New Testament -- and all Jewish and Christian infidels must submit to Islam as dhimmis, semi-slaves under Islamic Law, the Shari'a, while all other kaffirs, "unbelievers" consigned by Allah to Jahahum, Hell and fair game to be killed, robbed, abused, raped, enslaved, etc., such as "polytheists" or animists can be massacred if they do not submit, i.e., convert, to Islam). All of these doctrines of normative Islam are detailed in the three sacred texts of Islam, the Koran, the Hadith (sayings/traditions of Mohammed), and the Sira (canonical biographies of Mohammed).

The real question is, why didn't the author talk about any of this? Two reasons: (1) Most all writers on current events and foreign affairs don't understand the power and influence of Islamic theology and dogma, because they mostly all come from a decidedly secular-humanist background, as opposed to a deeply religious one. They fail to understand that Western values are based on Judeo-Christian doctrines and ethics which are in turn grounded in the ethic of reciprocity (Golden Rule), which does not exist -- alone of the world's great religions -- in Islam! (2) It is supremely politically incorrect to point out that political Islam is in fact diametrically opposed to Judeo-Christian values, something that was openly discussed during the "golden age" of Western Islamic studies by non-Muslim scholars of Islam, circa 1870-1970. If one goes online and reads the entries in the Catholic Encyclopedia of around 1910 (it is in the public domain, no copyright) for "Mohammed" and "Islam," one will get a good (and fascinating) picture of the pre-politically correct Western appraisal of Mohammed and the doctrines of Islam.

Thus, I vehemently disagree with the author's incredibly ill-informed benign view of the retrograde Saudi polity -- a most repressive regime that is the last on earth not to allow women drivers' licenses, that recently banned Bibles from its national airline, and finally got around to outlawing slavery in the 1960s -- which, since the early 1970s, has been pushing a virulently anti-Western, anti-American, antisemitic and profoundly anti-democratic Jihadi version of Islam around the world with its endles billions in petrodollars, namely Whahabbism.

The solution is not to "kill the bastards" Anne Coulter-style. The solution is first to "know our enemy" -- political Islam -- and then to follow through on a longterm plan of disengagement and containment. Then, instead of a "clash of civilizations" we will have a "crash of civilizations" (I got this apt trope from Niall Ferguson, a very insightful historian and commentator), as the different Muslim sects and ethnicities fight each other (the Iran-Iraq War was the longest conventional war of the last century, resulting in over one million dead Muslims!), as they have been wont to do for 1,400 years.
A blunt and necessary read for any realist  Aug 10, 2008
People just don't want to hear what they have to face in reality. "The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Middle East" is an examination of this tumultuous region and the facts about what is going on there, presented without the fog of political correctness - a fog that has cost lives in that region. Pulling no punches against Islam, Judaism, Israel, America, or democracy, "The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Middle East" is a blunt and necessary read for any realist who truly seeks to understand the Middle East. "The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Middle East" especially deserves to be read by anyone responsible for dealing with such conflicts.
strong dose of historical realism  Jul 6, 2008
This book supplies a strong dose of historical realism for a region that seems to attract political ideologizing. The very structure of the book - of its 10 chapters, just two are devoted to the Arab-Israel conflict - goes against standard political/media wisdom. From the opening sweep of Ottoman history, you realize you are reading serious history, albeit couched in an energetic and politically incorrect style. This is the kind of book where you are never at risk of losing sight of what the author is trying to say. The major point I came away with is that Middle Eastern fundamentalism will continue to threaten the world unless local regimes are given the opportunity to control it. Iraq was once uniquely equipped to control the Shiites - and the Saudis still are. Ottoman Turkish policies are a model worth applying; Western liberalism is not. Pragmatism and balance of power may yield more than all the `new ideas' that politicians brandish to establish their niche. Repeatedly, Sieff sees history as more the work of individuals and their genius or folly than of blind socio-economic processes.

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