Author: Wellford, Harrison
Description: This is a superbly written, well-researched, highly biased analysis of the causes of the current instability and hatreds that poison the Middle East from Cairo to Baghdad. Keay, whose most recent works have been on south and southeast Asia, claims to be “open-minded,” but he clearly has an agenda. He comes from the school of “it’s all our fault”–that is, the trends in the region that today make it so violent and threatening to Western interests are the direct results of the blunders and injustices of French, British, and especially American imperial policies. Keay marshals an impressive array of data as he tracks developments in the region over the past century, and certainly he scores some impressive points, yet he provides no serious alternative policy that should have been followed. On the Israel-Palestine conflict, Keay sees Zionists as constantly rigid and demanding, while Arabs are perpetual victims. This is a worthwhile read, because it provides a sobering chronology of Western involvement in the region, but in pushing his conclusions so hard, Keay tends to play with loaded dice.