- Paperback: 496 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks; Revised edition (18 September 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1408870177
- ISBN-13: 978-1408870174
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.2 x 20.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 20 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #67,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The New Middle East: The World After the Arab Spring Paperback – 18 Sep 2015
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“Danahar weaves a complex narrative into a lively, accessible read, much of which should withstand the passage of time . . . A solid but easygoing compendium for anyone who wants a read beyond the headlines, done with a journalistic lightness of touch.” ―Daily Telegraph
“The optimistic take on the Arab revolution, though, is that the coups and massacres are part of a messy process that will eventually lead to more democratically responsive societies. This argument threads its way through Danahar's remarkable analysis of the Arab Spring . . . This is a book that tries to engage with people who can speak for everyone in the Spring, from Brotherhood activists . . . to Israeli and Egyptian generals. It is written in a spirit of adventure . . . And is all the better for it.” ―The Times
“A timely exploration of an unstable region still on the brink of change and revolution.” ―Traveller
“Are you confused by the welter in the Middle East, headlines crowded with revolution and coup, Islamism, civil war and resurgent jihad? May I recommend Paul Danahar's excellent regional survey, The New Middle East: The World After the Arab Spring? Danahar is the BBC's Middle East bureau chief, experienced and clear eyed. His style is crisp and elegant, equally adept at telling human portraits as interviewing generals and presidents and sketching historical context . . . The events of the Arab Spring and its aftermath will continue to defy prediction; but in the meantime, it's worth reading Danahar to take stock of some of the geopolitical tectonic shifts and the forces that are remaking our old assumptions.” ―Prospect
“He reports perceptively on the internal contradictions of the Jewish state, from militant settlers to the ultraorthodox Haredim.” ―Guardian
About the Author
Paul Danahar is the BBC's Middle East Bureau Chief and ran the organization's news coverage of the Arab Spring. He has reported from Iraq, Iran and North Korea--every nation in the "Axis of Evil." In 2013 he was appointed the BBC's North America Bureau Chief, based in Washington, DC. Follow him at @pdanahar.
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From the time of Prophet Mohammad and the early Shia-Sunni issues – the Middle East was a tinder-box. Add to that the birth of Israel and the related issues of Palestine…coveting for the same land – it has been on a boil for the last 100 years. From the dying embers of the Ottoman and the Austo- Hungarian empires, the British and the French with the help of Sykes Picot ( two people totally unqualified for the job and a shade worse than what Radcliffe was for India) split the Middle East / West Asia between themselves and divided it into multiple countries based more on convenience rather than with a understanding of history, demography, culture, language, religion…..this brought about new countries which are perpetually at odds with themselves…rulers whose communities are in minority, religious tensions, tribal suspicions - . In spite of a common religion….which doesn’t seem to be binding them together. The discovery of Oil around the Second World War and its successful exploitation in later decades, added further to the confusion as the stakes of the super-powers increased further.
Paul Danahar takes us through multiple countries in great detail. Starting with Egypt, then into Tunisia, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria Israel, the rest of the GCC and analyses each facet of the country from the time of its inception to their current chaotic state. First the early rule by the West was an easy issue – bossing over poor countries was never a problem for the imperialists. Oil and also the subsequent departure of the British and French changed the equations…independent Kingdoms were established by the retreating forces……and they later found it easy to deal with a single dictator / monarch and look the other way for all that was happening there. Some kings propped up the West continued (and continue even now) and some were overthrown in coups and there emerged a new set of radicals…with lofty ideas of change…before they themselves became faux-Monarchs and ruthless dictators. (Think Gadhaffi, Saddam Hussain)
The Kuwait invasion and later 9/11 changed the equation for worse. An activist US, the only superpower in a unipolar world…started their experiments with Democracy and freedom…..and planning regime changes…with no clue on what to do post the regime change….and the wherewithal to manage the transition of essentially tribal societies into wannabe democracies. The lack of a coherent plan to manage the outcome of regime change has finally turned millions of people destitute and homeless…and now trying to find their way into Europe for survival and sustenance. Their lack of understanding (or their will and inclination to understand) has now turned a quarter of the world’s geography into a dangerous place where murder and mayhem, rape and loot and a general state of anarchy is the norm….and hoping for return of any form of government which works for the people seems remote…think Libya, think Iraq, think Syria….
Contrary to popular belief…..our general impressions on the western narrative about Israel come unstuck after reading the chapter on Israel. Hidden beyond the favourable news of a thriving and raucous democracy and on par with the Western world in Science and Technology - it’s a complex country where the religious orthodoxy and the secular Jews are at permanent odds and it could come unstuck anytime….adding a new dimension to the Israel issues.
Overall a fascinating book….gives you great insights into some of the richest and also the poorest countries of the world, their fractured destinies and the mindless insensitive approach of the Western (first the Brits and the French and later the Americans) World and their unnecessary meddling.
The best book I’ve read this year. Read this to understand why the world is the way it is.
The case studies are carefully considered and selected, from a mix of those that made international headlines and those found from the personal reportage of Paul Danahar. References provided are excellent, and the off-the-record glimpses offer an insight into the story behind the 'official position' veil as well. Paced suitably, the simplicity of writing and judicious use of words only demonstrates his superb artistry and restraint in deftly demystifying an immensely complex geography and the world politics associated with it.
The best thing is, it piques your interest and lets you draw parallels to your own country & its situation.
The work of Mr Paul Danahar is really appreciable...
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