Academic journal article Arab Studies Quarterly (ASQ)

Zunes, Stephen. Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism

Academic journal article Arab Studies Quarterly (ASQ)

Zunes, Stephen. Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism

Article excerpt

Zunes, Stephen. Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism. Monroe, Main: Common Courage Press, 2003. Paper $18.95.

This work presents a cogent argument in its criticism of U.S. Middle East policy. The roots of terrorism are to be sought largely in U.S. practices in the region. The U.S. supported rulers who suppressed human rights of their citizens; it heightened the level of militarization of the region; it sided with Israel against the Palestinians to the detriment of peace; and it was instrumental in the rise of extremist Islamic movements. The whole episode in the Persian Gulf from the Iran-Iraq war to Desert Storm and through the entire era of sanctions against Iraq, also demonstrates that U.S. policy was not designed to help achieve peace and democracy in the region. That history demonstrates that Bernard Lewis' question in reference to Islam and the East: "What went wrong?" is misplaced. Zunes counters that what actually went wrong, was U.S. policy. He argues that the U.S. is prone to attack not because of its values but rather when the U.S. strays from its declared values. Zunes deals with the threat of a U.S. invasion of Iraq (which actually occurred after the book's publication). He also argues that Israel is made less secure by its policies, especially those that tie it to the U.S. The closer the relationship between the two countries, the more vulnerable Israel is. …

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