Herf explores the intellectual, political, and cultural context in which German and European radical anti-Semitism was found to resonate with similar views rooted in a selective appropriation of the traditions of Islam. Pro-Nazi Arab exiles in wartime Berlin, including Haj el-Husseini and Rashid el-Kilani, collaborated with the Nazis in constructing their Middle East propaganda campaign. By integrating the political and military history of the war in the Middle East with the intellectual and cultural dimensions of the propagandistic diffusion of Nazi ideology, Herf offers the most thorough examination to date of this important chapter in the history of World War II. Importantly, he also shows how the anti-Semitism promoted by the Nazi propaganda effort contributed to the anti-Semitism exhibited by adherents of radical forms of Islam in the Middle East today.
The sovereignty and independence of the states of the region has been limited in varying degrees by the wishes, needs, interests, and ambitions of the major powers. The geopolitical considerations have varied over time, being very different in the period between the world wars than in the period of intense East-West rivalry that followed, with the present post-cold war era being radically different from what preceded it. These changing geopolitical realities constitute the framework for this examination of the Middle East in the twentieth century, and the organizing principle for the selection of materials from the truly vast amount of information available. An important resource for scholars, students, and researchers involved with Middle Eastern history and international relations.
The work probes cause and effect in major conflicts that include the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the World Wars, the Arab-Israeli wars, and the U.S. wars with Iraq, examining the manner in which military operations have been conducted by both internal and external actors. New regional groups—for example, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)—are addressed, and pertinent events in Afghanistan and Pakistan are scrutinized. Since military affairs are traditionally an extension of politics and economics, the three are considered together in historical context as they relate to war and peace. The book closes with a chapter on the Arab Awakening and its impact on the future balance of power.