Greater Syria: The History of an Ambition

Oxford University Press
Free sample

While for many years scholars and journalists have focused on the more obvious manifestations of political life in the Middle East, one major theme has been consistently neglected. This is Pan-Syrian nationalism--the dream of creating a Greater Syria out of an area now governed by Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, and Turkey. Though not nearly as well known as Arab or Palestinian nationalism and hardly studied in depth, Pan-Syrianism has had a profound effect on Middle Eastern politics since the end of World War I. In Greater Syria, the noted Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes provides the first comprehensive account of this intriguing, important, and little understood ideology.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Mar 26, 1992
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Pages
257
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ISBN
9780195363043
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Middle East / General
Social Science / Regional Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The publication in 1988 of Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses triggered a furor that pitted much of the Islamic world against the West over issues of blasphemy and freedom of expression. The controversy soon took on the aspect of a confrontation of civilizations, provoking powerful emotions on a global level. It involved censorship, protests, riots, a break in diplomatic relations, culminating in the notorious Iranian edict calling for the death of the novelist. In The Rushdie Affair, Daniel Pipes explains why the publication of The Satanic Verses became a cataclysmic event with far-reaching political and social consequences.

Pipes looks at the Rushdie affair in both its political and cultural aspects and shows in considerable detail what the fundamentalists perceived as so offensive in The Satanic Verses as against what Rushdie's novel actually said. Pipes explains how the book created a new crisis between Iran and the West at the time--disrupting international diplomacy, billions of dollars in trade, and prospects for the release of Western hostages in Lebanon.

Pipes maps out the long-term implications of the crisis. If the Ayatollah so easily intimidated the West, can others do the same? Can millions of fundamentalist Muslims now living in the United States and Europe possibly be assimilated into a culture so alien to them? Insightful and brilliantly written, this volume provides a full understanding of one of the most significant events in recent years. Koenraad Elst's postscript reviews the enduring impact of the Rushdie affair.

"The Rushdie Affair is a lucid, balanced often startling and ultimately convincing analysis....scrupulously fair, respectful of Islam yet unintimidated by the flood of threats and invective."--Mark Caldwell, Philadelphia Inquirer

"[A] work of impeccable scholarship.Pipes offers a number of conclusions that merit attention at all levels."--Amir Tahiri, Los Angeles Times

Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and a columnist for the New York Post and the Jerusalem Post. Among his books are The Long Shadow: Culture and Politics in the Middle East, In the Path of God: Islam and Political Power (both published by Transaction), Greater Syria: The History of an Ambition, and Friendly Tyrants: An American Dilemma.

Koenraad Elst is a Belgium-based writer on comparative religion, Indian history, and Hindu-Muslim relations.

"Very highly recommended for anyone seeking a better understanding of contemporary Islam in general, and this defining controversy in particular."--Wisconsin Bookwatch
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The volatility of Muslim and Middle Eastern politics has made these interrelated topics an overriding preoccupation of world and especially U.S. politics. Perhaps no region of the world has ever so dominated the American public discourse as the Middle East does today. As Daniel Pipes shows, this results mainly, but not exclusively, from the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the ensuing war on terrorism. Other sources of trouble include militant Islam, Muslims in the West, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Iraq situation, relations with Saudi Arabia, the price of oil and gas, and U.S. policy toward all these issues. These are the central themes of the roughly one hundred essays in Daniel Pipes' Miniatures: Views of Islamic and Middle Eastern Politics.As Pipes notes, the Islamist war against America preceded the events of 9/11. Nevertheless, response to the earlier attacks had been inconsistent and somewhat nonchalant. Pipes shows how the State Department's annual report on Patterns of Global Terrorism veers into unreliability and even falsehood. He explains the problem in George W. Bush trying to decide what is true Islam and what not, in U.S. academics hiding the true meaning of the word "jihad," and in seventh-grade textbooks proselytizing for Islam. Pipes demonstrates that many seemingly devout Islamists are in fact impious frauds. When it comes to the Arab-Israeli conflict, Pipes indicates how the failure of the Oslo process could be discerned as early as 1994 and he shows how Yasir Arafat speaks one way to Arabs and another way to Israelis.This important collection, by one of the foremost experts in the field, presents original insights, accessibly written for Middle East specialists, political scientists, policymakers, journalists, and the interested public.
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