Since the first airplane hijacking by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in September 1970, Middle Eastern terrorists have sacrificed innocent human lives in the name of ideology. From Black September to the Munich Olympics, to the embassy bombing in Beirut, to the devastating attacks of September 11 and beyond, terrorism has emerged as the most important security concern of our time.
"Where did this come from?" Inspired by a student's question on the morning of September 11, 2001, Mark Ensalaco has written a thoroughly researched narrative account of the origins of Middle Eastern terrorism, addressing when and why terrorists started targeting Americans and American interests and what led to the September 11 attacks.
Ensalaco reveals the changing of motivations from secular Palestinian nationalism to militant Islam and demonstrates how competition among terrorists for resources and notoriety has driven them to increasingly extreme tactics. As he argues, terrorist attacks grew from spectacle to atrocity. Drawing on popular works and scholarly sources, Middle Eastern Terrorism tells this story in rich detail and with great clarity and insight.
Fortress Israel is an epic portrayal of Israel's martial culture—of Sparta presenting itself as Athens. From Israel's founding in 1948, we see a leadership class engaged in an intense ideological struggle over whether to become the "light unto nations," as envisioned by the early Zionists, or to embrace an ideology of state militarism with the objective of expanding borders and exploiting the weaknesses of the Arabs. In his first decade as prime minister, David Ben-Gurion conceived of a militarized society, dominated by a powerful defense establishment and capable of defeating the Arabs in serial warfare over many decades. Bound by self-reliance and a stern resolve never to forget the Holocaust, Israel's military elite has prevailed in war but has also at times overpowered Israel's democracy. Tyler takes us inside the military culture of Moshe Dayan, Yitzhak Rabin, Ariel Sharon, and Benjamin Netanyahu, introducing us to generals who make decisions that trump those of elected leaders and who disdain diplomacy as appeasement or surrender.
Fortress Israel shows us how this martial culture envelops every family. Israeli youth go through three years of compulsory military service after high school, and acceptance into elite commando units or air force squadrons brings lasting prestige and a network for life. So ingrained is the martial outlook and identity, Tyler argues, that Israelis are missing opportunities to make peace even when it is possible to do so. "The Zionist movement had survived the onslaught of world wars, the Holocaust, and clashes of ideology," writes Tyler, "but in the modern era of statehood, Israel seemed incapable of fielding a generation of leaders who could adapt to the times, who were dedicated to ending . . . [Israel's] isolation, or to changing the paradigm of military preeminence."
Based on a vast array of sources, declassified documents, personal archives, and interviews across the spectrum of Israel's ruling class, Fortress Israel is a remarkable story of character, rivalry, conflict, and the competing impulses for war and for peace in the Middle East.