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By Peter Mansfield

The definitive historical past of the center East, completely revised and up-to-date via 2012

some of the most the most important, unstable, and complicated areas of the trendy global, the center East has lengthy confounded the goals of conquerors and peacemakers alike. This now-classic booklet, totally up-to-date to 2012 and nonetheless the fundamental paintings at the topic, follows the old struggles of the center East from Napoleon’s crusade in Egypt and Syria, in the course of the gradual decline and fall of the Ottoman Empire, to the Israeli-Palestinian clash and the background of Islam and its contemporary resurgence.

For this fourth variation, Economist correspondent Nicolas Pelham contributes an intensive new part reading contemporary advancements through the center East, together with the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the location in Iran, the region’s family members with the U.S. less than President Obama, the Arab Spring, and more.

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A History of the Middle East

The definitive historical past of the center East, completely revised and up to date via 2012 probably the most the most important, risky, and complicated areas of the trendy international, the center East has lengthy confounded the desires of conquerors and peacemakers alike. This now-classic publication, absolutely up to date to 2012 and nonetheless the basic paintings at the topic, follows the old struggles of the center East from Napoleon’s crusade in Egypt and Syria, in the course of the sluggish decline and fall of the Ottoman Empire, to the Israeli-Palestinian clash and the heritage of Islam and its contemporary resurgence.

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In the West this is usually described as fundamentalism, but in a real sense all Muslim believers are fundamentalist, because they know that the Holy Koran was God’s final message to mankind. The triumph of the West in the last two or three centuries is seen by Muslims as an aberration of history. It is not surprising that the Arabs of today are still inspired to the point of obsession by the story of the first achievements of Islam. When, at the age of forty, Muhammad underwent the religious experience which turned him into a prophet and leader, the Arabian peninsula was a conglomeration of petty autonomous states grouped around tribal confederations.

This is the ideal. Since the earliest times, Arab and Muslim rulers have assumed secular powers to some degree – and none more so than those of today – but the ideal continues to have a powerful influence on the hearts and minds of all Muslims. It accounts for the potent force of utopianism among Arabs – the belief that if they were to return to the ways of the Prophet and his companions the triumph of Islam in this world would be assured. In the West this is usually described as fundamentalism, but in a real sense all Muslim believers are fundamentalist, because they know that the Holy Koran was God’s final message to mankind.

In the early part of the eighth century the Arabs had held Spain and half of France. They soon withdrew from France, but later occupied Sicily and much of southern Italy. However, the move of the capital from Damascus to Baghdad weakened the empire’s control in the Mediterranean and now, at the end of the ninth century, this was broken entirely. The Arabs retained their cultural dominance for at least another two centuries, and Baghdad continued to be a great centre of culture and learning, but effective power was exercised by the uncultivated Turkish military caste.

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