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The Fault Lines of the Middle East: The History of the Religious and Political Issues Affecting the Region

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*Includes pictures *Discusses the Sunni-Shia divide, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Syrian civil war, the history of the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State, and al-Qaeda, and more. *Includes footnotes and bibliographies for further reading *Includes a table of contents The Middle East has been a troubled region for centuries, and it is perhaps the most notorious hotspot *Includes pictures *Discusses the Sunni-Shia divide, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Syrian civil war, the history of the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State, and al-Qaeda, and more. *Includes footnotes and bibliographies for further reading *Includes a table of contents The Middle East has been a troubled region for centuries, and it is perhaps the most notorious hotspot in the early 21st century, as longstanding political and religious issues continue to roil the region. As a result, countries across the region have uneasy alliances against each other, open conflicts with some, and an ongoing civil war in Syria that has Iranian and Syrian proxies fighting against other groups supported by different nations. Throw in substate terrorist groups and militias like the Islamic State, and the mix has become even deadlier of late. Today, the most important religious split is between the Sunnis and the Shias (Shiites) within Islam. Unlike divisions in other faiths - between Conservative and Orthodox Jews or Catholic and Protestant Christians - the split between the Sunnis and Shia has existed almost as long as the faith itself, and it quickly emerged out of tensions created by the political crisis after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. In a sense, what are now two different forms of Islam essentially started as political factions within the unified body of Muslim believers. Over the past few centuries, Christians have mostly been able to live alongside their co-religionists, but the split between the Sunnis and Shias is still so pronounced that many adherents of each branch view each other with disdain if not as outright apostates or non-believers. The religious divide is perhaps the most important fault line in the turbulent Middle East today, with Sunni nations like Egypt and Saudi Arabia at odds with Shiite nations like Iran. At lower levels, non-state groups like the Islamic State and Hezbollah are fighting each other in ways that cross state lines in places like Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria. Although it is technically a split in religion, the divide has had substantial global ramifications for decades, and there seems to be no end in sight. While the religious divides have spawned groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, and others, the controversial conflict between Israel and the Palestinians continues to be perhaps the most contentious foreign policy issue not just across the Middle East but much of the world, as Western powers have constantly tried to help broker peace over the last several decades. The conflict is also one of the most historically complex, making it all the more important to understand it. The Fault Lines of the Middle East traces the origins of the Sunni-Shia split and the historic effects of the main divide within Islam, which continues to wreak havoc in places like Iraq and Syria today. It also discusses the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Syrian civil war, the historic Iranian Revolution, and the history and beliefs of influential groups like the Muslim Brotherhood. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about the history of the Middle East like never before.


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*Includes pictures *Discusses the Sunni-Shia divide, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Syrian civil war, the history of the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State, and al-Qaeda, and more. *Includes footnotes and bibliographies for further reading *Includes a table of contents The Middle East has been a troubled region for centuries, and it is perhaps the most notorious hotspot *Includes pictures *Discusses the Sunni-Shia divide, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Syrian civil war, the history of the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State, and al-Qaeda, and more. *Includes footnotes and bibliographies for further reading *Includes a table of contents The Middle East has been a troubled region for centuries, and it is perhaps the most notorious hotspot in the early 21st century, as longstanding political and religious issues continue to roil the region. As a result, countries across the region have uneasy alliances against each other, open conflicts with some, and an ongoing civil war in Syria that has Iranian and Syrian proxies fighting against other groups supported by different nations. Throw in substate terrorist groups and militias like the Islamic State, and the mix has become even deadlier of late. Today, the most important religious split is between the Sunnis and the Shias (Shiites) within Islam. Unlike divisions in other faiths - between Conservative and Orthodox Jews or Catholic and Protestant Christians - the split between the Sunnis and Shia has existed almost as long as the faith itself, and it quickly emerged out of tensions created by the political crisis after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. In a sense, what are now two different forms of Islam essentially started as political factions within the unified body of Muslim believers. Over the past few centuries, Christians have mostly been able to live alongside their co-religionists, but the split between the Sunnis and Shias is still so pronounced that many adherents of each branch view each other with disdain if not as outright apostates or non-believers. The religious divide is perhaps the most important fault line in the turbulent Middle East today, with Sunni nations like Egypt and Saudi Arabia at odds with Shiite nations like Iran. At lower levels, non-state groups like the Islamic State and Hezbollah are fighting each other in ways that cross state lines in places like Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria. Although it is technically a split in religion, the divide has had substantial global ramifications for decades, and there seems to be no end in sight. While the religious divides have spawned groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, and others, the controversial conflict between Israel and the Palestinians continues to be perhaps the most contentious foreign policy issue not just across the Middle East but much of the world, as Western powers have constantly tried to help broker peace over the last several decades. The conflict is also one of the most historically complex, making it all the more important to understand it. The Fault Lines of the Middle East traces the origins of the Sunni-Shia split and the historic effects of the main divide within Islam, which continues to wreak havoc in places like Iraq and Syria today. It also discusses the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Syrian civil war, the historic Iranian Revolution, and the history and beliefs of influential groups like the Muslim Brotherhood. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about the history of the Middle East like never before.

32 review for The Fault Lines of the Middle East: The History of the Religious and Political Issues Affecting the Region

  1. 5 out of 5

    Anil Swarup

    Very rarely do you come across books that are so well researched and so absorbing to read. The Editors quote from a Taqwa to provide a perspective: "Remember that your Lord is One. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab ...........nor a white has no superiority over black, except by piety and good action". The understanding of Al Qaeda is immaculate :"Qaeda has consistently misrepresented and politicized traditional religious tenets of Islam, using them to justify its ideology and its violen Very rarely do you come across books that are so well researched and so absorbing to read. The Editors quote from a Taqwa to provide a perspective: "Remember that your Lord is One. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab ...........nor a white has no superiority over black, except by piety and good action". The understanding of Al Qaeda is immaculate :"Qaeda has consistently misrepresented and politicized traditional religious tenets of Islam, using them to justify its ideology and its violent ways". How true. The book also dissects the relationship between Al Zarqawi and Al Qaeda and successfully demolishes the perception that ISIS/ISIL is "a product of more notorious group" referring to Al Qaeda. The analyses of the origins and consequences of the Iraq war is also quite interesting. The authors list out a famed quote from former Secretary of State, Lawrence Eagleburger : " I am scared to death that they are going to convince the President that they can do this overthrow of Saddam on the cheap, and will find ourselves in the middle of a swamp because we didn't plan to do it the right way". The authors analyse the "fault lines" elaborately and come up with cogent explanations for a number of events that have come to occupy the Middle Eastern space. Samuel Huttington could well be breathing easy as the his hypothesis of the "Clash of Civilizations" could well be coming true.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mellie B

    This collection of informative essays delves into the vast and varied histories, major events, groups, leaders and current issues at work in the Middle East. It was a fascinating and eye-opening read, and I found myself highlighting like crazy as I tried to capture all the informative definitions and discussions of people, places, events and cause-and-effect relationships for later reference. This is a book I will return to often as events in the Middle East continue to unfold.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Vikas Datta

    An admirable summing up of the situation...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jose Sandino B.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Victoria L Conran

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sandra B Reinhold

  7. 5 out of 5

    Candece Dubard

  8. 5 out of 5

    Helen

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nayda Jiménez-Pérez

  10. 5 out of 5

    Steve Wenzel

  11. 5 out of 5

    Pk Singh

  12. 5 out of 5

    Noel

  13. 4 out of 5

    Maurice

  14. 5 out of 5

    Barry

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jim Dreer-lumley

  16. 4 out of 5

    Betty Macy

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mary

  18. 4 out of 5

    Carol

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lester Perez

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sergio

  21. 5 out of 5

    Hitesh Gupta

  22. 5 out of 5

    Vikas Prasad

  23. 4 out of 5

    Md Abdullah

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ashita

  25. 5 out of 5

    Himanshu

  26. 5 out of 5

    Karan Wilson

  27. 5 out of 5

    Deepak

  28. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte Fraser

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

  30. 4 out of 5

    MaryEllen T. Smith

  31. 4 out of 5

    Bhanwardeep Singh

  32. 5 out of 5

    Jo Terhark

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