In order to properly understand the nature of the conflicts that currently plague the Middle East—and have for so many decades—it is essential to grasp the fundamental differences between Muslim autocracies, radical Islamist movements, and democracies. Recognizing how the countries and governments involved differ in terms of their political, social, and military organization, and with regard to how their past histories influence the way they approach conflicts, is the first step towards achieving a more stable and peaceful environment for the groups involved.
Instead of examining causes or consequences of specific conflicts like the Six Day War or Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, this text seeks to explain the dynamics of the Middle East by documenting how the dissimilar characteristics of democracies, Islamists, and Muslim autocrats affect how each approaches decision-making, sustainment, communication, and the use of force.
- Bibliography contains numerous Arab and Muslim-authored works rarely cited in the West, but are highly influential on Arab political thought and Islamic social mobilization
- Provides a glossary of dozens of critical Islamic concepts like Ijtihaad, Ulema, Awqaf, Zakat, Taqfir, and Hudna that are key to understanding Middle Eastern sociopolitical and diplomatic discourse
- An index of concepts, persons, locations, and events allows quick access to information by grouping similar concepts or directing the reader to related terms