A Review of Olivier Roy’s The Politics of Chaos in the Middle East from "A Fistful of Euros"

Olivier Roy, The Politics of Chaos in the Middle EastWe had meant to post something about this sooner but earlier this month A Fistful of Euros (AFOE) reviewed Olivier Roy’s The Politics of Chaos in the Middle East. (Read a pdf of the Roy’s introduction here.) AFOE is an excellent resource for opinion and insight into European politics and the ways in which Europe is thinking about the world. (For those interested in everything Euorpoean, eurozine.com is also worth a visit.)

The review gives an overview of some of Roy’s key points:

* Seeing the world through the lens of a “clash of civilization” fails to understand the diversity of the Muslim world
* The failures in Iraq are a result of U.S. insistence on seeing the region’s history and development from a Western perspective
* Political legitimacy is a major problem in the Middle East. The state and local nationalisms are undermined by both transnational ideologies and inter-state clannism, tribalism, and sectarianism
* Countries of the Middle East are united not by a desire to bring down the West but rather in an ongoing search for identity in a globalized world
* Though still very dangerous, Al-qaeda is increasingly detached from actual political developments in the region

The review concludes, “I highly recommend The Politics of Chaos in the Middle East as an excellent introduction to the diverse political and social realities in the Middle East…. Use this book … to get a better understanding of the Middle Eastern Zeitgeist, its contemporary history and sensibilities with regards to Western influence in the region.”

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