Stanley Kurtz over on NRO's The Corner points out what looks to be a good, informative read. The book, Culture and Conflict In The Middle East by Philip Carl Salzman is an answer to the late Palestinian academic Edward Said's theory of "Oreintalism" which places much of the blame for the current problems of the Middle East squarely at the door of US and Israeli policy decisions.
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Tuesday, April 8, 2008
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Salzman refutes this conception of the causes of current terrorism by focusing on Middle Eastern tribal culture with Islam as only a part of a greater cultural milieu. The idea of tribalism is generally alien to Western thought so it is easy to see how it can be relegated to a minor role in Arab affairs but it is, in fact central as can be seen regularly in Afghanistan and Iraq most notably, today.
Kurtz has a nice review here that should whet your appetite. It did mine and I look forward to finding out more about a perspective that is out of fashion and generally little noticed in the West.