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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why not to play with fire, 27 Feb. 2008
By 
William Podmore (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam (American Empire Project) (Paperback)
Robert Dreyfuss, an American journalist who covers national security for Rolling Stone magazine, has written a splendid book, part of the very useful American Empire Project. He shows how the US state has followed the British Empire's example of funding and backing right-wing fundamentalist Islamic activist groups to defeat Arab nationalism.

From 1885 on, the British state fostered a pan-Islamic alliance against Russia and the Ottoman Empire. It also backed Ibn Saud, leading to the creation of Saudi Arabia, the Hashemites, who became kings of Iraq and Transjordan, the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic fundamentalist party, and Haj Amin, the mufti of Jerusalem.

After World War Two, the US state took over Britain's role. In the 1950s it used the Muslim Brotherhood against President Nasser of Egypt and Prime Minister Mossadegh of Iran. From 1957 on, it allied with Saudi Arabia, whose money funded Islamist banks and madrassas across the world. In the 1970s, the US state used fundamentalists in Jordan and Israel against Syria and the PLO. From 1973 on, it funded the mujehadin in Afghanistan, including Osama bin Laden.

Dreyfuss shows that Al Qa'ida is not an existential threat to the USA. It has no access to weapons of mass destruction and since 9/11 it has not fired a shot in the USA. Bush inflated the threat from Al Qa'ida to create a pretext for US expansion into the Middle East and Central Asia. Dreyfuss argues that the US state could have destroyed Al Qa'ida without attacking Afghanistan and Iraq. He maintains that the war on terror was the wrong response to 9/11. It has not led to democracy or security but to tyranny, war and reaction.

The US state is now supporting Iraq's Islamists and still backs the feudal autocracy of Saudi Arabia. As usual, it is backing the worst people in every country, and the worst people back it. Instead, we need to back a Palestinian state and get the USA to withdraw its military presence from the Middle East.
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4.0 out of 5 stars How it got the way it is, 20 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam (American Empire Project) (Paperback)
Engaging and informative about the impact the United States has had on the Mid-East and how for the most part has not made the situation any better. Insightful but frustrating.
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