Gray Panthers of San Francisco
June 2007 Newsletter

Book Review:
Tinderbox: US Middle East Policy
And the Roots of Terrorism

by Stephen Zunes


This book is essentially about American foreign policy and how it has created unrest in the Middle East as well as in the Islamic world beyond the Middle East. The countries affected are Turkey, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, Lebanon, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Algeria, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Central Asian Republics, and Israel and many other African countries. Many of these suppressive-authoritarian regimes are supported by the US with both military and economic aid and provide military bases for American armed forces.

Zunes presents a fascinating, documented description of US machinations to ensure control of oil sources. These include our flip-flop support of and attacks on Iraq, the CIA-led overthrow of Mossadegh when he nationalized British Petroleum, the installation of the Shah of Iran, supporting Arab self-determination only when it suits our interests, and the militarization of the Middle East under the aegis of economic assistance.

He describes our activities in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran and the United Arab Emirates. The US keeps a strong military presence in the Middle East, especially in the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia. (This book was written before the current war in Iraq). With Israel, the strongest military regime in the area, the US exercises its control over the whole Middle East, except for Iran.

Nothing in this book is particularly favorable to the US. It makes the reasons for Islamic hatred of the US readily apparent. Highly recommended.

The Gray Panthers Middle East Committee has a reading list of background material to help the understanding of current conflicts in the area and welcomes members to come to meetings to discuss these timely and vitally important issues.

Read excerpts from Tinderbox

Stephen Zunes, "How Washington Goaded Israel"


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