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Reaching for Power: The Shi'a in the Modern Arab World (Anglais) Relié – 2 janvier 2006

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Book by Nakash Yitzhak

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) HASH(0x94e58edc) étoiles sur 5 6 commentaires
27 internautes sur 36 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x94d68ae0) étoiles sur 5 The longest short book I have ever read.... 12 mai 2006
Par Yahya D. - Publié sur
Format: Relié
As a long-time student of all things Middle East, I found Nakash's book to be absolutely horrible. The book lacks focus and a coherent theme and is very poorly written. The author makes an inadequate effort to describe over 200 years of history of the Shi'a populations in Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia in 164 pages of text, but fails to provide any new or thought-provoking insights, indepth analyses of significant events, or any meaningful concluding statements. Worst of all, the book is extremely dull. This is by far the longest short book I have ever read!
6 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x94d68b34) étoiles sur 5 Reaching for Power 19 décembre 2007
Par Lee L. - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Yitzhak Nakash's brief but detailed look at the resurgence of Shi'i power explores one of the most important issues facing the modern Middle East. After an introductory chapter that establishes Shi'ism's place and history in the region, Nakash provides case studies on four Arab countries where Shi'is play an influential role. He demonstrates that the Shi'i experiences in these countries: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Lebanon, and Iraq are as different as they are similar. In each instance, Shi'is faced official discrimination in some form or another, sometimes as the minority, but also as the majority. The political climate in each of these countries as it relates to Shi'ism is quite varied and by no means operates in a vacuum. As such, one of the book's strongest features is that Nakash shows how events in one of these countries affects developments in the others. After providing the case studies, Nakash includes a final chapter that covers more recent developments dealing with Shi'i politics in each country. These pages are particularly strong as they demonstrate the impact of the past on events occurring today.

At the time this review is being written, only one other reviewer has provided comments on this book. It would be a shame if this one misguided review has discouraged anyone from picking up this book. Nakash's book is a pretty easy read for someone versed in Middle Eastern history, but an extensive background in the subject is by no means a prerequisite here. The Sunni/Shi'i conflict is one of the most important issues facing the Middle East (and by extension anyone dealing with the Middle East) today. Nakash's book is not an all-encompassing and sweeping history and was not meant to be, although he goes into more detail about Bahrain than most people have read about, even if their field is the Middle East. Anyone interested in Middle Eastern issues and history would do well to read this brief, but informative book.
4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x94d68e10) étoiles sur 5 Nakash Provides a Vital Primer to the Evolution of Twelver Shi'i Political Movements 1 juin 2008
Par C. A. - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Nakash is a noted expert in Iraqi Shi'ism and modern Shi'i socio-political movements. His book was meant to serve as a primer on the evolution of Shi'i politics in the twenty-first century. The writing style is clear and easy to read while still including vital information.
HASH(0x94ebb354) étoiles sur 5 A focused account on Arab Shias that moved some furniture in my mind 18 décembre 2010
Par T. G. S. Hawksley - Publié sur
Format: Broché
Till I read this book I have lazily summed up the religious and racial divide of the Middle East as Arabs-Sunnis versus Iranians-Shias. The whole focus of this excellent book is on the Arab Shias outside Iran, something I knew virtually nothing about in any detail. I don't think there's much out there on this. The author looks at the history of the Shias of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Iraq and their present position in the political landscape and a strong irony emerges as two contradictory elements in the story keep on surfacing. For these Arab Shias have faced constant discrimination and worse from Sunni Arabs: in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain Shias have not been allowed to join the police or the army; have been deliberately kept at the lower end of the job market, indeed there is a detailed section on how they were all thrown out of the lucrative Bahrain pearl industry; and of course in Iraq there was outright persecution against the Shias in the southern marshes. And yet, though treated as second class citizens in their own lands, these Shias have remained loyal Arabs, best seen when they took the brunt of the attacks of their co-religionists when Ayatollah Khomeini was trying to get to Jerusalem via Baghdad during the Iran-Iraq war. At least this made clear that in times of war patriotism is stronger than religious affiliation, something Europe had already learned. But it has still left the Shias wanting a fair deal in the countries they were willing to fight for. The likely outcome is also clothed in irony. For the same US led invasion of Iraq in the name of democracy has already vastly improved the position of the Shias, but the same US supported regimes in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain is keeping their systems of religious apartheid seemingly in place, or at least there are no imminent signs of Shia and Sunni equality breaking out. I would warmly recommend this book to anyone who wants to deepen their understanding of the Middle East, even though for me it meant abandoning a rather simple way of looking at things.
HASH(0x94ebb36c) étoiles sur 5 Good as Intro, but Disappointing 15 février 2009
Par Kirk H Sowell - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
"Reaching for Power" provides a good general overview of the background to the political struggles of the Arab Shia in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Lebanon, although it is quite thin on current events. It is also a disappointment because, having read Nakash's previous work on the Shia of Iraq (to which I gave a five-star Amazon review), I expected this book to be much more. I decided to give this four stars rather than three only because I know many readers will benefit from a broad introduction. As a treatment of events in the decade up to 2006 (the year of publication), it would barely merit two stars. There is a little bit here I disagree with (see below), but the book overall isn't bad. It just isn't about what the front cover suggests it is about. It is about the Arab Shia in the 20th century.

At 164 pages the book is quite short, but if you are going to write a short book, make good use of your space. In Iraq, for example, Nakash devotes a lot of space to the 1920 revolt and its immediate aftermath. While these events are important in framing what is happening now, they are well described in other works and Nakash never gets around to giving a detailed look at Shia maneuvers in the 2003-2005 period (which is what matters given his title). He mentions Ali Sistani and Muqtada Sadr several times, but provides nothing beyond passing references to the Sadrist movement pre-2003 or the other Shia parties (Dawa, Fadhila, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq).

Nakash's treatment of the Saudi Shia is another example of the problem. The background is good, but there is not even a single mention of the most prominent Saudi Shia cleric - Hassan Saffar, who represents the Ayatollah Sistani in Saudi Arabia and overshadows everyone else. There is also no mention at all of the various Iran-aligned Shia clerics in the kingdom (Nimr Baqir Nimr, etc.).

The sections on Bahrain are the best in the book. I get the impression that Nakash's personal research is focused on Bahrain, and he's read history on the other countries, so Bahrain is the only country he gives good treatment to in terms of both background and more recent events.

The omission of Kuwait is a bit odd. Shia make up 30 percent of the population in Kuwait, more than double Saudi Arabia. True, they aren't "reaching for power," but then again the Saudi Shia aren't either.

Nakash's treatment of Lebanon is like Iraq; lots of background with a quick overview of current events. And I do disagree with Nakash's statement (p. 14) that Hizbullah "evolved from a militant movement seeking to establish an Islamic government in Lebanon into a political party. And in doing so, it accepted the Lebanese reality based on a pact among the country's seventeen sects..." I would say that Hizbullah has pragmatically recognized the implausibility of a Khomeinist Islamic state in Lebanon, but they have retained both their military wing and established a state-within-a-state, using the sovereign government as an international cover. Hizbullah's withdrawal from the Lebanese government in late 2006 in order to block Lebanese participation in the investigation of the Hariri to protect its Syrian patron, and its actions in May 2008 suggest that Nakash's analysis is indeed incorrect. Hizbullah is pragmatic; they are not a mere Lebanese political party. Far from it.
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