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Accounting for Middle East Conflict

Is current Middle East violence the after effect of a stabilizing Ottoman Empire or a modern consequence of leaders exploiting cultural differences for political gain? Sami Zubaida, professor of politics and sociology at the University of London, excerpts chapters from his forthcoming book, "Beyond Islam": "A common theme in public discourse, in both the region and the West, is that patterns of conflict have deep historical roots in the ‘mosaic society’ of the region, conflicts being only suppressed by imperial impositions, whether of the Ottomans or the British. ... When these are removed, as in the case of Iraq, then the deep-seated schisms are given a free reign and manifested in conflict and violence. The opposite reaction comes from more liberal quarters of Middle Eastern as well as some Western commentators, who point to past periods of co-existence and harmony..."
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