Working Toward Peace and Prosperity in Afghanistan, ed. by Wolfgang Danspeckgruber. Liechtenstein Colloquium Report, Volume 5. 272 pages. $32.50. The goal of this work is to transform Afghanistan into “a state of tranquility” by providing policy recommendations and exploration of the systemic issues that continue to plague development initiatives. The authors discuss the roles of Afghan women and tribes, as well as the successes and challenges faced by the country’s budding civil society. (CJ)
Above the Din of War: Afghans Speak About Their Lives, Their Country, and Their Future — And Why America Should Listen, by Peter Eichstaedt. Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 2013. 304 pages. $26.95. Journalist Peter Eichstaedt furnishes readers with a glimpse of the daily realities of ordinary Afghans in his latest work, based on interviews gathered in 2010 across Afghanistan. As the war in Afghanistan begins to wind down ahead of the planned 2014 US troop withdrawal, this book challenges the normative discourse perpetuated by Western media and attempts to give voice to a population that continues to remain elusive to many Americans, including tribal members, women who have overcome adversity, emerging politicians, religious and community leaders, and various other actors. The author focuses on the complexity of the state and its inhabitants, as well as on the various domestic and external challenges they face. (CJ)
The Lingering Conflict: Israel, the Arabs, and the Middle East 1948–2012, by Itamar Rabinovich. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2013. 312 pages. $24.95. As Israel’s ambassador to the United States from 1993–1996 and chief negotiator with Syria from 1992–1995, Itamar Rabinovich is in a position to explore the tenuous and complex relationship and interconnectedness between Israel and the region, especially its Arab neighbors. The current ramifications and ongoing developments surrounding the Arab Spring have created new challenges and opportunities for a resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, but it is still important to reflect on the historiography of the conflict, diplomatic overtures, and past failures and successes. In a comprehensive breakdown of different political periods since the opening of the Madrid Conference in 1991, he analyzes the underlying complexities, personalities, and rrent challenges, regional ramifications of the Arab Spring and introduction of new regimes, and potential means of moving a resolution forward. (CJ)
Egypt’s Tahrir Revolution, by Dan Tshirgi, Walid Kazziha, and Sean F. McMahon. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc., 2013. 278 pages. $61.75. American University of Cairo professors Tshirgi, Kazziha, and McMahon provide in this volume an in-depth analysis of the antecedents, process, and implications of former President Husni Mubarak’s overthrow. The chapters are grouped into four thematic categories: the causes of and themes present in the revolution; the revolution’s broader historical context; the implications of the revolution for the evolution of political science theory; and suggestions to address key concerns in the ongoing revolutionary process. The editors conclude that Egypt’s January 2011 revolution requires changes in the field of political science to include youth as a new unit of analysis and to account for the dynamics of technology in organizing populations. (ABG)
German Foreign Policy Towards Iran Before World War II: Political Relations, Economic Influence, and the National Bank of Persia, by Rashid Khatib-Shahidi. New York: I.B, Taurus & Co. Ltd., 2013. 223 pages. $46.60. Doctor Khatib-Shahidi of Oxford University analyzes recently released documents of German government agencies [End Page 496] regarding German involvement in Iran during the years between the First and Second World Wars. The research aims to provide a firsthand German perspective on selected events in German-Iranian relations during the interwar years through opinions of German diplomats in key government agencies expressed in their written communications. The documents reveal the National Bank of Persia as the primary mechanism through which Germany implemented its economic influence in Iran, through contracts with German companies and the establishment of trade deals with Iran. German involvement in the Bank, including tenure of the director and other leading positions by German nationals, climaxed in a trade contract of 1935 that established Germany as Iran’s principal trade partner until...