The Expert: Edward Haley
The Topic: Hezbollah and Jihad
Edward Haley is the W.M. Keck Foundation Professor of International Strategic Studies and Chairman of the International Relations Program at Claremont McKenna College. His latest book is Strategies of Dominance: The Misdirection of U.S. Foreign Policy, Johns Hopkins/Woodrow Wilson Center Presses, 2006.
•Vali Nasr, “The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future.”
Norton, 2006, 304 pp.
The best single book on the emergence of the Shia: thorough, easy to read and filled with telling detail. Benazir Bhutto’s family is Shia, Nasr says, which puts her father’s judicial murder by Pakistan’s Sunni military in an interesting light—optimistic about Iran and convinced that the clash between Shia and Sunni, which Nasr believes will shape the future, will turn out to be that perennial American favorite: a tragedy with a happy ending.
•Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, Hisbu’llha: “Politics and Religion.”
Pluto Press, 2002, 254 pp.
Dense, scholarly, perceptive, on occasion as convoluted as the ways in which Lebanon’s Shia deploy their religious reasoning, this book is worth the trouble to decipher and invaluable for showing the seriousness and substance of Lebanon’s Shia revival.
•Yitzhak Nakash, “Reaching for Power: The Shi’a in the Modern Arab World.”
Princeton, 2006, 226 pp.
For adding depth and breadth, Nakash is careful, judicious, measured, cautious — so cautious that Hezbollah is described as moving away from “acts of violence” against the West, while Sunnis commit terrorism.
•Graham E. Fuller, “The Future of Political Islam.”
Palgrave Macmillan, 2003, 227 pp.
Authoritative, brilliant, discerning, remarkable, this is the best single book on Islam’s present and future. Both reassuring and troubling, insightful, marvelous, it is a measure of what the Bush administration missed when it ignored America’s experts on the Muslim world.
•Fawaz A. Gerges, “The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global.”
Cambridge, 2005, 345 pp.
Jihad globalized to escape its annihilation at the hands of Arab and Muslim governments. Al-Qaeda gambled that the 9-11 attacks would reenergize and re-legitimize the cause of purifying Islam. That precious insight alone repays the trudge through an otherwise endlessly repetitive, poorly edited text.