Itamar Rabinovich

Oct 25, 2023

Middle Eastern Maze

Israel, the Arabs and the Region

Brookings Institution Press 2023

Navigating through the intricate web of Middle Eastern geopolitics, few are better equipped to provide insights than Itamar Rabinovich in his compelling book, Middle Eastern Maze: Israel, The Arabs, and the Region 1948-2022 (Brookings Institution Press, 2023). In this update to his earlier work, The Lingering Conflict published by Brookings in 2012, Rabinovich delves deeper, and informs readers on the recent twists and turns of the Middle East conflict.

With a storied career as both an academic historian and a diplomat — notably, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S and a peace negotiator with Syria — Rabinovich brings a unique blend of scholarly rigor and real-world experience. This allows him to place Arab-Israeli dynamics not just as a standalone issue but within the broader canvas of Middle Eastern regional and international politics.

A significant highlight of the book is Rabinovich's attention to the evolving roles of regional powerhouses Iran and Turkey. However, his analysis doesn't stop there. The United States, being a global superpower with intricate ties to the Middle East, gets its due attention, especially its special relationship with Israel and the transitions in its Middle Eastern policy from the Trump era to the Biden administration.

The book is timely and relevant, covering pivotal moments and shifts, such as:

  • The groundbreaking Abraham Accords signified a fresh direction in Arab-Israeli relations.
  • Russia’s decisive military intervention exacerbated the tumultuous Syrian civil war and its far-reaching implications.
  • The rise and subsequent decline of the formidable Islamic State.
  • The mounting tensions surrounding the Iranian nuclear ambitions.
  • And lastly, Israel's own internal challenges marked by prolonged political instability.

For those seeking a nuanced understanding of Middle Eastern geopolitics and the ever-evolving Arab-Israeli relationship, Middle Eastern Maze promises to be an instructive read, enriched by the author's unique vantage point at the intersection of history, diplomacy, and contemporary politics.

Renee Garfinkel, Ph.D. is a psychologist, writer, Middle East television commentator and host of The New Books Network’s Van Leer Jerusalem Series on Ideas. Write her at reneeg@vanleer.org.il. She's on Twitter @embracingwisdom. She blogs here.

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Renee Garfinkel

Renee Garfinkel, Ph.D. is a psychologist, writer, Middle East television commentator and host of The New Books Network’s Van Leer Jerusalem Series on Ideas. Write her at reneeg@vanleer.org.il. She's on Twitter @embracingwisdom. She blogs here.

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