22 basic suggested readings on the Middle East from history professor and informed commenter on Middle Eastern affairs Juan Cole.
"A Christian man is weak compared to a Muslim man." Violence and war between Christians, Muslims, and Jews is a long-standing fact of life. Even St. Francis joining the Fifth Crusade as a peacemaker, would not change the course of history. "He was repulsed by the sacrilegious brutality of the Crusaders." Stories of personal persecution abound. However, there are also some small glimmers of hope and understanding that don't get much notice. Although such efforts are just specks in a sandstorm, maybe they are a start.
The practical future of the country formerly known as Iraq. [NewsFilter, but a significant acknowledgement of something long-in-coming.]
In case of emergency, nuke Iran. From the folks who brought you Operation Iraqi Freedom and the "last throes" of the insurgency, the latest strategy for enhancing homeland security and US global standing is to launch a nuclear first-strike against Iran in the event of another 9/11-style attack -- whether Iran has ties to the attackers or not. As Juan Cole points out, turning a Shiite Muslim nation into the next Hiroshima could have disagreeable consequences. (First reported by the American Conservative, not your typical liberal rag, and via DailyKos.)
The next terrorist attack on America may be perpetrated by Europeans. Radical Islam is spreading across Europe among descendants of Muslim immigrants. Disenfranchised and disillusioned by the failure of integration, some European Muslims have taken up jihad against the West. They are dangerous and committed -- and can enter the United States without a visa.
Some said it could'nt be done, but the U.S. seems to have suceeded in uniting Iraq's different ethnic and religious groups. Now perhaps its time for the Vulcan's to begin to reign in their dreams of empire.