Most people in the West who claim to understand the Middle East are just guessing
Two years ago I began researching Middle Eastern history for a screenplay I was writing, meant to be set partially in North Africa and Turkey during the time of the Iraq War, as well as post-WWI Iraq and Iran (then Mesopotamia and Persia and other remnants of the collapsing Ottoman Empire). I read lots of books, Assassin’s Gate, A Peace to End All Peace, Cobra II and Fiasco just to name a few. But a strange thing happened. The more and more I learned about the Middle East the less I seemed to understand. All four of those books were written by Westerners, two were about the Iraq War solely from the perspective of the US military. At least Assassin’s Gate looked at the lives of everyday Iraqis impacted by the war and Saddam Hussien’s dictatorship, but it was still through the eyes of an American.
More after the jump.