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The Lost Spring: U.S. Policy in the Middle East and Catastrophes to Avoid Hardcover – March 18, 2014
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“In 2005, in Future Jihad, Walid Phares predicted that Al Qaeda would expand from its base in Pakistan to create powerful franchises throughout the Middle East and North Africa. In The Coming Revolution of 2010, Phares predicted the Arab Spring--a full two years before it happened. Many commentators and experts dismissed Phares' predictions, only to later eat their words. With his new book, The Lost Spring, Phares describes how the Middle East is racing towards a fight to the finish between reformers and fundamentalists. Who will prevail? No one knows. But Phares has shown time and again that he's got the best crystal ball in the business.” ―K. T. McFarland, FOX News National Security Analyst, President Reagan's Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, and former member of Henry Kissinger's NSC Staff
“Dr Walid Phares' consistently accurate analysis and uncanny ability to predict events in the Middle East have made him the ‘go to' authority on terrorism, civil uprisings, and politics in the region. The Lost Spring offers a smarter alternative to address the chaos that has erupted from North Africa to the Arabian Peninsula. This is a must read for senior US policy makers--those who ignore his warnings do so at their own (and this country's) peril.” ―Ret. Colonel Rick Francona, CNN Military Expert, and Former US Air Force Intelligence Officer
“Dr. Walid Phares, who has been advising our transatlantic parliamentary group with members from the US Congress and the European Parliament since 2008, has developed a prescient analysis on the upheavals in the Middle East before and since the revolts. In his new book, The Lost Spring, a must read, Phares tells us how the West missed opportunities to partner with civil societies in their rise against Jihadists and other extremists. But he also shows us that by developing policies based on common human and democracy values, we can help suppressed minorities and moderate majorities to be our future partners across the Mediterranean.” ―Jaime Mayor Oreja, Member of the European Parliament, and deputy chairman of the EPP Majority Party
“Dr. Walid Phares' expert opinion is a leading prescient in-depth analysis on geopolitical changes in the Middle East. The interviews with Dr. Phares in Arab media in general and in Al Watan Alarabi --as his books--always foresee coming events which make his writings and statements truly authoritative for leaders in the region. As a new paradigm is setting in the Arab region, his latest book The Lost Spring cannot be timelier for the peoples of the region who are hoping for a new and more strategic US policy towards the rising challenges of the radicals in the Middle East.” ―Khaled Abu Zahr, Editor in chief of Pan Arab Al Watan Alarabi, Cairo
“Walid Phares has predicted the Arab Spring, has projected the rise of civil societies in the Middle East, and has also warned us about the Islamists' takeover and Iran's strategic expansion. But he has also accurately seen the comeback of the revolutionary democrats in Egypt and Tunisia and beyond. In his new masterfully written book The Lost Spring, Phares is telling us why the West lost a historic opportunity and what new policies are needed to avoid catastrophes and welcome a new Spring.” ―Paulo Casaca, Socialist Member of the European Parliament from 1999 to 2009 and President of the European Parliament delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly from 2005 to 2007
“Walid Phares is one of the leading geopolitical strategists in the world. His books, including Future Jihad and The Coming Revolution have helped many members of Congress and the US Government better understand the forthcoming national security threats. In his new book The Lost Spring, Phares exposes the mistakes of our foreign policies in the Middle East, from partnering with the Muslim Brotherhood to abandoning the Iranian youth. His book is a historical, yet a future strategic reading, suggesting alternatives to forthcoming disasters in the region. A must read.” ―Congresswoman Sue Myrick, Chair subcommittee on Intelligence 2011-2013, Co-Chair Anti-Terrorism Caucus, US House of Representatives, 2007-2013
About the Author
Dr. Walid Phares is a world-renowned terrorism and Middle East expert and serves as an advisor to Congress and to members of the European Parliament. He is the Co-Secretary General of the Transatlantic Parliamentary Group on Counter Terrorism and is a frequent guest on US and Arab media. Phares was an MSNBC Terrorism analyst since 2003 and has been a Fox News Middle East expert since 2007. His columns have appeared in many publications including The Washington Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Le Figaro. He has been projecting the next stages of the upheavals seen since the start of the revolts in 2011.
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When I ordered this book, I had really hoped that I would like learning much from Mr. Phares' observations. I had hoped that it would be better than a speech that I had listened to his about two years ago in Woodinville, WA -- where he spoke about the "Arab Spring" revolutions that were then underway in the Middle East. Sadly, it was a rather disjointed speech, rambling between various topics without really tying them together.
This book is a little better, at least he, or his editor, tried to keep each chapter focused. Sadly, the entire book is overly verbose: many words were written, but repeatedly repeated. I believe that this book could have easily been condensed by half or more.
I appreciate what the author is trying to do: alert the public to the anti-democratic philosophy of the Islamists, whether of the Muslim Brotherhood or al-Qaeda ilk.
But who is Mr. Walid Phares? While he has a brief bio on the inside of the book's book-jacket -- it is too short to give any credence as to who he is in giving us his thoughts. In his "Acknowledgments" he notes dozens of names that he has discussed his ideas with, but informs us of few of the ideas coming from those conversations.
It seemed like in the first quarter of this book the author bemoans that few are interested in heeding his warnings about how either the revolutions were ready to emerge throughout the Middle East in the early 2010s, and he fears that now that the revolutions have broken out, how few are willing to head his concerns as to how the Pres. Obama administration is stifling the pro-democracy revolutionaries in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood that will stifle those yearning to live free of the harsh Islamist oppression. He wants to heard as a modern-day Paul Revere -- but fears being viewed as more of a William Dawes -- sounding the same alarm as Mr. Robert Spencer (Jihad Watch), but few listening, or worse, remembering him.
The author reviews how the revolutions developed throughout the Middle East, but then re-examines and re-tells us the same descriptions over and over again. Brevity would have been better, but more importantly, more "meat" about those revolutions needed to be documented -- far too many generalizations as to what happened, and too few names of groups and specific details as to how the revolutionaries organized their demonstrations.
After trying to stay awake in reading the first 160 pages of this book, I finally came upon what I believe is the best part of this book: Chapter Eleven, where the author analyzed how Pres. Obama essentially ignored the pro-democracy revolutionaries to support instead the anti-democratic Muslim Brotherhood.
The author downplays the significance of the split between the Sunni and Shia sects, instead, he seems to believe that "moderate" Muslims are somehow going to coalesce in debunking the Islamists. Too much wordiness and lack of substance in this book. His heart and mind are in the right, just wish he could be more effective in exposing it in print.
Americans who care about the direction our country is going should read this book. One may not agree with Phares, but his book is very thought provoking and challenging. Our "Pivot to Asia" may be a good thing, but our continuing failure to come to grips effectively with the Middle East continues to be troubling.
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The book was a filler.Read more