An observer of the Middle East could be forgiven for having a migraine. The region is a confusing mess of movements, loyalties, agendas, and policies; our own muddled approach is no different—either we reflect what we find, or we produce what we bring to the table, or we’re stuck on a hamster wheel. But the London Review of Books recently published two pieces that are exceptional.
The first is Hugh Roberts’ essay on Egypt, The Revolution That Wasn’t, which I’m now reading a second time. Meanwhile, on their blog, Adam Shatz describes the (un)surprising convergence of Israel and Saudi Arabia, both of which are concerned by Arab populism, Islamist mass movements, and Iranian policies and practices. (The odd country out here, which gets no mention, is Turkey, which as part of NATO and an EU candidate can be expected to be closer to Washington, but whose alliance with the GCC over Syria is challenged by disagreement over Egypt.)