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A History of the Crusades, Volume III: The Fourteenth and by Kenneth M. Setton, Harry W. Hazard

By Kenneth M. Setton, Harry W. Hazard

The six volumes of A heritage of the Crusades will stand because the definitive historical past of the Crusades, spanning 5 centuries, encompassing Jewish, Moslem, and Christian views, and containing a wealth of knowledge and research of the background, politics, economics, and tradition of the medieval international.

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The debate over whether to lend moral and rhetorical support to Hizballah exposed the fundamental paradox between the al-Saud’s broader aspirations to pan-Arab leadership and the more insular doctrinal aversion to Shiism of its Salafi clerical establishment. It is critical to emphasize that, like the 1979 Revolution, the event was “read” by various domestic actors in Saudi Arabia through different lenses: Those with a more vested interest in the system and the rule of the al-Saud decried Hizballah for provoking an Israeli attack, sowing fitna (discord), and pursuing narrowly sectarian goals.

Looks on,” The New York Times, 31 January 2007b. W. : Princeton University Press, 2006; Juan Cole, “A Shi’a Crescent? The Regional Impact of the Iraq War,” Current History, Vol. 105, No. 687, January 2006; and Jones (2007). ” 14 In Saudi Arabia, the clerical establishment is the wellspring for much of this. In mid2007, however, the Kingdom has taken tentative and perhaps temporary steps to curtail antiShi’a and pro-jihad fatawa (pronouncements); Iran’s Arabic-language TV station al-Alam took the remarkable step of applauding an anti-jihad fatwa by the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Abd al-Aziz al-Shaykh.

Domestically, however, the Arab trump card may have come at a price; there was anecdotal reporting of popular dissent inside Iran against the regime’s lavish support to Hizballah, especially given the dire state of the Iranian economy. See Azadeh Moaveni, “Why Iran Isn’t Cheering,” Time, 23 July 2006. 47 In postwar polling in Egypt, Ahmadinejad came in second after Nasrallah as the most important leader in the region. 48 Here again, the phenomena was less an expression of sectarian affinity and more a signal of political solidarity with the “winning sect,” which seemed to be ascendant in Iraq and was the only regional power capable of challenging Israel.

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