Islamic Imperialism: A History
Inside front cover
From the first Arab-Islamic Empire of the mid-seventh century to the Ottomans, the last great Muslim empire, the story of the Middle East has been the story of the rise and fall of universal empires and, no less important, of imperialist dreams. So argues Efraim Karsh in this highly provocative book. Rejecting the conventional Western interpretation of Middle Eastern history as an offshoot of global power politics, Karsh contends that the region’s experience is the culmination of long-existing indigenous trends, passions, and patterns of behavior, and that foremost among these is Islam’s millenarian imperial tradition.
The author explores the history of Islam’s imperialism and the persistence of the Ottoman imperialist dream that outlasted World War I to haunt Islamic and Middle Eastern politics to the present day.
September 11 can be seen as simply the latest expression of this dream, and such attacks have little to do with U.S. international behavior or policy in the Middle East, says Karsh. The House of Islam’s war for world mastery is traditional, indeed venerable, and it is a quest that is far from over.
In Islamic Imperialism, Karsh poses a fundamental challenge to the way we understand the history of the Middle East and the role of Islam in that region.
Inside back cover
Efraim Karsh is professor and head of the Mediterranean Studies Programme, King’s College, University of London. He has published extensively and often served as a consultant on Middle Eastern affairs, Soviet foreign policy, and European neutrality. His books include Empires of the Sand: The Struggle for Mastery in the Middle East, 1789-1923 and Saddam Hussein: A Political Biography.