This is a timely guide that puts Middle Eastern politics, people, and problems in perspective. With the U.S. gearing up for war with Iraq, Al Qaeda terrorists still on the loose, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seething, the Middle East is constantly in the news. But how do people keep track of all the countries, factions, and issues involved? This plain-English guide provides the solution. Taking readers behind the headlines, it demystifies the history and conflicts of this complex region from the Ottoman Empire and the Balfour Declaration to the Intifada and the Gulf War and offers an even-handed analysis of why events in the Middle East continue to reverberate throughout the world. With profiles of major leaders and incisive examinations of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, terrorism, Muslim fundamentalism, and the oil industry, this book is required reading for anyone who wants to understand what's going on in the world's most volatile region. Craig Davis (Knoxville, MD) received a dual PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures and Religious Studies from Indiana University in 2002. He has studied in Jordan and Pakistan as well as in the United States. His teaching competencies include Islamic studies, Middle Eastern studies, history, and Arabic. Davis currently works for the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of International Labor Affairs.