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Yasir Arafat: A Political Biography

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Yasir Arafat stands as one of the most resilient, recognizable and controversial political figures of modern times. The object of unrelenting suspicion, steady admiration and endless speculation, Arafat has occupied the center stage of Middle East politics for almost four decades. Yasir Arafat is the most comprehensive political biography of this remarkable man. Forged in Yasir Arafat stands as one of the most resilient, recognizable and controversial political figures of modern times. The object of unrelenting suspicion, steady admiration and endless speculation, Arafat has occupied the center stage of Middle East politics for almost four decades. Yasir Arafat is the most comprehensive political biography of this remarkable man. Forged in a tumultuous era of competing traditionalism, radicalism, Arab nationalism, and Islamist forces, the Palestinian movement was almost entirely Arafat's creation, and he became its leader at an early age. Arafat took it through a dizzying series of crises and defeats, often of his own making, yet also ensured that it survived, grew, and gained influence. Disavowing terrorism repeatedly, he also practiced it constantly. Arafat's elusive behavior ensured that radical regimes saw in him a comrade in arms, while moderates backed him as a potential partner in peace. After years of devotion to armed struggle, Arafat made a dramatic agreement with Israel that let him return to his claimed homeland and transformed him into a legitimized ruler. Yet at the moment of decision at the Camp David summit and afterward, when he could have achieved peace and a Palestinian state, he sacrificed the prize he had supposedly sought for the struggle he could not live without. Richly populated with the main events and dominant leaders of the Middle East, this detailed and analytical account by Barry Rubin and Judith Colp Rubin follows Arafat as he moves to Kuwait, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, and finally to Palestinian-ruled soil. It shows him as he rewrites his origins, experiments with guerrilla war, develops a doctrine of terrorism, fights endless diplomatic battles, and builds a movement, constantly juggling states, factions, and world leaders. Whole generations and a half-dozen U.S. presidents have come and gone over the long course of Arafat's career. But Arafat has outlasted them all, spanning entire eras, with three constants always present: he has always survived, he has constantly seemed imperiled, and he has never achieved his goals. While there has been no substitute for Arafat, the authors conclude, Arafat has been no substitute for a leader who could make peace.


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Yasir Arafat stands as one of the most resilient, recognizable and controversial political figures of modern times. The object of unrelenting suspicion, steady admiration and endless speculation, Arafat has occupied the center stage of Middle East politics for almost four decades. Yasir Arafat is the most comprehensive political biography of this remarkable man. Forged in Yasir Arafat stands as one of the most resilient, recognizable and controversial political figures of modern times. The object of unrelenting suspicion, steady admiration and endless speculation, Arafat has occupied the center stage of Middle East politics for almost four decades. Yasir Arafat is the most comprehensive political biography of this remarkable man. Forged in a tumultuous era of competing traditionalism, radicalism, Arab nationalism, and Islamist forces, the Palestinian movement was almost entirely Arafat's creation, and he became its leader at an early age. Arafat took it through a dizzying series of crises and defeats, often of his own making, yet also ensured that it survived, grew, and gained influence. Disavowing terrorism repeatedly, he also practiced it constantly. Arafat's elusive behavior ensured that radical regimes saw in him a comrade in arms, while moderates backed him as a potential partner in peace. After years of devotion to armed struggle, Arafat made a dramatic agreement with Israel that let him return to his claimed homeland and transformed him into a legitimized ruler. Yet at the moment of decision at the Camp David summit and afterward, when he could have achieved peace and a Palestinian state, he sacrificed the prize he had supposedly sought for the struggle he could not live without. Richly populated with the main events and dominant leaders of the Middle East, this detailed and analytical account by Barry Rubin and Judith Colp Rubin follows Arafat as he moves to Kuwait, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, and finally to Palestinian-ruled soil. It shows him as he rewrites his origins, experiments with guerrilla war, develops a doctrine of terrorism, fights endless diplomatic battles, and builds a movement, constantly juggling states, factions, and world leaders. Whole generations and a half-dozen U.S. presidents have come and gone over the long course of Arafat's career. But Arafat has outlasted them all, spanning entire eras, with three constants always present: he has always survived, he has constantly seemed imperiled, and he has never achieved his goals. While there has been no substitute for Arafat, the authors conclude, Arafat has been no substitute for a leader who could make peace.

30 review for Yasir Arafat: A Political Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    The Book Yasir Arafat and he is a country leader. The author is Arthur M. Schlesingeir. The story is about him and how he runs his country and the religions he alous and how men and women wear in his country.When he is on live tv you can't change the channel if you tried to because he is on every one. He died in 1959 by poisoning. This book is a door because we go into his country and learn what is different about his country than most countries. We also go on about how he used to visit his mom The Book Yasir Arafat and he is a country leader. The author is Arthur M. Schlesingeir. The story is about him and how he runs his country and the religions he alous and how men and women wear in his country.When he is on live tv you can't change the channel if you tried to because he is on every one. He died in 1959 by poisoning. This book is a door because we go into his country and learn what is different about his country than most countries. We also go on about how he used to visit his mom and family on the weekends that live in pakistan. We also know that if they get bomd he will not fix the dissection that people did. As most people think he is an alright person that is so wrong he makes people do stuff that they don't want to do. I rate this book 3 out of 5. It was easy to read and know what was going on. The people who will like this book are people who like history books. Why people will like it is because it tells us what he did in the past and about his fighting. The most interesting thing i learned was he treats people like they are not wanted and he doesn't care about his people.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Wayne Jordaan

    Lots of food for thought, not so much about Yasir Arafat, but about the Palestinian people and their quest for justice and freedom, and how that struggle has been waged since 1948.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Adebayo Adegbembo

    Offers great insight into the prolific figure in the Middle East. Ironically, exposes a side of him that many probably never knew. In my view, these insights are corroborated by the views expressed by Mosab Yousef in "Son of Hamas". Offers great insight into the prolific figure in the Middle East. Ironically, exposes a side of him that many probably never knew. In my view, these insights are corroborated by the views expressed by Mosab Yousef in "Son of Hamas".

  4. 4 out of 5

    Vikas Datta

    A damning indictment of Arafat's record as a leader and underscores how a myopic leader can blight the future of generations of his countrymen A damning indictment of Arafat's record as a leader and underscores how a myopic leader can blight the future of generations of his countrymen

  5. 5 out of 5

    Cahit Ezel

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lauryn

  7. 4 out of 5

    Philip Durrant

  8. 4 out of 5

    chris skelly

  9. 5 out of 5

    Hashem Qalalwh

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shoaib

  11. 5 out of 5

    Aravind Chandrashekar

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  13. 4 out of 5

    WM

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dave

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tanner Butterfield

  16. 5 out of 5

    Foxglove

  17. 4 out of 5

    Neeraj Jadaun

  18. 5 out of 5

    Robert Johnson

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mark Lewis

  20. 4 out of 5

    Hanife Mutlu

  21. 4 out of 5

    Brian Bridgeforth

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nathaniel Koh

  23. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rudolph

  25. 4 out of 5

    Santosh

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jason

  27. 4 out of 5

    Georgiana

  28. 4 out of 5

    Hatem

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mohammadreza Kalantari

  30. 5 out of 5

    Gery

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