December 4th, 2012
11:12 AM ET

Zakaria: Get facts straight about Middle East today

"Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET.

By Fareed Zakaria

Yasser Arafat’s body has been exhumed for investigation, bringing back memories of the unpredictable Palestinian leader and the Middle East in which he operated. That news broke just as a conventional wisdom began to take hold that the Middle East today is much more dangerous, unstable, violent and anti-American than before. Let's take a look at the facts.

In the 1980s, the newly empowered, radical Islamic Republic of Iran unsettled the Middle East with its promise to spread its revolution to the rest of the region. The other powerful players were despots like Saddam Hussein and Hafez Assad, backed and supplied with arms by the Soviet Union. Lebanon was in the midst of a bloody civil war that engulfed not only itself but also the Palestinians and Israel. Iran and Iraq fought a gruesome war with over 1 million casualties. Hezbollah attacked U.S. armed forces directly, forcing a humiliating withdrawal from Lebanon. A CIA station chief was tortured and killed, and U.S. secrets and interests compromised. And that was just in one decade!

Watch the video for the full Take.

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Topics: Middle East

soundoff (199 Responses)
  1. Hate Wins

    I will ask the same question once more!
    Why is it that Israel and the U.S. always the villains in most of the post. When neither one ask 12 boys and girls to strap bombs to their small bodies to kill other small children?
    Also the major religion that sends these small children has a very large group of followers that will kill or disfigure young women/girls for just wanting to read.
    Very convent would you say to divert the attrition from these atrocities?
    Why not stop sending children with bombs and firing rockets into Israel and force Israel to make the first move? And if that move is an atrocity then take your case to the U.N.
    Remember Gondi he won India’s independence by making the British make the mistakes.
    All you Israel and West bashers have never answered these questions.

    December 10, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Reply
    • toronto girl

      Because they're really not interested in knowing. Most of the posters here have a very superficial knowledge of the ME and what has happened on both sides since or before 1948.

      December 10, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Reply
  2. Hate Wins

    Explain to me how Yasser Arafat "who seamed to alway look like he needed a bath" ended up with billions in the bank and while tens of thousands of Palestinians go hungry and live in sub standard conditions?
    OH I know to let them have a good standard of living with the money he stole from them, he and those who replaced him would not have angry starving little boys to strap on bombs!

    December 10, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Reply
    • toronto girl

      I'm guessing he was 'trusted' enough to be handed the $$, yet who knows if the US ever demanded an accounting. Certainly his widow has control of most of it, which I understand she controls yet lives in Paris!! Yeah, she's really suffering his loss.

      December 10, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Reply
  3. SAS

    The extent to which Fareed Zakaria tries to whitewash the US's awful historical record overseas, particularly in the Middle East never ceases to astonish me.

    December 11, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Reply
  4. empresstrudy

    In the Arab world you have two basic choices: totalitarianism and complete anarchy. Pick one.

    December 11, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Reply
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