After the Storm: The Changing Military Balance in the Middle East

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After the Storm: The Changing Military Balance in the Middle East

By Anthony H. Cordesman
Westview Press, 1993
811 pp. $65.00
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Those who came to know Tony Cordesman as military analyst for ABC during Desert Storm will know what to expect from this monumental book: a sober, authoritative style, endless data and a belief that the Middle East is probably destined to keep on arming and fighting without really resolving any of its major problems. The scope of this study is encyclopedic: from Morocco to Iran, including the Horn of Africa (but ignoring Turkey); each country and each conflict; inventories of conventional and nonconventional weapons; and the prospects for arms control and conflict resolution. Few will read from cover to cover, but many will want to have this hefty volume at hand for reference. Cordesman sees much military spending as enormously wasteful, but notes that most military casualties in the Middle East have been caused by low-technology, often "obsolete" weapons. Nonetheless, with petrodollars to spend, many countries of the region will keep on racing after the elusive goal of security through arms. One might think that the experiences of the shah's Iran and Saddam Hussein's Iraq might give pause to those who favor more spending on arms. But Cordesman provides no reason for hope in this regard. Desert Storm, if anything, has just whetted appetites for more and better.

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