I wonder if Lee Smith will ever get his book out. At any rate, I liked this post on the Middle East. My favorite paragraph
Muslims in the Muslim Middle East are religious because they believe in God, the perfection of his final revelation in the Quran, and his prophet Muhammad. And Islamism, which Pollack is at pains to distinguish from Islam, is a vital force in the region precisely because it represents the progressive and rational current of Islam that sought to reconcile a society marked by fatalism and backwardness with "the forces of modernity" embodied by the West.Having lived there I have to agree: Muslims in the Middle East are religious because they believe in (the Muslim) God.