A Middle East expert who I have not but ought to have read before. I have posted three side links because he has a rather complicated site.
In addition links to long, detailed articles with graphics on
* Fundamentalist Islam : The Drive for Power [ A short History of Islamism's Rise to Power]
* Arab nationalism : Mistaken Identity [The rise and fall of Arab Nationalism]
from Middle East Quarterly
memories of a childhood in Iraq in the 1950s * thoughts on events in the Middle East