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Is the west doomed to misunderstand the east?

The decades-long feud between Edward Said and Bernard Lewis runs to the heart of dilemmas over Iran, Iraq and the Arab Spring

By Ali Ansari   August 2012

An anti-Assad demonstration in the Syrian town of Tamanaa. How should the west respond to turmoil in the Middle East?

The onset of the “Arab Spring” in 2011, coming swiftly after the “Persian summer” of 2009, has spread over much of the Middle East, destabilising the political fabric of the region and challenging a range of policy assumptions. People across the region have risen against their governments, yearning for the sort of civil rights and human dignity that most in the west take for granted.

For some, this is the region’s…

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