From Camp David to the Gulf: Negotiations, Language and Propaganda, and War


281 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-895431-10-7
DDC 327.73056






Reviewed by Graham Adams, Jr.

Graham Adams, Jr., is a professor of American history at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick.


Wars, rebellions, religious animosities, and power politics have
dominated the history of the Near and Middle East for most of the 20th
century. This work analyzes the evolution of events in this region,
beginning with the Camp David accords of 1973 and closing with the 1991
Gulf War.

According to the author, the Arab–Israeli hostilities of 1973
demonstrated the potentiality of Arab military and economic cohesion.
This new found solidarity, Safty asserts, posed a threat to America’s
policy of underwriting Israel’s military superiority while still
maintaining cordial relations with conservative Arab states (thereby
guaranteeing a continuous flow of inexpensive oil to the United States).
When Anwar Sadat of Egypt became convinced that only the United States
could solve the Arab–Israeli conflict, Safty argues, he strove to
detach Egypt from both the Arab world and the Soviet Union, and to place
it squarely on America’s side. As a result, the Camp David agreements
fostered peace between Israel and Egypt, but shattered Arab unity.

When the Soviet Union collapsed, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein concluded that
only the emergence of a strong regional power could counteract the now
unchallenged influence of America. Iraq invaded oil-rich Kuwait in part
to redress the balance of power; in retaliation, the Bush administration
not only liberated Kuwait but destroyed Iraq’s military and industrial
capability. America had achieved unrivaled sway over the Middle East.

Safty contends that the Arab cause has suffered in the United States
because of Israel’s skilful use of propaganda and language. In truth,
Iran’s extended imprisonment of American hostages and its countless
anti-American street demonstrations (all carefully planned to appear on
primetime U.S. television), together with Saddam Hussein’s incendiary
rhetoric and armed aggression, contributed far more to an unfavorable
Arab image than all the efforts of Israeli propagandists. Nevertheless,
Safty’s carefully researched and cogently argued study makes a
worthwhile contribution to our understanding of this highly volatile
part of the world.


Safty, Adel., “From Camp David to the Gulf: Negotiations, Language and Propaganda, and War,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 21, 2024,