Links between Ireland and the Middle East may appear tenuous, but this impressive collection of essays reminds readers of strong ties between them. Miller, senior lecturer in Mediterranean Studies at King's College, University of London, is the author of a previous book on this theme, Ireland and the Palestine Question, 1945-48. This time, he has assembled an array of scholars who reflect upon this relationship in a comparative context, looking at issues ranging from ethnic identity to state formation to counterterrorism. Specialists on Ireland will benefit from this broadening of the parameters of their field of study; Middle East experts will welcome the balanced approach of most contributors.
The early chapters set out an intriguing historical narrative: delineating Irish diplomatic perspectives on the Middle East in the inter-war period, the military neutrality of Ireland and Afghanistan during World War II, the limited extent to which the Irgun Tzvai Leumi (a resistance group active against the British) in Israel in the 1940s borrowed from the example set by the Irish Republican Army in the 1920s, and the persistent influence of massacre myths in Irish and Algerian nationalism. Several authors focus on more contemporary events. Miller judiciously assesses the viability of Ireland's recent economic renaissance as a model for business development in the Middle East. In two chapters that when read together underline the effectiveness of aggressive counterterrorism policies (but would have benefited from a more specific comparative analysis), Steven R. David offers qualified support for Israel's targeted killing of terrorists while Simon Kingston details how the British security forces, especially the Special Air Services (SAS), neutralized the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
One of the most serious mistakes is to propose the peace process in Northern Ireland as a template for the Middle East. It is never advisable for democratic states to engage with terrorist organizations but in otherwise serious essays several scholars slide into this Ulster trap: Michael Kerr on power sharing in Lebanon, Gary Kent on rebuilding civil society in Iraq, and Jonathan Moore on Hamas. On the other hand, Constantin Gurdgiev offers a sobering assessment of the utility of Irish aid to the Palestinian Authority.
Fred Halliday captures the rich texture of Ireland's relationship with the Middle East in an anecdote in his foreword. During a conversation with an Arabic speaker at a conference in Dublin in 1994, he detected an Iraqi accent. "Are you from the land of two rivers?" Halliday inquired. "Yes," his acquaintance replied, and "I am the Israeli ambassador" to Ireland.
 Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2005.