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Frenemies: U.S.-Middle East Relations Over the Centuries

It was a little more than two years ago that a street vendor in Tunisia set himself on fire to protest a lack of job opportunities. His death sparked a people’s revolt in Tunisia that quickly spread to neighboring countries in the Middle East. And so the Arab Spring was born, igniting protests in Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain and Syria. As people took to the streets en masse, long-standing political regimes in many of those countries crumbled.

In the revolutions across the Arab world, people demanded more democracy. And it left Americans wondering whether it would bring more instability, more terrorism or if it would stabilize the region -- in short, “Is the Arab Spring a threat to us?”

The Arab Spring came a decade after 9/11, which thrust relations between America and the Muslim world into the height of crisis. But for centuries before that, the United States has had a deep relationship, a deep involvement in the Middle East and the greater Arab world. It’s been a vital relationship because of oil and security, among other things. But it’s also been a vexing, difficult, sometimes tortured relationship. Today, we might call the countries “frenemies.”

And indeed, that’s kind of the name of a new graphic history of the relationship between the U.S. and the Middle East. Christiane speaks with Jean-Pierre Filiu, author of “Best of Enemies: A History of U.S. and Middle East Relations.” He collaborated with the renowned French graphic artist David Beauchard, who calls himself David B.

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  • Dallas Cowboys' Dez Bryant linked to incident at Walmart parking lot

    By Lisa Maria Garza and Jon Herskovitz DALLAS (Reuters) - Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant was questioned by police at the scene of a 2011 incident in which a witness reported that Bryant's girlfriend was dragged by an unidentified man across a Texas Walmart parking lot, according to police documents. Neither Bryant or the Cowboys have commented on the report that was released as the National Football League has been rocked by a series of highly publicized domestic violence incidents among players including Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson. In the 2011 incident in Texas, a Walmart security guard told police a person reported to him that a black man dragged Bryant's girlfriend Ilyne Nash from a white Mercedes, which was registered to Bryant, and across the parking lot.

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