I lived in the Muslim world for 10 years.
Partisan politics has no place in the classroom.
I speak Urdu quite a lot, too, and I read a lot of Persian.
Administering another country is always a very tricky proposition.
I think it's really unfortunate that academics have been sidelined in most important policy debates.
It's not proper for a professor to go before a class and promote one party or another. That's not academic scholarship.
I don't accept the argument of people like David Horowitz that the government should impose some sort of predetermined political balance on academic research.
Public interest in most of the Middle East was slight at that time; the Arab-Israeli conflict was all that people were interested in and that was not my specialty.
My main expertise is in the past, but if I have to extrapolate into the future, I would say: no good news any time soon and an obvious exit strategy is not apparent to me.
Take the decision in early March to arrest Muqtada al-Sadr. It was made apparently without knowledge or understanding of the nature of his movement or how widespread it is.