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After Iraq: Anarchy and Renewal in the Middle East Hardcover – February 19, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


International Praise for Gwynne Dyer

“The principal attraction of Dyer’s geopolitical punditry has always been its trenchant tone and clear-eyed, nonpartisan approach.” ---Toronto Star (Canada)


“Dyer’s intelligent insight and historical perspective offer a valuable contribution for those seeking to understand the complex Middle East.” ---Sun Herald (Australia)


“Dyer is an accomplished military historian who bolsters his extensive knowledge with a rhetorical style that is at once invisible and entirely convincing.”---Publishers Weekly


“Dyer knows how to highlight the absurdities of dumb or hypocritical policies.”---The Globe & Mail (Canada)


“Most commentators on the war in Iraq (from both sides of the conflict) fail to put the events in a historical context, and those that do tend to offer a skewed (self-serving) version of that history. Dyer goes one better. Not only does he place current events in a balanced and historical context, he also examines their significance in terms of the future.” ---Courier Mail (Australia)


About the Author

Gwynne Dyer has worked as a freelance journalist, columnist, broadcaster, filmmaker, and lecturer on international affairs for more than twenty years but he was originally trained as an historian. Born in Newfoundland in 1943, he earned degrees from Canadian, American, and British universities, finishing with a Ph.D. in Military and Middle Eastern History from the University of London. He went on to serve in three navies and to hold academic appointments at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and at Oxford University. Since 1973, he has written a twice-weekly column on current events that is published in more than 175 newspapers worldwide and translated into more than a dozen languages. Dyer is the author of the award-winning book War, Ignorant Armies, and Future: Tense. He lives in London, England.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; First Edition edition (February 19, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312378459
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312378455
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,324,842 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By William Podmore on July 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Gwynne Dyer used to be a Senior Lecturer at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. In this useful book, he outlines the changes coming to the Middle East, changes unleashed by the US/British invasion of Iraq and the destruction of the Iraqi state.

He points out that the attack on Iraq made Britain a target for terrorism. As the head of MI5 said, "The video wills of British suicide bombers make it clear that they are motivated by perceived worldwide and longstanding injustices against Muslims ... and their interpretation as anti-Muslim of U.K. foreign policy, in particular the U.K.'s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Dyer predicts that the Middle East's countries will soon be ruling themselves. He argues that outside governments and peoples should let this happen, because "foreign intervention generally makes things worse - but also because it's none of their business."

There are no outside solutions and outsiders have neither the right nor the power to interfere. Even the US military cannot dictate outcomes in the Middle East. As he notes, "The West will stop meddling in the region's affairs, because the United States is going home hurt."

The Middle East of course has half the world's oil, but it's no good to its rulers unless they sell it, so, as Dyer asserts, "it doesn't matter to us who runs these countries." And he writes of Afghanistan, "the current intervention was probably always destined to end in failure." So he urges the US and British states to cut their losses and go home.

Yet there is a danger that the USA will lash out before it goes, as it did in South-East Asia. In 1995, the usual `senior CIA official' told the New York Times that Iran would have nuclear bombs by 2000. We have heard warmongering like this ever since.
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Format: Hardcover
The book contains many insights that are both historical and observable. However, it is interesting that some of his major deductions are simplistic and limited and hardly a matter of fact. Going by the praise on the back of the book, this book was supposed to be an unbiased, hard look at Iraq. More centered than most perhaps, but the author is either naive or simply unable to put down his own left-leaning tendencies. Our world is much more complex.

The world contains humans and by this very fact there will always be Geo-politics whether you're an American, Russian, Chinese, progressive or any other geographic, spiritual or philosophical coalition of people. Did America go into Iraq for Geo-political reasons? Yes. Did they look for a reason to go into Iraq and find the answer by linking Iraq to a war on terror? I think so. If we pull out of the Middle-East fully, will Al-Qaeda vaporize and terrorism go away? Talk to the Indonesians or look around the world. There is a radical element of Islam right now that doesn't need a reason. Countries that do not have the infrastructure to fight these elements are toppling or are under threat of toppling in many regions. What does that mean for America? Even if we withdraw fully, which most likely will happen, we will eventually be dealing with this at home, regardless whether or not we are in the Middle East. To what extent is not known, but there are radical elements within the United States that believe in spreading their doctrine through any and all means whether or not the US is in the Middle East. So withdrawing from the Middle East will not make all our terrorism problems go away, which at times he seems to indicate and at other times he seems to blame all our woes on our action in the Middle East. For instance, on page 116.

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By P. Schumacher on June 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Dyer puts Iraq and the U.S.'s whole Mideast policy in context.

His analysis is rightly historical. He calls the Iraq war a "small colonial war"--and, like almost all the wars of empires against their (would-be) colonies since WWII, a failure.

He says that the entire Arab world, with few exceptions, has been ready for change for the last 30 years, because the post-WWII regimes have been dictatorial puppets of one great power or another (chiefly because of oil).

And the lack of democratic alternatives has pushed some opposition groups into fundamentalist, jihadi options. The jihadis always made up a small (though violent) minority; but recent U.S. actions have greatly strengthened them.

Through a combination of ignorance, arrogance, vanity, and self-delusion, the Bush administration believed they could install democracy in Iraq--and then in the entire region, reverse-domino-like. But of course for Bush and Co., "democracy" does not mean what it normally means: self-rule, thoroughly representative government, and protection of fundamental rights. It means "rule by crony and CEO, with show-elections every so often among hand-picked candidates."

The U.S. invaded Iraq to establish permanent bases there, since its bases in Saudi Arabia are in jeopardy, from hatred of U.S. troops on holy soil. (Osama bin Laden claimed he ordered attacks on the U.S. because of U.S. bases in Saudi Arabia, and there is no reason to doubt this.)

This was immediately recognized throughout the region as just one more colonialist effort, and has swelled jihadist ranks everywhere.

Dyer rightly says that terrorism cannot be dealt with militarily, but only made worse.
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