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Iraq: In the Eye of the Storm Paperback – November 10, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Most Americans, including members of the current Bush administration, lack firsthand knowledge of the domestic situation within contemporary Iraq. If the American commitment to "regime change" results in war and occupation, that ignorance may come back to haunt us. Hiro, a native of India, is a journalist specializing in Middle Eastern affairs and has written for the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and many weekly and monthly publications. In describing daily life in Iraq, Hiro convincingly portrays the devastating effect of sanctions upon ordinary Iraqis. His examination of earlier U.N. inspection efforts reveals both the duplicity of Saddam Hussein's henchmen as well as American efforts to manipulate inspections to gather military intelligence. Although he clearly regards Hussein and his Baath party with contempt, Hiro asserts that a military campaign against Iraq could prove disastrous for both the West and Islamic societies. Hiro is perhaps too cynical regarding the motives of hawks within the Bush administration. Still, most of his ideas seem credible. Those who blithely approach war with Iraq and see only positive effects would do well to read this book. Jay Freeman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"...highly readable and provocative book... [Hiro] writes within an easy-to-understand and nonideological framework. Highly recommended for informed citizenry." -- Nader Entessar, Library Journal, March 1, 2003

"Comes out in time to take a look at why "victory" [will] likely be messily Pyrrhic for the seeming winners." -- Ian Williams, In These Times, May 9, 2003

"Those who blithely approach war with Iraq and see only positive effects would do well to read this book." -- Jay Freeman, Booklist, February 15, 2003

A scrupulous and discerning vest-pocket contemporary history of Iraq from a writer with a well-earned reputation for evenhandedness. -- Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Thunder's Mouth Press; English Language edition (November 5, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560254777
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560254775
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #405,280 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Martin Prague on December 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a marvellous read, a meaty and elegant introduction to Iraq, its politics and people told by a seasoned, trustworthy observer, whose earlier book on the Iran-Iraq war is a classic. It's a travelogue through a devastated Iraq punished by UN sanctions and intimidated by Saddam's terrifying dictatorship; a vibrant detour through Iraqi history ancient and modern; and a devastating critique of US realpolitik in the region, in which the reader comes away with the impression that Bush's plan to invade Iraq in early 2003 could have the same devastating and traumatic impact that the events of 1948 have had on the region. YOu want a clash of civilizations? Well, that's what we're going to get if Bush has his way, the author suggests. Thank God Dilip Hiro is sounding the alarm bell in his passionate and vigorous prose.
There's something for everything here, for the general reader and the actvist; but the questions at the back of the book -- Frequently and Infrequently Asked Questions about Iraq-- are, I think, an enormously useful primer for anti-war activists who want to prevent Bush and Blair taking us headlong to Armageddon.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Alessandro Bruno on January 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
Dilip Hiro has been following events in Iraq for a long time, and has written numerous volumes on the subject including what might the most comprehensive volume on the history of the Iran - Iraq war. It is important to note this, not only because this author deserves praise, but because it gives him authority in evaluting the circumstances that might or might not have warranted military intervention in Iraq in 2003. It is very clear that Hiro believes that the War in Iraq should have remained an unthinkable prospect, the sanctions had more than demoralized and eroded the potential educated middle classes that could have eventually supplied a new regime in Iraq. Meanwhile, the very same sanctions only strengthened the regime of Saddam Hussein, by making it more invaluable to the everyday survival of ordinary Iraqis who were dependent on it to guarantee the measn of everyday survival. I found this point to be especially importnat, as I lived in Libya at the height of the UN and International Sanctions and fully agree that in dictatorial regimes, the small ruling elite benefits while ordinary people that have done absolutely nothing to earn their country a pariah reputation suffer. Although the war has begun (and prematurely declared won) - who knows when and how it will really end - the book is still important to read. It's short and informative and worth well beyond the current price. As Dilip Hiro admits, the book is not meant to be a comprehesive history of modern Iraq; indeed, it is more a history of Iraq from the 1990-91 Gulf War and the unstable period of the sanctions. For those readers that would like to understand the circumstances and processes that led to the emergence of the Baáth party in Iraq and Saddam Hussein I recommed "Iraq since 1958" by Peter and Marion-Farouk Sluglett.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 13, 2003
Format: Paperback
To fully understand the conflict in Iraq, this book is a must. And while the eye of the storm might not seem as threatening now, reading Hiro shows us that the roots of the conflict in Iraq are far more complicated than one would think. Simply because Baghdad has fallen, the war isn't over, and Hiro's expert analysis shows us that the U.S. is in for something much more than it has bargained for.
The complexity of Iraq is not to be ignored, especially at the time of its conquest, and this books presents the details that matter. The daily life in Iraq and the people who make up the concurred are going to affect what happens today, and Hiro shows us that the long range implications of a war on Iraq, which had yet to occur when this book was written, are real. When Hiro speaks, we should listen; perhaps now more than ever.
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33 of 44 people found the following review helpful By William Hare on December 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
Dilip Hiro provides needed common sense on the subject of Iraq and the prospect of conflict. Whereas Bush along with Rumsfeld and a team of advisers all notable for failing to serve in Vietnam arouse sentiment toward war, Hiro calmly and persuasively provides an alternative view replete with historical examples concerning Iraq's complex history.
In the fashion of many international scholars, as well as American activists such as Ramsey Clark and Noam Chomsky, Hiro points out the inherent dangers of attacking Iraq to supplant the leadership of ruthless strongman Saddam Hussein. The important issue he constantly raises is the disruption of any semblance of stability throughout the Middle East. Anti-Americanism cannot help but rise to precipitous levels in view of both our past and current policies toward Iraq. Some one million lives of innocent citizens have been lost as a result of sanctions against Iraq.
In examining past policies toward Iraq Hiro squarely confronts the double standard question. While Bush's father as Commander and Chief of the U.S. during the 1991 Gulf War referred to Saddam Hussein at one point as worse than Adolf Hitler, Bush had previously sent an array of weapons there, including the components of chemical weaponry used against Iran in another terrible application of the infamous "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" syndrome. So Saddam jumped from ally of sorts status to worse than Hitler! This occurred after the Middle East oil supply was jeopardized, certainly no coincidence.
What is currently needed during this potentially turbulent period for the entire world is cool and sober reflection on the consequences of military action and analysis of Iraq's history. Hiro thankfully takes this necessary approach, which enhances understanding of the broad picture.
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