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The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace Hardcover – April 9, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 1 edition (April 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300110154
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300110159
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.6 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #871,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Allawi, until recently a senior minister in the Iraqi government, provides an insider's account of the nascent Iraqi government following the American invasion. His scholarly yet immensely readable exposition of Iraqi society and politics will likely become the standard reference on post-9/11 Iraq. It convincingly blasts the Coalition Provisional Authority for failing to understand the simmering sectarian animosity and conflicting loyalties that led Iraq into chaos. Beginning during Saddam's reign, among the motley gang of liberal democrats, Islamists and Kurdish nationalists that formed the opposition-in-exile, of which Allawi was a prominent member, he chronicles the fortunes and aspirations of the political parties, personalities and interest groups that now are tearing Iraq apart. In one representative episode, after the siege of Fallujah in 2004, the Marines initiated an ill-fated attempt to create a Fallujah Brigade of local men who would be loyal to the CPA. "[Head of the CPA L. Paul] Bremer... learned about it from newspaper reports.... The defense minister [Allawi himself] went on television, denouncing the Fallujah Brigade.... The 'Fallujah Brigade,' after a few weeks of apparent cooperation with the Marines, began to act as the core of a national liberation army. Any pretense that they were rooting out insurgents was dropped." (Apr. 9)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In exile for more than 30 years, Allawi left a successful career in finance and Middle Eastern policy analysis to return to Iraq in 2003. During the next three years, he served as minister of trade, the first postwar civilian minister of defense, and a member of the transitional national government's legislative body. Allawi here draws on his multifaceted experience with the struggling American project in Iraq to document what went wrong and when. Although recognizing the deep roots of Iraq's internal strife and the extent to which the American invasion destroyed the fragile equilibrium holding the nation together under Saddam Hussein, Allawi emphasizes the more proximate causes of Iraq's decline, soberly cataloging dozens of missed opportunities and unintended consequences amid a culture of confusion, corruption, and administrative complacency. Avoiding quick-fix prescriptions, Allawi nevertheless somewhat tacitly suggests that the solution may involve a federalized and only minimally American Iraqi state that protects the rights of the Sunni minority without reversing the recent gains made by Shi'a and Kurdish groups. Comprehensive, factually robust, and likely to provoke public discussion, this book surpasses almost all other recent works on Iraq. Brendan Driscoll
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

This is a very dense book.
W. Wilt
This is a masterpiece, an extraordinarily clear, well informed and well explained book on the current situation in Iraq.
Jean Francois Etter
His book should be required reading in the Departments of State and Defense, and in the Congress!
Lloyd F. Sturgeon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Seth J. Frantzman HALL OF FAME on April 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is the most thorough and fair account to date of the struggles in post war Iraq between 2003 and present. It documents the personalities, failures and political parties that have developed in the last few years. Large on the list are the major American mistakes following the liberation of Baghdad in 2003. This included the firing of the Iraqi army which caused 200,000 Sunnis with military training to have no jobs and thus boosted the insurgency. Another foul up was the lack of planning for the disintegration of the country into religious and ethnic factions and the lack fo planning for the way in which to deal with the large state monopolies.

A brilliant book, this exposes the ethnic tension and the rise of al-Sadr and Al-Queida. It has an insiders perspective and a true understanding of much of what is wrong with Iraq and the prospects for peace in the country. An immensely important and thorough and fair book.

Seth J. Frantzman
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Retired Reader on May 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
At the end of World War I, the UK and France divided up the Ottoman Empire between them with out much regard for the peoples who actually lived in the Empire. Iraq was born of this ill-informed and arbitrary division as a British protectorate. From its birth to the present, Iraq was never a viable nation state such as Iran or Egypt. It was and is more an assemblage of tribes and religious factions who happen to live in a geo-political region called `Iraq'.

In this excellent book, Ali A. Allawi, an Iraqi Shia, provides first of all a clear and concise summary of religious-political factions among the Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish populations living in Iraq. He also discusses the equally important issue of tribal affiliation among these populations. As might be imagined, Iraq is a very complicated place and this book is complicated as well. Allawi provides the reader with three very useful readers' guides that greatly help following his multiple stories as they unfold: a list of the names of the key players; a list of acronyms; and a glossary of transliterated Arabic terms used in this book.

The core of the book is the story of the failure of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and its head, Ambassador Paul Bremer, to rebuild Iraq as a viable nation with a free market economy, established democratic institutions, and the rule of law. Part of the problem facing the CPA was that the reconstruction strategy developed by the Pentagon was based on virtually no understanding of the geographical entity called Iraq but was informed by ludicrously optimistic beliefs that the various Iraqi peoples would view the U.S. as liberators, were anxious to embrace U.S. style democracy, and were ready to leap into the Global economy.
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98 of 128 people found the following review helpful By James J. Varela on April 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book will be read by scholars of the Bush administration's Iraq disaster as the definite history of the Iraq tragedy. The pages of this book will make every American regardless of political affiliation angry and at the same time sad & disgusted that the whole Iraq tragedy from pre-invasion intelligence to post war occupation could have been handled so amateurishly by the greatest military and economic power in the world. This book is a testament to what happens when politicians pursuing a political agenda push aside the military men and try and take control of a war. Although the Bush administration must bear the blame for their own blunders, Iraqi's too must bear their share of the blame. The Bush administration handed them a priceless gift in 2003. Saddam Hussein was demonic dictator; a revolution to remove him could have killed many more than have died in the current war, Iraqi's could have made Saddam's removal at the hands of the coalition forces and with the ensuing high oil prices, their gain and Iraq could be thriving today. Arabs love to talk of Arab unity in the face of Israeli agression & in the name of Islamic brotherhood but Instead power hungry Shia clerics led Al-Sadr and his ilk & thirsty for revenge X members of Saddam's secret police have turned Iraq into a battlefield & made a mockery of so called Islamic unity leaving ordinary Iraqi's of all faiths stuck in the middle, most of whom are tired and exhausted and simply wish to live in peace. The author seems to have a good blueprint for peace but at the root of the problem are the radical Shiites and the x Baathists.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. Albin TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book represents a serious effort to write a comprehensive narrative of the Iraq war and occupation. The author is a western educated Iraqi expatriate who was active in Iraqi emigre politics and served as Minister in 2 post-war Iraqi governments. While parts are informed by Allawi's personal experiences, Allawi has made a strong effort to write an objective, balanced narrative. Allawi is particularly informative about the Iraqi aspects of the story. Prior journalistic accounts published here, even very good ones like the books of George Packer and Thomas Ricks, concentrate on American aspects of the story.

Allawi opens with an enlightening narrative of the Iraqi history and sociology and the events leading up to the invasion. Allawi is particularly good on the changing nature of Iraqi society during the Hussein period and the tremendous impoverishment and corruption that accompanied the Iran-Iraq war, the First Gulf War, and the postwar sanctions. He depicts Iraq as a society essentially ruined by the period of Baath party rule and consequently requiring almost complete reconstruction. In particular, he shows how a series of events magnified the Kurd-Sunni Arab-Shiite Arab divisions inherent in the Iraqi state. These divisions, driven to a large extent by emerging Shiite consciousness, occurred even within the emigre community. Allawi himself was involved in proposals to develop a federal Iraqi state with considerable autonomy for Shiites.

Allawi provides a lengthy, detailed, and quite devastating account of the occupation right up a few months ago. He documents the multiple shifts in American policy, the complete lack of forethought devoted to occupation policy, and remarkable incompetence of the American authorities.
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