Patrick Cockburn is currently Middle East correspondent for the Independent and worked previously for the Financial Times. He has written three books on Iraq’s recent history, including The Occupation and Saddam Hussein: An American Obsession (with Andrew Cockburn) as well as a memoir, The Broken Boy and, with his son, a book on schizophrenia, Henry’s Demons, which was shortlisted for a Costa Award. He won the Martha Gellhorn Prize in 2005, the James Cameron Prize in 2006, and the Orwell Prize for Journalism in 2009. Winner of the Foreign Affairs Journalist of the Year Award 2014.
Five years ago the Middle East and North Africa was electrified by unprecedented popular protests that heralded the start of the Arab Spring. Beginning in Tunisia popular movements swept regimes from power in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya and threatened to overthrow ruling elites across the region. Tragically, the Arab Spring has since become mired in counterrevolution and civil war with the extraordinary violence of the war in Syria, the rise of ISIS, the escalating refugee crisis, and the establishment of a new dictatorship in Egypt emblematic of the profound challenges facing the people of the region. As tumultuous events continue to unfold we present Verso's reading list of key titles addressing the developing situation in the Middle East.
This morning on Democracy Now!, Arun Kundnani responded to last night's warmongering, Islamophobic GOP Debate. The debate, which took place at GOP mega-donor and billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s casino in Las Vegas, was the first forum for the Republican candidates since Donald Trump proposed banning all Muslims from entering the United States. There are no meaningful variations between the nine Republican candidates, Kundnani explained: "The variations between them are the different ways in which we might abuse people’s rights and go to war."
The New York Times Magazine recently published a piece by Wes Enzinna about his experience teaching a journalism class in Rojava, an automous region of Syria (not recognized by the Assad regime, the UN, or NATO), a "secular utopia in ISIS's backyard" whose political philosophy is heavily informed by the work of Murray Bookchin.