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Bush in Babylon: The Recolonisation of Iraq

The bestselling history of the resistance in Iraq that vitalized the antiwar movement, fully updated.
The assault and capture of Iraq — and the resistance it has provoked — will shape the politics of the twenty-first century. In this passionate and provocative book, Tariq Ali provides a history of Iraqi resistance against empires old and new, and argues against the view that sees imperialist occupation as the only viable solution to bring about regime-change in corrupt and dictatorial states. Like the author’s previous work, The Clash of Fundamentalisms, this book presents a magnificent cultural history.

Detailing the longstanding imperial ambitions of key figures in the Bush administration and how war profiteers close to Bush are cashing in, Bush in Babylon is unique in moving beyond the corporate looting by the US military government to offer the reader an expert and in-depth analysis of the extent of resistance to the US occupation in Iraq.

On 15 February 2003, eight million people marched on the streets of five continents against a war that had not yet begun. A historically unprecedented number of people rejected official justifications for war that the secular Ba'ath Party of Iraq was connected to al-Qaeda or that “weapons of mass destruction” existed in the region, outside of Israel.

More people than ever are convinced that the greatest threat to peace comes from the center of the American empire and its satrapies, with Blair and Sharon as lieutenants to the Commander-in-Chief. Examining how countries from Japan to France eventually rushed to support US aims, as well as the futile UN resistance, Tariq Ali proposes a re-founding of Mark Twain's mammoth American Anti-Imperialist League (which included William James, W.E.B. DuBois, William Dean Howells, and John Dewey) to carry forward the antiwar movement. Meanwhile, as Iraqis show unexpected hostility and independence, rather than gratitude, for “liberation,” Ali is unique is uncovering the depth of the resistance now occurring inside occupied Iraq.

Reviews

  • “The charm of stylish dissent: less Chomsky, more poetry. Empires may come and go but Tariq Ali, the rebel who has lost the streets but gained the ghettos, is here to stay, to fight on ... Buy his spirit.”
  • “Caustic warnings run through Bush in Babylon: The Recolonisation of Iraq by Tariq Ali ... who criticises pro-American academic and media apologists for stressing that Bush's policies are 'the only way to stabilise the world' ... undeniably passionate.”
  • “A precious jewel of a book.”
  • “Hard facts, sharp political analysis and literary insertions that evoke the richness of Arab culture ... unlikely to soothe the middle-class nerves of our harmony-seeking 'Gutmenschen.'”
  • “Tari Ali … has poured all his caustic verve and literary talent into this essay on the modern history of Iraq. Drawing on the work of great Arab historians, but also on personal testimony and the works of different Iraqi poets, he reconstitutes the principal moments of a tragic history — a pitiless dissection of the lies used by the Anglo-American leaders to legitimate their recent imperial expedition in Iraq.”
  • “A strikingly erudite tour of Iraqi and Middle Eastern history and, at points, a survey of the work of secular-nationalist Arabic poets such as the Syrian Nizar Qabbani and the Iraqi exile Mudhaffar al-Nawab.”
  • “An often compelling insider’s perspective — with some valuable insights into the sensitivities that explain why the occupying coalition in Iraq is not being treated as a savior.”

Blog

  • Writing on Iraq in the Aftermath of War: A Reading List on the "War on Terror"

    What can be learned from Iraq's recent past — a past haunted by imperial power — to help us critically engage with the present cycle of violence in Iraq?

    Verso has been actively publishing books over the last decade that addresses the conflict in Iraq. Below is a list of critical texts that seeks to contextualize the disaster which has resulted from the US and UK "War on Terror".


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  • The Unknown Known: Donald Rumsfeld and his legacy

    Donald Rumsfeld's political career, and unique management style, comes under close scrutiny in a new film from Errol Morris, director of The Fog of War. At the centre of the film is a powerful interview with Rumsfeld by the director which focuses specifically on the pivotal role the former Secretary of Defense played in the provocations and untruths that lead up to the invasion of Iraq. The film is structured around tens of thousands of snowflakes — memos and missives fired off by Rumsfeld over the course of his political career, which shed light on the political manouverings that steered him through the Nixon administration and Watergate all the way to the Pentagon. Peering straight down the camera lens, Rumsfeld recites key "snowflakes" relating to his career and the drive to war with Iraq. 

    To mark the launch of The Unknown Known, Verso has two tickets to the film's UK premiere in London up for grabs, alongside copies of Andrew Cockburn's Rumsfeld and Tariq Ali's Bush in Babylon. To win, simply answer the following question:

    Donald Rumsfeld served as Secretary of Defense for 2,585 days. Which U.S. politician served as Secretary of Defense for longer than Rumsfeld?

    E-mail your answer to james@verso.co.uk by 5pm GMT on Friday 14th March for your chance to win. 

    The premiere, which includes a Q&A with director Errol Morris, is at the Curzon Cinema, Soho at 6:20pm, Monday 17th March.
  • Tariq Ali: "This is an Arab 1848. But US hegemony is only dented"

    Drawing parallels with Europe in 1848, Tariq Ali, writing for the Guardian, remarks that like those European rebels, the

    Arab people are fighting against foreign domination (82% of Egyptians, a recent opinion poll revealed, have a "negative view of the US"); against the violation of their democratic rights; against an elite blinded by its own illegitimate wealth - and in favour of economic justice. 

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Other books by Tariq Ali