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The Age of Jihad: Islamic State and the Great War for the Middle East

From the award-winning author of The Rise of Islamic State, the essential story of the Middle East’s disintegration
The Age of Jihad charts the turmoil of today’s Middle East and the devastating role the West has played in the region from 2001 to the present. Beginning with the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, Cockburn explores the vast geopolitical struggle that is the Sunni–Shia conflict, a clash that shapes the war on terror, western military interventions, the evolution of the insurgency, the civil wars in Yemen, Libya and Syria, the Arab Spring, the fall of regional dictators, and the rise of Islamic State.

As Cockburn shows in arresting detail, Islamic State did not explode into existence in Syria in the wake of the Arab Spring, as conventional wisdom would have it. The organization gestated over several years in occupied Iraq, before growing to the point where it can threaten the stability of the whole region. Cockburn was the first Western journalist to warn of the dangers posed by Islamic State. His originality and breadth of vision make The Age of Jihad the most in-depth analysis of the regional crisis in the Middle East to date.

Reviews

  • “Patrick Cockburn spotted the emergence of ISIS much earlier than anybody else and wrote about it with a depth of understanding that was just in a league of its own. Nobody else was writing that stuff at that time, and the judges wondered whether the Government should consider pensioning off the whole of MI6 and hiring Patrick Cockburn instead. The breadth of his knowledge and his ability make connections is phenomenal.”
  • “Quite simply, the best Western journalist at work in the Middle East today.”
  • “It is a brilliant tour d'horizon of the new wars, a chronicle compiled from despatches, notes and diaries. No one could be better placed for this task and no one else could have produced such a lucid and comprehensive account.”
  • “A fine and courageous journalist, who has displayed a sustained commitment to laying bare the tribulations of the Middle East...This book confirms Cockburn's reputation as a reporter and analyst.”
  • “This book is required reading for anyone who wants to try to understand the disaster. It should be compulsory reading for politicians, diplomats, defence chiefs and the academic think-tanks whose members make confident predictions, usually confounded by what follows.”
  • “A meticulous and blistering condemnation of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East”
  • “His reports coalesce here, giving life and shape to the forces of terror currently shaping the region and beyond. The book serves as a strong argument for sharpening the mind of each and every politician responsible for the continuing calamity”
  • “Likely to be a reference for future scholars. Cockburn's dispatches make for a somber, vivid, and gripping work of eyewitness history.”
  • “One of the best informed on-the-ground journalists. He was almost always correct on Iraq.”
  • “A compelling series of dispatches from a journalist who has learned the hard golden rule in Iraq: 'to forecast the worst possible outcome.'”

Blog

  • One Day Without Us—A Migrant Solidarity Reading List

    Today, the petition to rescind President Trump’s state visit to Britain signed by 1.8 million people will be debated in Parliament. Stop Trump demonstrations are planned for this evening across the country and are expected to draw more than 10,000 people to stand together in solidarity with migrants and against racism and Islamophobia.

    Trump’s racist, Islamophobic, anti-refugee and anti-immigrant politics are the same driving forces as those behind the Brexit vote to leave the EU. In the context of the rise of reactionary and xenophobic politics worldwide, the Stop Trump programme of opposition is a joint effort with the One Day Without Us movement, staging its first day of action today. Tens of thousands of migrants and their supporters are staging a walkout from workplaces and places of education to celebrate the contribution migrant workers make to British society. In particular, the action aims to highlight their importance to the British economy: withdrawing their labour for a day would cost the UK £328m – 4% of the country’s GDP.

    The British government is not just complicit with Trump's agenda: Theresa May has been a trailblazer in ramping up anti-migrant measures for years before her ascent to the premiership in her role as Home Secretary when she notoriously brought in 'go home' vans. While it debates the terms of Brexit, the government continues to run a brutal and inhumane detention system; demonise and deport migrants; refuse refugees, and extend the border regime deeper into British society, into our hospitals, schools and workplaces.

    Verso presents a reading list of books that challenge and expose right-wing narratives about migrant workers and refugees by contextualising crises rooted in the violence of capitalism, legacies of colonialism and war waged by the West. This selection includes books that provide us with histories of resistance from which we can draw strength and inspiration for the fightback ahead.

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  • The Militarization of Everything: A Reading List

     

    Obama had a dismal record of expanding the US drone program and killing civilians in the name of US security. His expansion of executive power to authorize drone attacks around the world has set a dangerous precedent for Trump to continue the US policy of war from above, in which innocent civilians are seen as collateral damage. The defense budget of the US ($622 billion spent on the military in 2016) accounts for almost 40 percent of the global total. 

    From Trump’s further militarization of our borders, trying to build a wall between the US and Mexico, banning people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the US, and increasing funding to militarize local police departments, now more than ever the administration’s embrace of military tactics at home and abroad must be resisted.

    Start by learning about the history of US imperialism and militarization with 40% off all books on the Militarization of Everything Reading List, with bundled ebooks where available and free shipping worldwide.

    The sale ends Sunday, February 12 at midnight UTC. 

    Click here to activate the discount.

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  • Perry Anderson and Suleiman Mourad: Islamism and the Contemporary Arab World

    At no other time has the image of Islam gained so much public attention. Yet, this image is replete with misinformation and ignorance about the theology, history and practice of Islam.

    In the Mosaic of Islam Perry Anderson and the acclaimed historian of Islam Suleiman Mourad aim to introduce the long history of Islam and its reception, from Muhammad to the present, in an open and accessible manner. In this extract from the book, Anderson and Mourad discuss the antagonism between Shiʿis and Sunnis, the causes and effects of the Arab Spring, Israel's place in the Middle East, and the history of Pan-Arabism.



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Other books by Patrick Cockburn