Middle East Studies

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The Iraq War

Hidden Agendas and Babylonian Intrigue
The Regional Impact on Shi'ites, Kurds, Sunnis and Arabs

Author Text to Follow

Through the prism of the three major conflicts during Saddam’s reign – The Iran–Iraq War, the Gulf War (1991) and the climax to Middle East tensions, the War on Iraq (2003) – Raphael Israeli exposes the tyranny, deception and terror synonymous with the Ba’ath regime. Focusing on Iraq’s demographic populations – the Shi’ites in the south, the Kurdish north, and the Sunni ruling minority – the author documents the difficulties America faces internally as rulers of an occupied land, and internationally as a perceived unilateralist aggressor. The Iraq War contains revealing insights into Saddam’s nuclear, chemical and biological programs, his sponsorship of terrorist groups, and his collaboration with other countries, including Syria and France. Testimonies of scientists, along with Israeli’s intelligent analysis, expose the true scale of WMD proliferation in Ba’athist Iraq.

The term ‘Babylonian intrigue’ is used to describe the confusion, chaos and misinterpretation of language that has taken hold in the aftermath of the war. The author provides a penetrating analysis of the social, political, economic, and strategic ruptures the Iraq War has caused in inter-Arab relations and the Islamic world. The book concludes with an evaluation of who won and who gained from this war, and what the future holds for Iraqis, Muslims, and the West.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-903900-89-5
Hardback Price: £55.00 / $67.50
Release Date: March 2004
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-903900-90-1
Paperback Price: £17.95 / $27.95
Release Date: March 2004
Page Extent / Format: 296 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No



1 Iraq under Saddam
2 Iraqi and Coalition War Strategies
3 Shi'ites in the South
4 Kurds in the North
5 Baghdad in the Center
6 The Hidden Agenda: Oil, Terror and WMD
7 Ruling from Horseback
8 Arab and Muslim Fears: Images, Loyalties, Wishes, Delusions
9 Iraq, America and the New Middle East


A remarkable, informative analysis of the dynamics of ethnic, tribal, and religious politics in Iraq. Israeli proceeds by providing a history of Iraq under Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime and the regime’s linkage to and support of terrorism. Successive chapters focus on the Shi’ite, Kurdish, and Sunni communities. There is an important emphasis on Baghdad because of its strategic geographical position and the fact that a fourth of Iraq’s population lives there. Other chapters are devoted to Arab and Muslim fears; and Iraq, America, and the new Middle East. These essays are helpful to understand the anxieties and misconceptions about the West pervasive in the Arab world. Recommended.

Writer Raphael Israeli combines the qualities of the historian, the expert of Islam, the remarkable linguist and connoisseur of American politics which make him the right man to write the chronicle of the 2003 war against Iraq. The Iraq War is a true chronicle in the original sense of the word: close to its resources and written from the perspective of an eyewitness. It is dramatic history, well written and the writer is always aware of weaknesses within greatness. The US/UK operation was disliked by the majority of the public opinion, the actors often confused and the outcome still uncertain. However, the writer convincingly argues that the rationale behind the war was right and US/UK policy-makers were driven by a staunch belief that often characterizes great historical moments. Israeli’s most impressive chapter is the last one. It is an eye-opener for a liberal Western audience that often has an impressionistic and romantic image of the Middle East whereas the Middle East is a trap for all those who cannot read the mind of its rulers.
Marc Cogen, Professor of International Law, University of Ghent

In lucid language, The Iraq War presents the detailed drama of the American-British campaign, examining the complex tribal, religious, and ethnic components of this varied country. Written with insight and sympathy, this book should be a basic source for all readers and students interested in a New Middle East within which Iraq, in seeking cohesion and stability, is a primary player on the political chessboard.
Dr. Mordechai Nisan, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

“Raphael Israeli’s book provides significant insights for understanding the multifaceted aspects of the war in Iraq. Utilizing his wide knowledge of Middle Eastern societies and politics, Professor Israeli throws new light on the realities of the war, and offers valuable analysis of the impact of the war in terms of the future of Iraq (including ethnic divisions and religious–sectarian diversities), the evolution of the strategic situation in the Middle East – including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey– as well as the role and influence of the United States in the region. This in-depth study depicts the present crisis Iraq finds itself in, set against the background of its historical setting. The Iraq War represents an important tool in understanding the recent events that have taken place at the heart of the most sensitive region in the world today.” David Menashri, Parviz and Pouran Nazarian Chair for Modern Iranian Studies, Tel Aviv University

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