Books by Andrew Cockburn

KILL CHAIN by Andrew Cockburn
NON-FICTION
Released: March 10, 2015

"Sharp-eyed and disturbing, especially Cockburn's concluding assessment that, nourished by an unending flow of money, 'the assassination machine is here to stay.'"
An examination of the rise of the present generation of killing machines, antiseptic and seemingly inescapable. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 8, 1999

A fascinating history of the global and regional intrigues and miscues that have allowed Saddam Hussein to defiantly survive. The authors, both widely published journalists in the fields of international relations and Middle East politics, contend that in the wake of the Gulf War, if Saddam was to survive, "his enemies would have to make a lot of mistakes." And this they did. Central to the story, of course, is the US, which could never quite decide what it wanted. Wishing to be rid of Saddam but fearing a destabilized Iraq, the US called publicly for a popular uprising but gave only lukewarm support to such efforts. Rebellion in the south was thought to be backed by Iran. Rebellion in the north, among Iraqi Kurds, was seen as a threat to US ally Turkey, with its own growing Kurdish rebellions. For their part, resistance groups could never get their acts together. Two CIA-sponsored exile groups ended up fighting each other. The Kurds ended up in a civil war among competing factions, allowing Saddam to reassert his power in the north. Economic sanctions did work to cripple Iraq's economy but at the cost of extreme deprivation among the Iraqi people, a public relations disaster both in Iraq and around the world. More effective have been arms inspections in Iraq to uncover weapons of mass destruction. Yet once it was clear that economic sanctions would end only with the end of Saddam himself, he had little incentive to comply with the demands of weapons inspectors. And all the while, through absolute cruelty and terror—and the skillful manipulation of clan and religious factions among Iraq's elite—Saddam has remained firmly in power. With access to top US foreign policy makers as well as to Iraqi officials, the Cockburns authoritatively, and with clarity, recount a series of events that would be comic if they were not so tragic. Among the best books yet written on the malignant enigma that is Saddam Hussein. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: July 31, 1991

A critical, impressively researched history of US-Israeli relations by Andrew (The Threat: Inside the Soviet Military Machine, 1983) and Leslie (Out of Control, 1987, not reviewed) Cockburn. Coming in the wake of the Gulf War, the Intifada, the Pollard espionage debacle, and the Bush Administration's somewhat revisionist attitude toward Israel, the authors' study is more than timely. Beginning with a brief, unsentimental version of Israeli history that has little in common with the establishment line, the two outline the forces, attitudes, and personalities that shaped the creation of that country and its formidable intelligence service, Mossad. From this grows the carefully crafted thesis that Mossad's most significant achievement has been the development of an enduring entente with the US via intelligence rather than conventional channels, the whole conceived by the legendary Reuven Shiloah and accepted by David Ben-Gurion. The authors also contend that rather than avoid the use of diaspora Jews in the gathering of intelligence, Mossad has heavily and successfully relied on them, as in the case of the Pollards. The direct connection between the Lehi terrorist group, the assassination of Count Bernadotte (instrumental in getting Jews out of Europe in WW II), and Shamir is explicated in detail, along with an Israeli entrepreneur's involvement in supplying Chinese ballistic missiles to Saudi Arabia. Current Israeli cat's-paw activities on behalf of the CIA and involvement in US domestic affairs, including presidential elections, are also revealed, with somewhat less perspective. This is no thrown-together post-Gulf product, but an unflinching, fact-packed, closely reasoned exploration of our relations with our strongest ally in the Middle East. Read full book review >