AFTER IRAQ by Gwynne Dyer


Anarchy and Renewal in the Middle East
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The neocon faithful diligently search for the good news out of Iraq, which they complain the media never covers—what London-based military analyst Dyer offers will be kryptonite to that crowd.

There’s not a speck of good news here, unless you’re in al-Qaeda—or unless you take a very long view of history, in which case Dyer’s consolation that by 2100, possibly even as early as 2050, Islamism will have quieted down. “Historically,” he notes, “great religious revivals of this sort usually have a life cycle of one to two generations, and it’s unlikely that this one will follow different rules.” That said, he ventures the possibility that an Islamic Republic of Arabia may figure in the atlas in the near future, or an independent Kurdistan, or “almost anything you care to imagine.” The United States will have nothing to say about the matter, he adds, because it “is going home hurt,” shamed and broken in Iraq, having started off right in Afghanistan and gone wrong at every step thereafter. It may have to abandon Israel in retreat, largely because of “a growing desire on the part of the American public to have as little as possible to do with the perennial and intractable problems of the Middle East.” This will definitely worsen matters in the region, which, in one set of scenarios Dyer presents, will be a very different place from the Middle East we know today. To name one possibility, in the wake of a crushing American defeat and the diminution of American influence in the world, a kinder, gentler Taliban will be back in power in Afghanistan, while Iraq will have disintegrated, Iran will be the dominant regional power and international law will lie bleeding.

A lucid but grim accounting of the bites earned and yet to come by our government’s having shaken up a hornet’s nest.

Pub Date: Feb. 19th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-312-37845-5
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2007


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