Academic journal article Military Review

Al-Qaida, the Tribes, and the Government: Lessons and Prospects for Iraq's Unstable Triangle, Middle East Studies Occasional Papers Number Two

Academic journal article Military Review

Al-Qaida, the Tribes, and the Government: Lessons and Prospects for Iraq's Unstable Triangle, Middle East Studies Occasional Papers Number Two

Article excerpt

AL-QAIDA, THE TRIBES, AND THE GOVERNMENT: Lessons and Prospects for Iraq's Unstable Triangle, Middle East Studies Occasional Papers Number Two, Norman Cigar, Marine Corps University, Quantico, VA, 2011, 208 pages, $23.99

The success of the 2007 "Surge," and the brilliance of General David Petraeus in turning around a seemingly unbroken parade of bad news in Iraq have been extensively studied from the perspectives of Washington-level strategists and American tactical commanders on the ground. However, Norman Cigar's study examines this critical period in the Iraq conflict from the perspective of Iraqis at the province and village level, the "human terrain" so vital to the major U.S. victory and accompanying Al-Qaida failure.

The author is the director of Regional Studies at the Marine Corps University, with an extensive background in Middle East intelligence analysis for the Marine Corps and Army. Cigar's study profits from his use of original Arabic sources and obvious familiarity with the language and the culture, which set him apart from others writing on the region. He also shows a remarkable ability to examine events with detached neutrality, rather than seeing the region through the lens of U.S. objectives. His goal is to explain why, beginning in late 2006, key tribal leaders began to throw their support behind the U. …

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