Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Iraq in Transition

Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Iraq in Transition

Article excerpt

Iraq in Transition. By Peter J. Munson. Washington: Potomac Books, 2009. 321 pp. $35.

Munson, a U.S. Marine officer with broad experience in the Middle East, synthesizes a narrative of the war in Iraq with explanations of the social, cultural, and political roots of the postwar conflict. He states, "The intent of this book is to describe how the legacies of Saddam Hussein's rule and the longer sweep of history in Iraq produced the conditions that fueled insurgency, sectarian warfare, and intra-sectarianpohucal maneuvering and violence." Munson is careful not to argue that events were predestined although he does argue that had U. S. policymakers been more aware, they could have mitigated the crisis.

Munson understands historiography and integrates historical background into the narrative. He includes canonical studies of Iraq and also draws upon more recent works. However, he borrows too much from these headline-grabbing but often flawed works, rather than fact-checking from scratch and, thus, sometimes repeats their errors. Hence, he labels Douglas Feithhead of the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans when he was in fact undersecretary of defense for policy. Likewise, he exaggerates the role assigned to Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmad Chalabi by the Pentagon while at the same time misstating basic biographical information, seemingly unaware that Chalabi had returned to Iraq - the Kurdish part at least - in 1991 and not, as Munson writes, in 2003.

Unlike many instant Iraq experts, Munson recognizes that power among tribal, religious, and other groups was not constant over time though he does not delve deeply enough into its ebb and flow. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.