Bush in Babylon: The Recolonization of Iraq

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The assault and capture of Iraq—and the resistance it has provoked—will shape the politics of the twenty-first century. In this passionate and provocative book, Tariq Ali provides a history of Iraqi resistance against empires old and new, and argues against the view that sees imperialist occupation as the only viable solution to bring about regime-change in corrupt and dictatorial states. Like the author’s previous work, The Clash of Fundamentalisms, this book presents a ...
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Overview

The assault and capture of Iraq—and the resistance it has provoked—will shape the politics of the twenty-first century. In this passionate and provocative book, Tariq Ali provides a history of Iraqi resistance against empires old and new, and argues against the view that sees imperialist occupation as the only viable solution to bring about regime-change in corrupt and dictatorial states. Like the author’s previous work, The Clash of Fundamentalisms, this book presents a magnificent cultural history.

Detailing the longstanding imperial ambitions of key figures in the Bush administration and how war profiteers close to Bush are cashing in, Bush in Babylon is unique in moving beyond the corporate looting by the US military government to offer the reader an expert and in-depth analysis of the extent of resistance to the US occupation in Iraq.

On 15 February 2003, eight million people marched on the streets of five continents against a war that had not yet begun. A historically unprecedented number of people rejected official justifications for war that the secular Ba’ath Party of Iraq was connected to al-Qaeda or that “weapons of mass destruction” existed in the region, outside of Israel.

More people than ever are convinced that the greatest threat to peace comes from the center of the American empire and its satrapies, with Blair and Sharon as lieutenants to the Commander-in-Chief. Examining how countries from Japan to France eventually rushed to support US aims, as well as the futile UN resistance, Tariq Ali proposes a re-founding of Mark Twain’s mammoth American Anti-Imperialist League (which included William James, W.E.B. DuBois, William Dean Howells, and John Dewey) to carry forward the antiwar movement. Meanwhile, as Iraqis show unexpected hostility and independence, rather than gratitude, for “liberation,” Ali is unique is uncovering the depth of the resistance now occurring inside occupied Iraq.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The charm of stylish dissent: less Chomsky, more poetry. Empires may come and go but Tariq Ali, the rebel who has lost the streets but gained the ghettos, is here to stay, to fight on ... Buy his spirit.”—India Today

“Caustic warnings run through Bush in Babylon: The Recolonisation of Iraq by Tariq Ali ... who criticises pro-American academic and media apologists for stressing that Bush’s policies are ‘the only way to stabilise the world’ ... undeniably passionate.”—Financial Times

“A precious jewel of a book.”—Il Manifesto, Rome

“Hard facts, sharp political analysis and literary insertions that evoke the richness of Arab culture ... unlikely to soothe the middle-class nerves of our harmony-seeking ‘Gutmenschen.’”—Suddeutsche Zeitung

“Tariq Ali ... has poured all his caustic verve and literary talent into this essay on the modern history of Iraq. Drawing on the work of great Arab historians, but also on personal testimony and the works of different Iraqi poets, he reconstitutes the principal moments of a tragic history—a pitiless dissection of the lies used by the Anglo-American leaders to legitimate their recent imperial expedition in Iraq.”—Le Monde Diplomatique

“A strikingly erudite tour of Iraqi and Middle Eastern history and, at points, a survey of the work of secular-nationalist Arabic poets such as the Syrian Nizar Qabbani and the Iraqi exile Mudhaffar al-Nawab.”—Philadelphia City Paper

“An often compelling insider’s perspective—with some valuable insights into the sensitivities that explain why the occupying coalition in Iraq is not being treated as a savior.”—New York Times Book Review

Publishers Weekly
London-based writer and filmmaker Ali has followed his careful and elaborate study of Islam and imperialism, The Clash of Fundamentalisms, with this short and quick response to the 2003 Iraq war. This time around, he delivers a plaintive, choppy rant instead of an organized, thorough analysis. Appalled by Western (he calls it Northern) arrogance, he begins by condemning local collaborators and praising the "purity and moral integrity" of poets and children (who taunt the occupiers). After two chapters of this high-handedness, he rapidly shifts his focus away from the social and cultural and launches into a political history of modern Iraq. Starting with the post-WWI British occupation and ending with the current U.S.-British occupation, he contends that the era between these official occupations was an interruption of the natural expansion of the capitalist order by the very real threat of a global Communist revolution. The countries of the South might not have been physically occupied by the rival Northern powers, but they were patronized, infiltrated and manipulated. The current conquest of Iraq, Ali concludes, is "part of a long historical process that was disrupted by the twentieth century and is now back on course." What disrupted the process was the Cold War, and now that the Soviet Union is gone, there is no serious obstacle-other than indigenous resistance-in the path of colonial capitalism. Ali's summary of history from inside the radical Arab left-he gives extended attention to 1958, the peak of popularity for the Iraqi Communist Party-is intended as "a warning to both occupier and resister" that the current course of history is toward more violence and inequality. (Nov. 6) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781859845837
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 10/19/2003
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Tariq Ali is a writer and filmmaker. He has written more than a dozen books on world history and politics—including Pirates of the Caribbean, Bush in Babylon, The Clash of Fundamentalisms and The Obama Syndrome—as well as five novels in his Islam Quintet series and scripts for the stage and screen. He is an editor of the New Left Review and lives in London.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
1 Introduction: Living with the Enemy 1
2 The Jackals' Wedding 18
3 An Oligarchy of Racketeers 42
4 Colonels and Communists 66
5 Ba'athism, Saddam and Gumhurriya 102
6 War and Empire 144
7 Empires and Resistance 172
App Christopher Hitchens and the First Gulf War 199
Index 209
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2003

    Five Stars

    This enlightening book is almost impossible to put down. It is a well written account of the regional history, political intrigue and of culture, with some mild focus on the current US involvement in the region. On the negative side, Tariq Ali tries to be overly diplomatic rather he seems to be afraid of hurting ¿American¿ sensibilities.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2003

    Brilliant

    In addition to the book, I heard Mr. Ali on my visit to Mt. Holyoke College. He gave an eloquent speech followed by the customary Q&A. The speech itself and way he handled the responses from the crowd was nothing short of brilliant.

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