The Washington Post
Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle Eastby Deborah Amos
The history of the Middle East tells us that one of the greatest problems of the last forty years
Hundreds of thousands of Sunni Muslims displaced or exiled by the conflict in Iraq have spread across the Middle East, unbalancing that sensitive region. From Amman to Beirut and Damascus, Deborah Amos follows the impact of one of the great migrations of modern times.
The history of the Middle East tells us that one of the greatest problems of the last forty years has been that of a displaced population, angered by their inability to safely return home and resume ownership of their propertyas they see it. Now, the pattern has been repeated. A new population of exiles, as large as the Palestinians, has been created.
This particular displacement stirs up the historic conflict between Sunni and Shia. More significant even than the creation of colonial nation states a century ago, the alienation of the Sunni middle class has the capacity to cause resounding resentments across the region for generations to come.
The Washington Post
George Packer, author of The Assassin’s Gate: America in Iraq and Interesting Times: Writings from a Turbulent Decade
"Deborah Amos stuck around to trace the fallout from the Iraq War after most other journalists had moved on. And she already had decades of experience in the region under her belt. This commitment to the story has allowed her to see the war in its true historical context: as a Middle Eastern earthquake that will forever change the power equation between Sunnis and Shia, and as a vast human tragedy. These are not abstractions in ‘Eclipse of the Sunnis’: Amos’ intelligence and heart as a reporter make the fate of Iraq’s millions of refugees unforgettably intimate.”
Bob Carey, vice president of Resettlement and Migration Policy at the International Rescue Committee; chair of Refugee Council USA
“A compelling book. Deborah Amos documents the collapse of a rich culture and society and violence behind the creation of a global diaspora. Amos movingly details the human toll of the war. She gives a face and a voice to the hundreds of thousands of refugees who are the forgotten collateral damage of the conflict.”
“Memo to President Obama: Take this book with you to Camp David for the weekend. Then insist your foreign policy and national security teams read it, and schedule a time to test them orally on their retention. The reporting here contains the seeds of our future in Iraq and the Middle East.”
“Millions of Iraqis, mostly Sunnis, [have] fled the country, creating a refugee crisis that has only recently been acknowledged as such by the U.S. government…. Amos deftly examines the political and cultural consequences of the marginalization of the Sunnis while focusing on individual Iraqis who have fled to such countries as Syria and Lebanon in the wake of a new sectarian and tribal-based order in Iraq…. Amos’s breathtaking work implicates not only shortsighted American policy but the age-old schism between Sunni and Shia and the cagey maneuverings of such meddling neighbors as Syria. The weight and complexity of the Iraqi problem is on full display, with shreds of hope pushing through the layers like scrub in the desert.”
Trudy Rubin, Philadelphia Inquirer
“A fascinating new book.”
“Poignant… Powerful…. Amos is a skillful writer and a perceptive analyst…. Eclipse of the Sunnis is persuasive and very well written.”
Brian Till, Atlantic.com
“Deb Amos, it turns out, is as eloquent on the page as she is on the airwaves as a foreign correspondent for National Public Radio. More than a poetic read, though, (Eclipse) is an innately human story about the toll of the war; it should be required reading for all of those weighing bombing campaigns and land assaults, and, indeed, for those pontificating in favor of them from Washington think tanks or London editorial rooms.”
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Meet the Author
Deborah Amos covers Iraq for NPR News. Her reports can be heard on NPR’s award-winning Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. She spent a decade working in television news, including ABC’s Nightline and World News Tonight and the PBS programs NOW with Bill Moyers and Frontline. She lives in New York City.
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