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The New Iraq

The New Iraq

3.0 2
by Joseph Braude

Iraq is the most ethnically diverse country in the Arab world today. The country's historical transformations have stemmed in part from conflict and contact with newcomers - invaders, itinerant preachers, traders, and refugees - who have each left their own mark and become integrated into Iraq's social fabric. After three major wars, 13 years of sanctions, and the


Iraq is the most ethnically diverse country in the Arab world today. The country's historical transformations have stemmed in part from conflict and contact with newcomers - invaders, itinerant preachers, traders, and refugees - who have each left their own mark and become integrated into Iraq's social fabric. After three major wars, 13 years of sanctions, and the domestic legacy of a police state, the country's isolation has worked to preserve and reinforce an old culture with attitudes and skill sets that other traditional societies would be hard pressed to match. In The New Iraq , Joseph Braude draws upon his deep knowledge of the country's history and people to show how a viable Iraqi economy will liberate its society and thereby transform the Middle East. A new religious establishment that fosters liberalism and interfaith dialogue in the spirit of the creative theosophical debates sponsored by the Caliphs of Baghdad in the 10th Century will promote ideals of coexistence and tolerance in countries that badly need them. By transforming its military from a force that threatens neighboring states into a 21st century army of nation-building and defense, Iraq can provide a model that strengthens security in the region and reduces bloated military budgets that divert public funds from investment in education, health, and industry. A viable Arab government spending less on defense and more on its people will raise expectations among societies-in the Gulf and all over the world— vis a vis their governments region-wide. Braude challenges all of us, from many countries and walks of life, to take part in facilitating Iraq's reintegration into the global economy. The recipe for a prosperous new Iraq will marry the external demands of the global marketplace with an internal reappropriation of the unique attributes of Iraqi civilization.

Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
The author leaves the impression that he is writing about what he hopes will happen in Iraq: He envisions an optimistic scenario that will bring positive change to the whole region. But in the book's last paragraph, he tells us he is not certain of what is coming. "Neither would I presume to tell you everything you need to know about Iraq nor would I advise you to regard its future as a slave of its past. The future is always a bunch of teenagers struggling with their parents and the world around them." — Caryle Murphy
Kirkus Reviews
White paper from a knowledgeable civilian on how to reconstruct Iraq in the aftermath of war. Debut author Braude brings solid credentials to bear on the advice he offers here to governments and nongovernmental organizations alike. Holder of a graduate degree from Princeton in Islamic studies, fluent in Arabic, Hebrew, and Farsi, the 28-year-old Iraqi-American also has close connections to the dissident and exile community. All of these capabilities come into play here, as Braude impresses upon his readers that Iraq is far more than Saddam Hussein. Not only is it the long-ago birthplace of civilization, but until very recently, at its best and most thriving before Saddam’s Ba’ath Party set about its years-long campaign of suppression, Iraq was a multicultural nation, its people well educated and tolerant--all key ingredients, the author suggests, for the good state that can and should follow Saddam’s ouster. Many elements must be brought into the work of reconstruction, Braude writes, from the Iraqi army (which would be trimmed substantially to numbers that "ultimately depend on the level of American commitment to Baghdad’s security," especially in the face of potential threats from Turkey and Iran) to the deprogrammed agents of the secret police, from teachers to lawyers and judges to expatriates, who will introduce "an inflow of ideological capital" that should serve to further the cause of democracy. Braude predicts good things: the flowering of a culture that has been driven underground, expressing itself in forms ranging from pop music to journalism; the reemergence of a civil society; the establishment of peace and prosperity in the region. All of which, in his optimistic view,could serve to prove "that the hell Iraqis have endured in recent years may mean very little in the grand scheme of things." A thoughtful set of well-expressed recommendations, deserving of a wide audience among those charged with making big decisions about the world.

Product Details

Basic Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.85(d)

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The New Iraq: Rebuilding the Country for its People, the Middle East, and the World 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I hope everyone by now has read the stories about the arrest of Joseph Braude by the customs police in JFK for smuggling ancient and priceless Iraqi artifacts from Baghdad on his recent secret trip there. He even refused to admit that he went to Iraq to the police. This should give all those critics and reviewers who claim this guy has any desire to improve the lot of the Iraqi people something to think about. Also, Braude is not the expert some critics are claiming. A simple background check on the Internet clearly shows that this aurthor had as little as 1.5 years of work experience in the Middle East, let alone Iraq. Plus, he worked out of Cambridge during that time, and not the Middle East itself. This is all not to mention that he was simply a research analyst at his company, which is an entry level position at the company. Therefore, any bogus claims of expertise and experience is wildely exaggerated.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw Mr. Braude on the Today Show and immediately purchased his new book, which is a true gem. 'The New Iraq' is informative, lyrical, and imaginative all at once. We have so little knowledge of Iraq or its people beyond the name 'Saddam Hussein' - and this book more than fills in our knowledge gap. The opening section on 'Memory' is a succinct account of Iraqi history, told through music, religion, and culture. The section includes unique coverage of Iraqi pop songs and Braude's encounter with an Iraqi spy over dinner in Tehran. The following section, 'Power,' envisions positive roles for ex-Ba'ath Party members ('The Party's Over' is one chapter's sharp title), the religious establishment, and the Iraqi army. 'Money' offers a fascinating view of current industry, commerce, advertising, and social status in Iraq - full of data and vivid vignettes, including profiles of 'Cats of the Embargo', smugglers who've hit it big under sanctions. But my favorite section is the last one on 'Truth' - how to jumpstart a free press, a fair legal system, a non-fascist education system, and even the Iraqi film industry. Don't miss an incredible account of Iraqi anime movies. Throughout, Braude displays humor, optimism, and imagination, but also a profoundly sober realism about how genuine transformation of Iraq will likely take generations. In all, there is no book like this one, with its balanced political tone, its deft combination of business and culture, and its insight culled from unearthed nuggets of daily life in Iraq. I hope every American soldier, diplomat, reporter -- and TV watcher -- reads this book. With it, we will be better informed and more humane partners in the rebuilding of Iraq.