Download PDF

In the October–November 2015 issue of Survival, Avis Bohlen, Mark Fitzpatrick, Michael Hanna, Dalia Dassa Kaye, Thomas Moore and Bruno Tertrais discuss the ramifications of the Iranian nuclear deal and the extent of Iran’s regional influence; William Walker and Erik Jones examine dilemmas of nationalism and disunion in Europe; Lawrence Freedman explores the art of exhaustion in strategy; Elinor Sloan outlines the role of robotics at war; Peter Dombrowski and Simon Reich sketch out the strategy of ‘sponsorship’; Christopher Fettweis identifies symptoms of misreading the enemy; Ben Fishman and Alexa van Sickle contribute review essays on Libya and Cuba; Teresita Schaffer, H.R. McMaster, Pierre Hassner and Ray Takeyh contribute book reviews; and Matthew Harries outlines the challenge for Labour under Jeremy Corbyn.

South Asia

The Pashtun Question: The Unresolved Key to the Future of Pakistan and Afghanistan

Abubakar Siddique. London: C. Hurst & Co., 2014. £30.00/$45.00. 271 pp.

Combining eyewitness accounts with detailed research, Siddique traces the roots of instability and conflict in contemporary Pakistan and Afghanistan. He argues that the spate of extremist violence plaguing the region stems from tensions created by the political and economic alienation of the countries’ Pashtun populations.

The Pariah Problem: Caste, Religion, and the Social in Modern India

Rupa Viswanath. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014. £41.50/$60.00. 416 pp.

Viswanath explores the consequences of ‘misguided’ efforts to address the oppression of India’s Dalit population. She argues that a historical focus on the religious and social aspects of discrimination against Dalits has ignored the structural reforms required to economically and politically empower them.

Battles of the New Republic: A Contemporary History of Nepal

Prashant Jha. London: C. Hurst & Co., 2014. £17.99/$30.00. 358 pp.

Drawing on interviews with key officials, Jha traces Nepal’s political evolution since the 1950s, a period marked by transitions from war to peace, from monarchy to republic and from a unitary to a potentially federal state. The role of India and of caste in Nepali governance is also discussed.

The Taliban: Afghanistan’s Most Lethal Insurgents

Mark Silinsky. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2014. $52.00. 263 pp.

Army intelligence analyst Mark Silinsky presents a comprehensive history of the Taliban, exploring its evolving ideology, political power and dispute with the United States. After outlining the group’s current capabilities and goals, he predicts its probable next steps, and details the counter-insurgency methods with which coalition troops are likely to respond.

The Struggle for Pakistan: A Muslim Homeland and Global Politics

Ayesha Jalal. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2014. £25.00/$35.00. 435 pp.

In this study of Pakistan’s evolution since 1947, Jalal identifies those factors she believes have shaped its development into a country plagued by religious extremism and military authoritarianism. These include internal political and ethnic conflicts, and the country’s tense relations with India, Afghanistan and the US.

How India Became Territorial: Foreign Policy, Diaspora, Geopolitics

Itty Abraham. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2014. £35.00/$50.00. 217 pp.

Focusing on the experiences of twentieth-century India in particular, Abraham seeks an Asia-specific answer to the question of why states go to war over disputed lands, even when such territories are ‘economically and strategically worthless’.

Schools for Conflict or for Peace in Afghanistan

Dana Burde. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014. £27.50/$40.00. 232 pp.

Burde argues that past efforts to promote stability in Afghanistan by directing foreign aid toward educational initiatives have often been misguided and counterproductive. Instead, she suggests that current initiatives must do more to expand equal access to community-based education and to encourage both boys and girls to increase their attendance at school.

The Engagement of India: Strategies and Responses

Ian Hall, ed. Washington DC: Georgetown University Press, 2014. £24.00/$29.95. 217 pp.

Contributing experts present a comparative study of national engagement strategies toward a rising India, focusing specifically on Australia, China, Japan, Russia and the US. The volume also explores India’s own efforts to improve its relations with Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Central Asian republics.

Indian National Security and Counter-Insurgency: The Use of Force vs Non-Violent Response

Namrata Goswami. Abingdon: Routledge, 2015. £85.00/$155.00. 217 pp.

After outlining the origins and content of India’s national-security policy, Goswami assesses the country’s efforts to combat insurgency through negotiation rather than military action. She examines counter-insurgency operations from 1947 to the present, seeking to identify the most effective approaches to this ongoing challenge.

Globalization and India’s Economic Integration

Baldev Raj Nayar. Washington DC: Georgetown University Press, 2014. $69.95. 288 pp.

Dismissing claims that India’s increased exposure to the global market has damaged its national economy, Nayar argues that this process has ultimately strengthened the country’s internal financial system. He contends that domestic economic integration has increased as a result of policies aimed at preparing India for participation in the world economy.

Pakistan’s Enduring Challenges

C. Christine Fair and Sarah J. Watson, eds. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015. $69.95. 320 pp.

South Asia experts consider Pakistan’s future following the 2014 US withdrawal from neighbouring Afghanistan. They analyse how pressing concerns such as Islamic extremism, nuclear proliferation and ongoing CIA drone strikes will impact the volatile country’s prospects for success.

Democracy Indian Style: Subhas Chandra Bose and the Creation of India’s Political Culture

Anton Pelinka. Renée Schell, trans. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2015. $34.95. 318 pp.

Pelinka traces the history of Indian democracy by studying the life and ideas of prominent nationalist leader Subhas Chandra Bose (1897–1945). He combines this with a detailed assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of India’s constitution, and of the key contributing factors to the country’s democratic success.

India’s Rise as an Asian Power: Nation Neighborhood, and Region

Sandy Gordon. Washington DC: Georgetown University Press, 2014. £24.00/$29.95. 264 pp.

Despite rapid progress in recent decades, India continues to face numerous domestic, regional and international obstacles to development. Gordon argues that resolving governance and security issues such as terrorism, border disputes and water shortages will be key to ensuring the country’s future as a truly competitive global power.

Basic Income: A Transformative Policy for India

Sarath Davala et al. London: Bloomsbury Press, 2015. £19.99/$29.95. 248 pp.

After studying two pilot programmes implemented in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, Davala et al. advocate the provision of a basic income to all Indian citizens. They argue that the great cost of such a policy would be justified by its significant positive effect on both human and economic development.

The Longest August: The Unflinching Rivalry between India and Pakistan

Dilip Hiro. New York: Nation Books, 2015. £19.99/$35.00. 528 pp.

The tensions and conflict surrounding the partition of British India in August 1947 remain largely unchanged nearly seven decades later. Hiro examines the evolving Indo-Pakistani relationship throughout this period, tracing how political, cultural and territorial disputes have rendered this conflict one of broader geopolitical significance.

A Storm of Songs: India and the Idea of the Bhakti Movement

John Stratton Hawley. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015. $49.95. 464 pp.

Hawley offers a history of India’s ‘bhakti movement’ – a ‘religion of heart, of song [and] of common participation’ commonly seen as contributing to Indian national unity. He seeks to challenge the traditional narrative of its emergence, detailing the ways in which he believes various sociological forces have interacted to produce ‘a powerful political resource’.

From Sufism to Ahmadiyya: A Muslim Minority Movement in South Asia

Adil Hussain Khan. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2015. £25.00/$50.00. 277 pp.

Khan examines the origins of the controversial South Asian Ahmadi Islam movement and its progression from a Sufi-style brotherhood to a major international organisation. He explores the persecution members of this movement have faced from other Muslim sects, studying how this experience has shaped Ahmadi identity.

The Arabs at War in Afghanistan

Mustafa Hamid and Leah Farrall. London: C. Hurst & Co., 2015. £20.00/$25.00. 355 pp.

A former senior member of the mujahideen and an ex-counter-terrorism analyst explore the history of Arab fighters in Afghanistan through conversations recorded over several years. In particular, they seek to identify the earliest roots of al-Qaeda and the Taliban in an effort to contextualise the activities of contemporary militant Salafi groups.

War, Conflict and the Military

The Accidental Admiral: A Sailor Takes Command at NATO

Admiral James Stavridis, US Navy (Ret.). Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2014. $32.95. 244 pp.

Admiral James Stavridis, sixteenth Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, shares his insights on leadership, strategy and future threats to global security. He also discusses his experiences directing NATO operations in key conflict zones such as Afghanistan and Libya, and reflects on his encounters with a variety of military and government leaders.

The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001–2014

Carlotta Gall. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014. $28.00. 329 pp.

New York Times journalist Carlotta Gall provides a detailed account of her experiences reporting from Afghanistan throughout the current Afghan War. She argues that American efforts in Afghanistan were ultimately misdirected and identifies the Pakistani military and intelligence forces as the ‘true enemy’ due to their alleged support for the Taliban insurgency.

The New Pirates: Modern Global Piracy from Somalia to the South China Sea

Andrew Palmer. London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 2014. £22.50/$35.00. 377 pp.

Palmer aims to provide a historical overview of piracy in its contemporary form, arguing that the practice emerged from the unique geopolitical and socioeconomic environment of the late twentieth century. He discusses how piracy is destabilising the shipping and insurance industries and examines the current and potential roles of international organisations in combating the threat.

Networks of Rebellion: Explaining Insurgent Cohesion and Collapse

Paul Staniland. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2014. £17.50/$27.95. 300 pp.

Comparing case studies from Afghanistan, Kashmir, Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, Staniland explores how and why levels of cohesion differ between insurgent groups. Outlining four basic organisational structures, he explores how external factors affect group cohesion and effectiveness, impeding or facilitating counter-insurgency efforts.

Military Chaplains in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Beyond: Advisement and Leader Engagement in Highly Religious Environments

Eric Patterson, ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014. $80.00. 226 pp.

The contributors explore how the role of chaplains in Western militaries has shifted in response to deployments to religious environments such as East Africa and Afghanistan. They note that, in addition to fulfilling their traditional role of ministering to troops, chaplains are increasingly being asked to assess local cultures and engage with local religious leaders.

Seizing Power: The Strategic Logic of Military Coups

Naunihal Singh. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014. $59.95. 252 pp.

Drawing on a dataset comprising 471 coup attempts between 1950 and 2000, Singh elaborates a theory of coup origination and success, concluding that military actors that effectively project a sense of control and of inevitable victory are more likely to achieve their aims.

Inequality and Violence: A Re-appraisal of Man, the State and War

Anna Cornelia Beyer. Farnham: Ashgate, 2014. £60.00. 161 pp.

Drawing and expanding on Kenneth Waltz’s arguments in his book Man, the State and War, Beyer looks at the role of inequality at the individual, state and international levels in contributing to the outbreak of violence and warfare. She concludes that certain forms of global governance hold the potential to address inequality-related violence.

Confronting Political Islam: Six Lessons from the West’s Past

John M. Owen IV. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014. $29.95. 216 pp.

How might the Western world best respond to the challenges posed by political Islam? Owen seeks answers to this question by examining the West’s past ideological struggles, drawing six conclusions which he believes are relevant to the present struggle, and which challenge conventional wisdom.

Ready for Battle: Technological Intelligence on the Battlefield

Azriel Lorber. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014. $65.00. 249 pp.

In a world characterised by increasingly rapid technological advancement, Lorber explores the consequences of technological inferiority in a military context. He outlines contemporary and historical counter-intelligence strategies and assesses the effectiveness of each approach.

Winning Wars amongst the People: Case Studies in Asymmetric Warfare

Peter A. Kiss. Dulles, VA: Potomac Books, 2014. £20.99/$29.95. 289 pp.

Through five case studies, Kiss outlines the distinction between conventional inter-state conflict and asymmetric warfare, whereby ‘non-state belligerents’ contest the authority of the state. Identifying the principal political, social and economic origins of the latter, he offers advice to governments on how best to prepare for and address this challenge.

Clausewitz: His Life and Work

Donald Stoker. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. £18.99/$27.95. 354 pp.

This biography of nineteenth-century military strategist Carl von Clausewitz aims to demonstrate how his involvement in major conflicts such as the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars shaped the composition of his most famous work, On War.

High Command: British Military Leadership in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars

Christopher L. Elliott. London: C. Hurst & Co., 2014. £25.00/$35.00. 295 pp.

A former senior British Army officer assesses the UK’s military strategy during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He concludes that, despite the individual competence of political and military leaders involved, a lethal diffusion of responsibility impeded the successful execution of operations.

Presidents and Their Generals: An American History of Command in War

Matthew Moten. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014. £29.95/$39.95. 443 pp.

In this study of the evolving relationship between US civilian and military leaders, Moten examines why this relationship changes and how its shifts have historically affected US defence policy. He argues that, although poor civil–military relations can interfere with effective policymaking, a complete absence of constructive criticism is equally detrimental to this process.

Reconsidering the American Way of War: US Military Practice from the Revolution to Afghanistan

Antulio J. Echevarria II. Washington DC: Georgetown University Press, 2014. £24.00/$29.95. 219 pp.

Tracing the history of warfare in the United States from 1775 to the present, Echevarria examines all major – and several minor – US conflicts in an effort to identify any enduring principles that have shaped the country’s approach to combat.

Adapting to Win: How Insurgents Fight and Defeat Foreign States in War

Noriyuki Katagiri. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015. $69.95. 301 pp.

Katagiri examines the key factors behind the success of certain insurgent groups in the face of established, well-equipped government forces. Analysing over 100 such campaigns, he explores how particular groups managed to adapt their methods in response to key political and military developments.

Mission Creep: The Militarization of US Foreign Policy?

Gordon Adams and Shoon Murray, eds. Washington DC: Georgetown University Press, 2014. £26.50/$34.95. 303 pp.

Experts consider the growing influence of the US Defense Department on the country’s foreign-policy decisions. They explore the agency’s involvement in fields such as foreign aid, diplomacy and covert operations, and offer suggestions on how to restore the civil–military balance in this area.

The Good War: The Battle for Afghanistan, 2006–2014

Jack Fairweather. London: Jonathan Cape, 2014. £17.99. 488 pp.

Journalist Jack Fairweather chronicles the transformation of the Afghan War from an apparent victory to an exceedingly controversial and drawn-out conflict. He draws on extensive interview material and years of on-the-ground experience in an effort to identify the key factors behind this unfavourable outcome.

Order Within Anarchy: The Laws of War as an International Institution

James D. Morrow. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. £60.00/$32.99. 354 pp.

Having studied numerous large-scale conflicts from the past century, Morrow concludes that international laws of war limit violence on the battlefield by producing mutual behavioural expectations among opponents. He notes, however, that varying cultural attitudes towards restraint in combat often complicate efforts to reduce wartime casualties and destruction.

Law, Science, Liberalism and the American Way of Warfare: The Quest for Humanity in Conflict

Stephanie Carvin and Michael John Williams. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. £19.99/$29.99. 214 pp.

US defence policy, argue Carvin and Williams, has evolved from a need to reconcile the elimination of security threats with the preservation of the country’s liberal values. The authors focus especially on the United States’ growing reliance on controversial military technology to address this enduring strategic challenge.

Economic Interdependence and War

Dale C. Copeland. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2015. £22.95/$32.95. 504 pp.

Copeland considers whether increased economic interdependence between states heightens or reduces the likelihood of conflict. Based on case studies from the past 200 years, he concludes that the maintenance of peace depends on trade expectations rather than current trade dynamics, applying this theory to analysis of future Sino-American relations.

Politics and International Relations

Ambiguous Citizenship in an Age of Global Migration

Aoileann Ní Mhurchú. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014. £70.00/$120.00. 262 pp.

Drawing on a range of theoretical perspectives (including post-colonialism, post-structuralism and psychoanalysis), the author proposes that modes of citizenship in today’s globalised world are defying traditional understandings based on binary categories such as inclusion/exclusion, past/present and particularism/universalism.

Democracy Against Itself: Sustaining an Unsustainable Idea

Mark Chou. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014. £70.00/$120.00. 179 pp.

Chou draws on the examples of ancient Athens and the Weimar Republic to illustrate his argument that all democracies are prone to self-destruction, something he believes the citizens of contemporary democracies are prone to forgetting.

Constructive Illusions: Misperceiving the Origins of International Cooperation

Eric Grynaviski. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2014. $39.95. 216 pp.

Challenging the view that the best international agreements are the products of mutual understanding between the parties, Grynaviski contends that agreements are often the product of the mistaken view that the parties have shared interests. This misunderstanding allows the parties to overlook substantial differences of opinion that would otherwise stymie cooperation, he suggests.

Why States Recover: Changing Walking Societies into Winning Nations, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe

Greg Mills. London: C. Hurst & Co., 2014. £20.00/$29.95. 689 pp.

Based on research conducted across 30 countries, Mills examines the issue of state failure in Latin America, Asia and Africa. Discouraging the tendency to indiscriminately associate certain regions with political and economic collapse, he highlights nations that have recovered from such calamity and extracts lessons to be learned from their experiences.

Packing for India: A Life of Action in Global Finance and Diplomacy

David Mulford. Dulles, VA: Potomac Books, 2014. $29.95. 338 pp.

Former American diplomat and US Treasury under-secretary David Mulford draws on lessons learned during his wide-ranging career to offer advice on the best methods of promoting global growth and stability.

Building Sustainable Couples in International Relations: A Strategy Towards Peaceful Cooperation

Brigitte Vassort-Rousset, ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. £65.00. 255 pp.

Contributing scholars identify the key requirements for sustaining peaceful and constructive international alliances, or ‘couple relationships’. They argue that overcoming distrust in foreign relations relies more on gradual integration efforts by ‘sub-state intermediary actors’ than high-level diplomatic engagement.

A Year at the Helm of the United Nations General Assembly: A Vision for Our Century

Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser. New York: New York University Press, 2014. $23.99. 224 pp.

Ambassador Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser recounts his experiences presiding over the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly from 2011–12. Focusing on four key themes – mediation, UN reform, natural disaster prevention and response, and sustainable development – he offers policy recommendations based on lessons learned during his appointment.

The Role, Position and Agency of Cusp States in International Relations

Marc Herzog and Philip Robins. Abingdon: Routledge, 2014. £85.00/$145/00. 192 pp.

Contributors analyse the affairs of states that they believe have been relegated to the margins of global society. Through case studies of Brazil, Iran, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Taiwan, Turkey and Ukraine, they seek to reconfigure traditional methods of global categorisation to promote a more inclusive approach to international relations.

A Handful of Bullets: How the Murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand Still Menaces the Peace

Harlan K. Ullman. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2014. £28.50/$39.95. 240 pp.

Ullman traces four key sources of modern global instability to the 1914 assassination of Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Along with precipitating the First World War, this event, he contends, is the indirect source of the widespread state failure, economic recession, violent extremism and environmental degradation we face today.

Fateful Transitions: How Democracies Manage Rising Powers, from the Eve of World War I to China’s Ascendance

Daniel M. Kliman. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014. $59.95. 248 pp.

In the midst of China’s rise to global prominence, Kliman argues that established powers are far more likely to embrace the ascendance of democratic, as opposed to autocratic, states. Drawing on historical examples from the past century, he uses this theory to explain modern-day US and Japanese relations with China.

Scholars, Policymakers, and International Affairs: Finding Common Cause

Abraham F. Lowenthal and Mariano E. Bertucci, eds. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014. $29.95. 303 pp.

Contributors from both sides of the issue discuss the best means of overcoming barriers to communication between scholars and policymakers. Reviewing cases in which academic theories have resulted in concrete policy changes, they advise government agencies and academic institutions on how to successfully streamline their working relationship.

Diplomatic Afterlives

Andrew F. Cooper. Cambridge: Polity, 2015. £15.99/$24.95. 206 pp.

Cooper presents his study of diplomats who have successfully capitalised on their ‘free-lance celebrity’ status to tackle varied global causes upon leaving office. Acknowledging the beneficial contributions of these figures, he also expresses concern about the ‘unaccountable authority’ with which he believes they are often bestowed.

The Power of Dependence: NATO–UN Cooperation in Crisis Management

Michael F. Harsch. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015. £55.00/$90.00. 212 pp.

Harsch studies the working relationship between NATO and the UN in the context of the recent conflicts in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan. He concludes that cooperation between the two is predominantly shaped by their level of mutual ‘resource dependence’ at any given time.

Disease Diplomacy: International Norms and Global Health Security

Sara E. Davies, Adam Kamradt-Scott and Simon Rushton. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015. $39.95. 179 pp.

In an increasingly globalised world, the capacity to detect and control outbreaks of infectious diseases has become a crucial international-security issue. The authors examine the origins and implementation of the International Health Regulations established by the World Health Organisation in 2005, assessing the success with which they have been adopted.

The Question of Intervention: John Stuart Mill and the Responsibility to Protect

Michael W. Doyle. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2015. £25.00/$40.00. 288 pp.

Drawing on the work of nineteenth-century political economist John Stuart Mill, Doyle explores the circumstances under which intervention by one nation in the affairs of another is justifiable. Discussing issues such as self-determination and national security, he also uses Mill’s ideas to assess the UN doctrine of responsibility to protect.

Middle East

Israel Since the Six-Day War

Leslie Stein. Cambridge: Polity, 2014. £25.00/$29.95. 441 pp.

The third in Stein’s trilogy on the history of Israel, this account covers the country’s military conflicts and overall development since the 1967 Six-Day War. Discussing a wide variety of issues intended to reflect the country’s cultural diversity, Stein delves into citizens’ experiences of Israel’s national life during the past 40 years.

Islamist Parties and Political Normalization in the Muslim World

Quinn Mecham and Julie Chernov Hwang, eds. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014. $59.95. 232 pp.

Through case studies from Turkey, Morocco, Yemen, Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh, contributors investigate the growing political presence of Islamist parties in Asia and the Middle East. They examine how the inclusion of such parties has affected regional political processes, as well as how electoral participation can alter parties’ religious ideology over time.

The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation is Changing the Middle East

Juan Cole. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2014. $26.00. 348 pp.

Cole identifies what he regards as the unique characteristics of the generation of young Arabs that spearheaded the Arab Spring uprisings. Exploring the historical context of the movement’s success, he presents an optimistic view of the region’s future based on the unprecedented commitment to tangible political and social change among the region’s young people.

Regional Security Dialogue in the Middle East: Changes, Challenges and Opportunities

Chen Kane and Egle Murauskaite, eds. Abingdon: Routledge, 2014. £26.99/$49.95. 253 pp.

In light of rising instability in the Middle East, Kane and Murauskaite look to the 1975 Helsinki Process as a historical model for an improved regional security framework. Contributing diplomats and scholars analyse the specifics of the situation on the ground and offer suggestions for a comprehensive approach to long-term regional security.

The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising

Patrick Cockburn. New York and London: OR Books, 2014. £9.00/$15.00. 142 pp.

Independent Middle East correspondent Patrick Cockburn examines the sequence of events leading up to the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria. He argues that flawed Western military strategies in both countries, alongside a failure to appreciate the implications of the Arab Spring, created an unstable environment in which extremism could thrive.

Fallujah Redux: The Anbar Awakening and the Struggle with Al-Qaeda

Daniel R. Green and William F. Mullen III. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2014. $37.95. 157 pp.

Two Iraq War veterans provide a first-hand account of the 2007 ‘Fallujah Awakening’, a joint campaign by US troops and local tribal leaders against al-Qaeda in Anbar province. They explore the effort to re-stabilise the notoriously volatile region, outlining the key factors contributing to its success.

The Hizbullah Phenomenon: Politics and Communication

Lina Khatib, Dina Matar and Atef Alshaer. London: C. Hurst & Co., 2014. £19.99/$30.00. 256 pp.

The authors explore the complex communications strategy which they believe has contributed to the remarkable rise of Hizbullah, examining what they describe as the group’s sophisticated use of imagery and language to justify its ideology to an expanding support base both in Lebanon and across the Middle East.

Among the Ruins: Syria Past and Present

Christian C. Sahner. London: C. Hurst & Co., 2014. £20.00/$27.95. 223 pp.

Combining history, memoir and reportage, Sahner examines Syria’s history in an effort to make sense of its tragic and complicated present. Focusing on the country’s religious and demographic evolution, he explores the key factors that have shaped sectarian conflict over time, culminating in today’s intensely violent civil war.

Defining Neighbors: Religion, Race, and the Early Zionist-Arab Encounter

Jonathan Marc Gribetz. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014. £24.95/$35.00. 287 pp.

Gribetz studies early twentieth-century Jewish–Arab relations in an effort to fully contextualise the contemporary Israel–Palestine conflict. He argues that current assessments of the dispute focus excessively on the concept of territorial nationalism, neglecting the essential role of racial and religious identity in perpetuating tensions.

Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel

Max Blumenthal. New York: Nation Books, 2014. £11.99/$17.99. 496 pp.

Blumenthal aims to provide a detailed account of life in Israel after the breakdown of the Oslo peace process in 2000. Drawing on interviews with political elites and regular citizens alike, he argues that Israel’s right-wing leadership has stifled democracy in the name of protecting the country from the Palestinian ‘demographic threat’.

Recalling the Caliphate: Decolonization and World Order

S. Sayyid. London: C. Hurst & Co., 2014. £18.99/$27.50. 236 pp.

The nature of Western engagement with Islam suggests a resistance to the ongoing decolonisation of the Muslim world, argues Sayyid. He warns that attempts to impose a Western-style emphasis on secularism and liberalism on Muslim communities is counterproductive and will only serve to further strain the relationship between the two civilisations.

Out of Nowhere: The Kurds of Syria in Peace and War

Michael M. Gunter. London: C. Hurst & Co., 2014. £30.00/$50.00. 176 pp.

This volume examines the wider implications of the 2012 withdrawal of Syrian government troops from majority-Kurdish areas. The author analyses how the resulting expansion of Syrian–Kurdish autonomy could affect the future of both the Kurdish population in Turkey and the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq.

Reflections on the Revolution in Egypt

Samuel Tadros. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 2014. $9.95. 84 Pp.

Tadros seeks to answer what he regards as unexamined questions about the people behind Egypt’s recent revolution, including who they were and where they came from; how they were organised; and why they were angry with the Mubarak regime.

Israel and the Arab Turmoil

Itamar Rabinovich. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 2014. $9.95. 64 pp.

In this study of Israel’s evolving relationship with other Middle Eastern states, Rabinovich concludes that while some changes might pose security risks, others offer the chance for Israel to become better integrated with the wider region. He urges Israel to take advantage of US efforts to bring about an Israel–Palestine final-status agreement.

Tested by Zion: The Bush Administration and the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict

Elliott Abrams. Cambridge: New York and Cambridge University Press, 2014. $32.99. 339 pp.

A former US National Security Council officer provides an insider’s account of the George W. Bush administration’s approach to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, addressing questions such as how the 9/11 attacks influenced American policies regarding the Second Intifada and why peace negotiations failed.

The Consequences of Syria

Lee Smith. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 2014. $9.95. 63 pp.

Smith critiques the Obama administration’s approach to the Syrian civil war, concluding that the president’s determination to stay out of the conflict is producing a more violent and unstable Middle East, with consequences for the entire world.

Track-Two Diplomacy toward an Israeli–Palestinian Solution: 1978–2014

Yair Hirschfeld. Washington DC and Baltimore, MD: Woodrow Wilson Center Press and Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014. $44.95. 452 pp.

Hirschfeld traces the history of the Israeli–Palestinian peace process from 1978 to the present, analysing the principal policy debates surrounding the negotiations; identifying what he sees as the key successes and failures of the process thus far; and offering suggestions on the best path forward.

Qatar and the Arab Spring

Kristian Coates Ulrichsen. London: C. Hurst & Co., 2014. £35.00/$49.95. 231 pp.

Ulrichsen explores the impact of the 2011 Arab uprisings on Qatar’s effort to establish itself as a strong regional power, contending that Qatari leaders saw the uprisings as a means of solidifying their influence by supporting the Libyan and Syrian opposition.

Inside the Brotherhood

Hazem Kandil. Cambridge: Polity, 2014. £20.00/$25.00. 221 pp.

Based on interviews, participant observations and official documents, Kandil explores the culture and organisational structure of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. He applies this understanding to an analysis of the group’s gradual rise and swift fall from power in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.

The International Politics of the Arab Spring: Popular Unrest and Foreign Policy

Robert Mason, ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. £62.50/$100.00. 215 pp.

This collection of essays examines how the Arab Spring has transformed the political and economic ties between the West, the BRICS and the MENA states. Contributing experts place these changes in the broader context of democratisation, energy security, arms relationships, security threats and the ongoing shift toward a more multipolar world.

The Orphan Scandal: Christian Missionaries and the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood

Beth Baron. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2014. $24.95. 245 pp.

Baron explores the connection between the early nineteenth-century influx of Christian missionaries into Egypt and the subsequent rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, examining how the missionaries’ work with needy children in particular sparked the creation of a competing network of Islamic social-welfare organisations that eventually grew into a highly influential transnational movement.

Back to content list

Survival: Global Politics and Strategy

October-November 2015

Read online, or in the following formats:

Print > Kindle UK > Kindle US > 

iPad > iBookstore UK > iBookstore US >

Table of Contents

Available to download as a PDF >