The Foreigner’s Gift
The fall of Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime brought the first glimpse of freedom for Iraq and unleashed elation, resentment, and chaos. On the one hand, there is hope: the Iraqi people have their first chance at independence. On the other hand, there is despair: the country is exploding with violent sectarian and political power struggles. Through it all, Iraq has remained an enigma to much of the world. What is it about this country that makes for such a seemingly intractable situation? How did Iraq’s particular history lead to its present circumstances? And what can we fear or hope for in the coming years?
Fouad Ajami, one of the world’s foremost authorities on Middle Eastern politics, offers a brilliant, illuminating, and lyrical portrait of the ongoing struggle for Iraq and of the American encounter with that volatile Arab land. Ajami situates the current unrest within the context of Iraq’s recent history of dictatorship and its rich, diverse cultural heritage. He applies his incisive political commentary, his broad and deep historical view, his mastery of the Arabic language and Arabic sources, and his lustrous prose to every aspect of his subject, wresting a coherent, fascinating, and textured picture from the media storm of fragmented information.
Fouad Ajami is the Majid Khadduri Professor of Middle East Studies at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. He is a contributing editor to U.S. News & World Report and a consultant to CBS News on Middle Eastern affairs. Ajami is a frequent contributor to Foreign Affairs, The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, and other periodicals and outlets worldwide. Bom in Lebanon and raised in Beimt, he is based in New York City.