BUSH IN BABYLON: The Recolonisation of Iraq

Tariq Ali, Author . Verso $20 (216p) ISBN 978-1-85984-583-7

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)

Reviewed on: 10/20/2003
Release date: 11/01/2003
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-1-84467-512-8
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