An insider’s view of the Iraqi insurgency

iraq ablaze cover

Zaki Chehab, the London Bureau Chief of the Arabic newspaper Al Hayat, attempts to paint a more nuanced picture of who comprise the Iraq insurgency and the different reasons for their continuing struggle. Travelling all over Iraq to interview Saddam loyalists, Wahabi-Salafist Islamists, Iraqi nationalists and Iranian or Syrian-backed foreign insurgent infiltrators, Chebab shows why the US was wrong to have initially viewed the insurgency as a amorphous monolith, and how the military’s operational arrogance, ignorance and high-handedness, coupled with the CPA’s failure to provide highly reliable and sustained basic civilian services, actually fuelled much of the nationalist, tribal-driven insurgent movement. He points squarely to the failure of the US to understand, anticipate and thus preempt the various nationalist, tribal and Islamist forces at play in Iraq that caused it to lose precious ground to the insurgency from 2003 to 2005.

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