Patrick Cockburn is currently Middle East correspondent for The Independent and worked previously for the Financial Times. He has written three books on Iraq’s recent history as well as a memoir, The Broken Boy with his son, a book on schizophrenia, Henry’s Demons, which was shortlisted for a Costa Award and The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising. He won the Martha Gellhorn Prize (2005), the James Cameron Prize (2006), and the Orwell Prize for Journalism (2009).
Publisher: OR Books
Publisher (Hindi): Prabhat Prakashan
Rights: Indian language rights available (excluding translation rights for Hindi)
Though capable of staging spectacular attacks like 9/11, jihadist organizations were not a significant force on the ground when they first became notorious in the shape of al-Qa‘ida at the turn of century. The West’s initial successes in the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan weakened their support still further.
Today, as renowned Middle East commentator Patrick Cockburn sets out in this explosive new book, that’s all changed. Exploiting the missteps of the West’s wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, as well as its misjudgements in relation to Syria and the uprisings of the Arab Spring, jihadist organizations, of which ISIS is the most important, are swiftly expanding. They now control a geographical territory greater in size than Britain or Michigan, stretching from the Sunni heartlands in the north and west of Iraq through a broad swath of north-east Syria. On the back of their capture of Mosul and much of northern Iraq in June 2014, the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has been declared the head of a new caliphate that demands the allegiance of all Muslims.
The secular, democratic politics that were supposedly at the fore of the Arab Spring have been buried by the return of the jihadis. As the Islamic State announced by ISIS confronts its enemies, the West will once again become a target. Cockburn cites an observer in southern Turkey interviewing Syrian jihadi rebels early in 2014 and finding that “without exception they all expressed enthusiasm for the 9/11 attacks and hoped the same thing would happen in Europe as well as the US.”
How could things have gone so badly wrong? Writing in these pages with customary calmness and clarity, and drawing on unrivalled experience as a reporter in the region, Cockburn analyses the unfolding of one of the West’s greatest foreign policy debacles and the rise of the new jihadis.