Books

‘This is a first-rate study of the consequences for Iraq of the US-led invasion
and occupation of the country and of the kind of politics that has developed
there. The authors use state-building theory and the insights of international
political economy to throw light on the processes which have been set in motion
and which are going to shape Iraqi politics for years to come. At the same time,
their narrative is a lively one, packed with detail and informed by a real
understanding of the fears and ambitions of many of the Iraqi political actors.
This complex story of idealism, greed and violence, woven through social
formations and the pale institutions of the emerging Iraqi state, produces a
compelling account — the clearest yet available of the “new Iraq”.’
Prof. Charles Tripp, SOAS, author of A History of Iraq

‘Iraq in Fragments stands out as an admirably sober and powerful analysis of one of the most complicated and emotionally charged issues in today’s world politics. With its lucid account,  impressive research, and extensive documentation, the book is challenging and  compelling. It should be a must-read for all Iraq specialists, foreign policy experts, and policy- and opinion-makers. Students of international relations, as ell as general readers, will also benefit greatly from this up-to-date work.’
Professor Tareq Y. Ismael, University of Calgary.

‘serious … persuasive … splendidly researched … required reading’ (Record, Middle East Policy Council).

‘excellent … compelling … better than any other’
(Springborg, SOAS).

When the US led the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, it expected to be able to
establish a prosperous liberal democracy with an open economy that would serve  as a key ally in the region. It sought to engage Iraqi society in ways that
would defeat any challenge to that state-building project and US guidance of it. We argue that state building in Iraq has been crippled less by pre-existing weaknesses in the Iraqi state, Iraqi sectarian divisions or US policy mistakes than by the fact that the US has attempted – with only limited success – to control the parameters and outcome of that process. We explain that the very nature of US state building in Iraq has created incentives for unregulated local power struggles and patron-client relations. Corruption, smuggling and violence have resulted. The main legacy of the US-led occupation, the authors contend, is that Iraq has become a fragmented state – that is, one in which actors dispute where overall political authority lies and in which  there are no agreed procedures for resolving such disputes. As long as this is  the case, the authority of the state will remain limited. Technocratic mechanisms such as training schemes for officials, political fixes such as elections and the coercive tools of repression will not be able to overcome this situation. Placing the occupation within the context of regional, global and US politics, we demonstrate how the politics of co-option, coercion and economic change have transformed the lives and allegiances of the Iraqi population.

‘a winner – a signal contribution … cuts through hundreds of books and articles’ (Holsti, British Columbia); ‘ambitious, noteworthy … an unambiguous success’ (Ross, New Mexico); ‘highly sophisticated … first class’ (Pierre,  Georgetown);  ‘creates an agenda for future dialogue between the fields of security studies and international relations’ (Mabee, London).

‘There is much to like about this book. Herring is knowledgeable about political science theory and wise in its ability and limitations to guide policy’ (David Poli Sci Q). ‘will no doubt have an impact on the discussion’ (Gray and Dalton, Hull).

‘first-rate’ (Lewis, Europe-Asia Studies).

  • With Ken Booth (1994). Keyguide to Information Sources in Strategic Studies (London: Mansell  1994), 352 pp.

‘wonderful’, an ‘Outstanding Academic Book’ (Choice).

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