Al-Khafaji, al-Dawla wal-Tatawwur al-Rasmali fil-Iraq

by Marion Farouk-Sluglett
published in MER125

Isam al-Khafaji, al-Dawla wal-Tatawwur al-Ra’smali fil-‘Iraq, 1968-1979 (Cairo, 1984).

Isam al-Khafaji is a distinguished Iraqi economist who studied at Baghdad University under Muhammad Salman Hasan in the early 1970s. After leaving Iraq in 1978, he studied for a year in Paris before settling in Beirut. There he published his first book, Ra’smaliyyat al-Dawla al-Wataniyya (National State Capitalism), which is a Marxist analysis of aspects of economic development with special reference to the oil states of the Middle East.

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Not Quite Armageddon

Impact of the War on Iraq

by Marion Farouk-Sluglett , Peter Sluglett , Joe Stork
published in MER125

Ostensibly, the war between Iraq and Iran is about boundaries, about freeing the Shatt al-‘Arab from Persian occupation, about restoring the two Tumb islands and Abu Musa in the Gulf to the Arab nation, and -- admittedly always a more distant prospect -- liberating Khuzistan (“Arabistan”) from the alien yoke. In fact, Iraq’s decision to start the war in September 1980 was a gamble which, over the last three and a half years, has tragically and horribly misfired.

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Chronicle of the Gulf War

published in MER125

The war between Iran and Iraq is approaching its fourth anniversary. In its duration, large numbers of casualties and physical damage, this war already ranks as one of the most serious armed conflicts since World War II. Several Iranian cities and numerous towns have been destroyed, and the city of Basra, Iraq’s second largest, has been under serious threat for a year or more. Both countries have extensive industrial and oil exporting facilities in the war zone which have been heavily damaged in the fighting. Economic losses in both countries are calculated in many tens of billions of dollars. Iran claimed in May 1983 that it had suffered $90 billion in economic damages.

Helms, Iraq: Eastern Flank of the Arab World

by Muhammad Ja'far
published in MER141

Christine Moss Helms, Iraq: Eastern Flank of the Arab World (Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 1984).


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Marr, The Modern History of Iraq

by Abdul-Salaam Yousif
published in MER143

Phebe Marr, The Modern History of Iraq, (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1985).


Phebe Marr’s The Modern History of Iraq spans the period from the inception of the modern nation-state in 1920 to 1984. Marr has consulted, among others, the authoritative works in Arabic of
the Iraqi chronicler ‘Abd al-Razzaq al-Hasani and the recent “official” biography of Saddam Hussein by Amir Iskandar. She also draws on the standard works by Hanna Batatu, Majid Kadduri, the Penroses, and above all makes use of extensive interviews with a number of informed Iraqis.

Iraq's Agrarian Infitah

by Robert Springborg
published in MER145

Egypt’s infitah is finding an echo in Iraq. The Iraqis are grappling with many of the same problems which caused the Egyptians to adopt such a policy: the shortcomings of public sector manufacturing and of collectivized and semi-collectivized agriculture. As in Egypt, the sudden and dramatic rise in oil revenues made it possible to consider far more than minor rearrangements. The sudden surge of revenues also made it possible to allocate investment capital to an emerging private sector without taking it out of the budgets of the public enterprises. Skilled labor shortages in both countries required new approaches in agriculture and industry.

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Antoon, Ya Maryam

by Isis Nusair
published in MER267

Sinan Antoon, Ya Maryam (Beirut/Baghdad: Dar al-Jamal, 2012).

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Iraqi Christians: A Primer

by Amanda Ufheil-Somers
published in MER267

Media coverage in the West can overstate the degree to which Christians are “disappearing” from the Middle East. But one place where such characterizations have merit is Iraq. In the years since the 2003 invasion led by the United States, at least half of Iraq’s Christians have fled the country to escape the violence of war, occupation and insurgency, as well as a campaign of intimidation, forced expulsion and sectarian cleansing carried out by militias and criminal gangs. Numerous others have been internally displaced.

Syria's Disabled Future

by Edward Thomas | published May 14, 2013

Jamal is not yet a teenager. His school closed in 2011, soon after the Syrian revolution turned into an armed conflict, and his father found him a factory job. One day in 2012 as he returned from work there was a battle going on in the main street near his home. Jamal immediately started carrying wounded children smaller than he is to shelter in a mosque. Then Syrian army reinforcements arrived, clearing the streets with gunfire and hitting Jamal in the spine. The youngsters who took him to the hospital advised him to say that “terrorists” had caused his injury. But Jamal did not want to lie -- he told the doctors that a soldier had fired the bullet. The doctors told him to shut up and say it was the terrorists. But they treated him anyway.