Hadi al-`Alawi, Scion of the Two Civilizations

by Mohammed al-Sudairi
published in MER270

In the 1950s, the People’s Republic of China began to host a small community of Arab scholars and journalists, recruited mostly through “revolutionary” channels like the FLN, the PLO, and the Iraqi and Sudanese Communist Parties. These experts were brought to China with the explicit purpose of editing and translating texts, as well as providing Arabic-language instruction at Chinese media, propaganda and educational institutions. This select group included a number of writers and intellectuals, such as Kadhim al-Samawi, Hanna Mina, Sheikh Jalal al-Hanafi and Hadi al-‘Alawi, the last of whom left the deepest mark on twentieth-century Arab intellectual life.

Iraq Buys Cluster Bombs from Chile

by Tim Frasca
published in MER122

On Wednesday, March 14, at 4 pm, an Iraqi Airways Boeing 747 jumbo jet took off from Santiago’s Comodoro Arturo Merino Benitez Airport reportedly loaded with “thousands” of 500-pound cluster bombs. The Iraqis apparently bought the bombs from the Chilean firm Industrias Cardoen SA. Cardoen had been displaying its various military wares at the annual International Air Fair (Feria Internacional del Aire, FIDA-84), which was held March 3-11 at the El Bozque Air Base in the Santiago community of San Bernando.

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Gabbay, Communism and Agrarian Reform in Iraq

by Tom Nieuwenhuis
published in MER125

Rony Gabbay, Communism and Agrarian Reform in Iraq (London: Croom Helm, 1978).

Modern Iraqi history suffers from a lack of monographs and case studies on subjects such as rural affairs. Rony Gabbay’s research helps to fill this vacuum, at least in the area of social and political developments in the countryside and their relation to communism and agrarian reform. Published in 1978, even today Gabbay’s is an important source for the history of the Iraqi Communist Party.

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Nieuwenhuis, Politics and Society in Early Modern Iraq

by Hanna Batatu
published in MER125

Tom Nieuwenhuis, Politics and Society in Early Modern Iraq: Mamluk Pashas, Tribal Shaykhs and Local Rule Between 1802 and 1831 (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1981).

This is a reasoned and illuminating analysis, by a young Dutch scholar, of Iraq in the three closing decades of the Mamluk era.

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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.