The Naval Institute Press and the U.S. Army journal Armor are pleased to offer a collection of essays by the late Dr. Ali al-Wardi (1913–1995) that highlight Iraq’s social, political, and military history. The collection draws on a multivolume work in Arabic by a highly respected scholar that is found in the libraries of Iraq’s intelligentsia and is read by Iraqis throughout the country, including insurgents.
Introducing English readers to this seminal work, Aboul-Enein contends that it is impossible to truly understand the Iraqi character without delving into al-Wardi’s history. The book tells how the Ottomans, British, and Safavid Persians dealt with sectarianism in Iraq and describes the battles fought over key areas. It also examines the dynamics of a year-long insurgency against the British in 1920 that ended only when London engineered a political solution to its advantage—the imposition of a monarchy under King Feisal. Exploring ways in which previous powers attempted to manage Iraq and containing many lessons that are useful when analyzing conflict in the region, Iraq in Turmoil also explores how the British continued their divide-and-conquer policies when they took over Iraq after World War I. One of the more interesting incidents is the 1922 fatwa crafted jointly by Iraqi Sunni and Shiite clerics, sanctioning war on Wahhabi tribesmen raiding Iraq from Arabia, dispelling the simplistic notion that Sunnis and Shiites do not cooperate, particularly when their interests are at stake.
The chapters of this collection are accompanied by forewords written by some of America’s leading defense authorities, from flag officers and former Department of Defense officials to the former commandant of the Joint Forces Staff College and director of the Defense Intelligence Agency’s John T. Hughes Library. First published as a series of articles in Armor, the essays are considered required reading by those seeking a deeper understanding of Iraq, including those deploying to the Middle East.
Cdr. Youssef Aboul-Enein serves in the U.S. Navy’s Medical Service Corps and is a Middle East Foreign Area Officer. He is adjunct military professor and chair of Islamic studies at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. Currently he serves as senior adviser on militant Islamist ideology at the Joint Intelligence Task Force for Combating Terrorism in Washington, D.C. He is the author of Militant Islamist Ideology: Understanding the Global Threat.
- Watch Youssef's panel at the 2013 Virginia Festival of the Book here.
~ PRAISE FOR IRAQ IN TURMOIL ~
"There is no doubt that this book would provide soldiers in Iraq significant insights concerning the culture and history of the region. It is particularly satisfactory in its emphasis on military tactics, military technology, and propaganda strategies. Though it has been published after the evacuation of American soldiers from Iraq, it will probably be an important text for war colleges to equip America's military leaders with a nuanced understanding fo the complexities of Iraqi society."
– The Historian
“Iraq in Turmoil is an important contribution and one that sheds light on a very important scholarly work by an Iraqi who was intimate with the events that he mentioned.”
– Middle East Media and Book Reviews Online
“This is a very scholarly work and should be of interest to anyone that enjoys history.”
— Naval History Book Reviews, Naval Historical Foundation, July 10
“Iraq in Turmoil is a strong addition to world history collections, very much recommended.”
— Midwest Book Review, June 2012
“Recent events in Egypt, Tunisia, and Bahrain demand that America’s military have a deeper understanding of the Middle East. This cannot be accomplished without delving into seminal texts written in the Arabic language by Arabs.”
—Brig. Gen. H. R. McMaster, USA
“Understanding the area of operations and in particular the Middle East requires much reading, discussion, and reflection. For years, Commander Aboul-Enein has made a commitment to bringing Arabic works of military significance to the pages of Army professional journals. . . . Much like the Cold War when Soviet military thought was translated and analyzed, we must make an effort to translate the works of Arab academics, counterterrorism specialists, military leaders, and, yes, even the terrorists themselves.”
—Adm. James Stavridis, USN; Commander, U.S. European Command
“This work offers America’s military leaders an appreciation for the human terrain, a situational awareness that ties tribes, religion, places, and social structures vital to the understanding of the battle space.”
—Jeffrey Nadaner, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Partnership Strategy and Stability Operations (2004–2008)