Out of the Ashes: The Resurrection of Saddam Hussein

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9780060192662: Out of the Ashes: The Resurrection of Saddam Hussein

At the end of the Gulf War, the White House was confident that Saddam Hussein's days as Iraq's dictator were numbered. His army had been routed, his country had been bombed back into a pre-industrial age, his subjects were in bloody revolt, and his borders were sealed. World leaders waited confidently for the downfall of the pariah of Baghdad. Almost a decade later, they are still waiting.

This is the first in-depth account of what went wrong. Drawing on the authors' firsthand experiences on the ground inside Iraq (often under fire) and their interviews with key players--ranging from members of Saddam's own family to senior officials of the CIA--Out of the Ashes tells what happened when the smoke cleared from the battlefields of the Gulf War. This tale of high drama, labyrinthine intrigue, and fatal blunders has been played out amid one of the greatest man-made tragedies of our times-one where, so long as Saddam Hussein remains in power, the Iraqi people will pay the price. Out of the Ashes makes chillingly clear just how terrible that price has been.

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Review:

When the United States and its allies launched Operation Desert Storm against Iraq in 1991 in retaliation for that nation's invasion of Kuwait, the plans to bomb "command and control" centres had a clear, albeit largely unspoken, objective: "We don't do assassinations," National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft has acknowledged, "but yes, we targeted all the places where Saddam might have been." The only problem: he wasn't there and, nearly a decade after the Gulf War, he continues to remain in power.

Patrick and Andrew Cockburn present a two-pronged story in Out of the Ashes. They fill readers in on the background of Saddam Hussein's rise to power; an instrumental figure in the Baath Party's 1968 seizure of power, he became president of Iraq in 1979, initiating his reign with a bloody purge of dissenters. The two journalists also chart the disastrous effects of the economic sanctions to which Iraq has been subject since 1991. The sanctions were intended to provoke Iraqi military leadership into overthrowing Saddam, but public remarks by then-president George Bush inadvertently inspired revolt among the general Iraqi population. The military was thus too busy putting down nationwide rebellion to organise a coup; a CIA-sponsored effort five years later was an abject failure. And the sanctions, the Cockburns note, appear to have succeeded only in creating holocaust conditions and anti-Western sentiment among the Iraqis.

Patrick Cockburn brings the experience of 20 years spent covering the Middle East and his brother Andrew is well known for his reportage on the American Government's policymaking. The result is a wealth of information about Iraqi politics--and the consistent miscomprehension of those politics by U.S. strategic planners--delivered in a tightly written narrative. --Ron Hogan, Amazon.com

Review:

"The picture of the last eight years that emerges is among the most coherent and accessible of any book on Iraq to date."-- "New York Times Book Review""The most detailed look available at what has happened in post-Gulf War Iraq.... Because of Patrick Cockburn's contacts in Baghdad, "Out of the Ashes" brings light to a political system that most American writing leaves shrouded in darkness." -- "Washington Post Book World"A clear, lively, well-researched narrative, which moves along at a brisk pace.... Rich in information and atmospehre."-- "The Nation""A fascinating history of the global and regional intrigues and miscues that have allowed Saddam Hussein to defiantly survive.... Among the best books yet written on the malignant enigma that is Saddam Hussein." -- "Kirkus Review"

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