From the award-winning author of The Rise of Islamic State, the essential story of the Middle East’s disintegration
The Age of Jihad charts the turmoil of today’s Middle East and the devastating role the West has played in the region from 2001 to the present. Beginning with the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, Cockburn explores the vast geopolitical struggle that is the Sunni–Shia conflict, a clash that shapes the war on terror, western military interventions, the evolution of the insurgency, the civil wars in Yemen, Libya and Syria, the Arab Spring, the fall of regional dictators, and the rise of Islamic State.
As Cockburn shows in arresting detail, Islamic State did not explode into existence in Syria in the wake of the Arab Spring, as conventional wisdom would have it. The organization gestated over several years in occupied Iraq, before growing to the point where it can threaten the stability of the whole region. Cockburn was the first Western journalist to warn of the dangers posed by Islamic State. His originality and breadth of vision make The Age of Jihad the most in-depth analysis of the regional crisis in the Middle East to date.
In this sweeping portrait, renowned journalist Cockburn (The Rise of Islamic State) synthesizes the maelstrom of conflicts that have enveloped the Middle East and North Africa since September 11, 2001. The book combines contemporary, on-the-ground dispatches and diaries with incisive retrospective analyses to cover the Afghanistan war, the Iraq war, the Taliban's resurgence, the Arab Spring, the Syrian civil war, and the rise of Islamic State (aka ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh). Cockburn possesses authoritative knowledge of the region's culture, politics, and history, and his perceptive, pessimistic forecasts have regularly been proven correct. His sober, informed, and insightful analyses are unique and invaluable for navigating the complexity of the region in its "age of chaos and war." Cockburn attributes much of the region's turmoil to the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003 "the earthquake whose aftershocks we still feel" which forms the book's core. He reveals glaring gaps between Western government and media discourse and the reality on the ground; the ignorance, arrogance, and ineptitude of Western powers are common themes. Cockburn's account of the Arab Spring is limited, but he offers a wealth of insight on the rise of Islamic State as well as fascinating tidbits on journalistic practice and risk assessment in conflict zones. This work is likely to be a reference for future scholars.Cockburn's dispatches make for a somber, vivid, and gripping work of eyewitness history.