Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Loose Ends

Some of Iraq's loose ends are threatening to unravel in recent days. As the Sunni Awakening councils or Sons of Iraq are being dismantled and their members going unpaid, grumbling is increasing. Declining oil revenues mean that the government is unable to expand its jobs programs and the economy is slowing, leaving these fighters with few options for employment. Many of the former insurgents feel like they have been wronged by the central government and are threatening a return to their old ways. Already, Al Qaeda in Iraq is trying to reinvigorate itself in several areas. Rod Nordland and Alissa J. Rubin report in the International Herald Tribune.

Second, Saif Hameed and Ned Parker of the LA Times report two suicide bombs detonated yesterday, demonstrating the seams that the insurgents are targeting. One bombing in the Abu Ghraib area near Baghdad targeted a Sons of Iraq leader. The other bombing hit a Kurdish man's funeral in the contested Jalawla area of Diyala Province. The sectarian violence that gripped the country was primarily between Arab Sunnis and Arab Shia. The Kurds and the Arabs have not come into major confrontation as of yet. The borders of the autonomous Kurdish region, particularly around Kirkuk, are hotly contested. The issue was scheduled to have been resolved in 2007, but has been delayed time and again. The political contest to determine the fate of mixed areas along Kurdistan's border could easily spill over into increased violence. These do not represent new trends. They represent the loose ends that will continue to plague Iraq, and could dramatically unravel, until the root political and economic issues are laid to rest.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Table of Contents and Introduction

The Table of Contents and the first chapter for Iraq in Transition can be seen at the embedded links. Just click on the colored words in the last sentence to go through to the pdf file. These are the first page proofs, so there are a few very minor glitches that you will notice, but otherwise they are very close to what the final product will look like. Happy reading!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Advanced Praise for Iraq in Transition

The cover for the book is being transmitted for production, including several early endorsements for the book. I am honored that such distinguished people said these things about my work.

From General Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret.), former Commander, Central Command, U.S. Peace Envoy to the Middle East, and author of The Battle for Peace: A Frontline Vision of America's Power and Purpose:
Peter Munson brings his expert knowledge, interest, and experience to this superb work. He describes, in depth, those factors of culture and history that worked against the overly optimistic assessments of Pentagon planners in the work up to the Iraq intervention. This is a must-read for those who want to understand the critical lessons of failing to include a true understanding of complex cultures and situations in planning for war.

From Steven Metz, Chairman of the Regional Strategy and Planning Department and Research Professor of National Security Affairs at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College and author of Iraq and the Evolution of American Strategy:
Peter Munson provides a powerful and erudite explanation of what he calls ‘the strange ways of Iraqi politics,’ illuminating what Americans have learned in six torturous years and suggesting what we should have known from the beginning.

From Vali Nasr, Professor of International Politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Politics, Tufts University and author of The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future:
Peter Munson has written a highly accessible and empathetic history of the Iraq war. Drawing on diverse sources and his own personal observations, he identifies the social, political, and economic factors that have shaped Iraqi society, and he charts how the U.S. mission in Iraq has unfolded since the fall of Baghdad. Munson’s understanding of academic works on Iraq and debates in policy-making circles is impressive. He has combined that insight with a soldier’s ground-level observations to provide a unique perspective. Instructive, informed, well researched, objective, and thoughtful, the book does well to make accessible complex issues to general readers, and all along remains true to other interpretations by academics, journalists, and policy-makers.

From Ahmed S. Hashim, Professor of Strategic Studies, United States Naval War College, and author of Insurgency and Counter-Insurgency in Iraq:
Iraq in Transition is one of the most detailed and readable analyses of the evolution of the violence within Iraq. The author has delved deep into Iraqi sociopolitical and economic dynamics to provide us with a thorough description of the origins of the conflict within and among the various communities within the country.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

First Page Proofs are Ready

Yesterday I received the first page proofs by email. These are proofs of the pages as they will actually look when printed. I have two weeks to review them for errors, build an index, and get the files back to the publisher.

Here's what the first page of chapter 2 will look like:

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Book is Moving Along

I finished the last of the updates regarding the provincial elections last week and sent them on to the publisher. The manuscript is now being typeset and I should have the product back at the end of this week. At that point, I will check it over one last time for corrections and updates and put together the index. Once that is all done, I will validate any of the corrections or updates I requested and then the book will go to the presses, hopefully in time for a June release as scheduled.