For more than a century successive US and UK governments have sought to thwart nationalist, socialist and pro-democracy movements in the Middle East. Through the Cold War, the ‘War on Terror’ and the present era defined by the Islamic State, the Western powers have repeatedly manipulated the region’s most powerful actors to ensure the security of their own interests and, in doing so, have given rise to religious politics, sectarian war, bloody counter-revolutions and now one of the most brutal incarnations of Islamic extremism ever seen.
This is the utterly compelling, systematic dissection of Western interference in the Middle East. Christopher Davidson exposes the dark side of our foreign policy – dragging many disturbing facts out into the light for the first time. Most shocking for us today is his assertion that US intelligence agencies continue to regard the Islamic State, like al-Qaeda before it, as a strategic but volatile asset to be wielded against their enemies. Provocative, alarming and unrelenting, Shadow Wars demands to be read – now.
‘This is the best and most informative book yet on the struggle for power among the US and Europe, Arab autocratic regimes, and these countries’ impoverished masses.’
– R. W. Olson, University of Kentucky, CHOICE Magazine
‘This is an outstanding book, bracing in its understanding of the rapacious forces that set upon the Middle East and meticulous in weaving the historical threads that explain why.’
– John Pilger
‘An avalanche of spies, lies, covert actions and overt aggression – Davidson shows how many of the West’s troubles in the Middle East have emerged from its relentless search for resources.’
– Leif Wenar, Professor and Chair in Philosophy and Law, King’s College London
‘A timely and wide-ranging analysis…Davidson’s use of hundreds of confidential and declassified documents offers us new insights into Western intervention in the Middle East and the extent to which key Western powers will disregard the political and economic goals of ordinary Middle Easterners in their pursuit of the region’s resources… This book should be an essential point of reference for anyone trying to understand what went wrong with the Arab Spring, and for those aspiring to find ways to build a brighter future for the region.’
– Dr Imad El-Anis, Global Policy Journal
‘A thought provoking and original take on the present catastrophic realities in the Middle East. This is a timely research into the causes of the failure of the Arab Spring. It deems the defeat of the ‘Spring’ as a counter revolution prompted by external interventions. The book is a tour de force that begins with the past European Revolutions and ends up with an intriguing and highly convincing analysis of the demise of the Arab Spring. No one is spared in this incisive analysis: Arab regimes, fundamentalist movements, the West and Israel are all castigated here for their responsibility for the suffering of the people of Middle East today.’
– Ilan Pappe, Professor of History, University of Exeter
‘Plunges into America’s move to center stage and how it has sustained its ravenous postwar economy by preserving access to crude oil imports at any cost...Davidson is especially dogged at “following the money”—e.g., the rise of crony-capitalist networks in the Gulf monarchies and the financing of al-Qaeda and of the new Islamic State group…An exhaustively researched account.’
‘For its unsparing probity, Davidson’s book ought to be required reading…Who are these people? Where did they come from? What do they want? Shadow Wars makes the answers painfully, damningly clear.’
– Christian Science Monitor
‘Mr Davidson is one of the most knowledgeable academics writing about the region.’