Friday, 3 June 2016

The Chaos in the Middle East, 2014-2016

In my new book, published on 28 August 2016, I attempt to expose the whys and wherefores of the Middle East’s growing chaos

‘The Chaos in the Middle East: 2014-2016’ attempts to unravel the confusing and intricate modern news of conflict from the Middle East, and provide an accessible overview of the discord that is dominating the media agenda. From the West’s failure to triumph over Islamic State to Iran’s sudden increase in status –  I explain the myriad of forces that have turned the Middle East into a bloodbath.

Through all of its sadness and brutality, the Middle East has become something of a fashionable topic for news media around the world. While millions know that the region has problems, few lay westerners understand why. They know Islamic State means death, but fail to appreciate the long-term objectives of the organization. They see Syrian refugees flooding into Europe, but are hazy as to who is fighting whom in their homeland, and why. I try to explain all this, and much besides.


The Chaos in the Middle East: 2014-2016 provides an up-to-date overview of the problems currently affecting the Middle East, and sets them in context. By not only providing an account of the bewilderingly complicated events of the past two years, but also explaining their background, I try to give readers the tools to understand issues of concern to the whole world. Written in easily understood terms, the book is ideal for readers interested in comprehending the complex problems emanating from the Middle East.

The grim reality in today's Middle East began attracting the world's attention from the beginning of 2014. The growth in size and influence of the bloodthirsty and inhumane Islamic State, and the hordes of terrified refugees fleeing from the conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, to name but two examples, forced themselves on the public’s attention. From this time, major themes dominated the politics of the region, such as the rise in the power and influence of Iran, the failure to defeat Islamic State in Iraq or Syria, the continuing devastation of Syria and the surprising incursion of Russia into the Middle East. These, as well as assessments of particular areas of conflict or special interest such as Turkey and the Kurds, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the Israeli-Palestinian dispute,Yemen, Tunisia, Libya, Lebanon and South Sudan, form the framework of this book.


Foreword                                                                                          ix     
1. Islamic State and Islamism                                                             1
2. Iran and the nuclear deal                                                               47
3. Syria’s civil conflict                                                                         85
4. Israel and Palestine                                                                      107
5. Turkey and the Kurds                                                                   182
6. Egypt’s struggle for stability                                                          201
7. Russia flexes its muscles                                                              215
8. No end of trouble                                                                          228
                               • Saudi Arabia’s new broom                               232
                               • The sorry state of Yemen                                 243
                               • Libya and the anti-Islamist struggle                 250
                               • Lebanon in limbo                                             260
                               • Why Tunisia?                                                   271
                               • Hope for South Sudan                                     275
                               • The non-Arab Middle East                               280
                               • Arab-Israel peace – a new approach               287

‘The Chaos in the Middle East: 2014-2016’ will be published on 28 August, 2016 as a paperback at £11.99 ($17.50) and as an ebook.

Pre-publication, copies of the paperback are available at only £10 ($14.75) from the Troubador website:

Subsequently both paperback and ebook are available also at Amazon: and all other retail on-line booksellers

About the Author:I have been commenting on the Middle East scene for over thirty years. I am Middle East correspondent for the Eurasia Review and my articles also appear regularly in the Jerusalem Post, in on-line publications, and in this blog, “A Mid-East Journal”. My books include “One Man’s Israel” (2008), “One Year in the History of Israel and Palestine” (2011) and “The Search for Détente” (2014). A past chairman of the Society of Authors’ Broadcasting Committee and the Contributors’ Committee of the Audiobook Publishing Association, I am a veteran radio and audio dramatist and abridger. In the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2006 I was awarded the MBE for services to broadcasting and drama.
Visit my official website:

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