Iraq in Transition


Iraq in Transition

The Legacy of Dictatorship and the Prospects for Democracy

Peter J. Munson
Foreword by Steven Metz

332 pages


June 2009


$37.50 Add to Cart

About the Book

**Winner of the 2010 San Diego Book Awards Association Prize in General Non-Fiction**Iraq in Transition takes the reader on a journey from Iraq’s troubled history through the country’s invasion and chaotic collapse of governance to the fragile state of political development today. Along the way, Peter Munson, an officer and Middle East specialist in the Marine Corps who has participated in operations in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Africa, explains the social, cultural, and political roots of violent conflict and political confrontation among Iraq’s numerous factions. Instead of rehashing American policy and ideology, Munson addresses the local aspects of the crisis, providing a solid basis for understanding the many important decisions to come regarding the intervention in Iraq.This book fills a void in the literature by synthesizing the available information in both English and Arabic to provide a unique perspective on the people behind the violent and conflictual attempt at transition to democracy in Iraq. Utilizing both academic and military insight, Munson explains how Saddam’s demise and the crisis of governance that followed produced a vacuum that allowed narrow and opportunistic sectarian power groups to step into the breach. The path from the 2003 invasion to the current tenuous Iraqi state has largely been shaped by legacies of dictatorship. Striking progress has been made in security and political development, but Iraqis still have a great deal to overcome to establish themselves on the slow climb toward a peaceful and stable democracy. With a foreword by Steven Metz, professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Army War College and author of Iraq and the Evolution of American Strategy (Potomac Books, Inc., 2008).

Author Bio

Steven Metz is director of research at the US Army War College Strategic Studies Institute and writes a weekly column entitled “Strategic Horizons” for World Politics Review.


“Maj. 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 the foreword by Steven Metz, author of Iraq and the Evolution of American Strategy

“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.”—General Anthony C. Zinni, USMC (Ret.)

“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.”—Vali Nasr, author of The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future

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."—Ahmed S. Hashim, professor of strategic studies, United States Naval War College, and author of Insurgency and Counter-Insurgency in Iraq

"A timely and useful contribution to our understanding of the political and military forces behind the nightly news headlines from that embroiled nation. Iraq in Transition provides a complete history beginning with how Iraq was formed, the impact of Islam, and the 'rise of the tribes' within Iraq's power structures. . . . Highly recommended for academic and community library Iraqi studies and international studies reference collections, as well as nonspecialist general readers with an interest in understanding the events of the past several years in Iraq and what America can expect in the years to come."—Midwest Book Review

“A ‘must’ for any library strong in considering the social issues of the Middle East.”—California Bookwatch

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