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10 Conflicts that Explain the New Middle East

Christopher Phillips

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Yale University
13 May 2024
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The essential guide to geopolitics in the modern Middle East

The Middle East is in crisis. The shocking events of the war in Gaza have rocked the entire region. More than a decade ago, the Arab Spring had raised hopes of a new beginning but instead ushered in a series of civil wars, coups, and even harsher autocracies. Tensions were exacerbated by the meddling of outsiders, as regional and global powers sought to further their interests. The United States, for so long the dominant actor, had stepped back, leaving a vacuum behind it to be fought over.

Christopher Phillips explores geopolitical rivalries in the region, and the major external powers vying for influence: Russia, China, the EU, and the US. Moving through ten key flashpoints, from Syria to Palestine, Phillips argues that the United States' overextension after the Cold War, and retreat in the 2010s, has imbalanced the region. Today, the Middle East remains blighted by conflicts of unprecedented violence and a post-American scramble for power – leaving its fate in the balance.

Imprint:   Yale University
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 235mm,  Width: 156mm, 
ISBN:   9780300263428
ISBN 10:   0300263422
Pages:   320
Publication Date:  
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Christopher Phillips is professor of international relations at Queen Mary University of London. He is the author of Battle for Syria, now in its second edition, and coeditor of What Next for Britain in the Middle East?

Reviews for Battleground: 10 Conflicts that Explain the New Middle East

“Phillips writes crisply and critically, covering a lot of ground.”—James Barr, Financial Times “Battleground is a lucid, cogently argued and accessible study of a region once again in crisis.” —Justin Marozzi, Sunday Times “An excellent new book… this well-written and thoughtfully structured book provides a broad introduction to the many issues underlying conflict and politics in the Middle East.” —Afshon Ostovar, Englesberg Ideas “An accessible introduction to conflicts across the region, written, according to the author, for readers wanting to understand the complex reality of the Middle East and looking for a place to start.”—Sophie Roell, Five Books “Phillips finds the sweet spot of providing both depth and breadth in examining ongoing conflicts in the Middle East as well as in countries and zones experiencing various levels of trauma that could lead to conflict. He masterfully weaves together a multidimensional analysis that students, the general public, and policymakers would do well to read. While doing so, he offers a nuanced understanding of the subject matter and communicates a wealth of information in an accessible manner. I highly recommend it.”—David W. Lesch, author of The Middle East Since the Rise of Islam “Christopher Phillips’ keenly observed and deeply informed analysis of ten different but interrelated conflicts in today’s Middle East illuminates the urgent need to grapple with a vitally important but often misunderstood region in all of its complexity. Both experienced observers of the Middle East and those just trying to get a handle on a region in turmoil will learn from this masterful interpretation of the wars of the last decade.”—Marc Lynch, author of The New Arab Wars: Uprisings and Anarchy in the Middle East  

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