• A Rock Between Hard Places

    Shahrbanou Tadjbakhsh

    What drives neighbouring states to intervene in the Afghan conflict? This book challenges mainstream analyses which place Afghanistan at the centre – the so-called ‘heart’ – of a large pan- Asian region whose fate is predicated on Afghan stability. Instead Harpviken and Tadjbakhsh situ­ate Afghanistan on the margins of three regional security complexes – those of South Asia, Central Asia, and the Persian Gulf – each characterised by deep security rivalries, which, in turn, informs their engagement in Afghanistan. Within Central Asia, security cooperation is hampered by com­petition for regional supremacy and great power support, a dynamic reflected in these states’ half-hearted role in Afghanistan. In the Persian Gulf, Iran and Saudi Arabia fight for economic and political influence, mirrored in their Afghan en­gagements; while long-standing Indo-Pakistani ri­valries are perennially played out in Afghanistan. Based on a careful reading of the recent political and economic history of the region, and of Great Power rivalry beyond it, the authors explain why efforts to build a comprehensive Afghanistan-cen­tric regional security order have failed, and what might be done to re-set inter-state relations.

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  • Balochistan, the British and the Great Game

    Heathcote, T. A.

    The Great Game for Central Asia led to British involvement in Balochistan, a sparsely-populated area in Pakistan, mostly desert and mountain, and containing the Bolan Pass, the southern counterpart of the more famous Khyber. It occupies a position of great strategic importance between Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and the Arabian Sea.

    Heathcote’s book is a history of the Khanate of Kalat and of British operations against the Baloch hill tribes who raided frontier settlements and the Bolan caravans. Its themes include rivalry between British officials in Sind and the Punjab, high profile disputes between British politicians over frontier policy and organisation, and the British occupation of Quetta, guardian city of the Bolan, in the run-up to the Second Afghan War. Among the many strong characters in this story is Sir Robert Sandeman, hitherto hailed as ‘the peaceful conqueror of Balochistan’, now revealed as a ruthless careerist, whose personal ambitions led to the fragmentation of the country under British domination. The closing chapter summarises subsequent events up to modern times, in which the Baloch have maintained a long-running struggle for greater autonomy within Pakistan.

    Author

    A. Heathcote studied history at SOAS, London, from where he joined the National Army Museum. He later transferred to the RMA Sandhurst, where he was for many years the Curator.

    Reviews

    ‘This book comprehensively details the greater Balochistan area, its place in the strategic Great Game, and the interesting role played by British officials there. It enhances our understanding of this still volatile and important region and is a “must read” for those wanting to know about Balochistan’s history in depth.’ — Christopher Snedden, Professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, Honolulu, and author of Understanding Kashmir and Kashmiris

    ‘Tony Heathcote, the author of several distinguished works on the British military in India, brings a wealth of expertise to this study of the “Great Game”. He tells a fascinating story that needs to be read by anyone who seeks to understand an area that remains, to this day, strategically vital.’ — Gary Sheffield, Professor of War Studies, University of Wolverhampton

    ‘Heathcote’s impressive archival research and encyclopaedic understanding of this complex region yields a fascinating narrative from a long-ignored chapter of Britain’s colonial enterprise in South Asia. For scholars, students and general readers alike, the story of Balochistan’s role in the game of Empire and its colourful central characters proves engaging, enlightening and — above all — entertaining.’ — Willem Marx, journalist and author of Balochistan at a Crossroads

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  • Colonial Lahore

    Tahir Kamran

    A number of studies of colonial Lahore in recent years have explored such themes as the city’s modernity, its cosmopolitanism and the rise of communalism which culminated in the bloodletting of 1947. This first synoptic history moves away from the prism of the Great Divide of 1947 to examine the cultural and social connections which linked colonial Lahore with North India and beyond. In contrast to portrayals of Lahore as inward looking and a world unto itself, the authors argue that imperial globalisation intensified long established exchanges of goods, people and ideas.

    Ian Talbot and Tahir Kamran’s book is reflective of concerns arising from the global history of Empire and the new urban history of South Asia. These are addressed thematically rather than through a conventional chronological narrative, as the book uncovers previously neglected areas of Lahore’s history, including the links between Lahore’s and Bombay’s early film industries and the impact on the ‘tourist gaze’ of the consumption of both text and visual representation of India in newsreels and photographs.

    Authors

    Ian Talbot is Professor of modern British history and formerly head of history at the University of Southampton. He has written numerous books on the Partition of India, and the modern history of Pakistan.

    Tahir Kamran teaches history at G. C. University, Lahore and was until recently Allama Iqbal Fellow at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Wolfson College. He has published widely on sectarian militancy and the politics of religious exclusion in Pakistan and is an editor of the Pakistan Journal of Historical Studies.

    Reviews

    ‘This is a must read book by two leading specialists on Punjab history, providing a wonderfully rich introduction into the character and cosmopolitanism of  Lahore under the raj. The volume is clearly written, well researched, and joy to read. It  should be of great interest to the specialist and generalist alike.’ — Gurharpal Singh, Professor in Inter-Religious Relations and Development, SOAS, University of London

    Colonial Lahore breathes new life into this city’s recent history, bringing the local into direct and often intimate conversation with the global, and vice versa.  It transforms our appreciation of Lahore’s unique past, in effect sealing the city’s credentials as one of South Asia’s most important, if often overlooked, zones of interaction in the era of imperial globalisation.’ — Sarah Ansari, Professor of History, Royal Holloway, University of London

    ‘A very rich account of colonial Lahore, essential for understanding the place of the city in South Asia’s past. It shows the great diversity and complexity of the city Lahore, and importantly, how it stood at the very heart of imperial connections and networks across the empire’. — Yasmin Khan, University Lecturer (Associate Professor) in British History, author of The Great Partition: the Making of India and Pakistan

    ‘Talbot and Kamran have made one of the first scholarly attempts to explore the social, cultural, and, to some extent, the economic, life of Lahore — one of the world’s great cities, known to some as the ‘Paris of the East’. Focussing on the colonial period, they make good use of evidence ranging from tourist guidebooks to newspaper advertisements. They also succeed in placing the city at the centre of a web of connections reaching out to the great cities of India – Calcutta, Delhi, Bombay and Karachi, but also to Afghanistan, Arabia, Europe and North America. The love which Talbot and Kamran have for Lahore is evident throughout.’ — Francis Robinson, Professor of the History of South Asia, Royal Holloway, University of London

    Hardback, February 2017 / 9781849046534 / 256pp

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  • Inglorious Empire

    Shashi Tharoor

    In the eighteenth century, India’s share of the world economy was as large as Europe’s. By 1947, after two centuries of British rule, it had decreased six-fold. Beyond conquest and deception, the Empire blew rebels from cannon, massacred unarmed protesters, entrenched institutionalised racism, and caused millions to die from starvation. Inglorious Empire tells the real story of the British in India – from the arrival of the East India Company to the end of the Raj – revealing how Britain’s rise was built upon its plunder of India. British imperialism justified itself as enlightened despotism for the benefit of the governed, but Shashi Tharoor takes on and demolishes this position, demonstrating how every supposed imperial ‘gift’ – from the railways to the rule of law – was designed in Britain’s interests alone. He goes on to show how Britain’s Industrial Revolution was founded on India’s deindustrialisation, and the destruction of its textile industry. In this bold and incisive reassessment of colonialism, Tharoor exposes to devastating effect the inglorious reality of Britain’s stained Indian legacy.

    Shashi Tharoor

    Author

    Shashi Tharoor served for twenty-nine years at the UN, culminating as Under- Secretary General. He is a Congress MP in India, the author of fourteen previous books and has won numerous literary awards, including a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. Tharoor has a PhD from the Fletcher School and was named by the World Economic Forum in Davos in 1998 as a Global Leader of Tomorrow.

     

    Reviews

    ‘Ferocious and astonishing. Essential for a Britain lost in sepia fantasies about its past, Inglorious Empire is history at its clearest and cutting best.’ — Ben Judah, author of This is London

    ‘Rare indeed is it to come across history that is so readable and so persuasive.’ — Amitav Ghosh

    ‘Brilliant … A searing indictment of the Raj and its impact on India. … Required reading for all Anglophiles in former British colonies, and needs to be a textbook in Britain.’ — Salil Tripathi, Chair of the Writers in Prison Committee, PEN International, and author of The Colonel Who Would Not Repent.

    Hardback / March 2017 / 9781849048088 / 296pp

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  • Inside the Islamic Republic

    Monshipouri, Mahmood

    The post-Khomeini era has profoundly changed the socio-political landscape of Iran. Since 1989, the internal dynamics of change in Iran, rooted in a panoply of socioeconomic, cultural, institutional, demographic, and behavioral factors, have led to a noticeable transition in both societal and governmental structures of power, as well as the way in which many Iranians have come to deal with the changing conditions of their society. This is all exacerbated by the global trend of communication and information expansion, as Iran has increasingly become the site of the burgeoning demands for women’s rights, individual freedoms, and festering tensions and conflicts over cultural politics. These realities, among other things, have rendered Iran a country of unprecedented—and at time paradoxical—changes. This book explains how and why.

    Author

    Mahmood Monshipouri is Professor of International Relations at San Francisco State University. He has published and edited a number of books, most recently Democratic Uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa: Youth, Technology, and Modernization.

    Reviews

    ‘As the Islamic Revolution of Iran approaches its fortieth anniversary, a popular conception of this country persists: that of a static society under the control of hardline anti-Western clerics. This volume provides an alternative reading of Iran by focusing on the dynamics of social change. Focusing on a panoply of socioeconomic, cultural, institutional, demographic and international factors, this group of distinguished Iranian studies scholars, demonstrate the evolution and transformation of changing identities, norms and values that often challenge the authoritarian model of Iran’s revolutionary founders. The future of Iran is very much connected to these developments making this volume essential reading for any serious student of this topic.’ — Nader Hashemi, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies, University of Denver

    ‘Hundreds of books and articles have been published about post-revolutionary Iran in the West, many of which offer only a crude caricature of the Islamic Republic. This erudite volume provides a important corrective to the superficial portrayal of Iran’s society, culture and politics. The contributors have deep knowledge and understanding of a huge breadth of issues concerning the country, informed by years of scholarly research. A must-read’. — Nader Entessar, co-author of Iran Nuclear Negotiations: Accord and Détente since the Geneva Agreement of 2013

    Inside the Islamic Republic is an excellent collection of articles about the profound changes that have taken place inside Iran during the past three decades. Written by some of the leading experts on modern Iran, the book addresses such important issues as the struggle for democracy, women’s rights, and the role cinema, music, and poetry plays in Iranian society. Anyone interested in understanding Iran as it is, and not as it is portrayed in the mass media, must read this seminal book.’ — Mohsen M. Milani, Executive Director, USF World Center for Strategic & Diplomatic Studies (CSDS), University of South Florida

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  • Lost Islamic History

    Firas Alkhateeb

    REVISED AND EXPANDED EDITION

    Over the last 1,400 years, a succession of Muslim polities and empires expanded to control territories and peoples stretching from southern France to East Africa and South East Asia. Yet many of the contributions of Muslim thinkers, scientists and theologians, not to mention statesmen and soldiers, have been overlooked. The bestselling Lost Islamic History, now in a new updated edition, rescues from oblivion a forgotten past, charting its narrative from Muhammad to modern-day nation-states.

    Yet many of the contributions of Muslim thinkers, scientists, and theologians, not to mention rulers, statesmen and soldiers, have been occluded. This book rescues from oblivion and neglect some of these personalities and institutions while offering the reader a new narrative of this lost Islamic history. The Umayyads, Abbasids, and Ottomans feature in the story, as do Muslim Spain, the savannah kingdoms of West Africa and the Mughal Empire, along with the later European colonisation of Muslim lands and the development of modern nation-states in the Muslim world. Throughout, the impact of Islamic belief on scientific advancement, social structures, and cultural development is given due prominence, and the text is complemented by portraits of key personalities, inventions and little known historical nuggets. The history of Islam and of the world’s Muslims brings together diverse peoples, geographies, and states, all interwoven into one narrative that begins with Muhammad and continues to this day.

    Table of Contents

    1. PRE-ISLAMIC ARABIA
      2. THE LIFE OF THE PROPHET
      3. THE RIGHTLY GUIDED CALIPHS
      4. THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE MUSLIM STATE
      5. INTELLECTUAL GOLDEN AGES
      6. THE ISLAMIC SCIENCES
      7. UPHEAVAL
      8. AL-ANDALUS
      9. THE EDGE
      10. REBIRTH
      11. DECLINE
      12. OLD AND NEW IDEAS

    Firaz Alkhateeb

    Author

    Firas Alkhateeb holds a Masters degree in Middle Eastern Studies with a specialisation in Islamic intellectual history from the University of Chicago. He previously taught Islamic history at Universal School in Bridgeview, Illinois and currently teaches and studies at Darul Qasim in Chicago. He founded and writes the website lostislamichistory.com. You can follow him on Twitter as well under @khateeb88

    Paperback
    September 2017 / 9781849046893 • 232pp

     

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  • Rivers Divided

    Daniel Haines

    The Indus Waters Treaty is considered a key example of India–Pakistan cooperation, but less has been said about its critical influence on state-making in both countries. Rivers Divided reveals the importance of the Indus Basin river system, and thus control over it, for Indian and Pakistani claims to sovereignty after South Asia’s Partition in 1947. Securing water flows was a key aim for both governments. In 1960 the Indus Waters Treaty ostensibly settled the dispute, but in fact failed to address critical sources of tension. Examples include the role of water in the Kashmir conflict and the riverine geography of Punjab’s militarised border zone.

    Despite the recent resurgence of disputes over water-sharing in South Asia, the historical causes and consequences of the region’s flagship natural resources treaty remain little understood. Based on new research in South Asia, the United States and United Kingdom, this book places the Indus dispute, for the first time, in the context of decolonisation and Cold War-era development politics. It examines the discord at local, national and international levels, arguing that we can only explain its importance and longevity in light of India and Pakistan’s state-building initiatives after independence.

    Daniel Haines

    Author

    Daniel Haines is Lecturer in Environmental History at the University of Bristol. He has previously taught at Royal Holloway, University of London and Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. He is the author of Building the Empire, Building the Nation: Development, Legitimacy
    and Hydro-Politics in Sind, 1919-1969.

     

    Reviews

    ‘Competition for water in the Indus Valley has been a major example of competition for this key resource in the modern world. In this outstanding book, Haines demonstrates the local, national and international forces at work in producing the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960. It is a major contribution to the history of both decolonisation and the environment.’ — Francis Robinson, Professor of the History of South Asia, Royal Holloway, University of London

    ‘Through the Subcontinent’s long-running disputes and water-sharing agreements, Haines offers a distinctive, fresh account of how new states emerged in South Asia. Rather than viewing state-building as purely ideological or constitutional, Haines shows how everything—from peasants’ concerns to Cold War development projects—shaped ideas and realities of Indo-Pakistani sovereignty.’ — Faisal Devji, Reader in Indian History, St Antony’s College Oxford and author of Muslim Zion: Pakistan as a Political Idea

    Rivers Divided deftly takes a history of rivers into the realms of state-building, sovereignty negotiation and national identity. Sensitive to the distinctive post-colonial and Cold War contexts, Haines’ unique contribution lies in addressing longer-term processes, not iconic events, intensively exploiting newly available archives in India, Pakistan, the U.K. and U.S.’ — Philip Brown, Professor of History, Ohio State University

    ‘Both authoritative and accessible, this book is enlightening not only with respect to the background of the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty, but also on the wider importance of access to water for nation-building in India and Pakistan.’ — Ian Talbot, Professor of Modern British History, University of Southampton and author of Pakistan: A New History

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  • Terrains of Exchange

    Green, Nile

    Drawing together Indian and Iranian Muslims with Christian missionaries, Hindu nationalists and Japanese imperialists, this book brings to life the local sites of globalisation that transformed Muslim religiosity through the long nineteenth century. Nile Green evokes terrains of exchange that range from the Russian empire’s borderlands to the Indian princely states and the car factories of Detroit. He casts a microhistorian’s eye on the religious productions that spilled from these many sites of contact. Whether looking at imperial evangelicals and Iranian language-workers, or Indian Muslims and Yogi masters of breath control, each chapter unravels local forces of religious contact, competition and exchange. Green draws on a huge range of materials, from Indian magazines for African Americans to Muslim Japanology; from Urdu tales of ocean-going saints to the diaries of German missionaries; from Bibles in Tatar to the first Arabic printed books. Challenging perceptions of an age usually identified with the unifying ideologies of Pan-Islamism and nationalism, his book reveals more muddled human terrains in which Muslims defended, reformed and promoted in an increasingly connected world. Terrains of Exchange presents not only global history from the bottom up but global history as Islamic history.

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  • The ‘New Turkey’ and its Discontents

    Waldman, Simon and Caliskan, Emre

    The Turkey of today little resembles that of recent decades. Its economy has expanded hugely, new political elites have emerged, and the once powerful Kemalist military is no longer a potent and dominant political player. Meanwhile, new prosperity has had many unexpected social and political repercussions, pre-eminent among which is the advent of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), which first came to power in 2002 by downplaying its Islamist leanings and marketing itself as a centre-right party.

    After several terms in office, and amid unprecedented popularity, the conduct of the AKP and its leading cadres has faced growing criticism. Turkey has yet to solve its Kurdish question, and its foreign policy is increasingly under threat as it balances relations with Iran, Israel, Iraq and Russia, to name only a few of its more demanding interlocutors. Widespread domestic protests gripped the country in 2013. The government is now perceived by many to be corrupt, unaccountable, intimidating of the press and intolerant of alternative political views and criticism. Has this once promising democracy descended into a tyranny of the majority led by a charismatic leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan? Is Turkey more polarised now than ever in its recent history? These are among the questions posed in this timely primer on a rising economic power.

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  • The Pakistan Paradox

    Jaffrelot, Christophe

    Pakistan was born as the creation of elite Urdu-speaking Muslims who sought to govern a state that would maintain their dominance. After rallying non-Urdu speaking leaders around him, Jinnah imposed a unitary definition of the new nation state that obliterated linguistic diversity. This centralisation — ‘justified’ by the Indian threat — fostered centrifugal forces that resulted in Bengali secessionism in 1971 and Baloch, as well as Mohajir, separatisms today.

    Concentration of power in the hands of the establishment remained the norm, and while authoritarianism peaked under military rule, democracy failed to usher in reform, and the rule of law remained fragile at best under Zulfikar Bhutto and later Nawaz Sharif. While Jinnah and Ayub Khan regarded religion as a cultural marker, since their time the Islamists have gradually prevailed. They benefited from the support of General Zia, while others, including sectarian groups, cashed in on their struggle against the establishment to woo the disenfranchised.

    Today, Pakistan faces existential challenges ranging from ethnic strife to Islamism, two sources of instability which hark back to elite domination. But the resilience of the country and its people, the resolve of the judiciary and hints of reform in the army may open a new and more stable chapter in its history.
    Pakistan was born as the creation of elite Urdu-speaking Muslims who sought to govern a state that would maintain their dominance. After rallying non-Urdu speaking leaders around him, Jinnah imposed a unitary definition of the new nation state that obliterated linguistic diversity. This centralisation — ‘justified’ by the Indian threat — fostered centrifugal forces that resulted in Bengali secessionism in 1971 and Baloch, as well as Mohajir, separatisms today.

    Concentration of power in the hands of the establishment remained the norm, and while authoritarianism peaked under military rule, democracy failed to usher in reform, and the rule of law remained fragile at best under Zulfikar Bhutto and later Nawaz Sharif. While Jinnah and Ayub Khan regarded religion as a cultural marker, since their time the Islamists have gradually prevailed. They benefited from the support of General Zia, while others, including sectarian groups, cashed in on their struggle against the establishment to woo the disenfranchised.

    Today, Pakistan faces existential challenges ranging from ethnic strife to Islamism, two sources of instability which hark back to elite domination. But the resilience of the country and its people, the resolve of the judiciary and hints of reform in the army may open a new and more stable chapter in its history.

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  • The Pearl of Khorasan

    Gammell, CPW

    The city of Herat in western Afghanistan long sat at the edge of empires and served as a hub for trade and a conduit for armies. Yet it has been much more than simply a staging post or play¬thing of political ambition. It has been an impe¬rial capital, a city of extraordinary wealth, and has played host to a cultural renaissance to rival that of Florence. The Pearl of Khorasan tells the his¬tory of this storied oasis city, from the invasions of Chingiz Khan in 1221 to the present day. An epilogue assesses the challenges Herat faces in the wake of Afghanistan’s recent turmoil.

    Throughout Herat’s cycles of conquest and habitation, several patterns emerge: the primacy of geography; the city’s strong identification with the fertility of the banks of the Hari River; and its reputation as a place of theological excel¬lence, tolerance and cultural refinement. From the luminescent genius of the Timurid century to the destruction and cultural vandalism associ¬ated with the Taliban’s rule of Afghanistan and the post-9/11 conflict, Herat has hosted empires and experienced the cupidity and lust for power of foreign agents. Using Persian, Pashto and Brit¬ish sources, the author paints a vivid picture of a city in which he has lived, presenting a personal vision of its tumultuous history.

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  • The Rohingyas

    Ibrahim, Azeem

    Azeem Ibrahim’s The Rohingyas documents the slow-motion genocide of the Muslim Rohingyas and exposes the culpability of the Buddhist clergy in fomenting the religious cleansing of Myanmar. This exposé of the plight of the Rohingyas is sure to gain widespread attention.

    The Rohingya have been refused citizenship by successive Burmese governments, who assert they are illegal Bengali immigrants. Control measures applied only to Rohingya have, for years, severely limited their access to healthcare and education. More than 120,000 already live in displacement camps following waves of violence in 2012 and 2013 in which ethnic Buddhist Rakhine razed their neighborhoods across Rakhine State.

    A recent escalation in the latest violence has raised the official death toll since the October crackdown to 134, although Rohingya advocacy groups put it at more than 420. Despite Bangladesh’s refusal to take refugees, several hundred are believed to have fled to camps there. A number who crossed the Naf River separating the two countries in the middle of November were gunned down mid-river. While a number of security personnel have been killed in skirmishes, the overwhelming majority of deaths have been Rohingya. The government has claimed that all are militants, but with independent media completely barred from the region, the claims have been impossible to verify.

    In recent decades, scholars of genocide have identified several likely indicators of mass killings. Several of those signs are now clearly in evidence in western Rakhine: The systematic dehumanization of the target group; their isolation inside camps and barricaded ghettos; and violent attacks on them involving the participation of security forces. These trends have intensified in recent weeks with the amplification of a narrative that singles out the Rohingya as a menacing alien presence in Burma. The new civilian government, elected in April amid jubilation that Burma was finally charting a passage towards democratic rule, has shown a worrying tolerance toward these ominous developments — at times bordering on outright complicity.

    The persecution of Rohingyas rests on a belief that they are outsiders … Azeem Ibrahim debunks these claims in his essential new book, claiming that Rohingyas were in Arakan well before 1784, and may even have arrived there before the Buddhist Rakhine. Ibrahim offers a credible genealogy that links Rohingyas to Indo-Aryan groups who arrived from the Ganges Valley as early as 3000 BC.

    Author

    Azeem Ibrahim has a PhD from the University of Cambridge. He has been a Research Fellow with the International Security Program at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, a World Fellow at Yale, Fellow and member of the board of directors at the Institute for Social Policy Understanding, and an Adjunct Research Professor at the Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College. He founded and chairs a private grant-giving foundation (www.ibrahimfoundation. com) focusing on innovative community projects, and served as a reservist in the UK’s 4th Battalion Parachute Regiment.

    Publication date: March 2016

    ISBN: 9781849046237 / € 17,00 paperback

    Bib details: 160pp / 225mm x 145mm

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  • What is a Refugee?

    Maley, William

    ‘This timely, informative and highly accessible book tackles with the thorny issue of real people in the real world who move out of environments marked by pervasive fear and repression in search of places where they and their children can enjoy safe and more meaningful lives. Maley cuts through much technical jargon and legal terminology to bring to the lay reader an account of how some of the key challenges of refugee protection are being managed in the 21st century. The clarity of the writing and the use of extensive first-hand testimony gives the book a liveliness not often found in work of this nature. Highly recommended for anyone puzzled by the way in which rights of refugees seem to be acknowledged by Western States, but simultaneously criminalised in their search for asylum.’ — Dawn Chatty, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology and Forced Migration and former Director of the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford

    With the arrival in Europe of over a million refugees and asylum seekers in 2015, a sense of panic began to spread within the continent and beyond. What is a Refugee? puts these developments into historical context, injecting much-needed objectivity and nuance into contemporary debates over what is to be done. Refugees have been with us for a long time — although only after the Great War did refugee movements commence on a large scale — and are ultimately symptoms of the failure of the system of states to protect all who live within it. Providing a terse user’s guide to the complex legal status of refugees, Maley argues that states are now reaping the consequences of years of attempts to block access to asylum through safe and ‘legal’ means. He shows why many mooted ‘solutions’ to the ‘problem’ of refugees — from military intervention to the warehousing of refugees in camps — are counterproductive, creating environments ripe for the growth of extremism among people who have been denied all hope. In a globalised world, he concludes, wealthy states have the resources to protect refugees. And, as his historical account shows, courageous individuals have treated refugees in the past with striking humanity. States today could do worse than emulate them.

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