The Middle East Crisis Factory

Tyranny, Resilience and Resistance

Iyad El-Baghdadi


Ahmed Gatnash

Has autocracy won out in the Middle East? Two Arab dissidents explain how tyrants rule, and explore the region’s horizons of change.

Bibliographic Details
The Middle East Crisis Factory Paperback
April 2021£14.99
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Why is the Middle East a crisis factory, and how can it be fixed? What does the future look like for its 500 million people? Should the West strong-arm it towards democracy, or leave it alone to its tyrants and terrorists?

Iyad El-Baghdadi and Ahmed Gatnash explore the entrenchment of tyranny, terrorism and foreign intervention in the Middle East, showing how these systems of oppression superficially feed off each other, even as they battle each other. They assess the region’s prospects in light of demographic, economic and social trends, painting a picture that is both alarming and hopeful. Finally, they present an ambitious and thoughtful manifesto to fix the crisis factory, without resorting either to aggressive military intervention or to non-interventionist wishful thinking.

This is a book about the failures of Arab history, the reality of its horizons, and the reasons for hope. Written by children of the region, whose lives have been shaped by its turmoil and who care deeply about its future, The Middle East Crisis Factory offers a bold vision for those seeking peace and democracy in the Middle East.


Iyad El-Baghdadi is an Arab writer, activist and entrepreneur, and founder/president of the Kawaakibi Foundation and its website The Arab Tyrant Manual. He tweets as @iyad_elbaghdadi.

Ahmed Gatnash is a British-Libyan intellectual, activist and entrepreneur, and co-founder of the Kawaakibi Foundation, hosting its Arab Tyrant Manual podcast. He tweets as @gatnash.


‘A passionate and accurate analysis of the past and future of the Middle East, showing that while tyranny persists after the 2011 uprisings, there is also resilience and resistance. Offering a sound, creative path away from devastating Western military intervention, this is a loud cry for profound transformation by two prominent activists of the region.’ — Madawi Al-Rasheed, Fellow of the British Academy, Visiting Professor at the LSE Middle East Centre, and author of The Son King

‘It is a tribute to Iyad El-Baghdadi and Ahmed Gatnash that this book makes just as uncomfortable reading for Western politicians and policymakers as it would for the Middle East’s tyrants and terrorists. A brave, unflinching analysis of a region bedevilled by crises, written not by another Western “expert” but by two compelling Arab voices.’ — Justin Marozzi, author of Islamic Empires: Fifteen Cities that Define a Civilisation