The Middle East Crisis Factory

Tyranny, Resilience and Resistance

April 2021 9781787383043 256 pp
Available as an eBook
EU Customers


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? And what role should the West play?

Iyad El-Baghdadi and Ahmed Gatnash tell the story of the modern Middle East as a series of broken promises. They chart the entrenchment of tyranny, terrorism and foreign intervention, showing how these systems of oppression simultaneously feed off and battle each other. Exploring demographic, economic and social trends, the authors paint a picture of the region’s prospects that is alarming yet hopeful. Finally, they present ambitious and thoughtful ideas that reject both aggressive military intervention and cynical deals with dictators.

This book, written by two children of the region, is about the failures of history, and the reasons for hope. The Middle East Crisis Factory offers a bold vision for those seeking peace and democracy in the Middle East.



‘A proud, angry and hopeful rallying cry for democracy and human rights in the Middle East and North Africa. … Baghdadi and Gatnash provide an excellent primer on the history of the region, firmly rooting its current woes in the colonial experience.’ — The Irish Times

‘A critical compass for all to rethink the Middle East as it is, and reimagine what it could be. This is an ambitious charter to realign history and inspire hope for a new generation, and generations to come.’ — Lyse Doucet, Chief International Correspondent, BBC News

‘The Arab Spring was… unthinkable even as it happened, and remains so. The Middle East Crisis Factory… shakes us out of this cognitive dissonance and aims to take us through what did happen and what may well happen next. [A] highly readable, hard-to-put-down and easy-to-comprehend book.’ —  Middle East Monitor

‘[The Middle East Crisis Factory] is not a statement of despair, but one of defiance from the generation of the 2011 uprisings [and] offers many insights.’ — Middle East Eye

‘An essential, accessible read for anyone interested in how events in the Middle East have global repercussions and provides persuasive strategies to correct its current course.’ — The New Arab

‘Part guide, part manifesto, [The Middle East Crisis Factory] is a succinct, accessible, and even-handed introduction to the Middle East that emphasises how the problems of the region have global repercussions.’ — Business Post

‘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

‘A rare genuine effort to provide an objective yet impassioned analysis of the Middle East from inside the region. From 9/11 to the Arab Spring to ISIS and countless ill-conceived foreign interventions, this book is essential reading for understanding the cycle of violence and tyranny—and for breaking that cycle.’ — Garry Kasparov, Chairman of the Human Rights Foundation and the Renew Democracy Initiative

‘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

‘Anyone who wants to understand the traumas of the contemporary Middle East, and is willing to learn how deeply implicated in them the West is, must read this book.’ — Peter Beinart, author of The Crisis of Zionism

‘It took me a lifetime to try to understand why the region where I was born and raised is a crisis factory. This book is a genuine guide, full of important information, accurate context and honest hope for those who want to understand the Middle East.’ — Ghada Oueiss, Principal Presenter, Al Jazeera Arabic

‘An astute geopolitical analysis that is also deeply heartfelt. The authors’ discussion of tyranny, terrorism and foreign intervention in the Middle East is well researched and unsparing; their personal stories and hopes for the future (complete with practical suggestions) make it stand out.’ — Sarah Kendzior, author of Hiding in Plain Sight and The View from Flyover Country

‘After decades of the West aiding and abetting authoritarianism across the Middle East, on 6 January 2021, a white supremacist mob attacked the seat of US democracy, aiming to install a dictator. In The Middle East Crisis Factory, two prominent activists sound the alarm that authoritarianism anywhere is a threat to democracy everywhere.’ — Rula Jebreal, award-winning author and journalist


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.

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

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