“The country that George W. Bush and Tony Blair have left behind is free of Saddam Hussein, but it is needy and volatile and may tip back into sectarian war. In addition to 4,500 US soldiers, well over 100,000 civilians have lost their lives. Millions have fled into exile or have had to leave their homes in Iraq, ancient Christian communities have been obliterated, and only a shared pursuit of oil revenues keeps the country’s most important groups (the Shia Arabs, the Sunni Arabs, and the Kurds) precariously united…

…Recent pro-democratic upheavals in the Middle East have had little connection with the policies of the Bush administration. The first of these happened not in Tunisia in December 2010, but more than a    year earlier, on the streets of Tehran…”

Christopher de Bellaigue was born in London in 1971 and has worked as a journalist in the Middle East and South Asia since 1994. His first book, In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs: A Memoir of Iran, was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize. He lives in Tehran with his wife and two children. His article in full at NY Review of Books (click text in green or our blogroll for link).