Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East

In This Review

Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East
By Deborah Amos
PublicAffairs, 2010
256 pp. $25.95
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Approximately one in six Iraqis, Amos reports, became a refugee or was displaced during the war and chaos following the 2003 U.S. invasion. "The equivalent number in terms of the American population would be fifty million men, women and children," she writes. Amos bring intimacy to this powerful statistic with close-up accounts of killings and kidnappings; middle-class Iraqi women in Damascus reduced to prostitution; the awkward, probably hypocritical, and certainly failed effort of Nouri al-Maliki's government to induce a return of refugees; and more. She weaves into the story of these millions of displaced Iraqis, who are disproportionately Christian and Sunni, an overview of the changing regional power balance and of an Iraq, now seven lean years after Saddam Hussein, segregated by sect, with a devastated infrastructure, and largely bereft of its professional and cultural middle class.