Battleground: 10 Conflicts that Explain the New Middle East: Caabu Book Launch with Chris Phillips

On 30 April, Caabu hosted a book launch with Christopher Phillips, professor of international relations at Queen Mary University of London, author of Battle for Syria, and co-editor of What Next for Britain in the Middle East? in which he discussed his recent book Battleground: Ten Conflicts that Explain the New Middle East. See below for a recording of the event.

Phillips said that the book derived from a place of frustration, as the complex region is often presented in an oversimplified way, with the conflicts being generically explained as merely a result of religious differences, the presence of oil, and imperialism. Whilst Phillips agrees that these factors come into play, the Middle East is far more complex than this, so he aimed to make these complexities accessible for those who are not experts through his book. The book is divided into ten isolated case studies, in which Phillips presents historical context, more recent developments, and roles of various external influences, before linking back to other case studies in the rest of the book. Each case study hones in on one particular conflict, but Phillips noted that not all of the conflicts analysed are violent, with some taking form as political contestations rather than violent wars.

Phillips also spoke of how the 'new Middle East' has emerged, as he discussed the changing role of the US, increased activism of regional powers, the greater number of weak states and growth of violent non-state actors. The talk was followed by a Q&A, in which Phillips discussed his thoughts on the UK's role in the Middle East as well as the Labour Party's potential approaches to British Middle East policy.

You can purchase your own copy of the book here.