Kanan Makiya

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Kanan Makiya (b.1949, Baghdad) is an Iraqi academic, who gained British nationality in 1982. He is the Sylvia K. Hassenfeld Professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at Brandeis University. Although he was born in Baghdad, he left Iraq to study architecture at M.I.T., later founding Makiya Associates in order to design and build projects in the Middle East. As a former exile, he was a prominent member of the Iraqi opposition, a "close friend" of Ahmed Chalabi, and an influential proponent of the 2003 Iraq War.Dexter Filkins. The New York Times Magazine, October 7, 2007. Accessed October 12, 2007.Edward Wong. The New York Times, March 24, 2007. Accessed July 13, 2008. His life is documented in British journalist Nick Cohen's book What's Left.


Makiya began his political career as a Trotskyist and became closely identified with Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Schwartz. In 1981, Makiya left the practice of architecture to write, using the pseudonym Samir al-Khalil to avoid endangering his family. In Republic of Fear (1989), which became a best-seller after Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, he argues that Iraq had become a full-fledged totalitarian state, worse than despotic states such as Jordan or Saudi Arabia. His next book, The Monument (1991), is an essay on the aesthetics of power and kitsch.

Cruelty and Silence: War, Tyranny, Uprising and the Arab World (1993) was published under...
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