Book Review: In Afghanistan: Two Hundred Years of British, Russian and American Occupation, David Loyn

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What the World needs to know about Afghanistan?

Book Review: In Afghanistan: Two Hundred Years of British, Russian and American Occupation, David Loyn

By Aladdin Elaasar

Afghanistan is hotter than ever. As the fight against the Taliban is raging, this timely book is well-needed more than before. In Afghanistan: Two Hundred Years of British, Russian and American Occupation, veteran award-winning BBC foreign correspondent David Loyn brings an insider account about what is really happening there.

In this page turner, readers will get a first rate account into the history and the dynamics of politics in Afghanistan and struggle for the soul of this captivating, yet impoverished and devastated country.

From Alexander the Great to the Soviet Union failing miserably, Afghanistan has suffered through capitalism, communism, and the ferocious Taliban. Afghanistan proved to be the last straw, or the last nail in the coffin of many empires.

As the fight intensifies against the back-warded Taliban in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, the world is gasping for the end of the dark rule of the Taliban harboring the most dangerous terrorist organization, al-Qaida and its leaders bin-Laden and Zawahri.

From the Soviets eyeing it strategic location, to Jihadists who poured into this country with the blessings of many Arab regimes, the billions of petrodollars that found its way to the pockets of bin-Laden, and many other terrorists and warlords, Afghanistan has been the fighting grounds for many brutal proxy wars.

Now the war is heading into Afghanistan’s backyard, Pakistan on the verge of explosion, as its leadership and military have for years played a reluctant and dubious role in receiving Western and American aid, while turning a blind eye over the creeping of the Taliban, Wahabism, money laundering and grave human rights abuses.

From the comfortable Western armchair in an age of soap operas, reality TV, and sound-bites news, Westerns are mor e puzzled about what is happening in an area that seems incomprehensible.

In Afghanistan presents an eye-opening detailed account of who’s who in Afghanistan and what the struggle is all about. This highly-recommended book is a must-read for all of those hoping to understand and get a firsthand account of the story of this long-suffering nation; the exploitation of its women, men and children in refugee camps and poppy fields.

Aladdin Elaasar is author of “The Last Pharaoh: Mubarak and the Uncertain Future of Egypt in the Volatile Mid East” and Silent Victims: The Plight of Arabs and Muslims in Post 9/11 America. Elaasar has been a commentator on Middle Eastern affairs on American TV and Radio, and a media and cultural consultant. Email:

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites and (Illinois News Network at

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post,, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

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