Kanan Makiya is an Iraqi-British writer and professor of Middle Eastern Studies at Brandeis University. Makiya fled Iraq and studied architecture at MIT; subsequently he worked as a project developer in the Middle East. He gained international recognition as a dissident and opponent of the regime of Saddam Hussein. In 1989 he published the bestseller Republic of Fear using a pseudonym, in which he argued that Iraq had turned into a totalitarian state. After the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Makiya served as advisor to the transitional government installed by the US, giving him a unique insight into the failed attempt to build a new state under the leadership of former exiles. His latest novel The Rope (2016) is based on this experience.