Vanguard of the Imam

Religion, Politics, and Iran's Revolutionary Guards
Author: Afshon Ostovar
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199387893
Category: POLITICAL SCIENCE
Page: 320
View: 1591
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"Iran's Revolutionary Guards are one of the most important forces in the Middle East today, but remain poorly understood to outside observers. In Vanguard of the Imam, Afshon Ostovar has written the first comprehensive history of the organization. Situating the rise of the Guards in the contexts of Shiite Islam, Iranian history, and international affairs, Ostovar takes a multifaceted approach in demystifying the organization and detailing its evolution since 1979. The book documents the Guards transformation into a power-player and explores why the group matters now more than ever to regional and global affairs. It is simultaneously a history of modern Iran, and an engrossing entryway into the complex world of war, politics, and identity in the Middle East"--

Vanguard of the Imam

Religion, Politics, and Iran's Revolutionary Guards
Author: Afshon Ostovar
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 019049171X
Category: Political Science
Page: 240
View: 6219
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Iran's Revolutionary Guards are one of the most important forces in the Middle East today. As the appointed defender of Iran's revolution, the Guards have evolved into a pillar of the Islamic Republic and the spearhead of its influence. Their sway has spread across the Middle East, where the Guards have overseen loyalist support to Bashar al-Assad in Syria and been a staunch backer in Iraq's war against ISIS-bringing its own troops, Lebanon's Hezbollah, and Shiite militias to the fight. Links to terrorism, human rights abuses, and the suppression of popular democracy have shrouded the Revolutionary Guards in controversy. In spite of their prominence, the Guards remain poorly understood to outside observers. In Vanguard of the Imam, Afshon Ostovar has written the first comprehensive history of the organization. Situating the rise of the Guards in the larger contexts of Shiite Islam, modern Iranian history, and international affairs, Ostovar takes a multifaceted approach in demystifying the organization and detailing its evolution since 1979. Politics, power, and religion collide in this story, wherein the Revolutionary Guards transform from a rag-tag militia established in the midst of revolutionary upheaval into a military and covert force with a global reach. The Guards have been fundamental to the success of the Islamic revolution. The symbiotic relationship between them and Iran's clerical rulers underpins the regime's nearly unshakeable system of power. The Guards have used their privileged position at home to export Iran's revolution beyond its borders, establishing client armies in their image and extending Iran's strategic footprint in the process. Ostovar tenaciously documents the Guards' transformation into a power-player and explores why the group matters now more than ever to regional and global affairs. The book simultaneously serves as a history of modern Iran, and provides a crucial and engrossing entryway into the complex world of war, politics, and identity in the Middle East.

Iran Unveiled

How the Revolutionary Guards Is Transforming Iran from Theocracy into Military Dictatorship
Author: Ali Alfoneh
Publisher: AEI Press
ISBN: 0844772550
Category: Political Science
Page: 272
View: 8566
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Iran is currently experiencing the most important change in its history since the revolution of 1979 and the establishment of the Islamic Republic: The regime in Tehran, traditionally ruled by the Shia clergy, is transforming into a military dictatorship dominated by the officers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC; Sepah-e Pasdaran-e Enqelab-e Eslami). This transformation is changing not only the economy and society in Iran, but also the Islamic Republic’s relations with the United States and its allies.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard

The Threat That Grows While America Sleeps
Author: Steven O'Hern
Publisher: Potomac Books, Inc.
ISBN: 1597977012
Category: History
Page: 288
View: 3072
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Since the Iranian Revolution more than thirty years ago, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), also known as the Revolutionary Guard, has conducted covert and overt military operations, built an economic empire, and trained, financed, and guided terrorists to pursue one goalùthe preservation and expansion of the Islamic revolution. Inside Iran the IRGC influences the country's politics, economy, and foreign policy, and controls its nuclear program. Outside Iran the operations of the IRGC and its proxies, including Hezbollah in Lebanon and Shiite militias in Iraq, have left a trail of deathùfrom the 1983 truck bombings in Beirut that killed 241 U.S. peacekeepers and 58 French paratroopers to numerous attacks on U.S. (and allied) troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, no longer content to strike in Iraq and Afghanistan or at targets in the Middle East and south Asia, the IRGC and Hezbollah operate throughout North and South America, developing the capability to strike the continental United States and deliver a blow to America's economy far worse than today's financial crisis. In Iran's Revolutionary Guard, Steven O'Hern reveals new information about the IRGC and Hezbollah operations inside America based on interviews with former and active members of the FBI, CIA, local law enforcement, military intelligence, and even one former Revolutionary Guard officer. The author details how the IRGC has grown into such a dangerous foe and explains how its members' activities have put the American economy and American lives at risk. His research suggests that the IRGC may be planning to explode, high above a Midwestern city, a nuclear weapon that would emit an electromagnetic pulse strong enough to render anything with a computer chip useless, including the hundreds of transformers that control the country's electrical grid. One thing is certain, according to O'Hern: the Revolutionary Guard is a serious threat to the well-being of all U.S. citizens.

The Unthinkable Revolution in Iran


Author: Charles Kurzman
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674039834
Category: History
Page: 304
View: 4615
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The shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, would remain on the throne for the foreseeable future: This was the firm conclusion of a top-secret CIA analysis issued in October 1978. One hundred days later the shah--despite his massive military, fearsome security police, and superpower support was overthrown by a popular and largely peaceful revolution. But the CIA was not alone in its myopia, as Charles Kurzman reveals in this penetrating work; Iranians themselves, except for a tiny minority, considered a revolution inconceivable until it actually occurred. Revisiting the circumstances surrounding the fall of the shah, Kurzman offers rare insight into the nature and evolution of the Iranian revolution and into the ultimate unpredictability of protest movements in general. As one Iranian recalls, "The future was up in the air." Through interviews and eyewitness accounts, declassified security documents and underground pamphlets, Kurzman documents the overwhelming sense of confusion that gripped pre-revolutionary Iran, and that characterizes major protest movements. His book provides a striking picture of the chaotic conditions under which Iranians acted, participating in protest only when they expected others to do so too, the process approaching critical mass in unforeseen and unforeseeable ways. Only when large numbers of Iranians began to "think the unthinkable," in the words of the U.S. ambassador, did revolutionary expectations become a self-fulfilling prophecy. A corrective to 20-20 hindsight, this book reveals shortcomings of analyses that make the Iranian revolution or any major protest movement seem inevitable in retrospect.

Factional Politics in Post-Khomeini Iran


Author: Mehdi Moslem
Publisher: Syracuse University Press
ISBN: 9780815629788
Category: History
Page: 366
View: 3468
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Since President Mohammad Khatami's landslide victory in May 1997, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been a study in contradictions. Whilst Khatami condemned his nations's fanatical past, there still remains an opposing faction towards the West. This study analyses Iran's post-revolutionary politics.

Revival and Reform in Islam

The Legacy of Muhammad Al-Shawkani
Author: Bernard Haykel
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521528900
Category: History
Page: 265
View: 5980
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A history of the transition from traditional Shiism to Sunni reformism in pre-modern Yemen.

Apocalyptic Islam and Iranian Shi'ism


Author: Abbas Amanat
Publisher: I. B. Tauris
ISBN: 9781845111243
Category: Religion
Page: 304
View: 555
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Interest in Shi'i Islam is running at unprecedented levels. International tensions over Iran, where the largest number of Shi'i Muslims live, as well as the political resurgence of the Shi'i in Iraq and Lebanon, have created an urgent need to understand the background, beliefs and motivations of this dynamic vision of Islam. Abbas Amanat is one of the leading scholars of Shi'ism. And in this powerful book, a showcase for some of his most influential writing in the field, he addresses the colorful and diverse history of Shi' Islam in both premodern and contemporary times. Focusing specifically on the importance of apocalypticism in the development of modern Shi'i theology, he shows how an immersion in messianic ideas has shaped the conservative character of much Shi'i thinking, and has prevented it from taking a more progressive course. Tracing the continuity of apocalyptic trends from the Middle Ages to the present, Amanat addresses such topics as the early influence on Shi'ism of Zoroastrianism; manifestations of apocalyptic ideology during the Iranian Revolution of 1979; and the rise of the Shi'i clerical establishment during the 19th and 20th centuries. His book will be an essential resource for students and scholars of both religious studies and Middle Eastern history.

The Pasdaran

Inside Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
Author: Emanuele Ottolenghi
Publisher: N.A
ISBN: 9780981971292
Category: History
Page: 132
View: 2813
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The Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (Sepah-e Pasdaran-e Enqelab-e Eslami) is more commonly known as Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), or the Pasadran. Sworn by an oath of loyalty to Iran's Supreme Leader, the IRGC is the regime's Praetorian Guard, the custodian of its nuclear program, and now a juggernaut in Iran's economy. Since 1979, the Guards have played a key role in protecting the Revolution internally against domestic opposition while actively seeking to export it abroad. The IRGC has been at the forefront of repression every time ordinary Iranians have protested their lack of freedoms, including after the fraudulent presidential elections of June 2009. Iran's sponsorship of terrorism abroad is also executed through the IRGC's overseas operations' branch, the Qods Forces. In The Pasdaran: Inside Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Emanuele Ottolenghi offers a detailed overview of how the IRGC came into being, how the Guards rose to a position of prominence in Iran's current power structure, how they have penetrated Iran's economy, how they are working to help Iran attain nuclear weapons, and why they will likely play a key role in Iran for decades to come.

Iran, Islam and Democracy

The Politics of Managing Change
Author: Ali Ansari
Publisher: N.A
ISBN: 9781909942981
Category: Political Science
Page: 220
View: 6422
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The surprise election of Hasan Rouhani in 2013 has re-focused attention on the dynamics between Islam and democracy in Iran after the hiatus of the Ahmadinejad presidency. With comparisons being drawn between Rouhani and his predecessor, the late Reformist President Mohammad Khatami (1997-2005), there has never been a better time for a close look at the rise and fall of the Reform movement in Iran, situating it within the context of the "politics of managing change." This revised and updated edition incorporates recent work on the Presidential election crisis of 2009, along with the election of Rouhani in 2013, and an additional essay on the idea of reformism in Iran in historical context. The study remains then most comprehensive account of the politics of reform and, in situating the Rouhani presidency within that context, it shines a clear light on the pressures and pitfalls Iran faces in politics and international relations.

Power and Change in Iran

Politics of Contention and Conciliation
Author: Daniel Brumberg,Farideh Farhi
Publisher: Indiana University Press
ISBN: 0253020794
Category: History
Page: 328
View: 6703
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This volume provides an unparalleled and timely look at political, social, economic, and ideological dynamics in contemporary Iran. Through chapters on social welfare and privatization, university education, the role and authority of the Supreme Leader, the rule of law, the evolving electoral system, and the intense debate over human rights within and outside the regime, the contributors offer a comprehensive overview of Iranian politics. Their case studies reveal a society whose multiple vectors of contestation, negotiation, and competition are creating possibilities for transformation that are yet to be realized but whose outcome will affect the Islamic Republic, the region, and relations with the United States.

Khomeini

Life of the Ayatollah
Author: Baqer Moin
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 1466893060
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Page: 368
View: 9959
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The Ayatollah Khomeini was the most radical Muslim leader of this age. In transforming himself from a traditional Muslim theologian into the charismatic Iranian ruler who took on the world, Khomeini launched an Islamic revival movement that, with the collapse of communism, quickly evolved for some as the centre-piece in the pantheon of western demonology, and for others as the inspiration for spiritual and political rebirth. Whether viewed as a hero by his supporters or as a villain by his enemies, Khomeini was undoubtedly one of the seminal figures of the twentieth century, whose influence will extend some way into the new millennium. Baqer Moin here explores how and why this frail octogenarian, dressed in the traditional robes of a Muslim cleric, overthrew the secular Shah of Iran and became the spiritual leader of a new and militant Islamic regime. Still an enigma in the West, Khomeini transformed the Middle East and the world. But where did the man come from? What was his childhood and family background? What lay behind his implacable opposition to the Shah? What role did the turbulent events in Iran during his youth play in shaping Khomeini's political perceptions? What changed him from an obscure traditional theologian with mystical and poetic inclinations into a combative and highly vengeful radical? How will his vision of an international community of Muslims, a kind of Islamic Internationale, affect the Middle East? Drawing on many exclusive personal interviews with Khomeini's associates, on unpublished new materials and on the author's firsthand experience in Islamic seminaries, this biography provides a fascinating, well-documented and highly accessible analysis of the life and thought of one of the most controversial leaders of the late twentieth century.

The Twilight War

The Secret History of America's Thirty-Year Conflict with Iran
Author: David Crist
Publisher: Penguin Books
ISBN: 014312367X
Category: History
Page: 642
View: 6285
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Reveals the covert operations that have brought the United States and Iran to the brink of open war, including Iran's proposal for peace after 9/11, which was rejected by President Bush, and Iran's secret army in post-U.S. invasion Iraq.

Iran and Pakistan

Security, Diplomacy and American Influence
Author: Alex Vatanka
Publisher: I.B.Tauris
ISBN: 0857739158
Category: History
Page: 320
View: 5598
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The respective policies of the governments of Iran and Pakistan pose serious challenges to US interests in the Middle East, Asia and beyond. These two regional powers, with a combined population of around 300 million, have been historically intertwined in various cultural, religious and political ways. Iran was the first country to recognise the emerging independent state of Pakistan in 1947 and the Shah of Iran was the first head of state to visit the new nation. While this relationship shifted following the 1979 Iranian Revolution, and tensions do exist between Sunni Pakistan and Shi‘i Iran, there has nevertheless been a history of cooperation between the two countries in fields that are of great strategic interest to the US: Afghanistan, nuclear proliferation and terrorism. Yet much of this history of cooperation, conflict and ongoing interactions remains unexplored. Alex Vatanka here presents the first comprehensive analysis of this long-standing and complex relationship.

The Shīʻite Movement in Iraq


Author: Fāliḥ ʻAbd al-Jabbār
Publisher: Saqi Books
ISBN: 9780863563959
Category: Political Science
Page: 391
View: 3500
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Long oppressed despite their majority status, the Shi'is of Iraq have seen their leaders assassinated or exiled and their rituals debased. But they are a force to be reckoned with, and will play a key role in the reshaping of Iraq. This book is a thorough investigation by one of the foremost experts on the region into the origins and development of Iraqi Shi'ite political activism. Tracing the course of the Shi'is' quest for self-representation, the book shows how their political formation has historically intersected with a variety of religious and geopolitical forces, contending with a series of modern-era strongman regimes culminating in the most violent of them all, the Ba'th rule under Saddam Hussein. Almost alone amongst observers of the region, Faleh A. Jabar greatly enlarges our understanding of Shi'ism in its social, cultural, political and economic dimensions, and underscores the fact that Iraq's Shi'is have never constituted the homogeneous group that political analysts have too often insisted upon. Timely and exhaustively researched, this book offers a perspective on the complexities of the Iraqi situation before and after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Long oppressed despite their majority status, the Shi'is of Iraq have seen their leaders assassinated or exiled and their rituals debased. But they are a force to be reckoned with, and will play a key role in the reshaping of Iraq. This book is a thorough investigation by one of the foremost experts on the region into the origins and development of Iraqi Shi'ite political activism. Tracing the course of the Shi'is' quest for self-representation, the book shows how their political formation has historically intersected with a variety of religious and geopolitical forces, contending with a series of modern-era strongman regimes culminating in the most violent of them all, the Ba'th rule under Saddam Hussein. Almost alone amongst observers of the region, Faleh A. Jabar greatly enlarges our understanding of Shi'ism in its social, cultural, political and economic dimensions, and underscores the fact that Iraq's Shi'is have never constituted the homogeneous group that political analysts have too often insisted upon. Timely and exhaustively researched, this book offers a perspective on the complexities of the Iraqi situation before and after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

The Shia Revival: How Conflicts Within Islam Will Shape the Future


Author: Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr,Vali Nasr
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393329682
Category: Political Science
Page: 310
View: 1562
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Considers the ways in which struggles between the Shia and Sunni in the Middle East will affect the region's future, offering insight into the long-standing, brutal power conflicts between Iran and Saudi Arabia for political and spiritual leadership of the Muslim world. Reprint.

Iran's Political Economy since the Revolution


Author: Suzanne Maloney
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 0521506344
Category: History
Page: 460
View: 3398
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This book provides a comprehensive overview of Iran's political economy since the 1979 revolution and examines the country's energy sector.

The Al Qaeda Franchise

The Expansion of Al-Qaeda and Its Consequences
Author: Barak Mendelsohn
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190205601
Category: Terrorism
Page: 288
View: 6595
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The al-Qaeda Franchise asks why al-Qaeda adopted a branching-out strategy, introducing seven franchises spread over the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. After all, transnational terrorist organizations can expand through other organizational strategies. Forming franchises was not an inevitable outgrowth of al-Qaeda's ideology or its U.S.-focused strategy. The efforts to create local franchises have also undermined one of al-Qaeda's primary achievements: the creation of a transnational entity based on religious, not national, affiliation. The book argues that al-Qaeda's branching out strategy was not a sign of strength, but instead a response to its decline in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Franchising reflected an escalation of al-Qaeda's commitments in response to earlier strategic mistakes, leaders' hubris, and its diminished capabilities. Although the introduction of new branches helped al-Qaeda create a frightening image far beyond its actual capabilities, ultimately this strategy neither increased the al-Qaeda threat, nor enhanced the organization's political objectives. In fact, the rise of ISIS from an al-Qaeda branch to the dominant actor in the jihadi camp demonstrates how expansion actually incurred heavy costs for al-Qaeda. The al-Qaeda Franchise goes beyond explaining the adoption of a branching out strategy, also exploring particular expansion choices. Through nine case studies, it analyzes why al-Qaeda formed branches in some arenas but not others, and why its expansion in some locations, such as Yemen, took the form of in-house franchising (with branches run by al-Qaeda's own fighters), while other locations, such as Iraq and Somalia, involved merging with groups already operating in the target arena. It ends with an assessment of al-Qaeda's future in light of the turmoil in the Middle East, the ascendance of ISIS, and US foreign policy.

Illusions of Victory

The Anbar Awakening and the Rise of the Islamic State
Author: Carter Malkasian
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190659440
Category: Political Science
Page: 240
View: 9911
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In the immediate aftermath of the 2007 "Surge" of American troops in Iraq, the defeat of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) in Anbar Province was widely hailed as one of America's signature victories. US Marines and soldiers fought for years there, in grinding battles such as Fallujah and Ramadi that define the experience of Iraq. Eventually, the fractious tribal sheiks in that province, with the help of American troops, united in an "Awakening" that dealt AQI a stunning defeat. The Awakening's success argued that the United States could intervene in a war-torn country and, with the right strategy, bring stability and peace. It seemed to exemplify snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. A decade later, the situation in Anbar Province is dramatically different. In 2014, much of Anbar fell to the AQI's successor organization, the Islamic State, which swept through the region with shocking ease. In Illusions of Victory, Carter Malkasian looks at the wreckage to explain why the Awakening's initial promise proved misleading and why victory was unsustainable. Malkasian begins by tracing the origins of the Awakening, then turns his attention to what happened in its wake. After the United States left, Iraq's Shi'a government sidelined Sunni leaders throughout the country. AQI, brought back to life as the Islamic State, expanded in northern and western Iraq and quickly found a receptive audience among marginalized Sunnis. In short order, the progress that had resulted from the Awakening fell apart. Malkasian draws many lessons from Anbar. Chief among them, the most stunning of victories may not last. The fact that the leading model of success fell apart severely damages the idea that the United States can send the military to a country for a few years and create lasting peace. Even the most successful example was bound to deeper social, sectarian, and religious forces insensitive to temporary boots on the ground. From today's perspective, rather than decisive success, Anbar exemplifies how intervention itself is a costly, long-term project. The most brilliant victory could not escape this wisdom.

Hezbollah

The Global Footprint of Lebanon's Party of God
Author: Matthew Levitt
Publisher: Georgetown University Press
ISBN: 1626162026
Category: Political Science
Page: 424
View: 6044
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Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon's Party of God is the first thorough examination of Hezbollah’s covert activities beyond Lebanon’s borders, including its financial and logistical support networks and its criminal and terrorist operations worldwide. Hezbollah—Lebanon’s "Party of God"—is a multifaceted organization: It is a powerful political party in Lebanon, a Shia Islam religious and social movement, Lebanon’s largest militia, a close ally of Iran, and a terrorist organization. Drawing on a wide range of sources, including recently declassified government documents, court records, and personal interviews with intelligence and law enforcement officials around the world, Matthew Levitt examines Hezbollah’s beginnings, its first violent forays in Lebanon, and then its terrorist activities and criminal enterprises abroad in Europe, the Middle East, South America, Southeast Asia, Africa, and finally in North America. Levitt also describes Hezbollah’s unit dedicated to supporting Palestinian militant groups and Hezbollah’s involvement in training and supporting insurgents who fought US troops in post-Saddam Iraq. The book concludes with a look at Hezbollah’s integral, ongoing role in Iran’s shadow war with Israel and the West, including plots targeting civilians around the world. Levitt shows convincingly that Hezbollah’s willingness to use violence at home and abroad, its global reach, and its proxy-patron relationship with the Iranian regime should be of serious concern. Hezbollah is an important book for scholars, policymakers, students, and the general public interested in international security, terrorism, international criminal organizations, and Middle East studies.