Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the United States


Trita Parsi - 2007
    But the real roots of the enmity between the two nations mystify Washington policymakers, and no promising pathways to peace have emerged. This book traces the shifting relations among Israel, Iran, and the United States from 1948 to the present, uncovering for the first time the details of secret alliances, treacherous acts, and unsavory political maneuverings that have undermined Middle Eastern stability and disrupted U.S. foreign policy initiatives in the region.Trita Parsi, a U.S. foreign policy expert with more than a decade of experience, is the only writer who has had access to senior American, Iranian, and Israeli decision makers. He dissects the complicated triangular relations of their countries, arguing that America’s hope for stability in Iraq and for peace in Israel is futile without a correct understanding of the Israeli-Iranian rivalry.Parsi’s behind-the-scenes revelations about Middle East events will surprise even the most knowledgeable readers: Iran’s prime minister asks Israel to assassinate Khomeini, Israel reaches out to Saddam Hussein after the Gulf War, the United States foils Iran’s plan to withdraw support from Hamas and Hezbollah, and more. This book not only revises our understanding of the Middle East’s recent past, it also spells out a course for the future. In today’s belligerent world, few topics, if any, could be more important.

Warriors of God: Inside Hezbollah's Thirty-Year Struggle Against Israel


Nicholas Blanford - 2011
    Now Blanford has written the first comprehensive inside account of Hezbollah and its enduring struggle against Israel. Based on more than a decade and a half of reporting in Lebanon and conversations with Hezbollah’s determined fighters, Blanford reveals their ideology, motivations, and training, as well as new information on military tactics, weapons, and sophisticated electronic warfare and communications systems.Using exclusive sources and his own dogged investigative skills, Blanford traces Hezbollah’s extraordinary evolution—from a zealous group of raw fighters motivated by Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution into the most formidable non-state military organization in the world, whose charismatic leader vows to hasten Israel’s destruction. With dramatic eyewitness accounts, including Blanford’s own experiences of the battles, massacres, triumphs, and tragedies that have marked the conflict, the story follows the increasingly successful campaign of resistance that led to Israel’s historic withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000.Warriors of God shows how Hezbollah won hearts and minds with exhaustive social welfare programs and sophisticated propaganda skills. Blanford traces the group’s secret military build-up since 2000 and reveals the stunning scope of its underground network of tunnels and bunkers, becoming the only journalist to independently discover and explore them. With the Middle East fearful of another, even more destructive war between Lebanon and Israel, Blanford tenaciously pursues Hezbollah’s post-2006 battle plans in the Lebanese mountains, earning him newspaper scoops as well as a terrifying interrogation and a night in jail.Featuring sixteen years of probing interviews with Hezbollah’s leaders and fighters, Warriors of God is essential to understanding a key player in a region rocked by change and uncertainty.

Blood Year: The Unraveling of Western Counterterrorism


David Kilcullen - 2015
    A resurgent and bellicose Russia took over Crimea and fueled a civil war in Eastern Ukraine. Post-Saddam Iraq, in many respects a creature of the United States because of the war that began in 2003, lost a third of its territory to an army of hyper-violent millennialists. The peace process in Israel seemed to completely collapse. Finally, after coalescing in Syria as a territorial entity, the Islamic State swept into northern Iraq and through northeastern Syria, attracting legions of recruits from Europe and the Middle East. In short, the post-Cold War security order that the US had constructed after 1991 seemed to be coming apart at the seams. David Kilcullen was one of the architects of America's strategy in the late phases of the second Gulf War, and also spent time in Afghanistan and other hotspots. In Blood Year, he provides a wide-angle view of the current situation in the Middle East and analyzes how America and the West ended up in such dire circumstances. Whereas in 2008 it appeared that the U.S. might pull a modest stalemate from the jaws of defeat in Iraq, six years later the situation had reversed. After America pulled out of Iraq completely in 2011, the Shi'ite president cut Sunnis out of the power structure and allowed Iranian influence to grow. And from the debris of Assad's Syria arose an extremist Sunni organization even more radical than Al Qaeda. Unlike Al Qaeda, ISIS was intent on establishing its own state, and within a remarkably short time they did. Interestingly, Kilcullen highlights how embittered former Iraqi Ba'athist military officers were key contributors to ISIS's military successes. Kilcullen lays much of the blame on Bush's initial decision to invade Iraq (which had negative secondary effects in Afghanistan), but also takes Obama to task for simply withdrawing and adopting a "leading from behind" strategy. As events have proven, Kilcullen contends, withdrawal was a fundamentally misguided plan. The U.S. had uncorked the genie, and it had a responsibility to at least attempt to keep it under control. Instead, the U.S. is at a point where administration officials state that the losses of Ramadi and Palmyra are manageable setbacks. Kilcullen argues that the U.S. needs to re-engage in the region, whether it wants to or not, because it is largely responsible for the situation that is now unfolding. Blood Year is an essential read for anyone interested in understanding not only why the region that the U.S. invaded a dozen years ago has collapsed into utter chaos, but also what it can do to alleviate the grim situation.

The Islamist Phoenix: The Islamic State (ISIS) and the Redrawing of the Middle East


Loretta Napoleoni - 2014
      In The Islamist Phoenix, world-renowned terrorism expert Loretta Napoleoni takes us beyond the headlines, demonstrating that while Western media portrays the Islamic State as little more than a gang of thugs on a winning streak, the organization is proposing a new model for nation building. Waging a traditional war of conquest to carve out the 21st-century version of the original Caliphate, IS uses modern technology to recruit and fundraise while engaging the local population in the day-to-day running of the new state. Rising from the ashes of failing jihadist enterprises, the Islamic State has shown a deep understanding of Middle Eastern politics, fully exploiting proxy war and shell-state tactics. This is not another terrorist network but a formidable enemy in tune with the new modernity of the current world disorder. As Napoleoni writes, “Ignoring these facts is more than misleading and superficial, it is dangerous. ‘Know your enemy’ remains the most important adage in the fight against terrorism.”From the eBook edition.

Taliban


James Fergusson - 2010
    The Russians, who had occupied the country throughout the 1980s, were long gone. The disparate ethnic and religious leaders who had united to eject the invaders - the famous mujaheddin - were at each others' throats. For the rural poor of Kandahar province, life was almost impossible.On 12 October 1994 a small group of religious students decided to take matters into their own hands. Led by an illiterate village mullah with one eye, some 200 of them surrounded and took Spin Boldak, a trucking stop on the border with Pakistan. From this short and unremarkable border skirmish, a legend was born. The students' numbers swelled as news of their triumph spread. The Taliban, as they now called themselves - taliban is the plural of talib, literally 'one who seeks knowledge' - had a simple mission statement: the disarmament of the population, and the establishment of a theocracy based on Sharia law. They fought with a religious zeal that the warring mujaheddin could not match.By February 1995, this people's revolt had become a national movement; 18 months later Kabul fell, and the country was effectively theirs. James Fergusson's fascinating account of this extraordinary story will be required reading for anyone who wishes to understand the situation in Afghanistan, now and for the future...

Unholy Alliance: The Agenda Iran, Russia, and Jihadists Share for Conquering the World


Jay Sekulow - 2016
    A movement born in Iran during the Islamic Revolution in 1979, radical Islam has at its heart the goal of complete world domination. As this movement has grown, Iran has entered into alliances with Syria and Russia, leading to a deadly game of geopolitical threats and violence. Not only will you better understand jihadist terror, but you will also learn about Sharia law—a legal code that removes all personal liberty and is starkly incompatible with the US Constitution. All Muslims are required to follow Sharia—as are all who live in lands controlled by Islam. It is the goal of radical Islam to see Sharia instituted across the globe. If we are to combat radical Islam’s agenda of domination, we must arm ourselves with knowledge. With carefully researched history, legal-case studies, and in-depth interviews, Unholy Alliance lays out the ideology and strategy of radical Islam, as well as the path we must take to defeat it.

The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising


Patrick Cockburn - 2014
    The West’s initial successes in the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan weakened their support still further.Today, as renowned Middle East commentator Patrick Cockburn sets out in this explosive new book, that’s all changed. Exploiting the missteps of the West’s wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, as well as its misjudgments in relation to Syria and the uprisings of the Arab Spring, jihadist organizations, of which ISIS is the most important, are swiftly expanding. They now control a geographical territory greater in size than Britain or Michigan, stretching from the Sunni heartlands in the north and west of Iraq through a broad swath of north-east Syria. On the back of their capture of Mosul and much of northern Iraq in June 2014, the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has been declared the head of a new caliphate that demands the allegiance of all Muslims.The secular, democratic politics that were supposedly at the fore of the Arab Spring have been buried by the return of the jihadis. As the Islamic State announced by ISIS confronts its enemies, the West will once again become a target. Cockburn cites an observer in southern Turkey interviewing Syrian jihadi rebels early in 2014 and finding that “without exception they all expressed enthusiasm for the 9/11 attacks and hoped the same thing would happen in Europe as well as the US.”How could things have gone so badly wrong? Writing in these pages with customary calmness and clarity, and drawing on unrivaled experience as a reporter in the region, Cockburn analyzes the unfolding of one of the West’s greatest foreign policy debacles and the rise of the new jihadis.

One Man’s Terrorist: A Political History of the IRA


Daniel Finn - 2019
    This book is a riveting new history of the radical politics that drove a unique insurgency that emerged from the crucible of 1968. Based on extensive archival research, One Man’s Terrorist explores the relationship between the IRA, a clandestine army described as ‘one of the most ruthless and capable insurgent forces in modern history’, and the political movement that developed alongside it to challenge British rule. From Wilson and Heath to Thatcher and Blair, a generation of British politicians had to face an unprecedented subversive threat whose reach extended from West Belfast to Westminster.Finn shows how Republicans fought a war on several fronts, making use of every weapon available to achieve their goal of a united Ireland, from car bombs to election campaigns, street marches to hunger strikes. Though driven by an uncompromising revolutionary politics that blended militant nationalism with left-wing ideology, their movement was never monolithic, its history punctuated by splits and internal conflicts. The IRA’s war ultimately ended in stalemate, with the peace process of the 1990s and the Good Friday Agreement that has maintained an uneasy balance ever since.

Islamic Imperialism: A History


Efraim Karsh - 2006
    So argues Efraim Karsh in this highly provocative book. Rejecting the conventional Western interpretation of Middle Eastern history as an offshoot of global power politics, Karsh contends that the region’s experience is the culmination of long-existing indigenous trends, passions, and patterns of behavior, and that foremost among these is Islam’s millenarian imperial tradition.The author explores the history of Islam’s imperialism and the persistence of the Ottoman imperialist dream that outlasted World War I to haunt Islamic and Middle Eastern politics to the present day. September 11 can be seen as simply the latest expression of this dream, and such attacks have little to do with U.S. international behavior or policy in the Middle East, says Karsh. The House of Islam’s war for world mastery is traditional, indeed venerable, and it is a quest that is far from over.

Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden


Peter L. Bergen - 2001
    The attack was masterminded by Osama bin Laden and his Jihad group -- an organization that CNN's terrorism analyst Peter Bergen calls Holy War, Inc. One of the few Western journalists to have interviewed bin Laden face-to-face, Bergen has produced the definitive book on the global Jihadist network, revealing: How bin Laden lives, travels, and communicates with his "cells." How his role in the crushing defeat of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan made him a hero to Muslims all over the world. How the bombings of the American embassies in Africa and the USS Cole in Yemen were planned and executed. What we can expect from Islamic extremists in the future. Above all, Peter Bergen helps us to see bin Laden's organization in a radically new light: as a corporation that has exploited modern technology and weaponry in the service of global terrorism and the destruction of the West. Both author and publisher will donate a portion of the proceeds from this book to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The Ayatollahs' Democracy: An Iranian Challenge


Hooman Majd - 2010
    Drawing on privileged access to the Iranian power elite, Majd argues that despite the violence of the disputed 2009 elections, a group of influential ayatollahs—including a liberal, almost-secular opposition—still believes in the Iranian republic; for them, “green” represents not a revolution but a civil rights movement, pushing the country inexorably toward democracy, albeit a particular brand of “Islamic democracy.” With witty, candid, and stylishly intelligent reporting, Majd, himself the grandson of an esteemed ayatollah, introduces top-level politicians and clerics as well as ordinary people (even Jewish community leaders), all expressing pride for their ancient heritage and fierce independence from the West. In the tradition of Jon Lee Anderson’s The Fall of Baghdad, The Ayatollahs’ Democracy is a powerful dispatch from a country at a historic turning point.

The Iran-Iraq War


Pierre Razoux - 2013
    The tragedies included the slaughter of child soldiers, the use of chemical weapons, the striking of civilian shipping in the Gulf, and the destruction of cities. The Iran-Iraq War offers an unflinching look at a conflict seared into the region’s collective memory but little understood in the West. Pierre Razoux shows why this war remains central to understanding Middle Eastern geopolitics, from the deep-rooted distrust between Sunni and Shia Muslims, to Iran’s obsession with nuclear power, to the continuing struggles in Iraq. He provides invaluable keys to decipher Iran’s behavior and internal struggle today.Razoux’s account is based on unpublished military archives, oral histories, and interviews, as well as audio recordings seized by the U.S. Army detailing Saddam Hussein’s debates with his generals. Tracing the war’s shifting strategies and political dynamics—military operations, the jockeying of opposition forces within each regime, the impact on oil production so essential to both countries—Razoux also looks at the international picture. From the United States and Soviet Union to Israel, Europe, China, and the Arab powers, many nations meddled in this conflict, supporting one side or the other and sometimes switching allegiances.The Iran-Iraq War answers questions that have puzzled historians. Why did Saddam embark on this expensive, ultimately fruitless conflict? Why did the war last eight years when it could have ended in months? Who, if anyone, was the true winner when so much was lost?

Inside Al Qaeda: Global Network of Terror


Rohan Gunaratna - 2002
    Based on over five years of research, Inside Al Qaeda provides the definitive story behind the rise of this small, mysterious group to the notorious organization making headlines today.

The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America


Andrew C. McCarthy - 2010
    The real threat is Islamism, whose sophisticated forces have collaborated with the American Left not only to undermine U.S. national security but also to shred the fabric of American constitutional democracy—freedom and individual liberty. In The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America , bestselling author Andrew C. McCarthy offers a harrowing account of how the global Islamist movement’s jihad involves far more than terrorist attacks, and how it has found the ideal partner in President Barack Obama, whose Islamist sympathies run deep.For years, McCarthy warned of America’s blindness to the Islamist threat, but in The Grand Jihad McCarthy exposes a new, more insidious peril: the government’s active appeasement of the Islamist ideology. With the help of witting and unwitting accomplices in and out of government, Islamism doesn’t merely fuel terrorism but spawns America-hating Islamic enclaves in our very midst, gradually foisting Islam’s repressive law, sharia, on American life. The revolutionary doctrine has made common cause with an ascendant Left that also seeks radical transformation of our constitutional order. The prognosis for liberty could not be more dire.

Lethal Allies: British Collusion in Ireland


Anne Cadwallader - 2013
    Four families each lost three relatives; in other cases, children were left orphaned after both parents were murdered. For years there were claims that loyalists were helped and guided by members of the RUC and Ulster Defence Regiment. But, until now, there was no proof. Drawing on 15 years of research, and using forensic and ballistic information never before published, this book includes official documents showing that the highest in the land knew of the collusion and names those whose fingers were on the trigger and who detonated the bombs. It draws on previously unpublished reports written by the PSNI's own Historical Enquiries Team. It also includes heartbreaking interviews with the bereaved families whose lives were shattered by this cold and calculated campaign.