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Thread: Iran Reading List

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by xerxes View Post
    An Iranian is an Iranian, Jewish or not.
    If only that were true. But Iran is an Islamic state before it is a nation. This means non-Muslims primarily Zoroastrians and Jews and then the other smaller religious identities are dhimmi first, Iranian second.

    As long as Iran's modern identity is tied up first in religion, then no person not of the proper faith can be said to be truly Iranian.

  2. #17
    Padishah Shahanshah Senior Contributor xerxes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    If only that were true. But Iran is an Islamic state before it is a nation. This means non-Muslims primarily Zoroastrians and Jews and then the other smaller religious identities are dhimmi first, Iranian second.

    As long as Iran's modern identity is tied up first in religion, then no person not of the proper faith can be said to be truly Iranian.
    True enough, but you are refering to the dejure classification of nation being called Islamic Republic, which somehow makes non-Muslims 2nd class Iranians.

    I refer to a defacto Iranian nation, under a shell of Islamic Republic. Where, being Iranian does not mean one is suppose to be Persian and/or of Islamic religion. No more than being American in US means one has to be a white colored Christian.
    If we contrast the rapid progress of this mischievous discovery of gunpowder with the slow and laborious advances of reason, science, and the arts of peace, a philosopher, according to his temper, will laugh or weep at the folly of mankind. - Edward Gibbon

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    If only that were true. But Iran is an Islamic state before it is a nation. This means non-Muslims primarily Zoroastrians and Jews and then the other smaller religious identities are dhimmi first, Iranian second.

    As long as Iran's modern identity is tied up first in religion, then no person not of the proper faith can be said to be truly Iranian.
    This might apply to the government, but not to the ordinary people in Iran.

  4. #19
    Contributor 1980s's Avatar
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    Id recommend this book too:

    Sword of Persia - Nader Shah, from Tribal Warrior to Conquering Tyrant

    "Nader Shah, ruler of Persia from 1736 to 1747, embodied ruthless ambition, energy, military brilliance, cynicism and cruelty. His reign was filled with bloodshed, betrayal and horror. Yet, Nader Shah is central to Iran's early modern history. From a shepherd boy, he rose to liberate his country from foreign occupation, and make himself Shah. He took eighteenth century Iran in a trajectory from political collapse and partition to become the dominant power in the region, briefly opening the prospect of a modernising state that could have resisted colonial intervention in Asia. He recovered all the territory lost by his predecessors, including Herat and Kandahar, and went on to conquer Moghul Delhi, plundering the enormous treasures of India. Nader commanded the most powerful military force in Asia, if not the world. He repeatedly defeated the armies of Ottoman Turkey, the preeminent State of Islam, overran most of what is now Iraq and threatened to take Baghdad on several occasions. But from the zenith of his success he declined into illness, insane avarice and horrific savagery, committing terrible atrocities against the Persian people, his friends, and even his family, until he finally died as violently as he had lived. The "Sword of Persia" recreates the story of a remarkable, ruthless man, capable of both charm and brutality. It is a rich narrative, full of dramatic incident, including much new research into original Iranian and other material, which will prove indispensable to historians and students. The book includes many contemporary illustrations, and maps."

  5. #20
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    Are YOU by any chance the writter ?

  6. #21
    Contributor 1980s's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bugs View Post
    Are YOU by any chance the writter ?
    No

    But i did actually meet the author of that book at a lecture/seminar he gave on Nader Shah about a year or so back.

  7. #22
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    Shia Revival is an excellent book.

    Truly moving are the chapters of The Great War for Civilization by Robert Fisk. A survey type of book. There are many who dislike Fisk for an alleged bias against Israel. I have never found this to be true. I think he has a bias against war itself. But, if you get the book, then that is a frequent allegation to be aware of. (bad sentence structure) I dont personally think that takes away anything from the Iraq/Iran idea because Israel is not part of that equation. It is almost elegaic in its chapters on this war.
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  8. #23
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    Has anyone read "The Devil We Know" by Robert Baer? I have just started it so cannot comment on it yet, but so far it it a simple and good read.
    It is time to shut up and color

  9. #24
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    The Shia Revival was a great book.
    The Ayatollah begs to differ- I read it and was not terribly impressed but many of my friends loved it.
    The Iranians- by Sandra Mackey A really great book.
    All the Shahs Men.
    Bitter friends, Bosom Enemies.

    I liked Lipstick Jihad but think all of the above except for the Ayatollah begs to differ were better reads.

  10. #25
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    Scares the shit out of me to think that nuclear weapons are spreading out in the world - and can end up into hands of blind believers (such as Shia Iran)

  11. #26

  12. #27
    Contributor 1980s's Avatar
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    Reading through this one now:

    RAND | Monographs | The Rise of the Pasdaran: Assessing the Domestic Roles of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps

    The Rise of the Pasdaran
    Assessing the Domestic Roles of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps


    By: Frederic Wehrey, Jerrold D. Green, Brian Nichiporuk, Alireza Nader, Lydia Hansell, Rasool Nafisi, S. R. Bohandy

    Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) — also known as the Pasdaran (Persian for “guards”) — was initially created by Ayatollah Khomeini during the 1978–1979 Islamic Revolution as an ideological guard for the nascent regime. Since then, it has evolved into an expansive socio-political-economic conglomerate whose influence extends into virtually every corner of Iranian political life and society. In the political sphere, many high-ranking officials are former Pasdaran. As a force in Iranian culture and society, the IRGC controls media outlets and conducts training and education programs that are designed not only to bolster loyalty to the regime and train citizens in homeland defense, but also to improve the IRGC's own institutional credibility. And on the economic front, the IRGC controls a wide variety of commercial enterprises, including both government contracting and illicit smuggling and black-market enterprises. In this monograph, Wehrey et al. assess the IRGC less as a traditional military entity and more as a domestic actor, emphasizing its multidimensional nature and the variety of roles it plays in Iran's political culture, economy, and society.

    Contents

    Chapter One:
    Introduction

    Chapter Two:
    The IRGC in Context: Iran's Security and Political Landscape

    Chapter Three:
    The IRGC's Diverse Domestic Roles: Origins and Evolution

    Chapter Four:
    Militarizing Civil Society: The IRGC's Indoctrination, Training, and Media Activities

    Chapter Five:
    Economic Expansion: The IRGC's Business Conglomerate and Public Works

    Chapter Six:
    The IRGC in Politics

    Chapter Seven:
    Conclusion: Toward a More Strategic Understanding of the IRGC

    Appendix A:
    Business Organizations Affiliated with the IRGC or Influenced by IRGC Personnel

    Appendix B:
    Current and Former IRGC Personnel

    Appendix C:
    Evolution of the Islamic Republic and the IRGC

    Appendix D:
    Provincial Map of Iran

    Appendix E:
    Glossary of Persian Terms

    Full book in PDF: http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/2008/RAND_MG821.pdf

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDesertFox View Post
    Has anyone read "The Devil We Know" by Robert Baer? I have just started it so cannot comment on it yet, but so far it it a simple and good read.
    I have read it. Baer is good at what Baer gives you, which is strong anecdotal, on-the-ground knowledge. Beyond that, it's Bob Baer.

    By that I mean the following: I once got a chance to ask his former supervisor at CIA about him (Baer has a mixed rep at Langley). He said he would literally lay awake at night worrying about what Baer was up to or what kooky scheme he had dreamed up. Basically, Baer would do anything he hadn't been told NOT to do, and it all got a little sideways at times. This guy, who left the agency real high up, called him a cowboy. Said he was no great intellect and oftentimes lost sight of the forest and succumbed the the paranoia and conspiracy of the people he hung out with.

    Let's remember, Baer famously did not rule out some of the more conspiratorial musings about 9/11. He also once suggested that the US govt. kidnap the families of terrorists and send their body parts through the mail (as the KGB had done one time) to the bad guys. In other words, read him with a heavy dose of skepticism.
    Last edited by Countezero; 26 Dec 09, at 21:54.

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    The events that led to the brutal Iran-Iraq war and its significance is glaring in its absence in this thread.

    Iran-Iraq War 1980-1988

    Iran Iraq War -Wikipedia

    Extent of US support to Iraq during the war.

    Why Iran is as it is today ?

    Events of past century which shaped today's Iran

    Another Timeline of Iran by BBC

  15. #30
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    Reading through this one now

    Immortal: A Military History of Iran and Its Armed Forces: Steven R. Ward

    Review
    Immortal is a superbly written and researched work. Steven Ward has delivered a critically important contribution to understanding the Persian military. This is a must read for those who want to understand Iranian military thinking, heritage, and capability. --General Anthony C. Zinni, United States Marine Corps (Retired), and former commander, U.S. Central Command

    Far too often, Americans ignore history and leave military history to a narrow range of experts. The choice of peace or war in dealing with Iran, however, is far too important to make without an understanding of Iran's military history and how its forces have evolved. Steven R. Ward's Immortal provides essential background to making that choice. --Anthony H. Cordesman, Burke Chair in Strategy, Center for Strategic and International Studies

    Steven Ward's Immortal is a narrative of Iran's wars from the time of Cyrus the Great to the present. It is an exceptionally well-informed military history that conveys a sense of the sweat and sacrifice, and of the grandeur and the blunders (not to mention the essentials about major campaigns and battles). --Paul R. Pillar, The National Interest

    Product Description
    "Immortal" is the only single-volume English-language survey of Iran's military history. CIA analyst Steven R. Ward shows that Iran's soldiers, from the famed Immortals of ancient Persia to today's Revolutionary Guard, have demonstrated through the centuries that they should not be underestimated. This history also provides background on the nationalist, tribal, and religious heritages of the country to help readers better understand Iran and its security outlook."Immortal" begins with the founding of ancient Persia's empire under Cyrus the Great and continues through the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) and up to the present. Drawing on a wide range of sources including declassified documents, the author gives primary focus to the modern era to relate the build-up of the military under the last Shah, its collapse during the Islamic revolution, its fortunes in the Iran-Iraq War, and its rise from the ashes to help Iran become once again a major regional military power. He shows that, despite command and supply problems, Iranian soldiers demonstrate high levels of bravery and perseverance and have enjoyed surprising tactical successes even when victory has been elusive. These qualities and the Iranians' ability to impose high costs on their enemies by exploiting Iran's imposing geography bear careful consideration today by potential opponents.

    About the Author
    Steven R. Ward is a senior CIA intelligence analyst who specializes in Iran and the Middle East. From 2005 to 2006 he served as the Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East on the National Intelligence Council, and he served on the National Security Council from 1998 to 1999. He is also a graduate of West Point and a retired U.S. Army Reserve lieutenant colonel.

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