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Reign Of Ayatollahs by Shaul Bakhash

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The definitive analysis of the Iranian revolution, it's economic, religious, and social turmoil, and it's international consequences - by a former Tehran newspaper editor and eyewitness to the revolution. Shaul Bakhash is Robinson Professor of History at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. From 1972-1979 he was editor and news analyst for the Kayhan Newspapers in Tehran, Iran.

Reviews (3)
This scholarly dissection of the Islamic Revolution in Iran is mostly concerned with its domestic issues. Iran's foreign affairs in this period are addressed only to the extent that they played important roles in domestic power contests. So if you're looking for detailed accounts of the American hostage crisis, the Rushdie affair, Iran-Contra, Iranian support of the Lebanese Hezbollah, or even the Iran-Iraq war, you won't find them here (although I think that reading this book will greatly enhance your understanding of such accounts). Instead, you will find exhaustive examination of internal struggles over land distribution, urban housing and the nationalization of industry and agriculture. Not that Bakhash's concern is solely economic--the book is primarily about political conflict: the debates on the constitution, the factional infighting within the party and the government, the endless polarization between "moderates" and "hardliners", the mystifyingly equivocal and minimalist leadership provided by Khomaini. In fact, if there is one flaw in this book (especially given its title), it is that Khomaini's behavior is left unanalyzed and enigmatic in the extreme. No attempt is made to explain his strange political moves: promoting and supporting moderates like Bani-Sadr, and then agreeing publicly with their enemies; stirring up the radical sentiments of the Majles (the legislature), while standing solidly behind the conservative Council of Guardians that sytematically vetoed radical economic legislation; encouraging those who sought diplomatic rapprochement with the West, and simultaneously torpedoing their efforts without warning. But this frustrating (though key) detraction aside, the book is very well written and researched, and I found myself unable to put it down--it elbowed aside every other book I was in the middle of reading, until it was finished.
As an aside, this book strengthens my impression that Hashemi-Rafsanjani (who was speaker of the Majles throughout most of the period covered) has played a uniquely central role in post-revolution Iran. We can only hope that someday Rafsanjani writes a full and frank memoir of his experiences.
This book is supposed to tell you about the first years of the brutal theocracy created in Iran by a group of semi-literate mullahs led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Instead, it becomes a rather sinister apology for the mullahs.
The author, an Israeli journalist who spent many years in Iran,offers absolutely no analysis of why the mullahs, Khomeini in particular, behaved as they did.
Nor does he speak of the mass executions, the brutal repression of ethnic revolts, the widespread corruption and the use of terrorism as a weapon that have become halmarks of the Khomeinist theocracy.
Even more farcical is the author's obsession with economic factors in the middle of a great human tragedy.His implicit claim that Iranians deserved to have this kind of regime has, since, been rejected by facts as a majority of Iranians have turned out to vote against the Khomeinist hardline candidates in a series of recent elections.
At the time the book was written Khomeini was at war with Iraq's despot Saddam Hussein. That kept both dangerous regimes busy while alsoo dividing and weakening the Muslim bloc. Israel secretly helped Iran by sending weapons in order to prlong the war.Also at that time it was Israel's policy to support Islamist groups, including theLebanese Hezbollah and the Palestginian Hamas against nationalist and leftist Arab movements. This is, perhaps, why Bakhash is so sympathetic to Khomeini and his gang.
Written in a confused prose, this book throws a great deal of mist on a situation that the author himself regards as a mystery.
Pierre Benedile
The author of this book tries to present the rule of the mullahs in Iran in as good a light as it is possible, bearing in mind thir many crimes.
This, of course, is the author's right: opinion is free.
What is not acceptable is inventing facts to whitewash the crimes.
The book is also full of errors, including the names of individuals mentioned, of dates and the circumstances in which some of the key events of the revolution took place.
J. Sherian

ISBN: 0465068898

Rating: 4.7/5

Votes: 384

Other Formats: doc mbr mobi lit

ISBN13: 978-0465068890

Publisher: Basic Books; Rev ed. edition (March 25, 1986)

Language: English

Subcategory: Middle East

Pages: 324

Reign Of Ayatollahs
Author: Shaul Bakhash
Title: Reign Of Ayatollahs