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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Specific, racey and illuminating
This is an astonishing fusion of academic precision and a journalistic tour de force of Iran's activities in Lebanon, of the wide and vicious reach of Hizbollah and its other proxies in South America, Europe and Turkey. It pursues the convoluted, and often corrupt interactions between the US, Israel and Iran - and pinpoints some ugly and shocking twists - how an admired...
Published on 1 Dec. 2009 by Charles Soper

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but flawed in a number of ways
Overall this makes an excellently riveting read just as much it informs (and sometimes misinforms). There are interesting details disclosed about many operations however the sources of many of these details are persons interviewed by the author who are almost exclusively drawn from western intelligence apparatuses and therefore one can hardly expect a completely truthful...
Published 6 months ago by Parsa


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but flawed in a number of ways, 16 Aug. 2014
Overall this makes an excellently riveting read just as much it informs (and sometimes misinforms). There are interesting details disclosed about many operations however the sources of many of these details are persons interviewed by the author who are almost exclusively drawn from western intelligence apparatuses and therefore one can hardly expect a completely truthful recollection of events, which is understandable, however the author seems at some junctures too gullible to provide some critical commentary.
At points in the book I was impressed with the uncovering of many new minute details from already well known events, but at other times the arguments are on very shaky ground. For example the Argentinian governments report on the bombings in Buenos aires are taken in with no true critical examination, but worse is an entire chapter devoted to links between Iran and Al-Qaeda in which very slim evidence is disguised with bold claims and looks particularly bad nowadays given the rising antipathy between these two entities.
But perhaps the most embarrassing part of the book is the one concerning Iran's nuclear program. Suffice it to say that this section is perhaps the least neutral part of the book. If anyone is interested in this Issue they should really look into Gareth Porter's Writings on the matter which are very well balanced & extensively researched.
In conclusion this is not a neutral history of this conflict and in parts it approaches polemic but it still manages to intrigue and, when its not misinforming, informs very well.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Specific, racey and illuminating, 1 Dec. 2009
By 
Charles Soper (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Secret War with Iran: The 30-year Covert Struggle for Control of a Rogue State (Paperback)
This is an astonishing fusion of academic precision and a journalistic tour de force of Iran's activities in Lebanon, of the wide and vicious reach of Hizbollah and its other proxies in South America, Europe and Turkey. It pursues the convoluted, and often corrupt interactions between the US, Israel and Iran - and pinpoints some ugly and shocking twists - how an admired Israeli fertilised Iran's chemical program, more dark twists to the Iran-contra arms affair, and illuminates the details of Khaled Mashaal's botched killing in Amman with far greater clarity than laxer, earlier sources.

Bergman's lack of references is understandable given the nature of his sources, but at times they are extraordinarily precise.

He gives the hired Maltese motorbike number plate of the assassins of PIJ's Fathi al-Shkaki, a verbatim copy of Iranian Opn.s unit 43 Ali Akbar detailing the official but tightly muzzled support of Al-Qaeda, and seems to have broken the seal on Israel's previously ultra secret MI 504 unit. He plainly has intimate ties with highly placed Israeli, European and US intelligence sources, he has an insider's grasp of Mossad, and deep acquaintance with Shin Bet and Israel's MI.

Yet he is no man's spokesman, he is dispassionately critical in turn of Israel, the US, Hizbollah and Iran's own strategic flaws and weaknesses. For those who criticise him for bias, I'd be interested in a reference to a US equivalent, let alone a French, German or Iranian one!

The strong commendation of his former Cambridge mentor, Prof.Andrew undergird his academic credentials.

Whilst the book reads almost like a vain case for a rerun of Osirak on Iran - which now seems vanishingly unlikely, its value as an expose of the bloody and circular machinations of the intelligence agencies will long endure.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 7 Jun. 2014
This review is from: The Secret War with Iran: The 30-year Covert Struggle for Control of a Rogue State (Paperback)
A meticulously researched and highly detailed masterpiece by the legendary Ronen Bergman. A must-read for anyone interested in knowing about the covert war being fought between Iran and Israel.
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Seems like propoganda, 7 July 2012
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This review is from: The Secret War with Iran: The 30-year Covert Struggle for Control of a Rogue State (Paperback)
The covert war has for sure existed, however this book this just crass propaganda to 'enlighten' the reader on Iran's harboring of terrorism. It's extremely one-side and tunnel visioned, with the aim of demonizing Iran.

Mainly focusing on Iran-sponsored Hezbollah activities in Lebanon, it fails to mention Western and Israeli attempts against Iran. Such as the dozens of bombing and assassinations taken place on and off Iranian soil.

If you're looking for further reason to blindly hate Iran in a tabloid fashion, purchase away. If you're looking for an over all informative and historical take on all events then ignore this title.
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9 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dangerous Powers, 15 Jun. 2009
By 
James Galloway (Fife,UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Secret War with Iran: The 30-year Covert Struggle for Control of a Rogue State (Paperback)
"Hassan Abbassa,a senior Revolutionary Guard intelligance officer said in a secret meeting...'We have identified twenty-nine sensitive sites in the West...with the aim of bombing them in mind.Our intention is that 6,000 nuclear war-heads in America explode in America...We have also set up a department in Britain,and the debate over topling it is on the agenda...'Fortunately Abbassa found himself in American custody."One of the many intriguing nuggets of information contained in this book which I found both illuminating and engrossing,as it reads like a thriller throughout its 385 pages whilst being a mine of information regarding Iran's murky relations and influence with the West and the middle east.Iran's interventions in Lebanon,the creation of Hezbollah,and Iran's combat with Israel are extensively discussed.Since Bergman is an investigative Israeli journalist, one might have expected a slant in the discourse in that direction, but Bergman deals only with facts which have been gathered across ten years of research,providing an amazing insight into the shenanegans and political manoeuvring that have been going on between dangerous powers in the middle east.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What can you believe in the world today?, 9 Oct. 2010
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This review is from: The Secret War with Iran: The 30-year Covert Struggle for Control of a Rogue State (Paperback)
Having followed international politics since school in the late 1970s, I am familiar with most of the events mentioned in this book but the stories behind them still came as a complete surprise to me. Whilst we in the West are encouraged by our media and politicians not to trust Iran, this book gives good reason - if true - not to believe our own countries and governments. For those with a knowledge of the region, and/or the events, this book is a fascinating read though perhaps a bit American/Israeli in its perspective. The style of writing for such an analytical subject is also good, though it does sometimes verge more towards a novel.
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8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars How can we verify any of this?, 31 Mar. 2010
By 
Stuart Fairney (Hampshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Secret War with Iran: The 30-year Covert Struggle for Control of a Rogue State (Paperback)
This was quite interesting in it's way, and obviously written from an Israeli perspective. My quibble was simply "how can we know how much of this is true?"

It is also entirely possible the author has been 'lead up the garden path' by others, so even if he believes it's all true, it may not be. So it was interesting but largely unsubstantiated and therefore ultimately unreliable.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book - But overreaches, 21 Nov. 2009
This review is from: The Secret War with Iran: The 30-year Covert Struggle for Control of a Rogue State (Paperback)
This book is a very well written one. It has a pacy narrative and you simply cant wait to read the next page. The book gives about a lot of information about many aspects of recent Middle Eastern history. However, the biggest disappointment in this book is Ronen Bergman's constant accusation of everyone in Iran as criminal. It contains less information on a "Secret war with Iran" and a lot of accusations. Ronen Bergman makes every Iranian politician sound like a terrorist. While his fact-based narrative about Imad Mughniyeh was interesting to read, his analysis on Iran is extremely disappointing. I agree with a British reviewer of this book who says that Ronen Bergman's book is biased against Iran purely because he is from Israel. Maybe this is true, but purely as a journalist, Ronen Bergman provides facts that are ridiculously biased against Iran.
Despite all this, the book is a very interesting read. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Middle East. However, watch out for biased sections of the book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 22 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: The Secret War with Iran: The 30-year Covert Struggle for Control of a Rogue State (Paperback)
Fine
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, 4 Dec. 2011
This review is from: The Secret War with Iran: The 30-year Covert Struggle for Control of a Rogue State (Paperback)
The author has compiled a comprehensive account of Iran's covert activities since the Islamic revolution in 1979. He gives lots of behind the scenes information, from declassified information. The book flows very well, and Bergman has done a good job of tying the chain of events over the last forty years, to paint a whole picture. He also goes in depth to give insight into the mindset of the regime in Iran. I have not seen any other work on Iran, which delves so deep. This is a must read, especially as the topic discussed is a current event, and also something which could have implications for the entire world.
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