The Secret War with Iran: The 30-Year Covert Struggle for Control of a 'Rogue' State Hardcover – 1 Sep 2008
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Israeli journalist Bergman documents convincingly and with a fair amount of balance Iran's backing of Hizballah and other terrorist fronts to undermine Israeli and U.S. policies.Armed with incriminating documents retrieved by Iranian students from the American embassy in Tehran in 1979 - classified information that revealed intensive intelligence collaboration among the shah, the United States and Israel - the Khomeini-led revolutionary regime in Iran vowed "death to Israel" and largely blamed the Jews for the country's turmoil. Bergman chronicles these growing hostilities from the fraught earliest days of the revolution, when Abraham Geffen, an Iranian Jew working for El Al, collaborated with the Mossad to help stranded Jews get out of Iran. The narrative continues through the Iran-Iraq war, successive Lebanese wars and the mid-1980s establishment of Hizballah in southern Lebanon. From the outset, asserts Bergman, Hizballah's goals were to replace the existing Lebanese regime with Shi'ite Muslim leadership, to liberate Jerusalem, eradicate the Jewish state and drive Western forces out of the region. Under the noses of Israeli and American intelligence officials, Hizballah intensified terrorist efforts, perfecting the arts of suicide bombing, assassinations and hostage taking. Efforts to stop Hizbollah (and further other hawkish aims of the Reagan administration) led to the nexus of covert U.S. and Israeli dealings that sparked the Iran-Contra scandal. In the decades-long struggle between Iran/Hizbollah and Israel/America, even the fate of a single individual - Israeli Defense Force airman Ron Arad, shot down over Lebanon in 1986 and never heard from again - could prompt kidnappings, assassinations and terrorist bombings around the globe. Bergman looks carefully at the Iranians' worldwide terrorist connections, drug rings and counterfeit operations, support for al-Qaeda and growing rapprochement with Hamas. His wake-up call ends by asserting that the threat of nuclear war is very real, thanks in part to an Israeli arms trader's lucrative sales of weapons of mass destruction to Iran.Readers who grant the author his Israeli bias will find this a reasoned and perspicacious overview of the Western failure to recognize the Iranian threat. (Kirkus Reviews) --Kirkus<br /><br />"Ronen Bergman combines a remarkable flair for research and tracking down elusive documents with a talent for exposition which impresses both academic and non-academic audiences." --Christopher Andrew, former Chair of the History Faculty at the University of Cambridge and Official Historian of MI5<br /><br />"A reasoned and perspicacious overview of the western failure to recognize the Iranian threat." --Michael Oren, author of Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present
"Ronen Bergman combines a remarkable flair for research and tracking down elusive documents with a talent for exposition which impresses both academic and non-academic audiences." --Christopher Andrew, former Chair of the History Faculty at the University of Cambridge and Official Historian of MI5
"A reasoned and perspicacious overview of the western failure to recognize the Iranian threat." --Michael Oren, author of Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present
"Ronen Bergman combines a remarkable flair for research and tracking down elusive documents with a talent for exposition which impresses both academic and non-academic audiences."See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Also apparent is Irans success in creating Hezbollah, that has acted effectively to advocate for the Shia in Lebanon, providing a Military-Political representation of Shia in a predominantly Hostile Sunni environment.
Bergmans chief shortcoming is his fidelity to Israeli sensitivities which seems to prevent him from explicitly divulging much about Israels real relationship with Iran, which is clearly much more involved than either Government would like to admit, and in this respect the book does suffer from a degree of considerable bias, but the sin is in omission, and what has been commissioned is of excellent quality.
The book covers the rise of the Ayatolla and the revolution, Iran's spread of influence to south America and the world via Hezbolla, the taking of Lebanon and the resurgence of Hezbolla, and the creation of the 'poor man's smart bomb: the suicide bomber. Of course its chilling nuclear aspirations are also described.
The book is built around interviews and intelligence Bergman had been gathering for some 10 years, which Bergman states has been checked, and cross checked with other intelligence sources. And it is a considerable mine of information.
As the critical acclaim in the press attests, Bergman suffers from no bias one might attribute to an Israeli author. Within these pages are the involvement of Israel and the Iran-Contra Affair. Israel's selling of weapons to Iran in the Iran-Iraq war because the Israelis didn't care (or at least those involved in selling didn't care) how many the enemy killed of each other. But also too is Bergman's scathing criticism of Israel's methods and its failure during the 2006 war with Hezbolla.
But this isn't an anti-Israel, irrational leftist rant of a book. Although hard for many Israel supporters to hear, it is a sober wake up call to Israel that the nature of the game has changed, and Hezbolla in particular, is well ahead in this regard. The Israel of Entebbe it would seem, has long since passed...
On the 'fascinating facts' side of things, Bergman reveals it was none other than Yasser Arafat's ...Read more ›
The author appears to have copious amounts of inside information about terror, terrorists, their methods, their backers, suppliers, financers etc.
If half of it is true, then the West, and the USA and Israel in particular, have plenty to worry about. Their worries centre both on terror at a low level, and terror at an atomic level.
The book is partial and gives hardly a mention of the Israeli attack on Iran in 1981. There is little information on the shooting down of an Iranian passenger airline by the USA in 1988. This resulted in the loss of 290 passengers including 66 children.
However, there appears to be no doubt that Iran is backing some murderous terror groups.
The author is critical of Israeli activity, although this is based on its inefficiency, rather than any misdeeds.
The cover of the book features a sketch of President Ahmadinejad. However, be aware that he doesn't really feature consistently in the book, until page 322 of 384 pages of narrative. In fact he appears less than Ron Arad (a kidnapped Israeli pilot).
Maybe a reader with more experience in this topic wouldn't find the book so interesting. However, I did like it, with reservations.
I found it interesting to read not only for what is said, but also for the contrast between those who are prepared to think and act strategically over a 25+ year period, the luxury of a theocracy, and those who are more short termist i.e. Western politicians.
Recommended - but not for the faint hearted