Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale
Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale_top

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A New York Times Notable Book of 2020

“[A] sweeping and authoritative history" (The New York Times Book Review), Black Wave is an unprecedented and ambitious examination of how the modern Middle East unraveled and why it started with the pivotal year of 1979.

Kim Ghattas seamlessly weaves together history, geopolitics, and culture to deliver a gripping read of the largely unexplored story of the rivalry between between Saudi Arabia and Iran, born from the sparks of the 1979 Iranian revolution and fueled by American policy.

With vivid story-telling, extensive historical research and on-the-ground reporting, Ghattas dispels accepted truths about a region she calls home. She explores how Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran, once allies and twin pillars of US strategy in the region, became mortal enemies after 1979. She shows how they used and distorted religion in a competition that went well beyond geopolitics. Feeding intolerance, suppressing cultural expression, and encouraging sectarian violence from Egypt to Pakistan, the war for cultural supremacy led to Iran’s fatwa against author Salman Rushdie, the assassination of countless intellectuals, the birth of groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon, the September 11th terrorist attacks, and the rise of ISIS.

Ghattas introduces us to a riveting cast of characters whose lives were upended by the geopolitical drama over four decades: from the Pakistani television anchor who defied her country’s dictator, to the Egyptian novelist thrown in jail for indecent writings all the way to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. Black Wave is both an intimate and sweeping history of the region and will significantly alter perceptions of the Middle East.

Review

Shortlisted for the Cundill History Prize * A New York Times Notable Book of 2020 * A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of 2020 * A Financial Times Best Political Book of 2020

“[A] sweeping and authoritative history.” ―The New York Times Book Review

“She serves up a wealth of human interest wrapped in ambiance and atmosphere. She paints riveting portraits of the protagonists… a superbly researched and subtly told story―current history at its best.” ―The Wall Street Journal

“[A] wonderfully readable account… Ghattas has an enviable gift for going beyond politics… Whatever happens next in this long-running, oppressive and dangerous Middle Eastern drama, Black Wave will be a vivid, indispensable guide to the story so far.” ―The Guardian

“A timely and welcome guide to the politics of a region…Well-researched and elegantly written.” ―The Financial Times

“Unlike narratives told from a Western point of view, this book doesn’t highlight terrorism or ISIS but instead seamlessly weaves history and personal narrative into a story that explains the gradual suppression of intellectualism and the creep of authoritarianism in the region…Illuminating, conversational, rich in details and like nothing else you’ve ever read about the Middle East, Black Wave will leave you with a new understanding of this diverse and troubled region.” ―BookPage

“The publication of this book, Black Wave, could not be better timed. In it, Kim Ghattas argues convincingly that the revolution that brought Ayatollah Khomeini to power in 1979 was one of three events that year that profoundly shaped ― or rather misshaped ― the Middle East… a fascinating and winding but highly readable tale.” ―The Times (UK)

“[An] illuminating account of the origins of sectarian violence and the current political shape of the Muslim world… [a] fluid, fast-moving narrative...Essential for all who follow world events.” ―Kirkus Reviews, *starred review*

“Skillfully written and scrupulously researched, Black Wave is an essential book in understanding the origins of the modern conflicts in the Middle East.” ―Lawrence Wright, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Looming Tower

"The framing of Black Wave is as important as the content. Kim Ghattas portrays the last four decades across the Middle East as a dark age, a world dimmed behind a curtain of violence, misogyny, and religious extremism. In exploring how this blackness came to be, she recalls a brighter past and predicts a better future. It''s a powerful and important book." ―Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO of the New America Foundation and former Director of Policy Planning at the Department of State

“Kim Ghattas is a superb writer and reporter, which makes Black Wave an accessible and very interesting account of the sectarian schism and regional rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia that has riven the Middle East for decades and is one of the most consequential contests threatening global security.” ―Peter Bergen, author of Manhunt

"An artful, gripping, timely, and humane account of the roots and consequences of the destructive rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia from one of the region''s most insightful and incisive observers." ―Ambassador William J. Burns, President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and former Deputy Secretary of State

“A well-researched and highly readable primer on the rivalry between Shias and Sunnis shaping today’s Middle East. Kim Ghattas masterfully traces the origins of sectarianism in the explosive rise of Islamic fundamentalism in 1979 and the destructive Saudi-Iranian rivalry that followed. Told through the experiences of those who lived and shaped sectarianism, Black Wave is both gripping and informative; a must read for anyone interested in understanding the forces shaping the Middle East today.” ―Vali Nasr, professor of international affairs and Middle East politics at the School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University and author of Shia Revival

“Clear-eyed and honest, perfectly researched and brilliantly written, a unique book that is about more than the Saudi-Iran rivalry as it illuminates how and why the region began to turn inward over the last 100 years―a must read for outsiders and people in the region.” ―Marwan Muasher, Vice President for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and former minister of foreign affairs of Jordan

"Black Wave is a brilliant piece of work. Ghattas reveals how the competition between Tehran and Riyadh, instigated in 1979 by the Iranian revolution and the siege of Mecca―and intensified after the 2003 US invasion of Iraq―led to the instrumentalization of Islam to destroy cosmopolitanism, to force women to veil, and to mobilize sectarian extremists." ―Emma Sky, senior fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute and author of In a Time of Monsters

About the Author

Kim Ghattas is an Emmy-award winning journalist and writer who covered the Middle East for twenty years for the BBC and the Financial Times. She has also reported on the U.S State Department and American politics. She has been published in The Atlantic, the Washington Post, and Foreign Policy and is currently a non-resident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. Her first book, The Secretary, was a New York Times bestseller. Born and raised in Lebanon, she now lives between Beirut and Washington D.C.

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Top reviews from the United States

Jason Galbraith
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Between Despair and Hope
Reviewed in the United States on February 6, 2020
Not since "The Great War for Civilization" have I read such a sweeping overview of recent Middle Eastern history and in many ways, this book is better (as well as more accessible). While Robert Fisk, the author of that book, mostly blamed the West for everything that had... See more
Not since "The Great War for Civilization" have I read such a sweeping overview of recent Middle Eastern history and in many ways, this book is better (as well as more accessible). While Robert Fisk, the author of that book, mostly blamed the West for everything that had happened to the Middle East, Kim Ghattas mostly blames Iran, Saudi Arabia and their rivalry (even if this theory is somewhat undermined by the two countries'' détente during the 1990s and early 2000s). While that book was mostly a story about loss of life, this book is a story about loss of intellectual and social freedom.

Iran and Saudi Arabia, since 1979, have both been out to prove that their models of Islam are the only valid ones. The Saudi government didn''t understand that this would lead its citizens and proxies to turn on its own American protector, but far from cutting them loose, the Americans for their part have mostly blamed Iran (or minor players such as Saddam Hussein) and bucked up the pro-Saudi dictatorships holding power throughout most of the Sunni Muslim world. (I didn''t say Ghattas takes us off the hook entirely.) These dictatorships turned to Islam as a source of legitimacy and increasingly cracked down not only on Western imports but their own cultural legacy of a more cosmopolitan Islam. Iran was doing the same thing as Saudi Arabia (on a smaller scale due to having less disposable income). Dissenters in both Iran and Saudi Arabia remember being told as children that if they enjoyed music, molten iron would be poured into their ears on Judgment Day.

Ghattas'' book is also superior to Fisk''s in that the story of the devolution of Iran, Saudi Arabia and various other countries in the region is told not through her own eyes but through the eyes of a panoply of freethinkers both male and female with whom she has cultivated relationships. She tells the stories of their evolution and martyrdom or escape to the West.

Only one of the people who escaped to the West eventually returned to live in the region, which is why unlike Ghattas, I am inclined to despair for the Middle East. I don''t see how these countries can come back from the black hole into which the wave has swept them, especially given that people who want more freedom than currently on offer can simply move to the West. That pressure will prove irresistible to most, but perhaps there are exceptions. The young Saudi studying IT who lived in my boardinghouse might be one. I encouraged him to stay, but he went home to Saudi Arabia. If there is hope, it will be built upon by his generation. Five stars for the book.
39 people found this helpful
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Christopher M. Schroeder
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Why we are where we are in the Middle East today
Reviewed in the United States on January 29, 2020
There are a handful of journalists at most of the old school today — deeply digging, meticulous research, driving down the middle towards facts — especially on the Middle East. Ghattas whose experience in the region and career around the globe, combined with this kind of... See more
There are a handful of journalists at most of the old school today — deeply digging, meticulous research, driving down the middle towards facts — especially on the Middle East. Ghattas whose experience in the region and career around the globe, combined with this kind of journalism and superb writing, is a great rarity. Black Wave is a mind blow read, and the definitive start for any understanding of what is happening today, and a rich read to assess the context on the ground — as things are seen there. A must read.
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Editor, SFHR
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Barbara Tuchman, Kim Ghattas
Reviewed in the United States on February 10, 2020
The reader should be told that from these enthusiastic and often learned reviews one cannot distinguish between Kim Ghattas and an excellent encyclopedia article. Not since Barbara Tuchman''s Guns of August have I read a book which moved like a novel yet made so much clear.... See more
The reader should be told that from these enthusiastic and often learned reviews one cannot distinguish between Kim Ghattas and an excellent encyclopedia article. Not since Barbara Tuchman''s Guns of August have I read a book which moved like a novel yet made so much clear. That''s the right book to compare Black Wave to. Ghattas''s book''s swiftness, its sense of the unstoppable, is not only an aesthetic pleasure. She gives the reader the sensation of the black wave inexorably sweeping forward, swallowing up first individuals, then entire countries. I don''t throw the word "great" around casually, but this is great historical writing.
26 people found this helpful
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Pseudo D
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
sort it all out
Reviewed in the United States on February 7, 2020
Kim Ghattas offers a study of the rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia since the revolutions of 1979. For most Americans, we are familiar with the Iranian revolution of ''79 but know less about the changes in Saudi Arabia and the Wahabi, which she describes as... See more
Kim Ghattas offers a study of the rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia since the revolutions of 1979.
For most Americans, we are familiar with the Iranian revolution of ''79 but know less about the changes
in Saudi Arabia and the Wahabi, which she describes as puritan, in order to provide an metaphor from
American history.

Ghattas begins with her own Lebanon. Despite being our focus as Americans since 2001, the Middle
East is confusing, so each chapter makes clear what country we are discussing and what year or years
the events took place. She then goes into Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Egypt, Palestine
and Israel and of course the United States. But the organizing principle for interpretation is the
rivalry between the Sunni and Shia represented by Iran (Persia) and the Saudis. When the Obama
administration made the nuclear deal with Iran, it was shifting American policy from favoring
the Sunni toward the Shia side. This may have been influenced by Zbig Brzezinski''s ideas about
the balance of power in books such as the Grand Chessboard (my guess, that has nothing to
do with the book). The Trump administration has moved back toward the alliance with the Saudi
and Sunni side of the dispute. Ghattas says that both Iran and Saudi Arabia feared ISIS, but they
hated each other more.

Ghattas provides helpful metaphors and analogies from American culture to deal with all these names.
For instance, the Wahabi is puritanical where the Ayatollah was radical and revolutionary, even though
the practices may look similar, because their relationship to previous history was different. She''ll say
that so and so is the "Audrey Hepburn" of the country she''s discussing. There are also musical references
like Joan Baez and Led Zeppelin to show the interaction of cultures. Her perspective is basically liberal
and feminist but not from a Western standard, we''re talking about issues like "driving a car" which became
a big thing with the Saudis. Although I didn''t see his name, there''s a lot of the radical scholar Edward Said
and the theory of Orientalism. But the specific project of the book is to answer Bernard Lewis'' question
of "What Went Wrong" in the last 41 years.

Among the major events are the Iran-Iraq war, the Gulf War of 1990-91, 9/11 and bin Laden/al Qaeda,
and the wars in Syria. There''s not a lot about Christians, although there were some mentions of their
difficulties. From her Lebanese perspective, Ghattas says that the colonials gave power to the Christians,
so the anti-Christian violence is partly anti-Western or anti-European. The concluding major event
was the assassination of Jamal Kashoggi and the new crown prince MBS, who has claimed to be
modernizing but is a disturbing authoritarian. There is a reference to the Saudis'' desire for Suleimani
to surrender, but he has since been killed by America. So while the book finished just a few months ago,
the story keeps changing.
18 people found this helpful
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Lark
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Historical Facts Misrepresented
Reviewed in the United States on March 16, 2020
Have started my reading of this book. It''s definitely a well-written book, easy read for sure. However, I''ve noticed a trend of seamless/hidden affection for the Pahlavi''s. Will have to read more to fairly judge where the trend is going to take me. So far not so bad though.... See more
Have started my reading of this book. It''s definitely a well-written book, easy read for sure. However, I''ve noticed a trend of seamless/hidden affection for the Pahlavi''s. Will have to read more to fairly judge where the trend is going to take me. So far not so bad though. I''ll update more when I finish reading.

3/30/2020 UPDATE: I finished reading the book and have been thinking about it.
Apart from the fact that most of the book rotates around personal stories, Kim has misguided readers by stating some of her opinions as facts. There are many instances of this, Al Saud war on Yemenis is one. Yemen''s Army and government have been behind the Houthi movement. Only after Al Saud''s insisted that Hadi to still be the president and forced him to come back, they had a government in-exile. Hadi had resigned weeks before that. Another point, Kim completely fails to mention that Iran is in Syria because it was asked to help Syrian government, same for Russia. Uncle Sam did interfere in Syria and still has Army units in there. Uncle Sam''s involvement in Syria was very big before Trump took power. He put an end to all those activities. I am sure Kim knows the current alliances in Lebanon and who protects who against violence but once more, she fails to bring that up, I believe on purpose, to portray a negative image of politics in Lebanon.
Most of the protests in Iran that Kim so passionately writes about happened in upscale neighborhoods of select cities and yes she''s right they do happen but that is not the sentiment represented by the majority of (85 million) people in Iran. Ahmadinejad''s election was predicted in multiple pre-election polls and he was projected to win. I clearly remember reading about it.
Moreover, I''d like to remind Kim that Persia is the colonial name given to Iran by colonialists. For millennia, Iran has been called Iran in Iran and surrounding countries. There''s proof of that in the literature. This leads me to mention without any doubt that a country with 12000 years of civilization more than 2500 years of which in written history cannot be compared with the tribesman from Al Saud but Kim obviously thinks otherwise.

In the end, I do recommend this book but take it with a grain of salt and don''t believe everything in it. Mostly, it''s stories not history.
17 people found this helpful
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Peter M. Beck
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Timely and Important Book
Reviewed in the United States on February 24, 2020
This is a timely and critically important book on the deepening tragedy that is the Middle East. Lebanese journalist Kim Ghattas explains the region through the prism of the Iran-Saudi Arabia rivalry. She brings these two rich civilizations (and their neighbors) to life by... See more
This is a timely and critically important book on the deepening tragedy that is the Middle East. Lebanese journalist Kim Ghattas explains the region through the prism of the Iran-Saudi Arabia rivalry. She brings these two rich civilizations (and their neighbors) to life by showing them through the eyes of colorful individuals challenging the status quo. Her focal point is 1979. The year opened with the Iran’s Islamic Revolution and closed with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In between, the House of Saud survived a fundamentalist coup attempt. These three events would unleash what Ghattas calls a “Black Wave” of Islamic fundamentalism and war.

Three lessons I took from “Black Wave”:
1.) Muslim reformers are fighting a losing battle with extremists.
2.) The Middle East is its own worst enemy (not Israel and/or the United States).
3.) U.S. involvement in the Middle East almost always makes things worse.

The three most interesting people Ghattas profiles:
1.) Quassem Suleimani, Iranian military leader assassinated by Trump last month
2.) Masih Alinejad, Iranian exile in the U.S. fighting forced veiling
3.) Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi journalist butchered by his government in 2018

Middle Eastern Leader Most Like Trump: Saddam Hussein -- Flamboyance + False Piety

Biggest Omission: No discussion of the Iranian Hostage Crisis. This was very much tied to the 1979 Revolution and defined Iran for me as a kid.

I visited Egypt and Palestine in the early 1990s, so I have been following the region for almost 30 years, but this was my first book. Consequently, there were a few chapters where I found myself swimming in a sea of names and unfamiliar Arabic/Persian terms. Fortunately, Ghattas rewards us neophytes with wonderful writing, characters, and insights.

I wish I could share the optimism Ghattas expresses in her Conclusion, but almost all of her heroes are either dead or in exile. Unfortunately, I cannot discern a pathway out of the darkness. I will be peppering my Iranian-American hiking buddies with questions on our next hike!
7 people found this helpful
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Samer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A message of hope in a landscape of despair
Reviewed in the United States on February 11, 2020
Meticulously researched and a thrilling, hard to put down page-turner, this book gives us a sweeping read of the modern history of the Middle East, with a keen focus on the Iran-Saudi Arabia rivalry and its disastrous reverberations across time and space. I had a hard time... See more
Meticulously researched and a thrilling, hard to put down page-turner, this book gives us a sweeping read of the modern history of the Middle East, with a keen focus on the Iran-Saudi Arabia rivalry and its disastrous reverberations across time and space. I had a hard time putting the book down. The last time a non-fiction book had this effect on me was Lawrence Wright''s The Looming Tower, ironically also covering the same time period and overlapping subject matter. Two lessons stand out in the book for me: first, the message that you have to understand your past to navigate your future, and second, the author''s message of hope for the future in a sea of despair, tucked neatly on the last few pages. As a 41 yr old Middle Easterner who lived through the traumatic episodes described in the book, the message of hope was very much appreciated.
9 people found this helpful
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Texastential
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Worth anyone''s time.
Reviewed in the United States on February 2, 2020
If you want to understand the Middle East and all the conflict there and how The US keeps being drawn back in, I can''t think of a better place to start. This is very well written with big personalities and strange and violent happenings. There is no chance at all you''ll be... See more
If you want to understand the Middle East and all the conflict there and how The US keeps being drawn back in, I can''t think of a better place to start. This is very well written with big personalities and strange and violent happenings. There is no chance at all you''ll be bored.
9 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

D. T. Staples
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
An extra ordinary work
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 6, 2020
I must start by saying how well written this book is. It tells a complex story spanning decades, countries and hundreds of personalities in an engaging and informative manner. It has a great pace and never flags, a considerable achievement. Secondly, it links the events of...See more
I must start by saying how well written this book is. It tells a complex story spanning decades, countries and hundreds of personalities in an engaging and informative manner. It has a great pace and never flags, a considerable achievement. Secondly, it links the events of the past 40 years in the Middle East and establishes the links (people and money) between them. Starting with the Iranian revolution in 1979 it establishes how events in different countries relate to one another and the overriding animus between Iran and Saudi Arabia. I was in Iran in 1979 and aware of whatever has subsequently transpired in this region - in Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi, Syria, and Yemen. This book effectively connects the dots at both a geo-political level and by telling personal stories of hose involved. You can read the book in a tragic fashion looking at the mistakes and miss steps by many leaders, organisations and governments. These are not simply mistakes but in many cases malevolent decisions the have destroyed the lives of millions, destroyed the rich Arab and Persian culture and left an instability in the region that will be with us for years to come. I can’t praise this book sufficiently.
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John Sheldon
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fascinating but frustrating
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 3, 2020
This is definitely an important book. It is thoroughly researched and, on the whole, it is well-written (my only caveat is that the author''s journalistic style sometimes seems disjointed and the narrative flow gets disrupted). The strength of the book lies in the stories of...See more
This is definitely an important book. It is thoroughly researched and, on the whole, it is well-written (my only caveat is that the author''s journalistic style sometimes seems disjointed and the narrative flow gets disrupted). The strength of the book lies in the stories of individuals and groups. The author manages to bring their beliefs, motivations and actions to life in a fascinating way. The weakness of the book also lies in these stories. In many places, I felt I was drowning in the sheer weight of the facts, names and relationships. Too often, the chapters are overloaded with details. As a result, the book appears to be light on analysis and it is difficult to follow the overall narrative. The initial emphasis on 1979 is very interesting. The rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia is the central focus of the book and is covered well. But the author strays into many other conflicts and issues and it is not always clear why she has chosen some and not others. Yemen, Syria, Lebanon (except Hezbollah), Gaza, Afghanistan and Jordan are covered relatively lightly. Pakistan and Egypt receive a lot of attention. Sometimes, I get the sense that the complexities are being treated too simplistically. For example, much of the treatment of Pakistan focuses on President Zia Ul-Haq himself and the other political and religious driving forces are not covered much (I''m not sure that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is even mentioned). The history of the PLO and other Palestinian groupings, especially Hamas, doesn''t fit neatly into the Iran-KSA divide, and so on. In summary, a great idea. I don''t regret reading the book but I did find it hardgoing.
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Oliver Chandler
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Highly recommended. Most interesting book I''ve read this year.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 28, 2020
In all honesty, the book is not quite what I was expecting, but it turned out to be better! I was anticipating an IR analysis of proxy conflicts, somewhat similar to Christopher Phillips ''The Battle for Syria'', but with details about Iran backing Hizbollah in Lebanon and...See more
In all honesty, the book is not quite what I was expecting, but it turned out to be better! I was anticipating an IR analysis of proxy conflicts, somewhat similar to Christopher Phillips ''The Battle for Syria'', but with details about Iran backing Hizbollah in Lebanon and Syria and the Houthis in Yemen, with the Saudi''s backing alternative militants and regimes across the regime to counter Iranian influence. While these conflicts are mentioned, this is not what the focus of the book. It is not a traditional IR analysis in that sense. However, do not let that put you off this book. If anything this book has made me realise that a traditional IR analysis alone is insufficient to account for the progression of this rivalry and the current dynamics in the Middle East. This book delves into the ideologies within the various strands of political Islam and how from 1979, the Iranian Revolution and Saudi insecurity over their custodianship of Mecca led to increasingly conservative policies and a proliferation of Salifist ideology and sectarianism. At times some of the links between events in Pakistan or Egypt seemed a bit tenuous for the type of analysis I have been accustomed to in literature on this region, but they serve as examples of how Tehran and Riyad''s respective drives towards religious piety transformed the narrative of political debate in the Middle East, culminating in the present conflict zones in Syria, Yemen and Iraq. If you are looking for a detailed deconstruction of foreign meddling in Yemen or Syria, this is not your book (though they are both referenced). However, I would still recommend this book for anyone wanting to learn about the region and about political Islam. The book in written in an eloquent and captivating style, with local stories and local perspectives. I could not put it down!
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B. Ryan
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The March of Islamic intolerance
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 14, 2020
This is an important book, well researched and fundamental to understanding what has happened in the Middle East in the last four decades. The main argument is that the competition between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Shia v Sunni, has driven each side to compete to prove which...See more
This is an important book, well researched and fundamental to understanding what has happened in the Middle East in the last four decades. The main argument is that the competition between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Shia v Sunni, has driven each side to compete to prove which has the purest and most authentic version of Islam. The result has been a disaster for the Middle East and for the lives of its inhabitants. There is no doubt that the western powers have not helped with their interventions or lack of them. As someone living in Europe The threat from Iran seems limited to their neighbours: except of course their desire for nuclear weapons and the threat to Israel could trigger WW111. Ahmadinejad’s speech at the UN was pretty scary. Saudi Arabia , on the other hand, seems intent on exporting its Wahhabism world wide and is probably the greater threat. The book does not pursue this much beyond its corruption of Pakistan. Hopefully, there will be a sequel detailing its funding of extreme Islam in Europe and beyond.
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Tom Nor
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great book but a difficult read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 16, 2020
I found this book very absorbing but hard to read at times. It is very carefully edited with virtually no misprints, but it would benefit from more maps (e..g with population sizes, distribution Shia/Sunni split, oil output etc.), and a timeline of key events. There are no...See more
I found this book very absorbing but hard to read at times. It is very carefully edited with virtually no misprints, but it would benefit from more maps (e..g with population sizes, distribution Shia/Sunni split, oil output etc.), and a timeline of key events. There are no pictures which is a pity, it would add a lot - not just the people, who are many, but pictures of some of the locations and buildings mentioned. It is helpful that the author has a list of key people at the front, but it is not comprehensive - there are so many characters in the story ! - so I had to use the index (which is excellent). I also had to refer constantly to Wikipedia to find the population split of countries - the key detail that the countries in which what one might call a "double proxy war" (between US - Russia and Saudi-Iran) have significantly split Sunni-Shia populations was not clear from reading the text i.e. Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Pakistan. In terms of the content, it is excellent, but I didn''t find the conclusion compelling. I think the author felt she had to "end well" despite little evidence through the book to suggest a happy ending. I felt a lot less hopeful after reading the book than when I started, that there would ever be an improvement to the situation in the Middle East. Finally, there wasn''t much attention paid to the economic issues, which given that the author is an ex-FT journalist, is a bit disappointing, as this is a key aspect in thinking about the possible resolution of the problems and conflicts. Or, indeed, non-resolution.
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Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled outlet sale Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory online in the Middle East online sale