Over the past 10 days we learned of a new outbreak of violence along the Gaza Strip involving the Palestinian’s and
Over the Thanksgiving break I caught a segment of a C-Span author interview concerning a new book about the Middle East, and
I first encountered Robert Baer on a road trip to
If you already know all you want or need to know about
Baer contends the
Baer combines his insights into contemporary Iran along with a review of regional events including the Lebanon-Israel conflict where Iran was a silent player supporting the Lebanese in turning back the invading Israeli’s, which in part explains Israel’s ‘elephant gun to kill an ant’ actions of the past several days. He explores the on-going connection of Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas, the lessons Iran took from the Iran-Iraq war, relations with neighboring countries pre- and post-Saddam and especially Saudi Arabia, the role of Iran in the Iraq occupation by the US, and the desire of Iran to create an Empire. He also explores the fundamental misunderstanding of this region by current and previous White House administrations. This is not a feel good book. The observations and conclusions offered by Baer will not let you sleep more comfortably.
The conclusion of the book offers three alternatives for the US, i) contain Iran through a hundred year military presence in the region; ii) provoke a civil war between the Sunni and Shia; ii) find a way to make Iran an ally and work toward mutually beneficial ends. None without risk although for Baer the choice is clear. He also offers a 9 point negotiation strategy with
I cannot say if everything he says is true or not, and he shares his own pessimism about what he has been told. However, he is a trained observer, an experienced intelligence gatherer, a spy if you will, and an intelligence analyst. Reading this book has at least helped me to identify the players, their strengths and weaknesses, and how they are alike and different. If you are curious, pick up this book and give it a read.