- Guests of the Ayatollah: The First Battle in America's War with Militant Islam
- The Iran Hostage Crisis: The First Battle in America's War with Militant Islam
- Guests of the Ayatollah | Grove Atlantic
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Average Rating. On Shelf. Boulder Main Adult NonFiction. Place Hold. Add a Review. Add To List. From the best-selling author of Black Hawk Down comes a riveting, definitive chronicle of the Iran hostage crisis, America's first battle with militant Islam. On November 4, , a group of radical Islamist students, inspired by the revolutionary Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini, stormed the U.
They took fifty-two Americans hostage, and kept nearly all of them hostage for days. In Guests of the Ayatollah , Mark Bowden tells this sweeping story through the eyes of the hostages, the soldiers in a new special forces unit sent to free them, their radical, na ;ve captors, and the diplomats working to end the crisis.
Bowden takes us inside the hostages' cells and inside the Oval Office for meetings with President Carter and his exhausted team. We travel to international capitals where shadowy figures held clandestine negotiations, and to the deserts of Iran, where a courageous, desperate attempt to rescue the hostages exploded into tragic failure. Bowden dedicated five years to this research, including numerous trips to Iran and countless interviews with those involved on both sides. Guests of the Ayatollah is a detailed, brilliantly re-created, and suspenseful account of a crisis that gripped and ultimately changed the world.
Guests of the Ayatollah: The First Battle in America's War with Militant Islam
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- Guests of the Ayatollah: The First Battle in America's War With Militant Islam.
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English On Shelf. More Info Place Hold. It was a symbol of everything the nascent upheaval hated and feared. Washington's underestimation of the danger was just part of a larger failure; it had not foreseen the gathering threat to its longtime Cold War ally Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the now reviled, self-exiled shah.
The Iran Hostage Crisis: The First Battle in America's War with Militant Islam
A CIA analysis in August , just six months before Pahlavi fled Iran for good, had concluded that the country "is not in a revolutionary or even a prerevolutionary situation. Like most of the great turning points in history, it was obvious and yet no one saw it coming. The capture of the U. It was the first battle in America's war against militant Islam, a conflict that would eventually engage much of the world.
Iran's revolution wasn't just a localized power struggle; it had tapped a subterranean ocean of Islamist outrage. For half a century the tradition-bound peoples of the Middle and Near East, owning most of the world's oil resources, had been regarded as little more than valuable pawns in a worldwide competition between capitalist democracy and communist dictatorship.
In the Arab states, the United States had thrown its weight behind conservative Sunni regimes, and in Iran behind Pahlavi, who stood as a bulwark against Soviet expansionism in the region. As the two great powers saw it, the Cold War would determine the shape of the world; all other perspectives, those from the so-called Third World, were irrelevant, or important only insofar as they influenced the primary struggle. An ignored but growing vision in the Middle East, nurtured in mosque and madrasah but considered quaint or backward by the Western world and even by many wealthy, well-educated Arabs and Persians, saw little difference between the great powers.
Guests of the Ayatollah | Grove Atlantic
Both were infidels, godless exploiters, uprooting centuries of tradition and trampling sacred ground in heedless pursuit of wealth and power. They were twin devils of modernity.
The Islamist alternative they foresaw was an old twist on a familiar twentieth-century theme: totalitarianism rooted in divine revelation. It would take many years for the movement to be clearly seen, but the takeover of the embassy in Tehran offered an early glimpse. It was the first time America would hear itself called the "Great Satan. How and why did it happen? Who were the Iranian protesters who swarmed over the embassy walls that day, and what were they trying to accomplish?
Who were the powers behind them, so heedless of age-old privileges of international diplomacy? What were their motives? Why was the United States so surprised by the event and so embarrassingly powerless to counter it? How justified were the Iranian fears that motivated it? How did one of the triumphs of Western freedom and technology, a truly global news media, become a tool to further an Islamo-fascist agenda, narrowly focusing the attention of the world on fifty-two helpless, captive diplomats, hijacking the policy agenda of America for more than a year, helping to bring down the presidency of Jimmy Carter, and leveraging a radical fundamentalist regime in Iran into lasting power?
The U. Inside the enclosure was a park-like campus, a twenty-seven-acre oasis of green in a smoggy world of concrete and brick. Its primary structure, the chancery, bathed now in the swirling mist of the water angel, stood fifty or so feet behind the front gate, a blocks-long structure two tall stories high built in the dignified art deco style typical of American public buildings at midcentury.
It looked like a big American high school, which is why years ago it had been dubbed "Henderson High," after Loy W. Henderson, the first U. Scattered beneath a grove of pine trees behind the chancery were the new concrete consulate buildings; the white Ambassador's Residence, a two-story structure with a wraparound second-story balcony; a smaller residence for the deputy chief of mission; a warehouse; a large commissary; a small office building and motor pool; and a row of four small yellow staff cottages. There were tennis courts, a swimming pool, and a satellite reception center.
When the embassy opened more than four decades previously, Tehran had been a different place, a small but growing city.
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The United States was then just one among many foreign powers with diplomatic missions in Iran. Before the chancery stood a low, decorative wooden fence that allowed an unobstructed view of the beautiful gardens from Takht-e-Jamshid, which was then just a quiet side street, paved with cobblestones.
In those days, the new embassy's openness and its distance from the row of major missions on busy Ferdowsi Avenue contributed to America's image as a different kind of Western power, one that had no imperial designs. In the years since, Tehran itself had grown noisy and crowded, a bland, featureless, unplanned jumble of urgent humanity that flowed daily in great rivers of cars through uninteresting miles of low, pale brown and gray two- and three-story boxlike buildings.