Payback: America's Long War in the Middle East

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9780080405643: Payback: America's Long War in the Middle East

Examines how the Iranian revolution affected United States involvement in the Middle East

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From Kirkus Reviews:

ABC News correspondent Cooley (Libyan Sandstorm, 1982) comprehensively recounts America's protracted involvement in the politics of the Middle East, which, he says, amounts to ``one of the costliest wars since Vietnam...in financial terms [and]...human suffering.'' Cooley traces what he sees as America's Mideast policy failures to its overreliance on the Shah of Iran, whose interests, he argues, America misidentified with its own. The author says that the Shah's collapse in 1979 touched off decades of confused American policymaking actuated by ignorance of the Islamic radicals' profound desire to rid the region of American influence, by Israeli and Saudi anxiety toward Iranian fundamentalism, and by the Arab-Israeli conflict. Cooley reviews familiar topics--the Iran-contra scandal and the US Marine debacle in Lebanon, for instance--but also provides novel historical insights into ancient conflicts in the region. For instance, he points out that ties between Iran and the Jewish community permitted Iranians to collude with Israelis in the arms-for-hostages deal. Cooley also discusses systemic inadequacies in America's policymaking bureaucracy that have paralyzed American policy--for example, the way that different American agencies and officials backed different sides in the Iran- Iraq war. A skillful weaving of ancient and more current history into an insightful analysis of America's policy problems in the Middle East. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

As a reporter for the Christian Science Monitor and later for ABC, Cooley has covered the Middle East and Africa since 1957. His theme in this important book is that during the critical years from the start of the Iranian revolution to the present, the U.S. has been "paid back" for its poor judgment and often disastrous policy errors in the Middle East. Cooley puts into context the attacks on the U.S. embassy and Marine barracks in Lebanon, the hijacking of TWA Flight 847, the abductions of the CIA's William Buckley and AP bureau chief Terry Anderson, and other retaliatory acts during what he calls the Khomeini Decade. The book argues that from the end of the Iran-Iraq war in 1988 until Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, the Bush administration conducted "a strange love affair" with the Iraqi dictator, which climaxed with Desert Storm and its traumatic aftermath. The final payback, according to the author, was the terrible responsibility imposed on the Bush administration by the millions of Kurds fleeing massacre by Saddam's forces. The book is essential reading for its authoritative overview of the Middle East and the recent role of the U.S. in the region. Photos.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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John K. Cooley
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