A threat analysis of Iran in 2002 and its relevance today

Research Paper (postgraduate), 2002
27 Pages, Grade: A

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Table of Contents

Summary of Iran


Military Spending

Iran’s Objectives and Strategies

The Axis of Evil

Iran’s Strategic Geographical Importance

Other Geographical Facts

Ethnic Groups

Persians and related peoples

Turkic peoples


Non Muslim minorities


Political violence

The Continuing Relevance of the Islamic Revolution

Ayatollah Sayyid Ruhollah al-Musavi al-Khomeini

The Significance of the Islamic Revolution

The Discovery of Oil in the Middle East

The importance of a US presence in the Region

The Effects of the War with Iraq

Literature on LAND FORCES

The United States Central Command (CENTCOM) consists of twenty five countries that compose the Area of Responsibility (AOR) and stretches from the Horn of Africa to Central Asia. Activated by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, it is the successor of the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force (RDJTF) developed by President Jimmy Carter in 1980. Its purpose was to project power in the Middle East and East Africa.[1] Headed by Command in Chief General Tommy R. Franks and stationed at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida it is one of nine Unified Combatant Commands assigned operational control of US combat forces. CENTCOM’s AOR includes the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Summary of Iran

Known as Persia until 1935, the name was changed to Iran in order to accentuate their Aryan roots and to unify all citizens including non-Persians, Iran became an Islamic republic in 1979 after the ruling shah was forced into exile following the Islamic Revolution led by the Ayatollah Khomeini. Conservative clerical forces subsequently crushed Westernizing liberal elements. Militant Iranian students and members of the extremist People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) seized the US embassy in Tehran on 4 November 1979 and held it until 20 January 1981. During 1980-1988, Iran fought a bloody, indecisive war with neighboring Iraq over disputed territory (the strategic waterway known as the Shatt al Arab). After the death of the ruling cleric Khomeini, the Ayatollah Ali Hoseini Khamenei succeeded him and continues as chief of state and Leader of the Islamic Revolution. The elected President Ali Mohammad Khatami-Aradkani is seen as a pragmatist and has made strong efforts to modernize Iran and change its image in order to open its markets to foreign investments.

But due to September 11, the United States has recently labeled Iran as part of the “Axis of Evil” because of Iran’s support for politically violent organizations and also due to its proliferation of conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) such as nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC).

It will be hard no to look back at the differences in the past between the Iran and the US. Just as Iran will never forget how the US controlled Iran’s leadership in favor of a repressive monarchy and isolated and sanctioned their country after the revolution. Iran will also never forget that this isolation inspired Saddam Husayn to attack their country which put them in a grueling eight year conflict that nearly devastated their infrastructure and economy and caused the deaths of millions. Iran will also remember that Western countries supported Iraq during the war and following the war the US began to sell arms to all of it neighbors such as Saudi Arabia and Israel. This militarization of the Middle East has forced Iran to proliferate in order to protect itself from hostile neighbors.

The US will also never forget the past either. The US will always remember how vulnerable the country was to the Middle East when the Ayatollah came to power. The US will also remember how the American Embassy in Tehran was overthrown with the approval of Khomeini. The US will never forget how the Iranian government’s support for Hizbollah caused the deaths of hundreds of military personnel in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. And now if Iran knowingly gave sanctuary to al Qaeda or fleeing members of the Talib regime of Afghanistan, the US will never forget that either.

A diplomat in this situation has a daunting task ahead of him. One of the keys to conflict resolution is to find a common ground. This is difficult especially when relations between the two countries are constantly defined by their differences. In the near future, there will not be a change in the US policy towards Iran. It is quite clear that the US does not wish to establish any type of dialog other than the constant rhetoric, some which is most certainly deserved. But the US must realize that the circumstances that began the Islamic revolution in Iran were caused in large part to US sponsored coups and efforts to manipulate foreign governments. The actions of the US were in its interests, but according to the Iranians, the Islamic revolution was in their interests as well.

As long as the US continues to use the Persian Gulf as the main transit for oil shipping, or until an alternative fuel is created, the US will continue its conflict with Iran. There are current dealings under way in central Asia where large deposits of oil were also found, but since the Caspian is landlocked, pipelines will have to be made to reach the ports in the region: the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, or the Persian Gulf. But the pipelines must be made in order to avoid passing through Iran.


Compared to other AOR countries, it is easy to notice the relevancy of maintaining dialogue with Iran. Iran is the fourth largest country within the AOR, it is slightly larger than Alaska, with a total land mass of 1,648 million square kilometers compared to the smallest country in the region, the Seychelles which measure a mere 455 sq. km. Iran also boasts the third largest population in the AOR, with 66,128, 965, trailing behind Pakistan (144,616, 639) and Egypt (69, 536, 644). Most impressively, Iran owns the highest Gross Domestic Product in the region with a registered $413 billion beating its closest competitor, Yemen, by $121 billion. Iran’s economy is a mixture of central planning, state ownership of oil and other large enterprises, village agriculture, and small-scale private trading and service ventures.[2]

Iran since President Rafsanjani has made efforts to diversify their economy so that they are not so oil dependent. Khatami has made the effort but has yet to show any actual gains. The current president has made hard efforts to increase foreign investments especially from the European Union and Russia in order to also promote a means of economic interdependency which would protect the country’s national security interests. According to Khatami,

“…We must use both our own private sector and foreign resources which we must attract from abroad…In addition, the presence of Russia and France (who as foreign investors now would have an interest in protecting Iran) in the Persian Gulf will strengthen the security of the Islamic Republic of Iran. In this case, if the United States ever tries to cause harm, it will have to confront Russia and France both of whom are permanent members of the United Nations Security Council…”[3]

Despite the disapproval of the United States who has labeled Iran as a member of the Axis of Evil for its support of terrorism and for its proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the EU continues to strive to improve relations with Iran. The EU and the United States have disagreed on Iran for years and the divide has grown larger since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in Manhattan and the Pentagon. The EU has pursued constructive dialogue with Iran in order to reach an agreement that would boost trade. EU imports form Iran reached $7.3 billion in 2000, mostly oil products, while exports to Iran totaled $4.8 billion.[4] In recent years, European oil companies have signed lucrative deals with Iran, while US companies are barred from dealing with the country due to the economic sanctions. But, Iran will need to diversify as mentioned earlier.

The need becomes obvious after very little analysis. Iran depends almost entirely on the export of petroleum, 85%, as its main source of revenue. It also exports carpets, fruits, nuts, iron, steel, and chemicals. But this over reliance on oil makes it very difficult to stimulate other aspects of the economy which may be the reason why Iran suffers from 53% unemployment. Its chief export partners are: Japan, Italy, UAE, South Korea, France, and China. Also, worth noting, the value of the Iranian rial (the official currency) has been on the decline. Last year, the value of the rial (IRR) versus the dollar was 1,754.71IRR/$US compared to 1,725.93IRR/$US in 1999.

Military Spending

Iran’s military spending is also worth noting. Iran’s military spending ranks second ($5.78 billion) behind Saudi Arabia who spends an enormous $18.3 billion easily topping the spending of Iran, Egypt (ranked 3rd), Pakistan and Oman (4th and 5th)[5]. Iran’s military which consists of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s regular forces (ground forces, Navy, Air and Air Defense Forces), Revolutionary Guards (Ground, Air, Navy, Qods, and Basij-mobilization-forces) and finally law enforcement. The entire military consists of 18.3 million of available manpower over the age of twenty-one. The actual number for the manpower fit for service is actually 10.9 million. Due to Iran’s perception of regional threats, it will continue to aggressively seek measures to defend its borders and will continue to increase its military spending. In the past it has been exceedingly difficult to estimate Iran’s military spending because their reports are usually deflated. But, the best means of anticipating the amount of military spending depends heavily on the success of their economy that year. If the market value of oil goes down that year, they will be spending less on arms than if the market performed well. Once again, our arming of the Gulf States plays a large role in Iran’s decisions to increase their military spending. Iran also has a legitimate concern over the security of their border with their biggest regional threat, Iraq, who also actively arming itself.

Iran’s Objectives and Strategies

According to the Department of Defense (DOD), “Iran’s national objectives and strategies are shaped by its regional political aspirations, threat perceptions, and the need to preserve its Islamic government.”[6] With this in mind:

Iran continues to strive to become the leader of the Islamic world and views itself as in conflict with the US for that role. The Islamic Revolution ideology continuously assaults the US presence in the region and direct influence in internal affairs of states.

Iran aims to assert itself as a leader, not only in the Persian Gulf, but in the Indian Ocean as well.

Iran must increase relations with Russia in order to counter balance the US and to avoid a possible Russian re-armament of Iraq.

Iran will continue to support Shii’a causes in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia.

Iran also strenuously objects to the legitimacy of the state of Israel and reportedly supports the recent Palestinian intifada (uprising).

DOD also claims that the Islamic Republic gives high priority to the creation of a robust Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC) capability due to Iraq’s and Israel’s growing arsenals.

The Axis of Evil

Due to September 11, President Bush declared war on terrorism. His war included those responsible for the attacks, such as al-Qaeda, and those who sponsor terror organizations. Bush listed North Korea, Iraq, and Iran. Iran was deemed as the #1 state sponsor of politically violent organizations and has retained this dubious award for the past seven years. This has occurred despite Khatami’s attempts at overhauling Iran’s tarnished international image. In a speech with Cable News Network (CNN), Khatami spoke highly of the West, “We should never be oblivious to judicious acquisition of the positive accomplishments of Western civil society.”

Later in the interview he condemned terrorism and also called for peaceful relations with Islamic states and South Persian Gulf states. He continued, “The Arab world needs further dialogue in order to overcome cultural differences and we also must realize that Muslims are not in conflict with the West…which is why positive accomplishments of Western civil society should never be ignored.”[7]

Statements like these hardly resembled the rhetoric of Khomeini. It actually appeared as though Iran was making conscious efforts to change its image for foreign investment. But Iran did not forget its revolutionary past, and when the US discovered that a shipment of arms was intercepted on its way to Palestinians fighting in the intifada, Iran was once again viewed as a supporter of terror. Apparently, an Iranian ship known as the Karin A was captured by the Israeli Navy trying to supply arms to the Palestinian Authority.[8] According to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld:

“There is no question that Iran was involved with the Karine A shipment headed for the Palestinian Authority. There is no question that al Qaeda has moved in and found sanctuary in Iran. And there is no question that Iran has moved into and out of Iran and dispersed into other countries.”[9]

Rumsfeld later stated that with Iran’s porous borders, it would be nearly impossible to regulate who comes in and out of the country. But, the Karine-A episode coupled with past resentments towards each other prompted the US to label the Islamic Republic of Iran part of the “Axis of Evil”.

Labeling a country as part of an “Axis of Evil” is an ingenious means of cutting off all diplomatic ties with a country for the indefinite future. I question this method of diplomacy and strongly urge an ambassador never to use such terms as “Evil” when referring to another state especially if that person is representing the US in that country. I am actually pleased that the present administration limited itself to an axis because, theoretically, this means that only three states can make up an axis, therefore we can avoid isolating anyone else. If there would have been a “Pentagon of Evil”, or worse yet a “Polygon of Evil”, the job of diplomacy would be much more difficult. But, I cannot stress enough that this name-calling has severely hurt any possibilities of establishing normal relations with Iran who had made efforts to please Western interests.

Iran’s Strategic Geographical Importance

Iran’s location in the Persian Gulf, bordering the Gulf of Oman , the Persian Gulf, and the Caspian Sea between Iraq and Pakistan. Iran shares borders with Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan. It also borders the Caspian Sea and is just miles from possibly the most strategic waterway in the world, the Strait of Hormuz. This Strait is located at the mouth of the Persian Gulf and can seriously threaten the interests of the US. This strait is considered a natural chokepoint because every oil tanker that enters the region must pass through this strait which is considered one of the largest in the Middle East with a depth of 290 ft. and a width of approximately 59 miles. Although it is not as busy as it once was during the 80’s, on the average of 13 million barrels pass through it each day. Because of its’ significance it is very vulnerable to several kinds of weaponry and sabotage.[10]

Knowing the importance of its strategic location, Iran has placed an array of land, sea, and air launched cruise missiles from China and a variety of foreign made air launched short range tactical missiles along or near the coast of the Gulf. Many of these systems can be used as anti-ship weapons.[11] In the late 80’s, during the tanker wars, Iran used anti-ship mines throughout the Persian Gulf. Iran throughout the years has made moves to solidify its possible influence on the region and control over the Strait of Hormuz could be major leadership role for Iran. This is very similar to Nasser’s control over the Suez Canal which gave him great respect and admiration from Arab states for his ability to stand up against the West. Iran’s control over key islands in the Strait of Hormuz may only add to its ultimate goal of attaining power over the entire Persian Gulf.

Iran, in its power quest, has seized control over three strategic islands in the Strait. It currently occupies two islands claimed by the United Arab Emirates known as Jazireh-ye Tonb-e (The Lesser Tunb) and Jazireh-ye Tonb-e Bozorg (The Greater Tunb). These islands are located only fifteen miles from the Iranian island of Qeshm and located on the Arabian side of the median line.[12] Iran occupied these islands prior to the independence of the UAE.[13] Although UAE has been recognized by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Arab League as the rightful owner of the islands, Iran still recognizes the strategic importance of these islands and uses its military strength as the reason for staying. There is also speculation that the islands may have oil which adds to its utility.[14] Iran also jointly administers the island of Jazireh-ye Abu Musa with UAE as well. These Islands were taken the day before the British left the region on 30 November 1971 with the Iranian claim that these Islands were Persian before the British transferred their sovereignty to the trucial states.

Other Geographical Facts

The climate in Iran ranges from arid to semi-arid and subtropical along the Caspian coast. The terrain itself is described as being one of the most contrasting in the Middle East. The terrain is described as being a rugged and mountainous rim. It has high central basins with mountains and deserts along with small discontinuous planes along both coasts. The Zagros Mountains extend northwest-southeast form the Turkish border for 1,000 miles to the Strait of Hormuz. It is in the four belts of the Zagros region that much of the population lives and most of the present and historical development of Iran have taken place. The Elburz Mountains in the north border the Caspian Sea. Iran’s natural resources include: petroleum; natural gas; coal; chromium; copper; iron ore; lead; manganese; zinc; and sulfur. Its most valuable natural resource has been petroleum and its safe export is central to the survival of the state that relies almost solely on its sale as its main source of revenue which leaves the country very vulnerable.

Some of the natural hazards include periodic droughts, floods, dust storms, sandstorms, and earthquakes along the western borders. This information is very valuable. One of the chief reasons for the failure of the hostage rescue attempt was the failure of the military to anticipate the likelihood of Iran’s sandstorms interfering in the mission’s success and ultimately costing the lives of servicemen after poor visibility resulted in an air collision with two American aircrafts.

Ethnic Groups

Iran is by far the most diverse country in the Middle East due to its historical location and its land patterns, which have resulted in adding a complexity of various groups and ethnic patterns.[15] According to Colbert Held:

Over the millennia, groups have invaded or migrated into the plateau from Asia Minor to the Caucasus, central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Once they found themselves south of the barriers of the Black Sea, Caucasus Mountains and Caspian Sea, migrants were forced through the mountain-ribbed Iranian throat between the Caspian Sea and the Gulf. Some westward moving peoples pushed on into and across Mesopotamia; others elected to settle in the basins of the rugged Zagros Mountains.

Persians and related peoples

Persians make up half of the population of Iran and are the third largest people in the Middle East. Persians comprise the majority of the upper class, important government employees and the economic elite. The Kurds, on the other hand reside in the far northwest region of the country in the segment of Kurdistan located in the western Zagros. The Kurds are the largest Sunni Muslim population in Iran and have fought the Iranian government throughout the past with the aid of the Iraqis in establishing the sovereign state of Kurdistan. The Baluch are situated in the southeastern corner of Iran and are the least economically and nationally integrated of the major minorities. Other ethnic groups also exist such as the Bakhtiari, Talysh, Lur, Hazara, Gilani, and Pushtun.

Turkic peoples

The Azeris are the largest ethno-linguistic minority in Iran. They speak a Turkic language but are practicing Shii’a. They are located just east of the Kurds in the area of Tabriz. Since the fall of the Soviet Empire, many of these Azeris have traveled back and forth through Azerbaijan to visit family separated by the Cold War. The Azeris have hinted towards wanting to establish an enlarged independent state, which really has the Iranian government concerned.[16] The Qashqai are the largest nomadic people in Iran and are located in the Fars province. They generally resist government control and have interests on becoming independent.

The Turkmen live in the area bordering Turkmenistan. They, much like the Azeris, travel back and forth to Turkmenistan and also have aspirations to become independent.


More than a million Arabs live at the head of the Gulf and also in the Zagros region. During the Iran-Iraq War, it was feared that the Shii’a Arabs would revolt against the Iranian government. This fear never materialized.

Non Muslim minorities

The Jews following the fall of the shah became persecuted due to their heightened status in society at the time. Many reportedly left for Israel or the United States. The Armenians are well educated and largely have embraced the clergy. Due to their higher literacy, they work primarily in the Khuzistan oil fields. The Assyrians reside near Lake Urmia where they maintain their cohesion and preserve their cultural identity.


Iran has opened its borders and faces a huge influx of refugees from Afghanistan and Iraq. During the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, many people fled into neighboring Iran in order to avoid the conflict. Many of these people were reluctant to return home even after the Soviet withdrawal. This was due to increased conflict in the country. The Shii’as and Kurds also fled persecution after Saddam Husayn targeted them for their conspiracy to overthrow his leadership.

Political violence

The Islamic Revolution was responsible for many things. The Ayatollah Khomeini openly endorsed the notion of enjoining Muslims to violently or nonviolently overthrow un-Islamic governments. Because of this, he supported Lebanese Shii’a organizations such as Hizbollah, and various Palestinian organizations in their struggle against the Israeli state.

Within the findings of the Congressional Research Service, which is an annual report of Near Eastern terrorist groups and countries on the US “terrorist list”, the Islamic Republic of Iran has topped this list for the past six year in a row. The intelligence gathered for this study comes from the US State Department’s Patterns of Global Terrorism: 2000.[17] In this report, Iran is the most active supporter of international terrorism. This report also mentions that most of the activity does not come directly from President Khatami who has made efforts to reform the image of Iran to bring itself back into favor with the international community. This is despite the fact that many of his rhetorical speeches are directed towards the US. This may largely be due to the need to satisfy his constituents because Iran is a revolutionary state. It should also be noted that no major international terrorist attacks have been traced to Iran since Khatami assumed the presidency. Most of the blame for the support of political violence comes from the Revolutionary Guard and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security.[18]

These two organizations have been at the forefront of the sponsor of terror. Aid and support has been given throughout the past to Hizbollah (Party of God). This Lebanon based organization received its motivation to act from the preaching of the Ayatollah Khomeini. The goal of Hizbollah was originally to establish an Islamic republic in Lebanon. This organization is credited for the truck bombings of the US Embassy (April 1983), the US Marine barracks (October 1983, killing 220 Marine, 18 Navy, and 3 Army personnel), and the US Embassy annex (September 1984) all in Beirut. Hizbollah also hijacked Trans Western Airlines Flight 847 in 1985, killing a Navy diver, Robert Stethem. This organization was also responsible for taking eighteen Americans as hostage in Lebanon during that period (three were killed).[19] Hizbollah has also been linked to aiding the Palestinian resistance in the present intifada. But Hizbollah also exists in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, as well.

This group is also responsible for heinous crimes against the US. According to Saudi and Bahraini intelligence, the Saudi Shii’a wing of Hizbollah is responsible for the June 25, 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers housing complex for US military personnel in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Patterns1999 has stated that the Syria and Iran both supply aid to Hizbollah. According to Former Secretary of State Warren Christopher, Iran gives up to one hundred million dollars a year to the organization. The State Department has not deviated from that figure since his announcement.

Iran also supports Palestinian organizations such as Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) have also received extensive aid from Iran. Recent reports suggest that the PFLP-GC was responsible for shipping a boatload of weapons to the Palestinians in the occupied territories, although the shipment was intercepted by Israel’s navy.[20] Although these organizations have never attacked the US or any of its citizens, they continue to damage what little hope remains for a peaceful resolution to the intifada.

The Continuing Relevance of the Islamic Revolution

It is impossible to discuss present day Iran without mentioning the importance that the Islamic revolution has played in shaping the country. The Islamic revolution is central to understanding the policies, government, military and social structure of the country. The roots of this revivalism can lead directly to the influence of the West and the struggle for Muslims to refocus on their spirituality and their adherence of the Qur’an and the Shar’ia (Islamic law) to dictate their lives. This will lead them from succumbing to the corrupting temptations that some Muslims believe are associated with Western ideals and principles. Much of these beliefs were shaped by Western influences in Iran’s internal affairs, as evident in the United State’s ouster of Dr. Mohammad Mossadeq in favor of Reza Khan who pronounced himself Shah and began the controversial Pahlavi Monarchy in January 1926.

Following the US sponsored coup against Mossadeq, which placed the pro Western Reza Shah in power, many factors contributed to the reticence and resentment towards the United States.

First, the failure of land reform measures in order to raise production and bring prosperity to the rural masses was blamed on the Shah’s inability to lead, and since the US placed him in power, they were also to blame.

Second, the adoption of conventional capitalist strategies for development and the subsequent widening of the gap between the rich and the poor (the income distribution was known for being one of the most distorted in the world).

- Third, the massive waste of resources and revenues on robust and extravagantly modern military and sophisticated weaponry.[21]
- Fourth, the inability of Iran to match the successes and growth of its neighboring countries in areas such as literacy, higher learning, health care, and housing.[22]

There were also many concerns within the political arena as well.

- First, the political alliance with the United States was greatly criticized.
- Second, the rejection of Mosaddeq’s neutralist foreign policy.
- Third, the hasty return of the British oil company in 1953.
- Fourth, the establishment of ties with South Africa and Israel.
- Fifth, concerns the granting of capitulations to American military advisers.
- Six, the opening of the country to foreign banks, companies and cultural establishments.

A combination of all these events accelerated the progress of movements focusing on the removal of the Shah from power.

These movements centered on the belief that the regime aimed to spread gharbzadegi (the plague from the West) in order to undermine Iran’s national identity and Shii’a popular culture.[23] These movements at the time were led by Jelal Al-e Ahmad, a prominent writer, the Ayatollah Mahmud Taleqani, a well known cleric and long-time supporter of Mossadeq, and Mehdi Bazargan, the head of the Liberation Movement of Iran (Nehzat-e Azadi-ye Iran).[24] These movements occurred despite early accomplishments where clerics openly supported the Shah’s attempts at embracing Shii’ism instead of secular nationalist movements led by Bazargan and the similarly secular communist threat. His real problems arose in the early 1960’s following the White Revolution of 1962.

In this period, the Shah implemented programs that caused the people to scream for the Shah’s removal from power. He established a land reform law that threatened the property of the religious foundations. He also created a new electoral system that gave suffrage to women (Ervand Abrahaninan believed that this action paved the way for the legitimization of the Baha’ism as a legitimate religion). The Shah also began chastising the clerics as “lice ridden” and pointed to the “black reactionary mullahs”. This was most likely in an effort to discredit and take the legitimacy from the power of the clerics. But the Shah’s problems really began to materialize following the death of Ayatollah Borujerdi, which left a vacuum of leadership that paved the way for a revolutionary leader such as the Ayatollah Ruholla Musavi Khomeini (1900-1989).

Ayatollah Sayyid Ruhollah al-Musavi al-Khomeini

Khomeini was the youngest of six children and was born in the city of Khomeini located about 180 miles south of Tehran, the capital of Iran. He comes from a long line of ayatollahs (his great grandfather, grandfather, and father), thus, he began his Islamic study at an early age. At the age of twenty seven he began instructing at Ispahan and then in Qom where he taught Islamic philosophy, Islamic law, mysticism, and ethics.[25] During his lectures, he taught fervently that Muslims should seek Islamic solutions to contemporary problems and believed that the ulama should take an active role in politics emulating the Prophet Mohammad. In following with his teachings, he spoke in opposition to the Shah’s tyrannical rule and “un-Islamic” regime and published a book entitled Unveiling of the Secrets in 1944.[26] Khomeini’s opposition to the White Revolution caused his imprisonment, which led to his incredible rise in stature in the eyes of the Iranian people as a true leader willing to sacrifice himself in the favor of the umma (community of Muslims).

Upon his release, Khomeini was exiled to Turkey where he subsequently relocated to Najaf in Iraq. For the fourteen years in exile, the movement lacked the necessary leadership to continue. But, Khomeini continued to fight the battle writing another book known as Velayat-e Faqih: Hokumat-e Islami (Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists of the Divine Law: The Islamic Government). The notion of the velayat-e faqih is central to the understanding of the political structure of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The valy-e faqih is the supreme leader of the Iran, with wide political and spiritual authorities and the faqih is the only qualified and legitimate supreme political authority.[27] This directly challenged the leadership of the Shah because under the velayat-e faqih the absolute guardianship of the Prophet and the Imam is due to their perfect infallibility and possession of extraordinary knowledge. Because a true Muslim must follow and obey the “perfect and infallible” in all aspects of life, including the moral, judicial, social economic and political, then the ummah (the Islamic community of believers) was not required to follow a mere person because they are susceptible to sin and mistakes.[28] This notion directly threatened the foundations of the Pahlavi Monarchy.

Khomeini continued his bombardment of the Shah’s with audio tapes that espoused his ideology. These tapes spread like wildfire throughout Iran, which set the tone for the upcoming revolution. These were listened to everywhere from mosques to living rooms. Sensing the growing opposition and power of Khomeini, the Shah asked the neighboring country of Iraq to expel him which they agreed to do.

Khomeini then settled in France for a short time before finally returning to Iran. In an attempt to restore the faith in the monarchy, the Shah began making concessions to the clerics and began recognizing the voice of the people. Despite this, the monarchy continued to live a lavish lifestyle in contrast to the living conditions of the people. Furthermore, inflation, unemployment, underemployment, and hosing shortages had increased. Due to the growing civil unrest that ensued, the Shah became abandoned by the upper elite class, which ultimately placed all of the social classes against his reign.

The Shii’a clerical establishment was also concerned over both its diminishing pejoratives and the increase in negative Western influences.[29] The Shah attempted one last time to reconcile his past mistakes.

The Shah’s attempts to appeal to the people and undo his wrongs proved to be too little too late. Unfortunately for the Shah, Khomeini’s stay in democratic France following his expulsion from Iraq actually allowed him an even greater platform to speak to the people of Iran. There his calls to either revolt violently or nonviolently by demonstrating or refusing to work and contribute to the un-Islamic leader, were met with a large response.

His following increased to the point that the Shah could no longer control the uprisings. The Shah, thus, decided to go on an extended “vacation”, left the country, and never returned marking the end of the Pahlavi Monarchy’s fifty- seven years of reign over Iran.

The Significance of the Islamic Revolution

The revolution was important for many reasons. The most outstanding reason is due to the fact that it was the first successful Islamic revolution in modern times. This is significant due to the recent history of colonialism that has taken control of the once great Ottoman Empire. The effects of the influence of foreign powers in the region contribute to the loss of identity and pride.

Following the fall of the Ottoman Empire after World War II, the greater Middle East was divided among the allied powers due to Attaturk’s support for the Axis powers. Much of the borders that exist today were decided by top British aids over lunch. Reportedly, the borders were drawn on the back of a cocktail napkin. These lines were drawn through civilizations that have existed for centuries and dissected the region into new states with puppet leaders responsible for maintaining order and stability and to maintain compliance with Western interests. The effects of these artificial borders continue to this day and are the center of conflict and possibly one of the greatest contributors to instability in the region.

The Kurds are a perfect example of a people separated by the borders of three different states: northern Iran, Syria and Iraq, and southern Turkey. These people numbering around 20-25 million seek independence and sovereignty over the land they have inhabited for centuries. They support the creation of the state of Kurdistan. Because of this and due to their refusal to assimilate into the society that they have been forced to comply to, they have become the victims of considerable violence and repression. The Kurds will be discussed later in the paper.

Another example of border disputes concerns the possession of key strategic islands in the Persian Gulf near the Strait of Hormuz. These islands are the Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Musa (mentioned earlier). These islands have been the center of conflict between Iran and the United Arab Emirates since 1971. Another region under dispute concerns the demarcation of the border separating Iran and Iraq and the fight over control of the major waterway known as the Shatt al Arab. This dispute was one of leading reasons for the Persian Gulf War that began shortly after the Islamic revolution and the hostage crisis that occurred following the ransack of the US embassy in Iran.(date)

The revolution was important for many reasons largely due to the concepts that it espoused. According to Daniel Brumberg, “Khomeini led a popular revolution that overturned a social order; only Khomeini brought about the creation of an Islamic state whose leaders spoke on behalf of the world’s downtrodden.”[30] Khomeini’s ideology preached many things:

First, that hereditary monarchical regimes were intrinsically un-Islamic, illegitimate, and sinful;

Second, Islam is a revolutionary political ideology enjoining Muslims violently or nonviolently to overthrow un-Islamic governments;

Third, opposition to the government should involve non-cooperation with government institutions (and the establishment of alternative Islamic institutions);

- Fourth, an Islamic state based on the Qur’an and the Sunnah[31] should be established; that knowledgeable and just Islamic jurists and a just religious leader should exercise supreme leadership in that Islamic state;

Fifth, all foreign influences must be extirpated from that Islamic state;

- And, finally, the Islamic state’s foreign policy should be one of nonalignment.[32]

These ideas were truly revolutionary and controversial.

These ideas challenged all secular leadership in the Middle East especially in the Gulf. Countries such as Iraq, with its un-Islamic state and considerable Shii’a population began to view the Islamic Republic of Iran as viable threat to Ba’ath rule. The Ba’ath Party was dedicated to the goals of Arab unity, freedom, and socialism.

Al Bakr saw Khomeini’s speeches to Muslims to rise up against secular leadership warily especially due to the fact that Southern Iraq is largely populated by Shii’a Muslims. Shii’as comprise approximately two thirds of the total Iraqi population and have been considerably underrepresented in the Ba’ath government and are the most economically deprived component of the population.[33] It should be noted that Iraq also hosts some of the holiest of Shii’a shrines and sanctuaries, such as Karbala and Najaf, thus the prescriptions of the Ayatollah Khomeini, the profound leader of the community of Shii’a could challenge Ba’ath authority. When Saddam Husayn assumed control of Iraq in 1979, he believed that Khomeini’s rhetoric, which openly opposed the secular-socialist ideology, could cause a similar revolution in Iraq.

Gulf monarchies such as Saudi Arabia also felt endangered by the Islamic revolution. Questioning the legitimacy of the Saud family in ruling the country also raised concerns from King Khalid, the successor of King Faisal who was assassinated in 1975, who ruled the monarchy until his death in 1982. Immediately following the revolution, Saudi Arabia heralded Iran for its strict adherence to Islamic law or Shar’ia. Saudi Arabia is considered one of the most conservative of Arab states due to its adherence to the Sunni school of Islamic law known as Hanbali. But increasingly, Khomeini continued criticizing the monarchy’s existence. Saudi Arabia is also home to a Shii’a population as well.

In 1987, Iranian pilgrims attending the pilgrimage to Mecca undertook anti-Saudi demonstrations that led to a violent confrontation with police resulting in over 400 casualties.[34] The Shii’a population in Saudi Arabia are mostly concentrated in the al-Hasa Province where the oil fields are located. It was feared that an armed revolt could threaten Saudi access to oil in that region. Iran has reportedly given aid to members of the Shii’a organization known as Hizbollah (Party of God). Regardless, some of the greatest concerns came from the West, specifically from the United States who saw the Islamic revolution as a threat to America’s ability to project force and to contain the Soviet’s from achieving their long sought after “warm water port”. This also would give the Soviets the ability to control the world’s supply of oil.

The Discovery of Oil in the Middle East

In 1908, Iran became the first major petroleum country in the Middle East with the discovery of the Masjed-e Soleyman field in the folds of the middle Zagros. Since then, oil has played the largest and most dominant role in the economy of Iran. In the late 1970’s and in recent years, the petroleum industry produced nearly half of the national income and 98 percent of the value of exports.[35] Iran is credited with petroleum reserves of 92.85 billion barrels, technically the fifth largest in the Middle East and the world. Iran produced more than six million barrels per day in its peak year of 1974 before decreasing to a minimum 1.37 bpd in 1981 during the early years of the Iran-Iraq war.[36]

The Allies became involved in Iran’s oil during World War I and then WWII in order to meet the production demands. The British acquired a controlling interest in the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC), previously known as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC). There was relative stability in the oil industry until 1951 when Prime Minister Mossadeq nationalized the AIOC. The result of this was the removal of Mossadeq from power in a military coup. This began the Pahlavi Monarchy placing Reza Shah in power. Western countries such as the British, Dutch, French and US companies began producing and refining most of the petroleum output of Iran for the ensuing twenty-five years.

The Shah with the considerable boom in oil taking place in the mid 1970’s used much of the resources in order to develop the infrastructure and the local economy. His reforms were largely popular with the people and the clerics until he began directing money towards building Iran’s military. This action coupled with a downturn in the economy due to the increased spending in the military which diverted revenues from much needed health and social programs spelled the beginning of the end for the Pahlavi Monarchy. When the Shah began denouncing the clerics, this sealed his fate.

The importance of a US presence in the Region

Iran has in the past and continues to be a harsh reminder of US vulnerability. The Islamic revolution had a large emphasis on the influence of the US in the internal affairs of Iran. In addition to the obvious benefits of maintaining a presence in the region in order to protect the safe passage of oil through the gulf, the US also aimed to contain the Soviets from entering the region. During the Cold War, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic’s (USSR) occupation of northern Iran in 1946 triggered the first post WWII crisis with the West.[37] Following this event and until the end of the Cold War, the US and the Soviet Union competed for influence in the region. The US also sought to keep the Soviets away from the Strait of Hormuz, arguably one of the most strategic waterways in the entire world.

The Strait of Hormuz is important because of the vast amounts of oil that travel through the Gulf each day and the West’s reliance on that oil as an industrialized country. The Middle East basically supplies an estimated 65 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves and 36 percent of its proven gas reserves. According to estimates by the US Department of Energy (DOE), it exported an average of 17.7 million barrels of oil a day (MMBD) in 1995. This was 47 percent of the world total of 37.7MMBD. The DOE projects that Middle Eastern oil exports will reach 44.4 MMBD by 2020. This will be 63 percent of the estimated world total of 70.9 MMBD.[38]

The importance of protecting the Strait of Hormuz cannot be underestimated. Denial of entrance through this choke point could seriously hamper the ability of the US to project force onto the region. According to Geoffrey Kemp and Robert E Harkavy of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace:

“If Hormuz is closed, supplies could move overland from Al Fujayrah in the United Arab Emirates to its Gulf ports such as Dubai. Though there is a road that leads through Saudi Arabia this would be very time consuming and is an inadequate route primarily because of limits on the capacity of the port. Furthermore, closing Hormuz would keep both warships and logistics vessels out of the Gulf, which would rule out a Desert Storm type of operation unless there had been massive pre-positioning.”[39]

Thus a presence in the region has always been a major priority for the US. During the Cold War not only did the US protect the Gulf from Soviet interference, but the US government also used Iran to monitor Soviet transmissions and missile testing. A forward presence in the region was central to protecting the US’s capability to thwart soviet incursions in the region. The US depended on the Middle East for approximately eighteen-percent of its oil. Approximately 70 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves and over 40 percent of its natural gas reserves are in this area. Geoffrey Kemp adds, “Indeed, what we term the greater Middle East and its energy resources may now be the strategic fulcrum and prize in the emerging arena of world politics.”[40] Thus, Iran was central to the US establishing a foothold on the entire region. The US national interests depended heavily on the presumption that the Shah would remain in power.

The overthrow of the Shah came as an unexpected surprise to the US. Although there was civil unrest and knowledge of mounting opposition to the Pahlavi Monarchy, nobody knew the extent of the political unrest that ultimately caused the overthrow of the leadership. The Central Intelligence Agency was accused of failing to see the signs of the instability, although according to Dr. Ralph Salmi, who served in Tehran during this episode, the analysts stationed in the region could only focus on Soviet intelligence. Any intelligence gathering on Iran itself would be seen as a reason for dismissal of all assets stationed in Iran. The surveillance of the Soviets took precedence over gathering intelligence on our host. In fact, the revolution was so surprising to the US that just before the overthrow took place, President Jimmy Carter openly expressed his pleasure with the efforts of the Shah for maintaining peace in the region.

This event aided in the already existing resentment of Western influence in Iranian affairs. In the people’s minds, not only was the United States directly responsible for the ills of their society according to the Ayatollah Khomeini, but because of the speech given by Jimmy Carter, it became apparent that the United States, who claims to be the beacon of freedom and democracy, openly supported the repression and killings of Iranian opposition to the Shah. It was also believed that the Shahs main tool of oppression the National Security and Information Organization, also known as the acronym SAVAK, was given instruction and support from the CIA on the means of torturing and murdering the opposition. The Islamic Revolution and the Soviet attack of Afghanistan that followed prompted President Carter to act.

The President established a Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force (RDJTF) in order to maintain a forward presence in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East region. Carter stated, “an attempt by any outside force… to gain control of the Persian Gulf…will be repelled by any means necessary.”[41] This announcement became known as the Carter Doctrine and its legacy will continue until the US finds an alternative means of providing energy.

Immediately following the shock of the fall of the Pahlavi Dynasty in favor of an anti-West Islamic Republic, the US was delivered another severe blow to its security: the overthrow of the US embassy triggered by an uprising led by nationalist extremists from the Sazeman-e Mojahedin-e Khalq-e Iran (People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, or PMOI) on 4 November 1979.

This began the 444-day Iran hostage crisis. For one of the first times in recent history the US began to feel vulnerable. Not only had the US just pulled out of Vietnam after losing its first major war against a country much less powerful and smaller, but the US had felt the effects of the energy crisis and the crippling effect this had on its economy. The energy crisis was the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) response to US support for the Israelis following the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. In an effort to rescue the hostages, a team of US Special Forces from the Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg attempted a daring rescue of the hostages.[42] This rescue attempt code named Desert One turned into a disaster and only emphasized the fact that one of the most powerful countries in the world was virtually at the mercy of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The US hostage crisis had many positive effects for the new Islamic Republic of Iran. First, this event was crucial because it showed the world of the Middle Eastern countries’ ability to rise up against Western and Communist blocs using asymmetrical warfare. Second, it said that Islam was the unifying force to battle foreign intervention and Western ideals in all aspects of their lives. And third, it deemed any opposition or support for secular rule as un-Islamic. But, not all of the effects were beneficial.

Many of the events of the Iran hostage crisis also had many negative effects as well. First, the Ayatollah Khomeini’s support for the overthrow of the US embassy caused its international isolation. Diplomatically the US was able to gather support within the United Nations to internationally condemn the actions of the uprising and pass an embargo on the country, which served to alienate Iran and labeled them as a pariah state. This alienation caused the new Islamic Republic to lose billions in revenue and seriously undermined the economy, adversely affected the Islamic revolution, and injured the Iranian people.[43] This caused even further resentment toward the US who was labeled as the “Great Satan” by Khomeini. Secondly, due to the Soviet’s invasion of Afghanistan and the US’s displeasure with the new Islamic Republic, Iraq under the leadership of Saddam Husayn saw the international discontent as an opportunity to mount an attack on Iran. “Moreover, the US reaction to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan virtually guaranteed that the two superpowers would not work together to impose a cease-fire on the two conflicting parties in favor of the status quo.” [44] This also provided Iraq with the opportunity to dictate peace negotiations following what Saddam perceived would be a quick and decisive victory. It was largely ironic that Iran’s ability to sustain itself both militarily and economically during this long and costly war was primarily due to the accomplishments of the Pahlavi Monarchy. Third, the aftermath of the hostage crisis continues to shape foreign policy for the US who sees Iran as a country that supports terrorism despite the positive measures taken by the current pragmatic leadership of President Khatami.

The Effects of the War with Iraq

The Iran-Iraq War proved to be incredibly costly for both Iran and Iraq. Projections insist that within the Saddam believed that due to the political upheaval and international condemnation of the Ayatollah Khomeini his army would be able to invade Iran, seize a substantial chunk of the Khuzistan territory, the site of the first oil discovery in the Middle East, and use this as a bargaining chip to renegotiate the border separating the two countries. This would give Iraq control over the much needed access to the Persian Gulf, known as the Shatt-al Arab.

When the British mandate established the state of Kuwait, it limited Iraq’s ability to access the Gulf because the remaining coastline is fifty miles of swampland, unsuitable for the establishment of ports. Therefor, the Shatt-al Arab was considered key for Saddam’s regime as its’ only “warm water port” and the major economic artery of the country. Basra, the only Iraqi port in existence sits forty seven miles from the mouth of this famous waterway. But, this waterway was also widely used by Iran also for the export of petroleum with its major port in the Shatt al Arab known as Khorramshahr, although it was not as strategically important as it was to Iraq.

Unlike Iraq, Iran enjoys a vast coastline that stretches 2,440 km. and has other ports along the Persian Gulf suitable for shipping oil. But, most of Iran’s pipelines from the oil fields that line the Iran-Iraq border such as Ahvaz, Marun, Paris, and the Agha Jari lead directly to the shipping terminals at the mouth of the Shatt.[45] Saddam wished to revoke the thalweg (the deepest point in the channel of the river) treaty that delineated the boundaries in this 1975 agreement.

Saddam believed that this agreement should be null and void due to the circumstances that led to its signing. President al Bakr, who ruled until 1979, was forced into conceding the Shatt al Arab with the Shah in order to halt Iran and the CIA’s financing of Iraq’s Kurds in the north. This group of Kurds, who occupied Iraq’s northern oilfields of Kirkuk, wanted to establish this region as the independent, sovereign state of Kurdistan. Iraq, at the time was not as militarily strong as Iran and could not quell the Kurdish rebellion in the north and thus was forced to negotiate the Shat al Arab. But, Saddam saw the chaos following the revolution as the perfect opportunity to renegotiate the treaty under his terms. But, this waterway was not the only catalyst for the war.

Iraq also feared Khoemeini’s growing rhetoric. Khomeini continuously spoke of his intention of exporting the revolution to the entire Arab world. By doing so he alienated himself further by denouncing all secular, monarchical, and pro-Western Arab leaders. Khomeini also claimed the Saddam’s Ba’th Party was Satanic because it was secular and he swore to destroy it along with Husayn.[46] Iraq was concerned that the Islamic Revolution may inspire the Arab Shii’a in the south to also revolt. Aside from these reasons, both Saddam Husayn and the Ayatollah Khomeini began to struggle to fill the void of regional leadership that Anwar al Sadat, the Egyptian president, left vacant following his signing of the Camp David Accords promising peace with Israel in exchange for the Sinai. Saddam also wanted to establish himself as the protector of the Arab states by also demanding that Iran give back the disputed islands of Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs to the United Arab Emirates occupied since 1971. By accomplishing this feat and by protecting the Gulf monarchies, Saddam would have “his Suez Canal” and attain Arab leadership much like Gamal Abd al Nasser in 1963.

The eight year war that began 17 September 1980 accomplished nothing for the two countries. According to estimations, Iran lost approximately one million people including great physical destruction.[47] Much of the destruction occurred due to Iraqi air-strikes and Scud missile attacks. “Iran claimed in 1990 that by the time of the cease-fire in 1988, it had suffered $542 billion in damage and in another claim gave a figure of one trillion in damage.[48] Losses were great despite the aid from countries during the war such as Syria, Libya, Taiwan, the People’s Republic of China, Israel (who maintained their policy of not aligning with Arab states, and the United States (this was exposed in the Iran-Contra scandal in 1986-87 during the Reagan administration) who traded arms for hostages in Lebanon.

Despite these devastating losses due to the war with Iraq, Iran began rebuilding their military in the early 1990’s. During the war, Iran lost an estimated 40-60 percent of its’ ground force weapons. [49] This occurred shortly after Iran became more familiar with Iraq’s military capabilities due to United Nations weapons inspectors’ findings following Operation Desert Storm. Although much of Iraq’s military was left in shambles due to the Gulf War, which actually benefited the Islamic Republic due to the two countries history of hostility, Iran began an effort to remilitarize calling for an expenditure of $14.5 billion in 1992 compared to $1 billion for economic construction. The suppliers of military material include North Korea, Bulgaria, China, and Pakistan.[50]

Literature on LAND FORCES

Please refer to

- www.iranwatch.org/sites/default/files/csis-iranarmstransf-103000.pdf

- csis.org/files/media/csis/pubs/0407_iransmilforces.pdf

- www.bits.de/public/documents/iran/Cordesman_WMDinIran98.pdf

for further information.


[1] For more information on CENTCOM access this website (http://www.centcom.mil/who_we_are/index.asp ).

[2] http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook.html

[3] http://www.president.ir/outlooks/Economic.htm .

[4] EU Debates Negotiating with Iran, http://cnn.com/2002/WORLD/meast/05/13/eu.iran.ap/index.html , 13 May 2002.

[5] Supra. Information regarding the military spending of Iraq was not available. This should be noted because prior to Operation Desert Storm, Iraq possessed one of the largest militaries in the entire Gulf.

[6] http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs/prolif97/meafrica.html .

[7] Anthony H. Cordesman, Iran in Transition: Uncertain Hostility, Uncertain Threat (Testimony to the Foreign Relations Committee, 6 May 1998).

[8] Powell: Give Peace a Chance to Flourish (12 April 2002) http://www.cnn.com/2002/us/04/21/powell.cnna.index .

[9] http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Ar2002/t040222002_t0402sd.html .

[10] Colbert C. Held, Middle East Patterns: People, Places, and Politics, 2nd Ed. (Boulder: Westview Press, 1989), 197.

[11] http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs/prolif97/meafrica.html .

[12] Alasdair Drysdale and Gerald H. Blake, The Middle East and North Africa: A Political Geography (Oxford University Press, 1985), 126.

[13] Taryam, Abdullah Omran, The Establishment of the United Arab Emirates, 1950-85 (London: Croom Helm, 1987), 190.

[14] Geoffrey Kemp and Robert E. Harkavy, Strategic Geography and the Changing Middle East (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 1997), 96-97.

[15] Held, supra, 404.

[16] Supra, 407.

[17] http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/pgtrpt/2000/ .

[18] Patricia Niehoff, Terrorism: Near Eastern Groups and State Sponsors, 2001, 25.

[19] Supra, 5.

[20] Supra, 19.

[21] Ervand Abrahamian, Radical Islam: The Iranian Mojahedin (London: I.B. Tauris and Co Ltd, 1989), 17.

[22] Plan Organization, Shakhesha-ye ejtema’i ye Iran (Social indicators of Iran) (1978).

[23] ‘Remember 15 Khordad’, Ayandegan, 6 June 1980. The 15 Khordad marks the date of the 5 June uprising that marked the clerics disapproval of the Shah which proved to be the dress rehearsal for the Revolution of 1978-9.

[24] Ervand Abrahamian, supra.

[25] Mir Zohair Husain, Global Islamic Politics (New York: Harper Collins College Publishers, 1995), 57.

[26] Supra.

[27] See article 110 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran for formal powers and authorities of the valy-e faqih.

[28] Cyrus Masroori, The Conceptual Foundations of Radical Political Action in Modern Iran (University of California Riverside, June 1999), 277. This book is a doctoral dissertation and a wonderful tool for understanding the concepts that helped to develop the Islamic revolution.

[29] Husain, supra, 58.

[30] R. Scott Appleby, Spokesmen for the Despised: Fundamentalist Leaders of the Middle East (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1997), 17.Check turabian on editors.

[31] Sunnah literally means “the way” or “the path” of Islam showed by the Prophet Mohammad. Unlike the Hadith which is a collection of eyewitness accounts, narratives, and reports of the saying s of the Prophet, the Sunnah presents what Mohammad said and did. As a major force of Islamic faith and practice, the Sunnah complements the Qur’an. For more information on terms associated with the Islamic faith.

[32] Husain, supra, 58.

[33] Dr. William Spencer, Global Studies: The Middle East, Eighth ed. (Connecticut: Dushkin/McGraw-Hill, 2000), 71.

[34] Supra, 127.

[35] Held, supra , 411.

[36] Supra.

[37] Kemp and Harkavy, xii.

[38] Energy Information Agency, International Energy Outlook, 1998, (Washington, DOE/EIA-0484(98), April 1998), 36.

[39] Supra, 259.

[40] Supra, xiii.

[41] See New York Times, 24 January 1980. On the roles and missions of the RDJTF, See also Thomas L. McNaughter, Arms and Oil (Washington, D.C., 1985).

[42] See Col. Charlie A Beckwith and Donald Knox, Delta Force: The Army’s Elite Counterterrorist Unit (New York: Avon Books, 1983).

[43] Mir Zohair Husain, Supra, 59.

[44] Stephen R. Grummon, The Iran-Iraq War: Islam Embattled (Washington D.C.: Praeger, 1982), 11.

[45] Held, Supra, 118.

[46] Grummon, supra, 8.

[47] Among several studies of the origins and ramifications of the Iran-Iraq war, an excellent one is Khadduri 1988. See also Chubin and Tripp 1988and Karsh 1990.

[48] See Christian Science Monitor, 1 January 1990, and Amuzegar 1992.

[49] Cordesman, supra.

[50] Held, supra, 409.

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A threat analysis of Iran in 2002 and its relevance today
Political Science 605 Middle Eastern Security
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Mario Carbajal (Author), 2002, A threat analysis of Iran in 2002 and its relevance today, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/306093


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