The Shadow Commander

Pages: 304
Subject: Current Affairs, Middle East, History
Imprint: Oneworld

The Shadow Commander

Soleimani, the US, and Iran’s Global Ambitions

Arash Azizi

Reveals how Qassem Soleimani became the military mastermind who established Iran as a major power in the Middle East
Hardback
9781786079442 (19 Nov 2020)
RRP £20.00 / US$27.95

The Book

When the US assassinated Qassem Soleimani in January 2020, he was one of the most powerful men in Iran. The military spearhead for Iranian foreign policy, he enacted the wishes of the country's Supreme Leader, establishing the Islamic Republic as a major force in the Middle East. He masterminded interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen, supporting Iran's allies and campaigning against the Taliban, US forces, Israel and ISIS. But all this was a long way from where he began - on the margins of a country whose ruler was regarded as a friend of the West.  

In this gripping account, Arash Azizi examines Soleimani's life, regional influence and future ambitions. He breaks new ground through interviews with Iranians, Afghans, Iraqis and Syrians who knew Soleimani for years, including his personal driver, the aides who accompanied him to his Moscow meeting with Vladimir Putin, and his brother. Through Soleimani, Azizi reveals the true nature of Iran's global ambitions, providing a rare insight into a country whose actions are much talked about but seldom understood.

Additional Information

Subject Current Affairs, Middle East, History
Pages 304
Imprint Oneworld

 

About the Author

Arash Azizi is a historian at New York University where he researches the transnational links that tied Iran and the Arab world during the Cold War. He has written for numerous publications, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian and Vanity Fair, and several of his book-length translations have appeared in Iran and elsewhere. He lives in New York City. @arash_tehran

Reviews

‘This energetic account sheds more light on Soleimani's character and his relationships with Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, and Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Iran's main ally, Hezbollah. It also reveals that Soleimani was planning to run for president [in 2021].'

- The Times

‘An important book about one of the Middle East's most charismatic and powerful men in recent years.'

- Middle East Monitor

‘An excellent contribution to our knowledge of Iran and Soleimani.'

- Kim Ghattas, author of Black Wave

‘[A] groundbreaking new biography of the late Qassem Soleimani… Azizi is a skillful interpreter of Soleimani's moves, and an astute analyst of how Iran's "living martyr” lied, schemed, and abetted the ugly torture and murder of true revolutionaries and Muslims across the Middle East, and wherever else the IRGC's reach permitted.'

- Tablet

‘Mr. Arash Azizi…provides one of the most fascinating books of 2020 and one of the most insightful - into not just Soleimani, but also Iran's foreign and security aims in the Middle East. A story that easily could have descended into hagiography is masterfully told by Mr. Azizi, who weaves one of the richest and most complex tapestries about the region I've come across in some time, especially in so short of a book. It is not just a biography of Soleimani, but a biography of modern Iran and its role in the Middle East.'

- Diplomatic Courier

‘Extensively researched and drawing on a vast range of sources, this is the definitive account of one of the Middle East's most powerful, ambitious and enigmatic figures. Essential reading.'

- Christopher Davidson, author of Shadow Wars

‘A fascinating account of the strengths and weaknesses of the most enigmatic warlord in the Middle East. Azizi skilfully portrays Soleimani's life and death in the wider context of Iran's recent history and politics.'

- Anshel Pfeffer, author of Bibi: The Turbulent Life and Times of Benjamin Netanyahu

Table of Contents

Introduction: #WorldWarIII

 

1  A Life on the Margins

2  A Young Man in the City

3  To Guard a Revolution

4  "A Gift from the Heavens”

5  War Makes Man

6  No Islamism in One Country

7  A Chalice Full of Poison

8  An "Unwritten Pact”

9  We Protect the Shrines

10  Busy in Beirut

11  Islamic Awakening, Sectarian Degeneration

12  Black Flags, White Flags

 

Epilogue: The Endgame

Timeline

Acknowledgments

A Note on Sources

Bibliography

Notes

Index

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