From Zarathustra to Khomeini: Populism and Dissent in Iran

From Zarathustra to Khomeini: Populism and Dissent in Iran

From Zarathustra to Khomeini: Populism and Dissent in Iran

From Zarathustra to Khomeini: Populism and Dissent in Iran

Synopsis

A study of popular movements and dissent in Iranian history that aims to shed new light on the populist metamorphosis of Iranian society in the post-1953 period and on the populist subculture of the 1960s and 1970s.

Excerpt

Theory, my friend, is the evergreen tree of life.
—Goethe

The entire Middle East experienced a revival of Islamic militancy in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s.The increasing tensions in the Persian Gulf brought Iran and the United States to the brink of war in the summer of 1988. The killing of hundreds of Iranian pilgrims in Mecca by Saudi security forces in the summer of 1987 severely damaged the fragile relationship existing between the two countries.Lebanon is torn by religious and factional strife in which the revival of Islam plays a significant role.Kuwait—a relatively prosperous and stable country in the Gulf region—has been the target of occasional bombing since 1983, and in 1985 there was an assassination attempt against its leader, the Emir Sheikh Jaber Al-Sabah.Bahrain barely escaped an attempted coup d'état that threatened to create an Iranian type of Islamic republic in December of 1981. That same year President Anwar Sadat of Egypt was assassinated by a Muslim fundamentalist group.Saudi Arabia, which was purported to be "monotonously stable," has experienced occasional demonstrations by the Shi'ite population in its eastern province. The highlight of the growing opposition to the Saudi regime culminated in an armed rebellion and the seizure of the Grand Mosque of Mecca by a group of Sunni Muslim fundamentalists in the autumn of 1979. The late General Zia Al-Haq of Pakistan deemed it necessary to implement Islamic law, the Shari'a, and to revive the Islamic code of justice in the face of the rising tide of Islamic fundamentalism.Afghan Muslim rebels are continuously challenging the Soviet-backed regime in Kabul.

The new Islamic challenge has not been confined to the Middle East alone.From the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand to Morocco and Tunisia to Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, the Muslim minorities are becoming more assertive in opposition to their respective secular regimes.

Although significant in themselves, these events are only a partial manifestation of a broader Islamic Revival for which the Iranian Revolution was a major catalysL The emergence of this Islamic Revival has been the source of much theoretical debate and has induced numerous political . . .

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