chapter  18
29 Pages

The Reassertion of Islamic Power

WithArthur Goldschmidt, Aomar Boum

The Islamic Revolution enabled the mostaz'afan to find their voice and to vent their anger on rulers and foreign advisers who exalted material wealth and power in the name of "modernization". The religious revival touched all parts of the Muslim world and directly affected Iran, whose language, conscious cultivation of a pre-Islamic heritage, and adherence to Twelve-Imam Shi'ism were unique. The local Arab rulers, hereditary monarchs except in Iraq, feared revolutions like the one that convulsed Iran but did not want to open their lands to US military bases. Iran, located between the Soviet Union and the Gulf, played a strategic role in US efforts to contain Soviet expansionism. However, attacking Iran would have enraged the whole Muslim world and endangered the hostages. It was nearly impossible to devise policies to cure the conditions that caused terrorism, such as the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the civil war in Lebanon, the Iran-Iraq War, urbanization, and poverty.