By Robert Dreyfuss
The first entire account of America's most
dangerous overseas coverage miscalculation: sixty years of aid for Islamic fundamentalism
Devil's video game is the gripping tale of America's faulty efforts, stretching throughout a long time, to dominate the strategically important center East by means of dating and cultivating Islamic fundamentalism. between all of the books approximately Islam, this is often the 1st finished inquiry into the touchiest factor: How and why did the U.S. motivate and finance the unfold of radical political Islam?
Backed through vast archival examine and interviews with dozens of coverage makers and CIA, Pentagon, and international provider officers, Robert Dreyfuss argues that this principally hidden courting is tremendously accountable for the worldwide explosion of terrorism. He follows the path of yankee collusion from aid for the Muslim Brotherhood in Fifties Egypt to hyperlinks with Khomeini and Afghani jihadists to cooperation with Hamas and Saudi Wahhabism. Dreyfuss additionally uncovers long-standing ties among radical Islamists and the prime banks of the West. the result's as tragic because it is paradoxical: initially deployed as pawns to foil nationalism and communism, extremist mullahs and ayatollahs now dominate the sector, thundering opposed to freedom of inspiration, technological know-how, women's rights, secularism--and their former purchaser.
Wide-ranging and deeply expert, Devil's video game unearths a background of double-dealing, cynical exploitation, and humiliating embarrassment. What emerges is a development that, faraway from furthering democracy or safety, guarantees a way forward for mistakes and blowback.
Publishers Weekly -
One of the CIA's first nice moments of institutional mirrored image happened in 1953, after American covert operatives helped overthrow Iran's left-leaning executive and restored the Shah to energy. The enterprise, then merely six years outdated, had funded ayatollahs, mobilized the non secular correct and engineered a cosmopolitan propaganda crusade to effectively additional its goals, and it desired to know the way it will possibly reapply such tradecraft in other places, so it commissioned an inner document. part a century later, the main prescient line from that file is considered one of warning, now not optimism. "Possibilities of blowback opposed to the USA must always be at the back of the minds of all CIA officers," the record warned. due to the fact that this primary recognized use of the time period "blowback," numerous reporters and students have chronicled the best blowback of all: how the fabulous amounts of relief that the United States supplied to anti-Marxist Islamic extremists in the course of the chilly struggle inadvertently situated these exact same extremists to turn into America's subsequent nice enemy. (Indeed, Iran's spiritual leaders have been one of the first to show opposed to the United States.) Dreyfuss's quantity reaches farther and deeper into the topic than so much. He convincingly situates America's try to construct an Islamic bulwark opposed to Soviet growth into Britain's historical past of imperialism within the area. And the place different authors limit their concentration to the Afghan mujahideen, Dreyfuss information a historical past of yank support-sometimes carried out with startling blindness, occasionally, tacitly via proxies-for Islamic radicals in Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Syria. from time to time, the help happened overtly during the American inner most zone, as Dreyfuss describes in a desirable digression on Islamic banking. yet finally, too few govt officers have been being attentive to the expansion and risks of political Islam. A CIA officer summarizes Dreyfuss's case whilst he says, "We observed all of it in a momentary perspective"-the long term results are what we're dealing with now.
Foreign Affairs -
The usa, Dreyfuss argues, has supported radical Islamic activism during the last six a long time, "sometimes openly, occasionally covertly," and is hence "partly responsible for the emergence of Islamic terrorism as a world-wide phenomenon." To flesh out this interpretation, he writes of U.S. aid for the Muslim Brotherhood opposed to Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt, the U.S. position in lining up spiritual radicals within the coup ousting major Minister Muhammad Mosaddeq in Iran, the decades-long ties among Washington and the home of Saud, the U.S. backing of the mujahideen in Afghanistan, or even the Reagan administration's tentative ties with Ayatollah Khomeini's Islamic Republic, illuminated through the Iran-contra affair. (Dreyfuss even criticizes the Bush management for operating with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in post-Saddam Iraq.) The instances pointed out during this very various tackle U.S. international relations within the center East because the Nineteen Forties look, notwithstanding, a bit askew whilst set in a broader context. the U.S. has frequently supported these against the Islamists (such as Hosni Mubarak and Saddam Hussein) and has taken forceful positions in lots of different circumstances within which Islam or Islamism was once now not a significant component. The Islamic Revolution in Iran is healthier defined by means of U.S. ties to the shah's regime. Dreyfuss might have a extra cogent case if he had easily faulted U.S. international relations for its excessively intrusive, regime-changing method of the center East. mockingly, that's the thrust of his feedback on pages 15-17 of the introduction.
Library magazine -
During the chilly warfare the overseas coverage pros within the usa have been involved basically with combating the unfold of communism. They considered all teams calling themselves nationalists as most likely applicants to espouse communism quickly. within the center East, competition to such nationalist teams led the USA to aid conservative, fundamentalist Islamic teams, similar to those that fought the Soviets in locations resembling Afghanistan. based on journalist and media commentator Dreyfuss (The Hostage to Khomeini), that U.S. help resulted in the improvement of al Qaeda and others that now dominate the inside track. Few policymakers feared that fundamentalists may possibly develop into a chance, and people who did voice the sort of worry have been solely neglected. Dreyfess's thorough examine at the topic consists of huge interviews with former officers in addition to the examine of released works. the result's a gorgeous precis of neglected possibilities and signs overlooked. whereas Stephen Coll's Ghost Wars is in a similar fashion thorough yet focuses basically on Afghanistan, this one levels extra extensively around the center East. hugely recommended.-Marcia L. Sprules, Council on overseas family Lib.
Kirkus stories -
The usa executive underwrote the increase of radical Islam, argues a widespread contributor to The kingdom and the yank Prospect. Any American who watches the scoop is aware the photo of a more youthful Donald Rumsfeld having a look chummy with Saddam Hussein. put out of your mind that photo, Dreyfuss tells us. The extra vital picture indicates President Eisenhower taking a look chummy with acknowledged Ramadan, bigwig within the Muslim Brotherhood. (If you've by no means heard of the Muslim Brotherhood, a militant workforce that between different issues morphed into Hamas, all of the extra cause to learn this book.) That picture, states the writer, exhibits in miniature the background of yank center East international coverage considering that WWII. all in favour of proscribing the unfold of communism and arresting the improvement of leftist Arab nationalist political events, the U.S. has again and again allied with and supported radical Islamic teams during the center East. The CIA, after all, backed the 1953 coup in Iran and financed an ayatollah who had based a thorough pan-Islamic political staff; American taxpayers funded an Israeli govt that funneled cash to fanatical Islamic Palestinian activists who, the Israeli govt believed, could eventually weaken the secular PLO; and so on. The U.S. didn't dream up this process, really. The British did an identical factor, partnering within the late-19th century with the great-granddaddy of ideological Islamism, Jamal Eddine al-Afghani. Dreyfuss insists that today's geopolitics isn't the inevitable results of a "clash of civilizations," yet at the very least partly the fruit of shortsighted, ill-conceived U.S. international coverage. His account isn't a disinterested background, yet relatively astinging indictment of the Bush management for, between different issues, replicating an analogous process in Iraq: toppling a decidedly secular regime and inspiring Islamists to snatch strength (to wit, the administration's alliance with Ali al-Sisatani). A helpful addition to Metropolitan's American Empire venture: a devastating account that policymakers-not to say American citizens-ignore at their peril.
From the writer -
“Eye-opening, unique, and important.”—Chalmers Johnson, writer of The Sorrows of Empire
“Crisp, energetic . . . offers a concise and readable account of the evolution of America’s partnerships with radical Islamic teams and regimes.”—The American Conservative
Meet the Author:
Based in Washington, D.C., Robert Dreyfuss has written widely on Iraq, the conflict on terrorism, and nationwide protection for The kingdom, the yank Prospect, and Rolling Stone, and is a widespread commentator on NPR, MSNBC, and CNBC.
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Extra resources for Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam
The reproducibility beyond the republic of its distinctive administrative, legal and constitutional forms and the ideological force of their cultural, political and juridical features were also important to this. The role of the American state in policing global capitalism had already been fully encapsulated in National Security Council document NSC-68 of 1950. 2 The wording employed 50 years later in President George W. 3 What was different about the new conjuncture, however, was that the imperial quality of the American state was so obvious that it could scarcely be concealed.
On the one hand, there was a rapid penetration and integration by global capital and the institutions of informal American Empire (such as NATO) of so much of what had been the Soviet Bloc, and a no less rapid opening of China and Vietnam to foreign capital and their integration in world markets (even if under the aegis of communist elites). This also largely removed the danger that direct US intervention in states outside the American hemisphere would lead to World War III and nuclear Armageddon.
The American Empire remains hegemonic vis-à-vis these states, their capitalist classes and their various elite establishments, but it has never entailed, for all of the American economic and cultural penetration of their societies, a transfer of direct popular loyalty to the American state itself. Indeed, the American form of rule – founded on the constitutional principle of ‘extensive empire and self-government’ – has never demanded this. The economic and cultural emulation of the American way of life by so many ordinary people abroad may perhaps properly be spoken of as hegemony in Gramsci’s terms.
Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam by Robert Dreyfuss