“Bull” Connor and Iran’s Ayatollah

If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed or subscribe via email. Thanks for reading!While the huge protests in Iran were in full swing, I was in Birmingham, Alabama visiting the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.  I was struck by the idea that police chief Theophilus Eugene “Bull” Connor’s response to [...]

Why Worry about Ahmadinejad’s Apopcalyptic Vision?

We are in the “end times” or so goes the thinking of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  It’s important to understand this because this thinking influences his foreign policy, and this is what the U.S. is dealing with and why Iran’s program to develop nuclear weapons is such a threat.
To understand him and the ideas of the ruling Shi’ite [...]

Collapse of the Shah’s Regime: White Revolution and Nixon Doctrine

To understand the situation in Iran today and the difficulties of U.S. relations with Iran, it helps to look at the role the U.S. played during the Shah’s regime and why the regime, which appeared strong, collapsed like a house of cards. The Shah’s “White Revolution” and the Nixon Doctrine are important to the story. [...]

U.S. Overthrow of Mossadeq Government of Iran

In 1953, the U.S. along with the British engineered the overthrow of the democratically-elected Mossadeq government. Almost every Iranian remembers this, but very few Americans do.
In my last post, I described the positive role of Americans in the development of modern Iran. This video picks up the story with a look at international relations under [...]

American Roots of Persian Nationalism and Modern Iran

At the time of  the Kajar dynasty, the U.S. had  very positive relations with Iran, and individual Americans played important roles in the development of Persian nationalism and modern Iran. For example, American land grant colleges were the model for Iranian education.  Americans like Dr. Samuel Martin Jordan and Jane Doolittle created a very positive [...]

Ayatollah Khamenei is not Mr.Gorbachev

A critic of President Obama recently stated that he wishes that Obama would stand up to Ayatollah Khamenei as President Reagan did when he made the famous statement: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”.  One can certainly understand this person’s wish, especially as it is a very American trait to tell someone off.  We are [...]

Keep Your Eyes on Iran’s Security Forces

In the midst of the current crisis in Iran, it would be easy to be thoroughly confused.  There is always a certain degree of fog in such a situation.
Protests can bring down regimes especially if the security forces disobey orders and/or go over to the side of the protestors or are not called on at [...]

Is Hungary a Cautionary Lesson for Iran?

President Obama is being criticized for not issuing strong statements in support of the pro-democracy forces in Iran.  Certainly, one can understand the appeal of this criticism as it would affirm our values and arguably could encourage those pro-democracy forces in Iran.
However, I am mindful of what happened when we did just that in Hungary [...]

Arab-Israeli Conflict, part 2

(52 minutes) To listen offline, download the mp3 file (right click and save target as)
This is the second of the four-part series on the Arab-Israeli conflict that I recently taught at CommUniversity. Part 2 covers the period from World War I to the eve of World War II. Here are the main themes:

The Ottoman Empire’s declaration [...]

Arab-Israeli Conflict part 1

(42 min.) To listen offline, download the mp3 file (right click and save target as)
I’ve been teaching History of the Modern Middle East for many years and researching the issues involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict. This month I taught a course on the Arab-Israeli conflict for CommUniversity. I am making audio recordings of this four-part series [...]