Author Topic: "All the Shah's Men" by Stephen Kinzer  (Read 5804 times)

rpg52

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"All the Shah's Men" by Stephen Kinzer
« on: March 20, 2006, 01:41:20 AM »
Let me make clear, I did not write the following.  I am only quoting the preface to the book.  I think it is relevant to Listers/listeroids though, because of how the collapse of the British Empire in the Middle East created the market for Indian built Lister parts, and hence the Listeroid(s).  Quite interesting book however, much recommended, at least by me.

Preface to "All the Shah's Men", written by Stephen Kinzer.  Pgs. ix-x.

"One day I attended a book party for an older Iranian woman who had written her memoirs.  She spoke for an hour about her eventful life.  Although she never touched on politics, she mentioned in passing that her family was related to the family of Mohammad Mossadegh, who served as prime minister of Iran for twenty-six months in the early 1950's and was overthrown in a coup d'etat staged by the Central Intelligence Agency.
After she finished speaking, I couldn't resist the temptation to ask a question.  'You mention Mossadegh,' I said. 'What do you remember, or what can you tell us about the coup against him?'  She immediately became agitated and animiated.
'Why did you Americans do that terrible thing?' she cried out.  'We always loved America.  To us, America was the great country, the perfect country, the country that helped us while other countries were exploiting us.  But after that moment, no one in Iran ever trusted the United States again.  I can tell you for sure that if you had not done that thing, you would never have had that problem of hostages being taken in your embassy in Tehran.  All your trouble started in 1953.  Why, why did you do it.?'
This outburst reflected a great gap in knowledge and understanding that separates most Iranians from most non-Iraninans.  In Iran, almost everyone has for decades known that the United States was responsible for putting an end to democratic rule in 1953 and installing what became the long dictatorship of Mohammed Reza Shah.  His dictatorship produced the Islamic Revolution of 1979, which brought to power a passsionately anti-American theocracy that embraced terrorism as a tool of statecraft.  Its radicalism inspire anti-Western fanatics in many countries, most notably Afghanistan, where al-Qaeda and other terror groups found homes and bases.
These events serve as a stark warning to the United States and to any country thaat ever seeks to impose its will on a foreign land.  Governments that sponsor coups, revolutions, or armed invasions usually act with the conviction that they will win, and often they do.  Their victories, however, can come back to haunt them, sometimes in devastating and tragic ways.  This is especially true in today's complex and volatile Middle East, where tradition, history and religion shape political life in ways that many outsiders do not understand.
The violent anti-Americanism that emerged from Iran after 1979 shocked most people in the United States.  Americans had no idea of what might have set off such bitter hatred in a country where they had always imagined themselves more or less well liked.  That was because almost no one in the United States knew what the Central Intelligence Agency did there in 1953.
In his time, Mohammad Mossadegh was a titanic figure.  He shook an empire and changed the world.  People everywhere knew his name.  World leaders sought to influence him and later to depose him.  No one was surprised when TIME magazine chose him over Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and Winston Churchill as its Man of the Year for 1951.
Operation Ajax, as the CIA coup against Mossadegh was code-named, was a great trauma for Iran, the Middle East, and the colonial world.  It set a pattern for years to come and shaped the way millions of people view the United States.
This book tells a story that explains a great deal about the sources of violent currents now surging through the world.  More than just a remarkable adventure story, it is a sobering message from the past and an object lesson for the future."
PS Listeroid 6/1, 5 kW ST, Detroit Diesel 3-71, Belsaw sawmill, 12 kW ST head, '71 GMC 3/4 T, '79 GMC 1T, '59 IH T-340

mamad

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Re: "All the Shah's Men" by Stephen Kinzer
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2006, 07:43:34 AM »

I read with great interest the preface!!
But,it is a big mistake that we think the British Empire collapsed in the Middle East and Africa!
British helped Iran to make the oil industries and in 1940 British built the biggest refinery in the world in Abadan that is still alive! infact,at that time Iran couldnot export oil with out British helps(also now!). but after a short time Iranian wanted to omit the British from oil industries and some people the same as Mr Mosadegh bleaved that they must run all things with out British!? but all of us know that it isnot good in a joint action.
at that time Mosadegh aslo thought that British Empire was collapsed in the Middle East!! what a idle imaginations! this wrong imagination dropped Mosadegh for ever.
After that U.K and U.S gave power to Shah as he was very honest servant! but again history repeated and this time Shah thought he could work with out British and American helps?! Shah thought he was the gendarme of the Middle East. he forgot that he made as a king by British not by people.
The bad manners of Shah made British to think and finaly British made Mullahs against that poor Shah and this time power gave to Mullahs that at first they were the best servents! but it seems that again after 26 years they also must change!!?? they changed as a king during last 26 years and think they could do all things that they wish?! God bless them!   
So,U.K is still the main power in the Midlle East & Africa and Great Britain is still alive! ;)
 ;)

rpg52

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Re: "All the Shah's Men" by Stephen Kinzer
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2006, 08:42:41 PM »
Thanks Mamad,
I likely cannot emphasize enough how ignorant Americans (including myself!) are of the long history of the Middle East.   I am also well aware of how an author’s point of view influences written history.  However, the book did (I think) accurately describe some of the history of Iran, including the British oil refinery at Abadan.  I was surprised at the importance of Iranian oil in the outcome of WW II.  It would have been very difficult for England to prevail without it.
 
I also found out the meaning of the name of a type of Iranian tobacco I have grown for years in my garden.  It was named for Sheik Shirazi, who declared a fatwa against tobacco smoking in the 1890’s, after the Iranian leader Nasir la-Din Shah in 1891 sold the entire production and distribution rights of all Iranian tobacco to the British Imperial Tobacco Company for 15,000 pounds.  When Nasir al-Din Shah’s many wives in his harem put aside their water pipes and swore off tobacco use, it eventually became the beginning of the end of his rule.

On a more relevant note, I had read elsewhere that one of the reasons the Lister company stopped production of the slow speed diesel stationary engines in 1987 was because the loss of the Iranian market made them un-economic to continue production.  I’m quite willing to be corrected about any of this history though.  I find it quite interesting.
Ray
PS Listeroid 6/1, 5 kW ST, Detroit Diesel 3-71, Belsaw sawmill, 12 kW ST head, '71 GMC 3/4 T, '79 GMC 1T, '59 IH T-340

Halfnuts

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Re: "All the Shah's Men" by Stephen Kinzer
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2006, 09:55:09 PM »
How many times have we seen that happen?  "The enemy of my enemy is my friend..." is a very short-sighted philosophy. 

Halfnuts

mamad

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Re: "All the Shah's Men" by Stephen Kinzer
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2006, 05:35:14 PM »
Hello Ray   

No,I am sure most of American are enlightened people and they are always only some afew crazy guys in all over the world ! I know MANY good people in U.S and U.K and they know all things better than me about Middle East!!

Yes,Iran was always VERY important for U.K during last 150 years as at first Iran was in the commercial way to India for U.K at that time and British were looking for a safe way to India and after that they found the oil in sought parts of Iran and it is continued until now! 

British found that Iranian were(are) very hard religious people and they also found the power of Mullahs as some religious leaders. so they used from this power MANY times in the history of Iran for receiving to their aims!
we could see that in all the Middle East countries British made two kinds of governments----the "Islamic Democracy" that is in Iran now or "Irreligion Dictatorship" that we could see in Turkey after Ottaman Impire. so I think some countries the same as Suadi Arabia will be change in near future?!

Yes,you are right that Lister company couldnot be alive after loosing the Iran market! Iran is a big market for any kind of business and we have a big deal with U.K in oil & gas,Telephone,gold mines........ and it is funny that another time British used the power of religious in Iran with the helps of their old servants( Mullahs) to cut the hands of U.S from this valuable market for last 26 years!

Mamad

SHIPCHIEF

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Re: "All the Shah's Men" by Stephen Kinzer
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2006, 02:23:53 AM »
Thanks for the point of view Mamad.
I never read that in our newspapers or heard it from my history teacher. It sounds believable.
I wonder how it will effect our future?
Scott E
Ashwamegh 25/2 & ST12
Lister SR2 10Kw 'Long Edurance' genset on a 10 gallon sump/skid,
Onan 6.5NH in an old Jeager Compressor trailer and a few CCK's

Stan

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Re: "All the Shah's Men" by Stephen Kinzer
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2006, 02:49:34 AM »
Scott...for one answer to that question, go to Gwynne Dyers site and read the article he wrote called "Iran, Oil & Euros"

http://www.gwynnedyer.com/articles2006.htm

Stan

mamad

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Re: "All the Shah's Men" by Stephen Kinzer
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2006, 07:52:23 AM »
Stan....it was very interesting link!! Thank you!

Mamad

Stan

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Re: "All the Shah's Men" by Stephen Kinzer
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2006, 11:00:08 PM »
Your welcome Mamad....he is a very interesting man.  His biography is on his site as well as many more of his written works.  I'm going to see him speak tomorrow night (thursday).
Stan

rpg52

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Re: "All the Shah's Men" by Stephen Kinzer
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2006, 02:46:01 AM »
          Just to finish with a bit more from the Kinzer book that has greatly helped my understanding of the area and the current conflict in Iraq.
Ray

          Unlike many nations in the Middle East which were creations of European colonialists, Iran is one of the oldest nations on earth.  It’s boundaries are natural features, but it has had the misfortune to be located on ancient trading routes, and, more recently, to be cursed (and blessed) with substantial petroleum reserves.  It has been invaded repeatedly over the last several thousand years, and became an imperial power 2500 years ago under the emperor Cyrus. 
   The current Iranian culture owes much to the prophet Zoraster, who lived in northeastern Iran between 2700 and 3000 years ago.  From Kinzer, “The Zorastrian religion taught Iranians that citizens have an inalienable right to enlightened leadership and that the duty of subjects is not simply to obey wise kings but also to rise up against those who are wicked.  Leaders are seen as representatives of God on earth, but they deserve allegiance only as long as they have farr, a kind of divine blessing that they must earn by moral behavior.” 

   Zorastrianism was well established by the 6th century a.d., when Arab armies overthrew the Persian empire, and established their own religion, Islam.  When forced to adopt Islam, the Iranians incorporated it into their now well-established Zorastrianism to form a religious sect of Islam, now called Shiism.  The difference between Shiites (about 10% of Muslims) and Sunnis (about 90% of Muslims) has to do with the succession of leadership of the Muslim faith.  Shiites believe the true successor was Ali, a cousin of the prophet and caliph Mohammad.  Upon his death, the responsibility passed to his son Hussein, who died leading a small group against an army of thousands in 680.  The martyrdom of Hussein is revered by Shiites, and his goal of resistance to corrupt or unjust leaders. 

   This is a terribly abbreviated version of the differences between the Shiites and Sunni sects, but is very useful in understanding the current conflict in neighboring Iraq.  Iraq was cobbled together by the British in the 1920’s from (at least) three tribal areas:  1) Northern Iraq,  dominated by the Kurds;  2)  Southern Iraq, dominated by Shiites;  and, 3) Central Iraq, including Bagdad, where both Shiites and Sunnis live.  The Sunni’s were favored for decades by Saddam Hussian.  The Shiites and their militias are now driving Sunnis from the area, and the conflict between the two, complicated by international opposition to the American invaders of Islamic land is what the U.S. is trying to control.  The mix is complicated by the fact that northern and southern Iraq have oil reserves, but the central portion does not.  Many also fear the potential for southern and central Iraq coming under the influence of Iran. 
 
PS Listeroid 6/1, 5 kW ST, Detroit Diesel 3-71, Belsaw sawmill, 12 kW ST head, '71 GMC 3/4 T, '79 GMC 1T, '59 IH T-340

kpgv

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Re: "All the Shah's Men" by Stephen Kinzer
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2006, 04:53:12 AM »
Hi Ray,
Enlightening stuff!
Gotta read that book.
I remember reading somewhere once that religious scholars have also found several parallels and probable influences from "Zoroastrianism" (I think another name was "Fire People") on early Christianity as well.

Kevin 

mamad

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Re: "All the Shah's Men" by Stephen Kinzer
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2006, 04:51:48 PM »
They are still alot of Zoroastrianes in Iran! most of them are living in centeral parts of Iran as Yazd. they are still many temples in Yazd that in some of them, it is a fire on for more than two thousands years!
Zoroastrianes ARE NOT "Fire People" as Kevin said. it is a big mistake that most of people think Zoroastrianes bleave the Fire as the God!?
The followers of MANY different religions are living free in Iran,but only some of them that have an holy book!  AVESTA is the holy book of Zoroastrianes that is written hundreds years before the Gospel ! they are also MANY Christian and Jewish that are living in Iran from many years ago! it is funny that Mullahs accepeted all this religious. did you know that they are some Iranian in the Israel government! it means that they had born in Iran and lived in Iran before going to Israel.
 
Iranian accept the Islam BUT they didnot accept the Arabs ! most of us in Iran hate Arabs as they ruined Persian Impire. we bleave Arabs are some lazy and crazy people that only think about eating,drinking and women. This caused that Iranian made another kind of Islam and they made Shiites !!   
 
The beginning of the Shiites in Iran return to nearly 400 years ago during the SAFAVI dynasty.
At that time in all the Middle East it was only two main powers, Iran (was as Persia)  and Ottaman Impire.
about 400 years ago, when the king "Abas I" was on power in Persia , he wasnot powerful enough to safeguard the frontiers of the Persia Impire from the attacks of the VERY strong Otamman Turkish Chaliphes! so Turkish captured most west parts of Persia and it is the main reason that they are many Turks that are living in west and North west of Iran. 
After capturing any cities of Persia ,the Turkish Caliphes started to give more freedom to the Persian and they gave more money to people and they didnot take any taxs ! it was all for that they wanted to prove to Persian that the Abas king wasnot good king and Otamman Caliphes was the REAL Muslems in the Middle East and the Persian kings were only some pagans!   
the turkish used a good strategy for controling the captured cities and after some years most of Pesian preferd to be under power of the Ottaman impire than king Abas!
 
This made worry alot the king Abas! he was loosing the country as he hadnot an strong army to start war against Ottaman Chaliphes!  but as he was a clever man (he is famous as tricky king in the history) then he changed his strategy and he started to make an "Idealistic war" against that Turkish strong army! this time Abas king was in right way for saving the country from Ottaman! he was woking on the roots of people.
 
Yes,Abas king knew that it was a big and old war between Shiites followers and other Muslems for hundreds years and in this war Shiites always were winner with less numbers of the people!?
Abas king made Shiites as an official religion in Persia and started to built some Shiites centers as Najaf,Mashhad,Gom ..... he also strongly supported the Shiites leaders(Mullahs) !
 
So this time it was not only the war between Persia and Ottaman but an older and more strong war between Shiites in persia and Sunnies in Ottaman impire! this time Ottaman Chaliphes was not only an enemy but some pagans! Ottaman Chaliphes couldnot controled the captured cities as this time paying more money to people wasnot useful ! and Persian were automaticly in war against Turkish by power of new religion that was more powerful than strong Turkish army!   
 
So,the trick of Abas king was the best way for saving the Persia ! after that Ottaman Impire stoped against persia . 
The war that Abas king started is continued until now and we could see it in Iraq! but this time whom are using and controling this war?? for what aims?? did Abas king knew that his impire have oil that keeped it from that Turkish with any tricks?who was the teacher of Abas king?was he an prophet or king?
 
 
 
 

rpg52

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Re: "All the Shah's Men" by Stephen Kinzer
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2006, 06:47:32 PM »
Thanks Mamad,
As you illustrated, my feeble attempt to summarize the summary of Iranian history in Kinzers book was inadequate.  It is very useful though, for Americans to have at least a bit of understanding about the history and culture of an area before we do anything as mis-guided as send in an army. 
Unfortunately, it is usually to the advantage of political leaders to keep their people ignorant, because the motives behind political actions are always complex and more complexity makes it harder to accomplish political decisions.  Best wishes to you and yours, I only hope the politics of the Middle East settles down so that average people can live peacfully.
Ray
PS Listeroid 6/1, 5 kW ST, Detroit Diesel 3-71, Belsaw sawmill, 12 kW ST head, '71 GMC 3/4 T, '79 GMC 1T, '59 IH T-340