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Iran: The Essential Guide to a Country on the Brink
Iran: The Essential Guide to a Country on the Brink
Iran: The Essential Guide to a Country on the Brink
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Iran: The Essential Guide to a Country on the Brink

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On June 24, 2005, after nearly ten years of supporting liberal reform, the people of Iran surprised the world by electing the conservative mayor of Tehran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as their new president. Soon after, the new president announced Iran would restart its uranium enrichment program, drawing international criticism and condemnation from leaders in Europe and the United States. Many observers suspect it is the desire to produce not nuclear energy but nuclear weapons that lies behind Iran's controversial decision.

Ever since President George W. Bush described Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as the "Axis of Evil," Iran has garnered increased international attention and threatens to become the new focus of European and American foreign policy. Now you can have at your fingertips up-to-date, must-know details on this complex, pivotal country-straight from one of the most trusted sources of information around the globe.

The first in a major new series from Encyclopedia Britannica, Iran presents a balanced, sophisticated examination of Iran's social, cultural, and political landscape, past and present. From the constitutional revolution to the hostage crisis to weapons of mass destruction, this thorough guide provides the necessary background to comprehend all the important, ongoing issues surrounding this enigmatic country.

Information on such leaders as Cyrus the Great and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, as well as on historical events like the Iran-Contra Affair and the Iran-Iraq War, place current developments into the broader context of world history, the Muslim world, the War on Terror, and the push for democratic reform in the Middle East. Every concise entry-from Afghanistan and Ayatollah Khomeini to Shari'ah law and the Shah-promotes the deeper understanding of issues and events that only Encyclopedia Britannica can provide.

Since 1768, Encyclopedia Britannica has been a leading provider of learning products and one of the world's most trusted sources of information.

Data di uscita24 ago 2007
Iran: The Essential Guide to a Country on the Brink
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    Iran - Encyclopaedia Britannica

    Afghanistan: Operation Enduring Freedom

    Within days of the September 11 attacks on the United States, NATO, for the first time in its history, invoked Article 5 of its charter, declaring that the atrocities were an attack on the alliance. As a demonstration of support, Australia invoked the Australia–New Zealand–United States (ANZUS) Treaty, putting elements of its armed forces on a higher state of readiness in case they were called upon to assist the United States. On September 19 the Organization of American States agreed by acclamation to invoke the Rio Treaty, also a mutual-defense pact.

    Although the Iranian leadership, notably President Mohammad Khatami, was quick to condemn the September 11 attacks, hopes that the campaign against terrorism would offer some degree of rapprochement between the United States and Iran were dimmed in late September when the Iranian spiritual leader (rahbar), Ali Khamenei, made a severely anti-American speech in which he explicitly rejected, except under a UN banner, Iranian participation in any actions against the Taliban government in Afghanistan—which sheltered al-Qaeda, the perpetrators of the September 11 attacks—or in a global antiterrorist movement.

    The country that sheltered the Islamic militants who perpetrated the September 11 attacks was one laid waste by more than 20 years of unremitting warfare. From 1978, forces of Afghanistan’s Communist government battled Islamic guerrillas for control of the country and were assisted by Soviet troops from 1979 to 1989. Mujahideen guerrillas were themselves supported by the United States—who saw aid for the guerrillas as a risk-free, cost-effective way to hamstring the Soviets—and, importantly, by their fellow Muslims, who came to Afghanistan by the thousands to wage jihad (holy war) against the invaders. When Afghanistan’s Communist government finally collapsed in 1992, efforts to build a broadly representative government among guerrilla factions collapsed, and for several years chaos reigned. In the mid-1990s, a group of puritanical Muslim fighters known as the Taliban were able to seize control of most of the country and bring order. The peace the Taliban brought, however, was the oppressive peace of the religious fanatic. Moreover, Afghanistan under the Taliban became home to every kind of Muslim militant organization, including Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda.

    On September 19, 2001, the United States dispatched more than 100 combat and support aircraft to various bases in the Middle East and the Indian Ocean. A large naval task force was sent to join what was first called Operation Infinite Justice but later, after some Muslims indicated that the name was offensive, was renamed Operation Enduring Freedom. Japan—which along with Germany was able to overcome its post–World War II angst about deploying troops abroad—sent three warships to support the effort, although they were restricted to a noncombat role according to the terms of Japan’s constitution.

    Allied air strikes in Afghanistan began on October 7. Later U.S. special forces, including Delta Force and Rangers, launched ground raids inside the country. The United States enlisted as an ally an anti-Taliban group known as the Northern Alliance, which was the principal remaining opposition to the Taliban in Afghanistan, relying on them to provide the bulk of ground troops for the campaign. The northern city of Mazar-e Sharif fell a month later, and on November 13 U.S. troops and Northern Alliance fighters entered the Afghan capital, Kabul, as Taliban forces fled the city.

    With the fall of the Taliban’s principal city of Kandahar imminent, American B-52 bombers began bombing a network of caves in the so-called Tora Bora mountains of eastern Afghanistan, the last stronghold of forces loyal to Osama bin Laden and to the Taliban. On December 15 anti-Taliban Afghan troops, backed by British and American commandos, surrounded a cave where they thought bin Laden and a dwindling force of al-Qaeda fighters were hiding, but he was not found. Bin Laden apparently fled the country undetected, and his whereabouts and those of Taliban leader Muhammad Omar were to remain a matter of

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