Kim Ghattas delivers a gripping account of the largely unexplored story of the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran, born from the sparks of the 1979 Iranian revolution and fueled by American policy. Ghattas dispels accepted truths about a region she calls home. She explores how Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran, once allies and twin pillars of US strategy in the region, became mortal enemies after 1979. She shows how they used and distorted religion in a competition that went well beyond geopolitics. Feeding intolerance, suppressing cultural expression, and encouraging sectarian violence from Egypt to Pakistan, the war for cultural supremacy led to Iran's fatwa against author Salman Rushdie, the assassination of countless intellectuals, the birth of groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon, the September 11th terrorist attacks, and the rise of ISIS.
Ghattas also introduces us to a riveting cast of characters whose lives were upended by the geopolitical drama over four decades: from the Pakistani television anchor who defied her country's dictator, to the Egyptian novelist thrown in jail for indecent writings all the way to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
About the Author
Kim Ghattas grew up as a child in a war-torn Lebanon. She is currently a non-resident senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a contributing writer at the Atlantic magazine. She previously worked as a BBC journalist for twenty years covering the Middle East and US State Department, and won an Emmy for her international news coverage. She is author of The Secretary, which was a New York Times best seller. Ghattas serves on the Board of Trustees of the American University of Beirut, and board of directors for ARIJ, an organization dedicated to training and supporting investigative journalists in the Arab world.
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