Louer, a Research Fellow at CERI/SciencesPo in Paris offers in this concise, 139-page book a cogent examination of Shia political movements and their transnational organizational links through personal relationships and the Hawzya, religious institutions of Higher Learning, that were established most reputably and competitively in Qom, Iran and Najaf, Iraq to train the Clerical class. There is no sense of disparagement or demagoguery within these pages, but a focused attempt to describe Shia political and religious movements and how the schools of thought and action are distinct from one another.
I believe this is perhaps the best academic introduction to Shiism, particularly for a College Undergraduate trying to understand the comparative nature of, say, Shirazists and Da’wa, or the Sadr Brigades and the Mahdi Army. If you are curious how far Hezbollah’s reach is in the Shia world or what part Iran really plays in Hezbollah’s decision-making structure, these questions are also tackled by Louer.
The basic conclusion I received from Shiism and Politics in the Middle East is that Shia movements rarely act in an interrelated manner towards the singular goal of a Shia Crescent. They are largely driven by domestic political concerns and strategies. Even after the revolution in Iran, which Louer explains was not able to export itself, and indeed fairly quickly made the decision to normalize its Foreign Policy. The Revolution in fact, just created new questions which were debated within a transnational Network that is fairly individual and personality-driven. The book involves a lot of modern history, speaking as far back as Iraq in the 1920s, but mostly focusing on the 1960’s to the present, with a real emphasis on the 70’s and 80’s, in the aftermath of the Islamic revolution in Iran..
- Book Recommendation: 5/5
- Book Content: 5/5
- Book Length: 5/5
- Book Price: 4/5
- Did it leave me wanting for more: Yes, 3/5