The Iran Wars: Spy Games, Bank Battles, and the Secret Deals that Reshaped the Middle East

Jay Solomon. Random House, $28 (336p) ISBN 978-0-8129-9364-6
Solomon, the Wall Street Journal’s chief foreign affairs correspondent, offers a timely, challenging account of the sanctions and secret negotiations that led to the July 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and the UN. Candid interviews with major figures such as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Syrian leader Bashir al-Assad add to Solomon’s rich analysis. For over a decade, the Bush and Obama administrations struggled with little success to contain Iran’s ambitions in the Middle East and access to nuclear power. To achieve its goals, the U.S. cut deals with Russia and China and damaged relations with allies Israel and Saudi Arabia. Solomon remains skeptical that détente with Iran is the right solution. What he calls Obama’s defining achievement in foreign policy is also, by his lights, “among the riskiest bets made by a U.S. president in modern history.” As terms of the agreement lapse during the coming decade, he believes that the likelihood of a catastrophic Middle East arms race will grow. Iranian intransigence remains strong, and the country is using regional instability, notably in Syria, to undermine America’s interests. Solomon’s dense, informed behind-the-scenes report will gratify readers with deep interest in Mideast affairs. Casual readers, however, will find the story line too daunting to benefit from Solomon’s insights. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/22/2016
Release date: 06/07/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
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