“A penetrating, provocative, and
very timely study that deciphers how U.S. policy in the Middle East has been
manipulated both by Iran and by Israel even as relations between these two
oscillated between secret collusion and overt
With talk of the Iranian nuclear
threat heating up, tension between Iran and Israel is dangerously high, and the risk of a war
involving the United
States looms. Efforts to defuse those tensions
have failed because the real roots of the hostility between Iran and Israel have eluded Washington policymakers.
Few analysts have access to detailed knowledge of both Iran and Israel, and the political sensitivity
of the issue has made the relationship between the two nations difficult to
Trita Parsi, author of Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of
Israel, Iran, and the United States, to be published October 1, 2007 by
Yale University Press, has accomplished what no other scholar or journalist has.
Through face-to-face interviews with 130 decision-makers in Iran, Israel, and
the United States, Parsi has come to an unmatched understanding of the
triangular relationship that so profoundly affects the Middle East and the
world. No other book explains with such authority and in such detail the complex
historical relationship between Iran and Israel, the roots of the current rivalry, and the
implications for US policy
and for Middle East peace.
The conflict between
Iran and Israel, Parsi
argues, is generally viewed as an ideological one, and thus as unsolvable. Both
Iran and Israel choose to
frame their rivalry in this way, and each has its reasons for nurturing this
view. But while Iranian and Israeli leaders do indeed hold conflicting
worldviews, Parsi shows us that the most important sources of tension today are
strategic and geopolitical, not ideological. Drawing on his extensive and candid
personal interviews with key policy players in all three countries, Parsi gets
beyond the ideological smokescreen to examine the forces feeding the growing
conflict between Iran and
Israel. First among those forces is a
battle for hegemony in a region still reeling from the end of the Cold War and
the vacuum created by the 1991 defeat of Iraq in the
Persian Gulf War.
Drawing on the author’s unique
access to documents and participants, the book describes the behind-the-scenes
relations among the US,
Iran from 1948 through 2007. Parsi examines the secret
Israeli-Iranian alliance under the Shah, as well as Israel’s cooperation with Iran under Khomeini in defiance of the
US. He explores the role of American
neo-conservatives, who got the US involved in the Iran-Contra scandal at the
height of Iran's anti-Israeli
fervor, and who opposed contact with Iran 15 years later in spite of Tehran’s moderation. He describes the explosive
Israeli-Iranian rivalry of the 1990s that poisoned American and Iranian efforts
to improve their bilateral relations, and warns of a coming clash under
Presidents Bush and Ahmadinejad.
Among Parsi’s startling
*In 2003, Iran offered to disarm Hezbollah, end support for
Hamas, and indirectly recognize Israel. Congressman Bob Ney, then
Chairman of the House Administration Committee, sent the 2003 proposal to Karl
Rove, who promised he would deliver it to the President. The Bush Administration
did not reply to the Iranian offer.
*The Israeli-Palestinian peace
process is hostage to the geopolitical struggle for dominance between
Iran and Israel.
Achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians is not
possible until the Iran-Israel rivalry is addressed.
*A nuclear Iran and the 2006 war between Israel and
Hezbollah could both have been prevented had the Bush Administration opted for
*Israel has undermined US-Iran dialogue because it
fears that diplomacy between Iran and America would hurt the Jewish State.
*Tehran has acted against the Israel-Palestinian
peace process because it fears peace would leave it in prolonged isolation.
*Israel, in spite of its many threats, is unlikely
to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.
*Ahmadinejad, in spite of his
rhetoric, is unlikely to confront Israel
Parsi explains how the tumultuous
Israeli-Iranian relationship has negatively impacted US foreign policy
initiatives in the region, and how the rivalry of recent years has become the
key source of instability in the Middle East.
Challenging conventional wisdom, the book argues that the first step towards
securing US national interest
in the Middle East is neither a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
nor the spread of democracy in the region, but rather a resolution to
Iran and Israel’s
hegemonic and nuclear rivalry.
Eagerly awaited by scholars and
policymakers, Treacherous Alliance is the first
book in twenty years to provide authoritative analysis based upon extensive
original research on the impact of Israeli-Iranian relations on
US foreign policy. Coming at a time
when the risk for a military conflict between the US/Israel and
Iran is at its highest, the book
offers a new understanding of the failed policies of the past and new ground on
which to build US Middle East policy and perhaps a path to peace.
For more information, or to arrange
an interview, please contact Liz Pelton, 410-467-0989,
The Secret Dealings of
Israel, Iran, and the United
By Yale University Press
$28.00 hardcover, 384
Trita Parsi was born in Iran and grew up in Sweden. He
earned a Master's Degree in International Relations at Uppsala University, a second Master's Degree in
Economics at Stockholm School of Economics, and a PhD in International Relations
from Johns Hopkins University SAIS.
Dr. Parsi's articles on Middle East affairs have been published in The Financial Times, Jane's Intelligence Review, The Globalist, The Jerusalem Post, The Forward, BitterLemons, and The Daily Star. He is a frequent
commentator on US-Iranian relations and Middle Eastern affairs, and has appeared
on BBC World News, PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, CNN (Wolf Blitzer's Situation
Room, Anderson Cooper 360°), CNN International (Your World Today), Al Jazeera,
C-Span, NPR, MSNBC, Voice of America, and British Channel
He has served as an advisor to
Congressman Bob Ney on Middle East issues and
is a co-founder and current President of the National Iranian American Council
(www.niacouncil.org), a non-partisan, non-profit organization promoting
Iranian-American participation in American civic life.
Dr. Parsi has also worked for the
Swedish Permanent Mission to the UN in New
York, where he served in the Security Council handling the affairs
Iraq, Tajikistan, and Western Sahara, and on the
General Assembly's Third Committee addressing human rights in
Iran, Afghanistan, Myanmar, and Iraq.
Advance Praise for
“In Treacherous Alliance, Trita Parsi
makes a persuasive case that since the 1979 Islamic Revolution,
Iran has consistently used ideology
to achieve hardheaded national interest objectives, rather than sacrifice
national interest on the altar of extremist ideological goals. This is an
extremely important point to bear in mind as Iran's relations with US and Israel deteriorate and the prospect of yet
another Persian Gulf conflict looms. This work,
based on extensive interviews with decision makers in three countries,
contributes both to our historical understanding and our current policy
—Francis Fukuyama, author of America at the Crossroads
“Academics, policy-makers and media
pundits remain fascinated by the ‘nature’ of terrorism and the impending threat
of a nuclear-armed Iran. The superheated rhetoric of
leaders in Iran and
Israel has only accelerated the
possibility of confrontation between the two countries, while the cumulative
effect of the media echo chamber has added to the clamour of war drums and
sabre-rattling inside the Washington Beltway. Out of this cacophony emerges a
book with the clarity and insight that so often elude U.S.
policy-makers. Treacherous Alliance is a deft
account of the back-channel relationship between the three countries from
Israel's inception in 1948 through
—Khody Akhavi, Inter Press Service
“A brilliant interpretation of one
of today’s most enigmatic conflicts. In a sober and original analysis, Dr. Parsi
unearths the true nature of the tension in the triangle Iran-Israel-USA as a
manipulation by all parties—especially the Israelis and the Iranians—of
ideological differences to conceal what can be a solvable strategic dispute.
This is a study about the manipulation of ideology and religion in the struggle
for mastery in the Middle
—Shlomo Ben-Ami, Israel’s former
foreign minister and author of Scars of
War, Wounds of Peace: The Israeli-Arab Tragedy
“Trita Parsi has written an
outstanding book, filled with fascinating detail and trenchant analysis. Treacherous Alliance discusses
Iran and Israel in dispassionate and smart ways, which is
rarely done in the United
—John Mearsheimer, University of Chicago
“This is an important piece of work.
It is original and fills a much needed gap in the literature. For anyone working
in this field it would be essential.”
“This book is outstanding and
—Nikki Keddie, author of Modern Iran: Roots and Results of