Taking a look at Ali Ishaqi Book on Oral History

Mohammad Droudian
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad


I had the opportunity to read Mr. Ali Ishaqi's book on oral history. According to my research on the second volume of the book "Fundamental Issues of War in the Works of the Army and the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps", I found some very interesting and rare points in the book that led to the writing of this notes. The reason for the importance and value of the book, in my opinion, is Mr. Ishaqi's activity in the field of "eavesdropping", which was formed within the Guard Corps’ information structure and provided an important part of the Corps’ defense-offensive capability to design and command operations and achieve military goals. In this regard, Ishaqi is a unique "founder" with an accumulation of information and experience, in which part of the dimensions and layers of this book have been questioned and the way has been opened for deeper discussions that have not been studied in this book. Of course, I do not intend to review the book, but I think by removing some extra notes and reducing the pages, the book will be more fluent and readable.

The structure of Mr. Ishaqi's activity in eavesdropping and its value, according to what is stated in the book, is on three interconnected pillars, although in this conversation it has not been properly researched and revealed:

1-As Ishaqi lived in Iraq until his puberty, in addition to learning and mastering Arabic language, it caused him to be familiar with Iraqi culture and structure. This mentioned background was effective in the desire to work in intelligence system and knowing the enemy and led to the formation and organization of eavesdropping in the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps.

2-Spending his military service in the Imperial Guard Division, increased his abilities in terms of training, especially in the technical and listening section that the effects gradually became apparent.

3-Self-employed job and workshop management in repairing, buying and selling motorcycle, which has led to the recognition of social relations and the possibility of communicating with different sections of society and commanding the forces to face security crises in the country.

In my opinion, the method of focusing on the history of the Iran-Iraq war at the Sacred Defense Documentation and Research Center has influenced in oral history method, and there is no deep analysis because of its focus on events, the structure of issues based on people's thinking and behavior in practice. Assuming that events are the result of agent’s interaction of role in decision-making with structure and conditions, in oral history, focusing on events in conversation with commanders and combatants prevents the recognition of structures. In any case, it will be possible to modify and complete the methods by holding review sessions and reviewing the methodology of oral history and published books.

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