Book Review

Last Counterattack

Fereidoun Heidari Molkmian
Translated by: Zahra Hosseinian


The interview and compilation of the Last Counterattack was done by Seyed Hassan Mousavi Tayeb and its first edition has been published and released in 2020 by the Foundation for preserving and publishing holy defense works and values in 381 pages and 1000 copies with hard cover and small octave size.

The cover page of Last Counterattack has been designed with illustrative war scenes. The book begins with the author's handwriting confirming the content. After that, the preface written by general director of Foundation for preserving and publishing holy defense works in Khuzestan. Then, a prologue by the Holy Defense Documents Organization, and also the interviewer and compiler’s preface.

The book is compiled based on questions and answers and consists of nineteen chapters.

The first chapter covers the narration of the narrator’s life from his birth to the victory of the Islamic Revolution. He first introduces himself and his family and stated that he owes to his parents for being commitment to the religion and religious rules. His father recited adhan in the local mosque since he was a child, and his mother had grown up in a religious family. Also, he points to the poor status of his family life which was like most people at the time. After that, he recounts his memories of elementary school, middle school, and his fellow students.

The second chapter deals with the Islamic Revolution. The narrator studies at the 2nd grade of middle school in 1977. Since the beginning of the year 1978, when the fire of the revolution was slowly spreading, he became acquainted with a new name: Imam Khomeini. In this chapter, he also talks about the atmosphere of the revolution in Dezful and his presence in ceremonies and demonstrations, the first elections after the victory of the Islamic Revolution, the activities of parties and groups in the city, and the activities of his and youths like himself to maintain and stabilize the new system of the Islamic Republic

The third chapter covers the beginning of the imposed war, which starts with a sudden onslaught and an unexpected attack: "... When the congregational prayer was over, the sound of an explosion made us to run outside. The mosque located at the northern outskirts of the city, and as far as the eye could see, there was an open space. It was among the last buildings in the city. From the smoke that had spread to the sky, it could be seen that something had happened in the vicinity of the Vahdati fighter aircraft 4th base. We witnessed the subsequent bombs fall in the continuation of the same explosions, and then we noticed the aircrafts passing through the sky. We didn’t know what had happened."

It was only two weeks after the war when the Iraqi army announced on the radio that it intended to attack Dezful. After this news, a movement made in the city and everyone prepared for fight and defense. Mosques of Dezful became the headquarters of the public Basij, while Missile attacks and airstrikes continued.

Chapter 4 is the narration of first deployment to the operation zone. The narrator is not more than fifteen or sixteen years old, yet he is one of the forces who is active in the mosques of his city and from there was sent to the war zone. Dasht-e Abbas is the first front he was sent: "Dasht-e Abbas was not a front where our forces and the enemy had embankments and fortifications against each other. From the roads on the north of Andimeshk, we reached the northern flank of the Iraqi forces on the Karkheh front through a very difficult route ..." And this is the beginning of his participation in the war.

Chapters 5 to 13 describe a series of operations, as well as deployment to some zones and bases (Tariq al-Quds, Fath al-Mubin, Zeid checkpoint, Muharram operational zone, Valfajr-1, Zeid defense checkpoint, Kheibar and Badr) and the narrator's participation in them, respectively. Nothing ever bothers him as much as the missing and martyrdom of his comrades in Badr Operation, and he suffers a deep sorrow: "As we went along, reached an open area. A number of my comrades moved forward where I saw them being shot and martyred. We were trapped. I was moving forward at the same path, when something hit my head..." After he fainted, he was sent to Tehran with swollen face and bloody eyes, while he does not understood why and how. He was hospitalized in Zargar Hospital at the south of Tehran. Hospital staff initially suspected that he was gassed, but after examination, it turned out that he was not. Even his arms and legs all move. Only a scratch on his face under his right cheek and its scar.

Chapter 14 deals with the travel to the west of the country. After Badr Operation and being injured, it was scheduled that the narrator and a number of commanders of the division visit the western fronts by two patrol cars, to reconnaissance the western and central fronts and in general the western and northwestern border strip of the country. Chapter 15 is dedicated to the pilgrimage travel of Hajj. "The Hajj was a good spiritual journey ... We, while traveling to Mecca and worshiping, considered the journey to Mecca to be exactly a maneuver against the devil and arrogance. We maneuver and threw pebbles at the symbol of the devil; we marched, performed the ritual of Sa'yee and Safa. All of these were symbols of our fighters’ executive and practical works in the front. 'If I want to follow the teachings of Hajj, I should always stay on the front.' I said to myself there."

Chapters 16, 17, and 18 also cover operation of Valfajr-8, Karbala-4, Karbala-5, and Valfajr-10. In Valfajr-8 Operation, his left leg was shot and his bone was broken. He was sent to Tehran for treatment again and was hospitalized for more than a month. Therefore, because of his injury and spending the recovery period, he could not participate in Karbala-4 Operation.

Chapter 19 consists of narrator's post-war activities and continuing his education. The year the war started, he had to study in the 2nd year of high school, but he dropped out of school. After the end of the war, however, he pursued his education and completed PhD degree program in public law. His activities after the end of holy defense include establishing the Hojjat Ibn Al-Hassan Charity Foundation, founding the Association for the Support of Thalassemia Patients, commanding the Ashura Battalion, membership in the Islamic Council of the city, and establishing the Emergency Unit 115.

Although the author of the book emphasizes in preface that "I asked him [Alireza Zamanirad] to have more conversation to record his memories of the times he was involved in the imposed war on the front and behind the front," but it seems that in addition to the interview, he also referred to some books and writings to compile a more coherent and documented work, because at the end of the book, two pages are dedicated to sources.

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