The Levant Morning

*Mohammad Ghobadi
Translated by: Zahra Hosseinian

2020-11-02


The tradition of writing memoirs, diaries, notes, or travelogues is a valuable and important tradition among politicians, and especially among ambassadors and diplomats throughout the world. Iran is no exception, and we have been involved with it during the previous hundred years, although it has been accompanied by ups and downs. The Levant Morning, which is some memoirs of Dr. Hossein Amir-Abdullahian, a senior diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is one of these good and useful traditions that recounts a part of the political history of Iran, the West Asian region and the world.

The book, which is the narration of the Syrian crisis, and its title symbolizes a victory in the dark evening at the geography of the Levant, was compiled by Mohammad Mohsen Mushafi and edited by Hamid Qazvini. Through interviews with Dr. Amir-Abdullahian, Hujjat al-Islam Saeid Fakhrzadeh and Ali Asghar Mohammadi have provided the basis for compiling the book, to be published and released by Surah Mehr Publication.

The Levant Morning is provided in three parts: an introduction, a preface, and pictures at the final pages.

The introduction was written by Dr. Amir-Abdullahian. While briefly describing the diplomatic relations and the history of friendship between Iran and Syria, he mentioned the motive for writing his memoirs of the "terrorist war" and the regional and international crisis in Syria: "The initiative to compile these memoirs dates back to the advice of the international hero of the fight against terrorism, dear Sardar Haj Qasem Soleimani." (P. 13) and it seems that this advice and encouragement was so important that he left it to the researchers of the Hozeh Honari.

The editor's short foreword also points to the importance and necessity of addressing the memoirs of Dr. Amir-Abdullahian, and emphasizes that these memoirs are "the first completely Iranian account of an international crisis," which "due to the pivotal role of Iran, will have a prominent place among the narrations of diplomats and officials of other countries about the events in Syria." (P. 16)

The first part of the book begins with a narration of how the narrator took responsibility in April 2011. At this time, he had returned from a three-year mission in Manama, the capital of Bahrain, and was appointed as Director General of the Persian Gulf and the Middle East And it does not take long for him to take charge as Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs, and it is this area of his responsibility that directly engages him with the subject matter of the book and makes him one of the most knowledgeable people in the field, and this can be an emphasis on the credibility of this official and diplomatic narrative.

In this part of the book, the narrator talks about the context of the beginning of the crisis in the Islamic countries of West Asia and North Africa, and the different stages of the crisis in the region; and finally, the causes and reasons for the escalation of the conflict into Iraq and Syria territory.

According to the narrator, in addition to the structure and governance, the background of "Islamic awakening" and not "Arab Spring" in crisis-stricken countries of the region had been affected by two important revolutions: first, the Islamic Revolution of Iran; and second, "the revolution in the field of communication and the access of the young generation to the Internet and their awareness of the realities happening around them in the region and the world..." (p. 24) and of course, apart from brief references to the revolution in the field of communication, the narrator pays more attention to the impact of the Islamic Revolution of Iran and directs the reader's mind to it.

Although brief and sometimes general due to his position, the narrator's step-by-step explanations and analyzes of the events in the region are important and value, and properly acquaint the reader with the grounds of the Syrian crisis and civil war. According to the documents presented in his memoirs, he points to the plan of the Western, Hebrew and Arab triangles in the fall of Bashar al-Assad's government and emphasizes that how "In the first step, Al-Arabiya and Al-Jazeera networks were supposed to take over the management of public opinion by providing media fire and shelling." (P. 36)

Although the speed of information transfer in the book is high and the narrator sometimes skips over the topics, but it can be well followed the constructive role and continuous efforts of Iran in the international arena to prevent the spread of the regional crisis and support the preservation of Syria's territorial, and sovereign integrity; an effort not considered interference in internal affairs and is only against the invasion of ISIS and its builders and supporters, except for the security of the world, the region and Iran.

In this book, Amir-Abdullahian rightly points out that the intervention of the United States and its allies in the crises of the region has included two important motives: First, political and security motives and exploits, and second economic ones, especially for Americans in the oil and gas sector. He also referred to the role of each of the countries involved in the Syrian crisis, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, China and the Scandinavian countries and Germany; and then, to change the balance of power in the region and maintain the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Syria, he addressed the "necessity of the entry of a third force," namely Russia (p. 103), and stated what a positive effect Sardar Soleimani had on conveying the Russians' views to Damascus. To better explain the events and the resulting crisis and the actions of US-backed ISIS in the region, he divided the opposition and terrorist groups in the Syrian civil war and spoke of their closeness to the United States and Israel (p. 153). He also deals with Iraq and humanitarian aid, medicine and advisory support, albeit briefly (p. 130).

The title of this book, The Levant Morning, is the proof of "the onset of the end of ISIS in Syria," wishing the role of "Holy Shrine Defenders" was more considered.

The second part of the book contains 26 notes and manuscripts by Amir-Abdullahian. These manuscripts and notes show Iran's diplomatic efforts on the situation in the region, especially the Syrian issue; and of course, these are not all efforts of the Islamic Republic of Iran, but indicate a few formal and informal efforts in which Amir-Abdullahian was present and sometimes its reports was published in  the media. These notes, the first of which is related to Kofi Annan's visit on July 9, 2012, and the last of which deals with Bashar al-Assad's visit to Tehran on February 25, 2017, Although it had been formally and diplomatically prepared and was not originally intended for publication, it contains valuable information on the actions and reactions of the Islamic Republic in the face of the regional crisis and the war in Syria. In addition, in its lines, one can find interesting points about how to interact with international personalities.

The third part is the final part and the speeches of Amir-Abdullahian following the martyrdom of Sardar Qasem Soleimani. This part was previously broadcast on Islamic Republic TV. Some behavioral and moral spirits and manners of Sardar Soleimani and persistent and effective efforts in military, security relations and even beyond important political negotiations in the international arena are among the topics that the reader will encounter in this section.

This 300-pages book was published by Surah Mehr Publications in October 2020.

In conclusion, I would like to suggest to Dr. Hossein Amir-Abdullahian that it is appropriate to narrate the past days in Iraq with the same necessity that he published The Levant Morning; in order the history recall another part of the efforts of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its Mujahid son, Sardar Soleimani.

 

*Mohammad Ghobadi, Contemporary History Researcher

September 26, 2020



 
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