Ali Alfoneh's research areas include civil-military relations in Iran with a special focus on the role of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps in the Islamic Republic. Mr. Alfoneh has been a research fellow at the Institute for Strategy at the Royal Danish Defense College and has taught political economy at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Southern Denmark.
"Demons," Fyodor Dostoevsky, 1871 (Translated from the Russian by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky; with an introduction by Joseph Frank. New York: Knopf, 2000)
As a radical revolutionary is about to retire from the gang of conspirators to which he belongs, the gang leaders, in an attempt to strengthen the loyalty amongst the gang members, persuade fellow conspirators to murder their former comrade. If you want to understand the inner mechanisms of terrorist groups, this is the best place to begin.
"Snow," Orhan Pamuk, 2005 (Translated from the Turkish by Maureen Freely; with an introduction by Margaret Atwood; and postscript by the author. New York: Everyman’s Library, 2011)
A snowstorm cuts Kars off from the outside world, after which the border city in Eastern Turkey becomes the battleground for the Turkish military, the police, the secret service, radical and moderate Islamists, former Communists, nationalists, Kurdish activists, the press and the local population. Pamuk’s Kars may be a microcosm of modern Turkey, but Snow also explains the storm, which is wreaking havoc over the Middle East and North Africa today.
"Le Scorpion," Hossein Mortezaeian Abkenar, 2011 (Translated from the original Persian into French by Lucile Martin)
The Nazis burned Remarque’s "All Quiet on the Western Front," and Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance has banned Abkenar’s "Le Scorpion," the most honest account of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) hitherto published. While we are awaiting an English translation, the French edition helps us understand the traumatic war, which informs the worldview of the soldier-rulers of Iran today.