COUNTDOWN WWIII: OPERATION PERSIAN GULF BY W.X. DAVIES WITH THE STRATEGIC OPERATIONS GROUP

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Copyright 1984.

It is the near future of 1987 and the Ayatollah Khomeini dies. This leads to a power struggle within the Islamic Republic of Iran. On one side the mullahs. On the other an army general who stages a coup. The coup manages to take Tehran and some other major cities but the mullahs remain in control of a good part of the country. The mullahs turn to the Soviets to help them in the war. They send in troops and the army general turns to the U.S. which starts sending troops and supplies. Soon the Marines land at the strategic oil fields and the Soviets threaten to attack with nuclear weapons. In steps Triad with a plan to defuse the situation. They plan to free a dissident mullah held by the regime. The cleric is a moderate who supports neither the Soviets or America but has broad support among the population. His government would restore the status quo of an Iran in neither of the superpower spheres. So they must rescue him and convince the Soviets to also accept this alternative. Otherwise the world will be plunged into a nuclear war.

So for the final book in the series the author sets it in Iran. He envisioned factional fighting and a civil war after the Ayatollah’s death. He was only off by his death two years but there was speculation of what a post-Khomeini regime would be like. The reality was that the mullahs grip was strong and they remain in power to this day. But they didn’t know that at the time. A plausible scenario that ratcheted up the threat to a possible full blown nuclear war between the U.S and Soviets. I love the realpolitik approach by the author to solve the crisis. Just return the status quo with them assassinating the pro-western general and the Soviets taking out the head mullah. An exciting story to end the series.

So the series ends. I hope that the author enjoyed writing it for I don’t think he had much success in achieving a more sophisticated espionage capability for the U.S. In fact I think this was probably not read by many and remains an obscure series. Some real Books that Time Forgot. I personally enjoyed the series and wish I discovered it when it first came out. I would have loved to see where this series would have continued. But for now it is more of a historical curiosity to those like me who love the old cold war thrillers.

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