The Islamic Revolution’s Impact on Political Islam and the Middle East

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By Emile Nakhleh

Dr. Emile Nakhleh is a retired Senior Intelligence Service Officer, a founding director of the CIA's Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program and the Global and the National Security Policy Institute at the University of New Mexico. Since retiring from the government, Nakhleh has consulted on national security issues, particularly Islamic radicalization, terrorism, and the Arab states of the Middle East. He is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Cipher Brief Expert Emile Nakhleh is a retired CIA Senior Intelligence Service Officer and founding director of the CIA’s Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program Office.

Iran celebrates the fortieth anniversary of the Islamic Revolution during the first 10 “Days of Dawn” in February, beginning with February 1, the day Ayatollah Rouhallah Khomeini’s plane landed in Tehran in 1979. Middle East observers generally agree that the establishment of the Islamic Republic has had a profound impact on the region—politically, socially, militarily, economically, and culturally. Regional power configurations and alignments—in peace and in war—have been deeply affected by the resurgence of Shia Islam as a state religion in Iran and the centrality of religion to governance. Iran’s relations with terrorist organizations and groups in the past generation have also been greatly influenced by the Islamic Republic.

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