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Vocabulary

To correspond with the article "The Middle East Realigns" in the World Press Review Iraq Anthology 1981-2003.

All definitions are from Webster’s New World College Dictionary, except where noted.


ayatollah: a leader of the Shiite sect of the Muslim religion, serving as teacher, judge, and administrator
“‘He was in a position to determine who should have the upper hand in running Iran: the die-hard Islamic elements led by the ayatollahs or the more secular yet nevertheless Islamic factions led by President Bani-Sadr.’”

Algiers summit: In March 1975, subsequent to discussions at an OPEC meeting, Iran and Iraq agreed to meet and negotiate their dispute over borders and water and navigation rights. This meeting resulted in the Algiers accord...and in a subsequent treaty signed June 13, 1975. The thalweg, meaning the median course of the Shatt-El-Arab waterway, was designated as the border. The agreement caused the Shah of Iran to withdraw Iranian support for the Kurdish rebellion, which thereupon collapsed. However, the treaty was not honored by either side, resulting in the Iran-Iraq war that began in 1980. The main points of the dispute concerned the Shatt El Arab, a waterway is Iraq's only outlet to the sea, as well disputed islands and territories. In part, the dispute arose because of the shifting course of the Shatt El Arab. Even after the war, the disputes have not been totally resolved.
Saddam Hussein “‘had never swallowed that bitter pill in March, 1975, when Iran imposed its will on Iraq at the Algiers summit.’”
Source: MidEastWeb

axis: an alignment between countries, groups, etc. for promoting their purposes
“And if the Iranians accept this help in their desperation for arms and supplies, a new axis could emerge that might affect developments for years.”

ethnic: designating or of a population subgroup having a common cultural heritage or nationality, as distinguished by customs, characteristics, language, common history, etc.
“They now have to choose between ethnic and religious loyalties…”

infiltrate: to penetrate, or cause to penetrate (a region or group) gradually or stealthily, so as to attack or to seize control from within
“Since they came to power in 1968, the Baathists have built a strong one-party system. Party cells have infiltrated every aspect of life.”

influence: the ability of a person or group to produce effects indirectly by means of power based on wealth, high position, etc.; implies the power of persons or things (whether or not exerted consciously or overtly) to affect others
“Needless to say, Moscow hopes to gain influence.”

intelligence: a) the gathering of secret information, as for military or police purposes b: the persons or agency employed at this
“Voices of dissent are quickly detected and, through an efficient police and intelligence network, immediately dealt with.”

jeopardize: to put in jeopardy; risk loss, damage, or failure of; endanger
“This would jeopardize their security as well as that of their vulnerable oil industries.”

mullah: a Muslim teacher or interpreter of the religious law: used as a general title of respect for a learned man
“The mullahs' fanatical insistence on eliminating all aspects of Iranian life except those conforming to Khomeini's version of Shiism is gradually being abandoned.”

nonaligned: not aligned with either side in a conflict of power, especially power politics (during the Cold War, the nonaligned states were those that chose not to side with either the United States or the Soviet Union)
“From being a puppet state of the West, Iran was attempting to become nonaligned, dependent on neither East nor West.”

political prisoner: somebody who is imprisoned because his or her political actions or beliefs are regarded as unacceptable or subversive
“More than 150 people have been executed in the past five years according to the London-based Amnesty International, and there are still over 2,000 political prisoners.”
Source: Encarta

propaganda: any systematic, widespread dissemination or promotion of particular ideas, doctrines, practices, etc. to further one’s own cause or to damage an opposing one
“‘But they were not content with the propaganda war across the airwaves…’”

proscribe: (a) to banish; exile (b) to denounce or forbid the practice, use, etc. of; interdict
“‘Patriotic songs by proscribed poets are being published and broadcast again.’”

rapprochement: an establishing, or especially a restoring, of harmony and friendly relations
“Egypt stands at one extreme, providing through its rapprochement with Israel a bastion of Western influence in the region.”

regime: a particular administration or government
“‘Bringing down the regime on the other side seems to be a primary object of this war.’”

secular: of or relating to worldly things as distinguished from things relating to church and religion; not sacred and religious; temporal; worldly (secular music, secular schools)
“‘He was in a position to determine who should have the upper hand in running Iran: the die-hard Islamic elements led by the ayatollahs or the more secular yet nevertheless Islamic factions led by President Bani-Sadr.’”

shah: title of the kings of Iran, or Persia
“Iran was still trying to get on its own feet after the revolution that overthrew the shah.”
Source: Encyclopædia Britannica

sovereignty: supreme and independent political authority
“Iraqi forces launched their battle against Iran to regain control of the Shatt al-Arab and reestablish their sovereignty over 250 square miles of what they claim is Iranian-held territory in the central region dividing the two countries.”



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