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Tavakoli on the "Unveiled Threat"

Janet Tavakoli has a new book out entitled Unveiled Threat: A Personal Experience of Fundamentalist Islam and the Roots of Terrorism.

Yes, I know. There are hordes of people these days wielding pens (or keyboards) these days to give their view of the world's discontents and the violently discontented. One can't keep up with them, nor should that be an aspiration.

But I know Tavakoli. We aren't close friends but we are work acquaintances -- I have been happy to quote her as a source or to call her for guidance on ongoing stories. None of these ongoing stories has had a lot to do with terrorism. So this drew me up short.

You see, Tavakoli is an expert on  "structured finance." her firm, unsurprisingly called "Tavakoli Structured Finance Inc." offers as her webpage says "independent risk consulting and expert witnesses services ... for derivatives, credit derivatives, synthetic collateralized debt obligations, total return swaps, special purpose entities" and forex derivatives, all of which come under the broad "structured finance" heading.

So: why is she writing about "the roots of terrorism"?

She traces her own interest to her presence in Iran during the period of the fall of the Shah and the rise of the Ayatollahs. She has followed Middle Eastern developments consistently since her harrowing experiences in that time.

Her book seems to credit the regime of the late Shah with some real achievements and a promising façade, but notes that there was always rot beneath. The revolutionaries of course benefitted from that rot. With some sympathy she quotes William Simon, Nixon administration Secretary of the Treasury, who  called the Shah "irresponsible and reckless" and frankly "a nut."


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