Excerpt from Primary Target by Joe Weber, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Primary Target

by Joe Weber

Primary Target
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Paperback:
    Dec 1999, 384 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Dressed in a long dark cloak and white turban, Bassam Shakhar entered the austere chambers of his closely guarded office complex in the heart of the city. The thickly bearded multimillionaire, his lips barely covering his protruding teeth, was a fierce defender of the hard-line clergy. When the power struggle between Iran's moderate president and the conservatives turned ugly, Shakhar had prodded agents from the Intelligence Ministry to assassinate over a dozen dissident writers and politicians.

Without looking directly at the Russian politician, Shakhar raised his arm and motioned for Yegor Pavlinsky to take a seat on the opposite side of the conference table. Pavlinsky quietly sat down and folded his hands on the table.

Shakhar, an intractable and humorless man with a permanently furrowed brow, stiffened ever so slightly before he sat. His pinched eyes were deep brown, and when he became irritated or excited the right one tended to turn inward. A dangerous and unpredictable man, Shakhar's complex character reflected generous portions of aggression, grandiosity, paranoia and narcissism. The combination of traits was accentuated by a total lack of conscience.

Muffled sounds of jeers and shouts from Shakhar's growing league of followers permeated the building. "Death to the Americans!" the crowd of Islamic militants chanted while they burned a dozen U.S. flags. "Death to the enemies of Islam!" Acting on the orders of Shakhar, the fanatical throngs of anti-American militants were creating factional violence not seen since the revolution in 1979.

Additional devoted followers, estimated at 17,000 and rapidly growing, were venomously protesting against America in various countries, including Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Kenya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia, Sudan, Libya, Bosnia, Yemen, Egypt, the Philippines, Chechnya, and Malaysia.

Bassam Shakhar, one of the masterminds behind a series of terrorist bombings and hero to legions of Islamic fundamentalists, was a strong advocate of using terrorism to drive the United States military out of Saudi Arabia and the entire Persian Gulf region. To expedite his ambitious plans, the murderous psychopath had developed a growing infrastructure to train and indoctrinate hard-core terrorists, including a sizable cadre of "throwaway agents" known as suicide bombers.

A powerful figure in Iran, Shakhar had openly and loudly declared that the "United States was the enemy of the Islamic Republic" and called for the Iranian leadership to reject and dialogue with Washington. He had gone on to explain that "talks or relations with the United States would have no benefit for the Iranian people." He had concluded his bitter remarks by reminding his vast audience about the 1988 shootdown of an Iranian jetliner by a U.S. Navy cruiser, then blamed Washington for another incident in which 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days.

Determined to bring America to its knees, Shakhar later used state-run radio and television, along with major newspapers, to declare a personal jihad against U.S. military personnel in the Gulf region. Three weeks after his announcement, he and members of the Iranian secret police planned and supervised a car bombing in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, that killed 6 American advisers to the Saudi National Guard.

Emboldened by the results of the Riyadh attack, Shakhar provided financial backing to the terrorists who bombed the barracks building in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, that killed 19 members of the U.S. Air Force and wounded 386 servicemen.

While the Pentagon was shifting U.S. air operations from Dhahran to other bases with better security, Shakhar continued to use the conservative newspaper Islamic Republic (Jomhuri Islami) to threaten U.S. military forces and their Commander in Chief. Using the London-based newspapers Asharq Al-Awsat and al-Hayat, and newspapers in Egypt, Libya, the Philippines, Italy, and Jordan, Shakhar urged Arab leaders to unite in a jihad against the "master of the world."

Copyright Joe Weber 1999. All rights reserved.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
  • Book Jacket: So Say the Fallen
    So Say the Fallen
    by Stuart Neville
    Noir crime fiction – Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett anyone? – is an American invention...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Next
    by Stephanie Gangi

    Fast-paced, wickedly observant, and haunting in the best sense of the word.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Les Parisiennes
    by Anne Sebba

    How the women of Paris lived, loved, and died under Nazi occupation.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Comet Seekers
    by Helen Sedgwick

    A magical, intoxicating debut novel, both intimate and epic.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.