Storyline: The petty tyrant tries to live up to a former father’s memory, in steadily remaking himself into an in-charge figure, while continually being forced to experience summary discharge, so as to learn to protect himself from his own failings.

Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlevi (1919-1980) - Iranian shah. Outer: Eldest son of, Reza Shah, a brigadier general who was the founder of his family ruling dynasty in 1925, after overthrowing its previous dynastic ruler. Had religious visions as a child which gave him a sense of personal destiny. The product of his sire’s second marriage, he had a twin sister, along with an older sister and younger brother who died in a plane crash. Also had five half-siblings from his progenitor's four unions. Taken from his mother, the daughter of a general, at 6, he never really healed the psychic wounds from the separation. Designated as heir apparent the following year. Educated in Switzerland and returned to his homeland in 1935, although his father felt he did not have the strength and character to succeed him. Married in 1939 to Fawzia bin Fuad, the sister of Egypt’s King Farouk, one daughter from the union. When the Soviet Union and Great Britain occupied Iran in 1941 to squelch the shah’s overtures to Nazi Germany, he assumed the throne, after his father, a vigorous and autocratic reformer and modernizer, was forced to abdicate, although he was largely a figurehead. Divorced in 1948, when his wife did not produce a male heir, and the following year he was wounded in an attempt on his life. In 1951, he married a commoner, Soraya Esfandiary-Bakhtiari, but that union proved infertile, and also ended in divorce. Had a strong emotional attachment to both his first 2 wives. An autocratic ruler, who maintained his control through repressive means, including secret police, he was, nevertheless, challenged by a charismatic nationalist, Mohammad Mossadeq, in the early 1950s, who nationalized Britain’s vast petroleum interests. Forced to make Mossadeq premier in 1951, and then had to leave the country 2 years later when he could not oust him from office and the latter’s supporters took to the streets. Thanks to American intervention, he was restored to power a few days later, and his rival was jailed and then kept under house arrest for the rest of his life. With U.S. help, he inaugurated the White Revolution, an attempt to bring Iran more into the 20th century, although was seen as a puppet of western imperialism afterwards. While improving the infrastructure of the country in health, education, roads, land reform and industrialization, his westernization programs were seen as inimical to Islamic fundamentalist ideals, and his reforms did little to amend the economic imbalance in the country. Inadvertently played into Islamic hands through an even greater fear of communism. Married a 3rd time in 1959 to Farah Diba, an agricultural student from one of Iran’s leading families, and achieved his aim of a male heir, as well as two daughters and another son. Despite U.S. help, he sought alliances with the Soviet bloc, while his autocratic rule, along with his secret police’s brutal suppression of dissent, and the corruption and inequities of the country, stirred mass resentment, particularly after 1973, when oil revenues skyrocketed and few benefited from them. A fundamentalist revolt, inspired by the exiled Shi’ite Ayatollah Khomeini, began growing, and by the end of the decade, it had brought down successive governments, and forced the Shah and his family to flee the country in 1979, although he refused to abdicate, even after an Islamic republic was declared in April of that year. Suffering from lymphatic cancer, he traversed several nations, before going to the United States for medical treatment, during which time, Iranian militants seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran, and held the Americans there captive, demanding the shah’s return to Iran for trial in return for releasing the hostages. The U.S. refused to cooperate, and he wound up receiving asylum in Egypt, where he died of his condition the following year. Inner: Split personality, alternating between obdurateness and indecision and passivity. Megalomaniacal, with a fear of impotency, and a strong inferiority complex. Felt divinely inspired and protected by God, but was unable to act when he needed to, and ultimately proved his father’s assessment correct. Father-shadowed lifetime of, once again, failing to respond to crises of rule and being removed from his throne, in his ongoing journey of being unable to complete his genetic office because of severe self-imposed limitations to his own ongoing growth as both a ruler and a human being. Abdul Hamid II (1842-1918) - Turkish Ottoman emperor. Outer: Father was Abdul Mejid I, mother was Circassian and died when her son was 7. Lived in his own little world, shying away from contemporaries and building an insurmountable barrier around himself. Pale, silent, polite and melancholy. Traveled to Europe with his father as a youth. Ascended the throne in 1876 when his brother Murad V became deranged, after first refusing to be mere regent. Had a pathological fear for his own safety, and created an impenetrable fortress for himself in his palace, insuring his protection. Suffered from chronic nervousness surrounding his rule, particularly after an aborted coup to reseat his brother happened right in the beginning of his reign. Agreed to put forth the first Ottoman constitution soon afterwards in order to ward off foreign intervention, then conducted a disastrous war with Russia, who attacked his empire on 2 fronts, seeking to dismantle the Ottoman Empire in Europe. Seeing that he would get no help from western powers without their intervening in state affairs, he dismissed Parliament, the first ever elected in an Islamic state, in early 1878, and suspended the constitution, before ruling autocratically in seclusion at his palace in Constantinople, aided by his secret police, informers who reported to him daily, a telegraph network and complete censorship, while seeing that the empire was responsible to the Sultan, not the other way around. Suspected everyone of plots against him, and developed sophisticated communication systems so that all information would flow towards him. Realized western technology was useful to his aims, as was its educational and judicial systems, which he employed as a model for his reforms in that arena. Established a goodly number of schools, and a network of support schools throughout the empire, while creating communication links through railway and telegraph systems. Used pan-Islamism to cement his internal absolutist rule and also exercised it to control Muslim opinion outside the empire, giving Europe problems with its Islamic colonies. In order to deal with the Ottoman debt, he relied on European investors, although he pursued an isolationist foreign policy, that left him alone in his battles with Russia, which chipped away at his empire, while the imperialistic powers of Europe did the same. Viewed as austere, sober and pious by his subjects, he was generally respected, although despised by the rest of the western world save for Germany. Used their financiers, engineers and expertise, and even welcomed their leader, Kaiser Wilhelm II to his domain, which helped create a middle class. Survived a coup attempt in 1896, but the seeds of unrest against his despotic rule were firmly planted as nationalism supplanted Ottomanism, and in 1908, the Young Turks led a military revolt that deposed him the following year after a brief reactionary uprising. His life was spared and he lived out his last near decade interned in a small villa. Succeeded by his brother Mehmed V. Inner: Extremely unhappy, had a complete distrust of anyone and everyone around him, the result of his unfortunate previous go-round at the helm. Indefatigable worker, abstemious, and total control freak, concerning himself with the most minute details of state. Created mutual dissensions between his ministers to keep them off-balance, while ruling by divine right. Master of defense, inadvertantly opened the way for a far more liberal Turkey, and, in his odd way, was an effective ruler for the upper and middle stratum of his domain. Forever glancing sideways lifetime of being allowed to finally rule in an autocratic state, and showing himself obsessive to the point of neurotic, but effective in his own terms, before the times totally passed him by. Pavel I (1754-1801) - Russian tsar. Outer: Son of Peter III (Vladimir Zhirinovsky) and Catherine II (Indira Gandhi), who despised him and tried to exclude him from succession, in part because he represented her mortality, and in part because of his unpleasant character. Short, unattractive and nervous. Raised by his father’s aunt, the Empress Elizaveta (Helena Rubinstein), while his mother consistently refused to allow him to participate in governmental affairs. Married Wilhelmina Louisa of Hesse-Darmstadt, a German princess, in 1773 during an uprising, and after she died in childbirth in 1776, married Sophie Dorothea of Wurttemberg, another German princess who was his opposite, stately, frugal, well-educated and regal. The pair were both taken with one another and had a happy union, first son, the future Alexander I (Mikhail Gorbachev), would succeed him, but he was taken away at the age of 3 months to be raised by his domineering grandmother, much to their sorrow. His 2nd son, Constantine (Master P), was also spirited away. His wife made their dismal estate into a beautiful residence on limited means, while her husband had little to occupy his time, and remained bitter and angry. The pair made a grand tour of Europe where he impressed everyone with his charm and civility, in sharp contrast with the way he was perceived at home, as an incipient madman. The duo returned home in 1782 and had 6 more daughters over the next 12 years, whom they were allowed to keep, while being given another estate, that of her former lover, Grigori Orlov (Sanjay Gandhi). His last son, Nicholas I (Louis B. Mayer), was born just before Catherine died, so they were allowed to raise him themselves. Began to play with a battalion of troops his mother gave him to defend his estate, and turned into a militarist, dressing his troops in Prussian uniforms, while he began thirsting for power as a make-believe general. Also accumulated a huge library and diligently studied in preparation for the imperial crown. Acted as a benevolent lord on his own estate, although his militarism began to drive his wife away from him, as he turned into a tyrant. Ascended the throne at the age of 42 on his mother’s death. Began his reign cautiously and sensibly, but soon reverted to autocratic type, beginning with a Prussian-style coronation in Moscow the following year. Tried to strengthen the autocracy and weaken the power of nobles. Reversed many of his mother’s policies, and instituted a line of succession based on family hierarchy instead of having them select their own successors, which separated his House of Romanov from civil society, making it no longer of it but above it. Extremely inconsistent and capricious in his subsequent rule, showing himself to be an absolute tyrant, so that plots to remove him began within a few years of his short rule. Maneuvered Russia into war with France, and conducted a disastrous foreign policy that alienated his country from virtually everyone. With the approval of his son, Alexander, a wide conspiracy which enlisted the ranks of generals and statesmen was formed to remove him, and he was strangled in his bedchamber by his own nobles, moments after being arrested, meeting the same fate as his father. Inner: Pathologically sick and capriciously despotic, erratic, unreasonable, and in many ways, an arrested adolescent. Evinced public displays of temper, parade mania, and was a joke to his people, despite having evinced numerous good qualities before power corrupted him. Petty tyrant lifetime of feeling unloved and unwanted, while capriciously responding to saidsame from a position of great political power, without protecting himself from its repercussions. Alexis (Alexei Petrovich) (1690-1718) - Russian prince and heir apparent. Outer: Eldest son of Peter I (Yukio Mishima), and his first wife. His mother was forced into a convent when he was 8, and he was raised by aunts and given western tutors. Had a very hostile relationship with his powerful father, who crushed his spirit because he couldn’t live up to his expectations, either physically or mentally. Lived in terror of displeasing him, and was cravenly submissive in his presence, while becoming a drunkard with a violent temper. In 1711, he married Charlotte Christine of Bunswick-Luneberg, a German noblewoman, but made a peasant his mistress. Daughter and son from the union, including the future Peter II (Peter Revson). After his father remarried, the question of succession came up, and he was given the choice of becoming a monk, if he could not change his ways. Fled to the court of the Holy Roman Emperor, Karl VI (Michael Eisner), but returned on his father’s insistence, after being forced to renounce both throne and his supporters. Brought before the Senate, he was made to confess his treasonable actions. Tried, tortured and sentenced to be executed, he died from shock right beforehand. Inner: Extremely unhappy being, weak-willed, and angry, without the strength of character or body to stand up to his sire. Oedipal wreck lifetime of struggling to express his manhood in the shadow of a superman father, which would necessitate a later return to the throne, and his shadow need to act out in accordance with his father’s manly, in-charge ways.


Storyline: The unclassy class clown follows the chaotic road into power, allowing it to continually overwhelm him in his desire to experience downfall as an ongoing capstone to his blunted political careers.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky (Volf Eidelshtein) (1946) - Russian political leader. Outer: Isolated as a Russian in the central republic of Kazakhstan. Father was a lawyer who was probably Jewish, mother was a cleaning woman, to whom he was extremely attached. His parents married 4 months before he was born, although he later doctored his certificates to legitimize himself. Grew up in a single room with 5 other half/siblings, and didn’t even have a bed to call his own. Attended the Institute of Oriental Languages, where he specialized in Turkish, hoping to be a diplomat, but was deemed politically unreliable after a student speech and was denied permission to go to Turkey in 1967. Finally allowed in 1969 as an intern interpreter, but was expelled, probably for spy activity. Permitted to return to his alma mater, although as a ‘non-traveler’ and wasn’t sanctioned to join the Communist Party. Graduated with a red diploma of excellence in 1970 and was drafted into the Russian army, where he served for 2 years. Married a scientist in 1971, one son from union. After military duty, he became a researcher and foreign liaison with the Soviet Peace Committee. Held a series of jobs while studying law at night at Moscow Univ. and got his law degree in 1975. Enjoyed making speeches, but had no particular affinity for the law. Denied admission to the Communist Party again, he was also fired from a minor post and finally got a job as a legal consultant to Mir Publishing house. Failed in several political bids during the 1980s, before being elected chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party in 1990, although soon afterwards he inspired a movement to expel him for his extremist views, as well as a possible connection to the KGB. Began gaining more and more attention as an extreme nationalist and anti-Semite. A highly emotional orator, he tapped into Russian discontent during the 1990s through his fascistic stances, while presenting himself as a voice of the people candidate for the Russian presidency, playing off their sense of impotence and alienation and coming in 3rd in the 1991 election, and then continuing his over-the-edge self-aggrandizing throughout the decade, although his popularity waned the more people were exposed to his unstable nature. In 1996, he came in 5th in the presidential elections. Elected to the Duma, the Russian Parliament, and grabbed headlines by taking a few swings at a female lawmaker. A mischiefmaker on the Russian political stage, he gradually worked his way down to an audience of one, himself. Ousted from the 2000 elections for the minor infraction of not declaring an apartment he owned, although he was able to rebound with his Homeland Party in later elections, allowing him to remain a minority voice which still enjoyed a small constituency. Inner: Buffoon, clown and extreme nationalist, intoxicated with his own sense of power. Enjoys strip clubs and watching orgies, while traveling with his own well-armed militia. Exhibitionist, often flashing his body to the cameras. Dangerous dunce cap lifetime of reinventing himself from humble origins to play the unholy fool during a time of upheaval and crisis, in an attempt to exploit chaos, which he has always embodied, to his political advantage. Abdulaziz (1830-1876) - Ottoman sultan. Outer: 2nd son of sultan Mahmud II (Kemal Ataturk). Poorly educated, but handsome, robust and muscular, far more into his body than his mind. Member of the Mawlawiyah, an order of mystic dervishes. After continually intriguing with the forces of reaction, he succeeded his brother, Abdul Mecid I as sultan of the Ottoman Empire in 1861. HIs sibling had been a humane, but ineffectual and self-indulgent ruler, and he couldn’t wait to succeed him. As an admirer of the materialist west, he had a strong conflict between Ottoman traditions and Western customs, but, nevertheless, announced his intention to continue the reformist ways of his family. Pensioned off his brother’s concubines, then accumulated a harem so large, he employed 3000 eunuchs to oversee it. Had 2 extremely able ministers, but did his utmost to impede their reforms, while they used French models for a council of state and a new university. Tapped into his father’s autocratic mode, without the vision or character to wisely utilize it. After the death of his ministers within a few months of one another in 1871, and the defeat of France, he took over the government, boasting he would rule like a Russian tsar, then continually fired his Grand Vezirs, treating them as figureheads. Insisted his ministers prostrate themselves before him and kiss the feet of his son. Played at soldiers with his troops, and gave his fighting cocks orders and decorations, while exiling the losers among them. The first Ottoman sultan to tour the capitals of western Europe, he returned from his trip wishing to surpass the luxuries he viewed on a regal, oriental scale. Spent lavishly, incurred a financial collapse, while Anatolia suffered a drought and famine of epic proportions. Revenge massacres of Christians in the Balkans by irregular Muslim Turks helped enflame Turcophobia in the West, to add to his problems, while his absolutism was countered by student demonstrations for a more constitutional form of government. In 1876, he was deposed by his ministers in a bloodless coup, to which he offered no resistance. Wrote a letter of abdication and was confined, in a repeat of his earlier fall as Russian tsar. Committed suicide a few days later by slashing his wrists. Inner: Willful, capricious and megalomaniacal. Slippery fingers lifetime of catching a great empire on the downslide, and doing his best to continue to facilitate that process. Peter III (Karl Peter Ulrich) (1728-1762) - Russian tsar. Outer: Grandson of Peter the Great (Yukio Mishima), son of the Empress Anna and a German duke of Holstein-Gothorp. His mother died a few days after his birth, and he spent his childhood in the Baltic backwaters. Totally ignored by his alcoholic, militaristic father, he was raised by the Holstein household guards, whose sole interest was in military affairs, instructing him in drill field techniques and little else. Had absolutely no training in government. Brought to Russia by his aunt Elizaveta (Helena Rubinstein) shortly after she became empress of Russia in 1741, and renamed Peter, before being received into the Russian Orthodox Church and proclaimed heir to the throne. Given a shoddy education, while retaining his passion for drill exercise, to the point of still playing with dolls and toy soldiers into his late teens. Like his father, he became a drunkard. In 1745, he married a German princess, the future Catherine II (Indira Gandhi), an unhappy union on both their parts. Instructed his wife in drill arts and occasionally made her stand guard at their door, much to her displeasure. Surrounded himself with fellow buffoons, and took his pleasures at the table and on the drill field. Had a love and respect for books, and took considerable pride in his library, although he was unaware of its contents. Probably liked the order it symbolized. Extremely pro-Prussian, he alienated the court with his loutish ways, and remained unpopular even after his succession to the throne in 1762, as he reversed his aunt’s policies and made peace with Prussia, and withdrew Russia from the 7 Years’ War. Formed an alliance with the former in preparation for going to war with Denmark, in order to serve his former duchy which was perpetually at war with the Danes: disastrous moves one and all. Surprisingly liberal in some of his domestic policies, freeing former exiles, exempting the nobility from obligatory service to the state, and not taking revenge on any of the courtiers who had mocked him and treated him cruelly before his ascent. Offended the Russian Orthodox Church by trying to impose Lutheran practices on them, and alienated his senior statesmen, as well as his imperial guards by his replacing them with his own Holsteiners, which proved his undoing, as his wife worked on gaining the backing of all 3 groups, while he contemplated divorcing her and marrying his ungainly mistress. A coup plot was hatched by her lover, Grigory Orlov (Sanjay Gandhi) along with his brother Aleksey (Rajiv Gandhi) and others, and he made all the wrong moves in trying to stem it, when confronted with the actuality of his overthrow. Summarily arrested and forced to abdicate, he was killed under cloudy circumstances while in detention, and his wife succeeded him to the approval of the entire Russian establishment. Inner: Loud-mouthed drunkard, with a voice like a drillmaster. Perpetual adolescent, ill-prepared to be head of an empire. Roundly disliked for his cloddish ways, in a life almost completely devoid of love. Loutish lifetime of being given rule without the education or temperament to understand it, much less be effective, while proving himself his own worst enemy in his sudden, and much applauded, downfall.


Storyline: The wayward warrior always does greater battle with himself than the forces which he comes up against, making for an extremely spotty showing, down through the martial and religious arenas of Eurasian power over the centuries.

Zia-ul-Haq Mohammad (1924-1988) - Pakistani general and president. Outer: From a lower middle-class Arain family, which wasn’t of the martial caste from which the Indian army usually drew its Muslim recruits. Impressed with soldiering from an early age, he went to the elite St. Stephen’s College in Delhi, then the Royal Indian Military Academy in Dehra Durn, taking advantage of the need for the Indian army to widen its base during WW II. 5’6”, stocky, with a pencil thin mustache. Commissioned in 1945, he served with the British forces in Burma, Malaysia, Java and India, where he was eventually posted in the North-West Frontier province. Deeply disturbed by his family’s uprooting to Peshawar during the partition of India and Pakistan, he harbored a strong sense of national pride, and came to identify with a puritanical Sunni sect, which fed into his own personal sense of piety. Married his cousin Shafiqua in 1950, 2 sons and 3 daughters from the union, one of whom was handicapped. Had a largely undistinguished military career over the next 19 years, seeing only slight action, before being made an instructor at the Command and Staff College in Quetta. Rose quickly in rank, while assuming a number of different commands. Made a brigadier general in 1969, he aided the Jordanian government in its fight against the PLO. As president of the military courts, he tried several generals for plotting against the government, and was rewarded by the president, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, by being made a full general and Army chief of staff in 1976, despite being largely unknown. The following year, he rewarded his rewarder by seizing power in a bloodless coup dubbed operation Fairplay, becoming president himself in 1978, while maintaining his position as Army chief of staff. In 1979, he had Bhutto hanged on trumped up charges, and then had to declare martial law to quell the violent reaction to his highhandedness. Became dictator in all but name afterwards, while Islamizing the military in order to keep it obedient to his will, and creating a fateful alliance between it and the country’s reactionary mullahs that would have world-shaking consequences. Saw that he could maintain control by doing the same to society-at-large, despite the fact that Pakistan was initially created as a culturally Islamic state, not a religious one. Stated that its founders had gotten it backwards, despite the greater majority of his country people being in agreement with its architects. Demanded more religion in the classrooms, and also invoked Shari’a law for any and all crimes against Islam, while appointing religious scholars as judges, and introducing prayer wardens to get people to make their five daily obeisances towards Mecca. Women who were raped were often publicly flogged for adultery, while their assailants suffered no social stigma for their actions. Established an Islamic university in Islamabad and greatly expanded the country’s madrasas or religious schools, which would become training grounds for the later Taliban. His efforts, however, failed to unite the Shi’a and Sunni sects, causing yet more tensions within the country, not only between secularists and religious groups, but within the latter configurations as well. Thanks to the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, he suddenly became an ally of the U.S. in its stance against communist aggression, and was rewarded with some $3.2 billion in American military and economic assistance, despite his earlier pariah status and his egregious ignoral of human rights. Exercised censorship over the press and disbanded political parties, until martial law was nominally lifted in 1985. All the while, he made Pakistan far more theocratic, creating problems galore for the coming world of militant, radical Islam, while declaring democracy as an unsuitable form of government for his country. Eventually held partyless elections in 1985, and easily won the presidency after various opposition parties refused to participate. Died in a mid-air explosion of a U.S. Air Force C-130 plane over eastern Pakistan along with the U.S. ambassador, under mysterious circumstances. Seen as a pious Muslim who halted the country’s moral decay by his supporters, and intolerant and vindictive by his denigrators. Nevertheless, he was deeply mourned by large crowds at his funeral. Inner: Low-key, canny, direct, polite, and the possessor of simple tastes. Highly controlling and manipulative, although genuinely pious, with a sense that he was acting in the best moral interest of his country, no matter the means he used. Hand firmly on the wheel lifetime of taking modest abilities to their ultimate potential, while inadvertently creating a far more radical environment in his wake than his limited capabilities could ever have handled. Enver Pasha (1881-1922) - Ottoman general. Outer: Father was a close adviser to Sultan Abdul Hamid II (Shah Pahlavi). Graduated from the military academy as a captain and staff officer, and was assigned to Salonika, which was a center of revolutionary nationalist activity. Joined a secret Young Turk society, and went to Macedonia to lead a mounted force of irregulars against Greek and Bulgarian partisans, winning a reputation for daring. Helped organize the 1908 revolution, which led to the deposition of the sultan. Became military attache to Germany afterwards, and was very impressed with their military and social schema. After missing further Ottoman engagements, he returned to Turkey and led the coup that put the Young Turks in power in 1913, and was appointed chief of staff of the army. Became a national hero when he recaptured Edirne, with the help of the Germans, and was part of a de facto ruling triumvirate afterwards, taking the title of Minister of War, while pushing the country into a détente with Germany. Suffered a heavy defeat in the Caucasus at the start of WW I, losing practically an entire army, then regained some prestige, but found himself at odds with Mustafa Kemal (Pervez Musharraf), who had emerged as a national hero during the war. When Germany collapsed at war’s end, his foreign policy designs in Central Asia were aborted. Published his memoirs, traveled to Germany, and then Russia, looking for support to overthrow Kemal. Went to Turkestan to help foment revolution there, but was shot by Soviet forces, although his actual death remains somewhat clouded. Inner: Good organizer, but ultimately undone by his excessive plotting, as well as his inner sense of grandiosity. Effective when cohering to a realistic outlook of his situation, but reckless and out of his depth when coming up against personalities far stronger than his. Up-and-down lifetime of proving himself on conventional battlefields, but unable to rein in his reckless desire for intrigue, which ultimately undid him. Mustafa II (Mustafa Oglu Mehmed IV) (1664-1703) - Ottoman sultan. Outer: Son of Mehmed IV (Peter Revson), an active athlete obsessed with hunting and playing, and oblivious to affairs of state, who was ultimately unseated. Exhibited great spirit and energy as a young man, with a burning desire to revive the warrior traditions of his house. Gained the throne in 1695 from his uncle, and issued an imperial writ which denounced the ways of his immediate predecessors, and announced he would personally lead his armies against the Hapsburg emperor. Married twice, to Saliha Sabkati, and then Shehsuvar, each of whom produced a future Ottoman sultan. Achieved early success at the beginning of his reign, personally leading his troops and regaining some ground lost to Austria, before marching back to Istanbul in triumph. Emboldened, he went up against Eugene of Savoy (Arnold Schwarzenegger), once again taking to the field, but was horrified at the bloodbath that followed, which he personally witnessed, thus ending his forays at the head of his armies. Forced to reduce the empire’s Balkan holdings, and later sign a debilitating treaty with Russia. His continued warfare also put great stress on his realm’s economic structures, thanks to heavy taxation, which caused many farmers to quit their land. Because of his focus on Europe, local revolts caused more internal bleeding, and he eventually gave up on his objectives, leaving matters of state to the leader of the Muslim hierarchy, while he devoted his last years to hunting, a pursuit his father had enjoyed to excess, and that he had decried in his initial writ of intent. Gradually sank into depressive indolence and was deposed by a military mutiny, dying shortly afterwards. Inner: Initially filled with resolve and high spirit, only to sink into the actualities of ruling an empire that time had already passed by. Hunter turned prey lifetie, causing him to sink into himself, before finally resurrecting centuries later as the man, Enver Pasha, he had wished he was.


Storyline: The controlling captain specializing in taking over the helms of foundering vessels, and looking to the larger world to re-integrate them into its dynamics, while welding himself to the wheel, lest anyone tries to wrest it out of his governing grasp.

Pervez Musharraf (1943) - Indian Pakistani president. Outer: Mother was an educated woman from a Muslim Indian family, who was an official in the International Labor Organization, father was a prosperous diplomat. The family was forced to flee to Pakistan in 1947 after the partition of the 2 countries. The middle of 3 brothers, he was always held up to the academic excellence of his older sibling, while using his mother as a source of inspiration. In 1949, his father was posted to Turkey for 7 years, where he learned Turkish, and came to admire Kemal Ataturk, an earlier incarnation of his. After attending a Jesuit school, and a military academy, he was commissioned in the artillery, where he served in two losing wars with India. In 1968, he had an arranged marriage with Sehba Farid, who became a teacher, son and daughter from union, who both became professional people. Rose steadily in rank, thanks to having no tribal affiliation, and therefore was viewed as easier to control by his superiors. Eventually became chief of staff in the Pakistani army, and in 1999, he masterminded a surprise attack in Kashmir, which ran against international opinion. When the Prime Minister tried to fire him, he staged a bloodless coup with his fellow generals, declaring himself Pakistan’s ‘chief executive,’ while promising elections. In 2001, however, he simply declared himself president, and, after the attack on NYC’s World Trade Center, saw it was in his best interest to support the U.S. against the Taliban, going against the grain of the extremists in both the military and government, although his country would go on to harbor Al Qaeda’s leaders in its forbidding northwestern frontier. In the process, he became the first Pakistani president to come from the rank of the mohajir, Muslim refugees from India. Made a show of cracking down on extremists, and dropped his support for militants fighting India in Kashmir. Granted non-Muslims the right to vote, and rewrote the Pakistani constitution in 2002 to guarantee his continued run as head of state. Although his dictatorial ways made a mockery of Pakistani democracy, he continued getting U.S. support to the tune of over $10 billion, which he used to build up his arsenal, in the event of another war with India, while leaving his front-line forces against the Taliban with bolt-lock rifles. Survived two convoy assassination attempts at the end of 2003, and announced he would step down as army chief at the end of 2004, but did not, all the while taking on more and more power for himself. Continually forced to tread a tightrope, as a dictator in the guise of a democrat heading an impossible country with the capacity to implode at any moment. In his 2006 memoir, “In the Line of Fire,” he claimed the U.S. threatened him following 2001, if he didn’t cooperate with their war on terror, forcing him into his current political conundrum. After firing the country’s top judge in 2007, because of his independence, he found his position strongly challenged by popular unrest over his need to be both president and army chief. The country’s supreme court later reinstated the judge, and he furthered blackened his standing when a goodly number of students held hostage in a mosque were killed by army commandos trying to rescue them, with estimates ranging from the government’s figure of 80 to counterclaims of several hundred. Booted out his predecessor, Nawaz Sharif, when he tried to re-enter the country, and subsequently won an overwhelming election victory, since the opposition refused to vote. When former prime minister Benazir Bhutto returned to the country, she was given an explosive welcome via suicide bombs, killing well over 100. Subsequently declared martial law, suspended the constitution, arrested any and all protesters, and announced he was doing it all to protect the country against terrorists, in a desperate attempt at retaining power and stifling all dissent. His own Supreme Court judges went on to ratify his election, and afterwards, he tearfully ended his four-decade military career, giving up his military baton to take his oath as civilian president of Pakistan. Nominally lifted his state of emergency afterwards, only to see Bhutto assassinated, which would prove to his short-term benefit, despite rioting and outcries to the contrary. Nevertheless, an opposition government was elected afterwards, setting up a collision course between it and the military, which would still back him, while making his own position at the top more and more shaky. After nearly nine years in office, he tearfully resigned in the summer of 2008 to avoid inevitable impeachment proceedings, and was ultimately succeeded by the widower of Benazir Bhutto. Went into exile in London, while Pakistan pondered treason charges against him. Returned after a four year exile, despite judicial probes and death threats, and wound up under house arrest and then on trial for his perceived negligence in the death of his successor Benazir Bhutto. In 2016, he was finally removed from the country’s exit control list, after three years, as a sign the government had conceded defeat to the will of the military. Inner: Extremely decisive and forceful, great desire to steer his ship of state away from theocracy, hoping other Islamic nations will follow suit. Vain, and a great believer in fate. Harbors an unusual skill with mathematics and numbers, and is able to do large figures in his head in moments. Hubristic, daring and visionary, claiming a sense of destiny from the moment he took office, with his singular goal being to maintain power at any cost, over a virtually impossible-to-rule country. Nation-building lifetime of taking on an even more daunting task than his previous go-round, although with a far more integrated personality, in order to tackle much the same agenda and a similarly recalcitrant people in order to try to bring one and all into the 21st century. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (1881-1938) - Turkish president. Outer: From a Turkish family of humble origin living in Greece. Mother was an illiterate peasant, father was a minor governmental employee who died when his son was young. Grew up in the country with his mother and uncle, and maintained a sense of disconnection his entire life, with an incapacity for intimacy. Went to military secondary school with the desire to become an officer in the Ottoman army, showing a skill in mathematics, while being giving the added name of Kemal (perfection) by his teacher. While in military school, he became an ardent nationalist. Went to the General Staff College, graduating with the rank of captain, while earning the opprobrium of his commander, as “a brilliant difficult youth, with whom it is impossible to be intimate.” Began his career with the cavalry regiment in Damascus, while joining several secret nationalistic societies of revolutionary military elitists, for which he was briefly arrested, before pursuing an active battlefield career against Italy in Libya and against Bulgaria. While serving as a military attaché in Sofia, he acquired a knowledge of western ways, and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. As a WW I commander, he defeated the British twice at Gallipoli, winning himself the sobriquet of “the Savior of Istanbul.” Became a brigadier general through further martial efforts, then fell sick while accompanying the Ottoman crown prince on a visit to Germany, and during his recovery in Austria, further observed western ways. At war’s end, he took a post in the War Ministry, where he felt the Turks would be best served as a nation within its own boundaries, rather than continue as an empire under foreign mandates and occupation, according to the terms of the Armistice. In 1919, the Sultan appointed him Inspector of the Third Army with power over all military and civilian authority, and he used that position to foment a national movement of independence, moving the seat of the national struggle to Ankara, then manipulating events in his favor, changing the name of the state to Turkey in 1920, after being elected president of the new assembly. Took on the offices of president and prime minister, thereby ending the Islamic rule that had governed the country since the middle ages. In 1923, he married the well-educated daughter of a wealthy merchant, Latife Usakligilm, and did so purposefully in the modern manner, although his inability to form close associations soon ended the union, which was exacerbated by her own Western values and independence of mind, including calling him publicly by his first name, and sitting beside him, rather than behind him, as was the custom. Her feminist outlook, however, encouraged him to allow Turkish women to shed their veils, give them the right to vote, and his own banning of polygamy in 1926. His wife never remarried after their divorce, even though he never contacted her again, and she died decades later with his portrait pinned to her chest. Despite uprisings, which were put down by national forces, he consolidated his power through treaties, guerrilla warfare, and a victory over the Greeks, under his aegis as commander-in-chief, so that by 1923, he had established his country’s boundaries. He then turned to reform, abolishing the caliphate, banning the traditional fez, and closing down all institutions which smacked of Islamic control. Used France as his model, with a strong central government, a modern army and a strict division between public and private spheres. Modernized the legal system, and elevated the position of women in society, while adopting Western-style surnames, substituting the Latin for the Arabic alphabet and dealing harshly with all those who brooked his will. Took Turkey steadily away from its Soviet connection, and brought it more in alignment with Britain and its European neighbors. Given the added name of Ataturk, ‘Father of the Turks.’ Nationalized all foreign firms, but was less successful in his economic reforms, proving to be far more skilled in modernizing social customs and laws, and organizing the upper elite of society. Supposedly deflowered a teenage Zsa Zsa Gabor, when she was celibately married to a Turkish diplomat. Less active the last 5 years of his life, when he became more and more of an alcoholic, eventually succumbing to cirrhosis of the liver. Despite all he did, it had little affect on the poorer denizens of his realm, who continued their subsistence existence, while the upper reaches were dragged, sometimes kicking and screaming, out of the middle ages and into the modern world, thanks to his vision, daring and steadfast purpose. Inner: Ruthless, cynical, with an inordinate lust for power. Amoral and irreligious, with the state as his godly domain, and the army as his continual source of power. Also brave, intelligent and far-sighted. Devalued life, and unhesitatingly had those who stood in his way killed. Disliked the administrative details of rule, and eventually grew bored with it, leading to reckless and self-destructive behavior. Stated, “government of the people, despite the people,” as his basic ruling credo. Man-alone lifetime of literally reinventing his adopted country from the top on down, leaving the bottom tier to struggle for generations afterwards, while its military and governmental elites were put far more in accord with the surrounding world. Mahmud II (1785-1839) - Ottoman Turkish emperor. Outer: Only surviving male heir of his dynasty. Mother may have been French. Had a conventional Islamic upbringing. Came to the throne as a 2nd choice, following a coup which murdered Mustafa IV, after his cousin and confidant, Selim III, whom they had wanted to restore, was strangled by reactionaries. Hidden in the furnace of a bath during the upheaval which brought him to the throne. A revolt in his first year took his grand vizier, which put the reforms he had to institute on hold for nearly 2 decades. The empire he inherited was suffering both internal decay and a great desire for independence in its external areas. His early reign saw a war with Russia, in which the empire lost the province of Bessarabia, while other provinces also strove for autonomy. Further wars gave Greece its ultimate independence, while Serbia became an autonomous state. Married four times, with two of his spouses unrecorded. By his his second, Bezm-i Alem, he was the sire of Abdul Mejid (Rajiv Gandhi) and by his fourth, Pertevniyal, he was the progenitor of Abdulaziz (Vladimir Zhirinovsky), who would both succeed him. His losses showed him the weakness of his empire on a number of levels, and in the mid-1820s, he began to implement wide-spread reforms, trying to turn his medieval enclave into a modern constitutional state. Had to reassert his autocratic control, patiently rid himself of his rebellious pashas, then eliminate all intermediate sources of authority between the government and the people. Liquidated the elite Janissary military corps, whose corruption lay at the heart of Ottoman rot, using his troops and artillery to massacre 4000 of its members. Afterwards, he laid down the enlightened lines for a smaller radically restructured empire. Instituted a new army, under German instructors, while diluting the powers of the ulema, the guardians of the religious establishment, so as to separate spiritual from secular authority. Created a cabinet system of government, a postal service, a census and land survey, bringing information and communication to his empire, while adding an additional body of law to that of the Islamic and ruling codes, which was also secular in nature. Introduced European dress, launched the first newspaper in Turkish, made primary education compulsory, opened a medical school and established Turkish embassies in western Europe. Ultimately was defeated by the Egyptians in Syria, and died a few days after his armies suffered a particularly heavy loss. Succeeded by Abdul Mejid. Neither a diplomat, nor a gifted military leader, he was, nevertheless, among the greatest of the Ottoman sultans for the sheer persistency of his abilities to implement his vision of a modern Turkey. Inner: Resolute, realistic and persistent, with good foresight and a strong will. Saw himself as the Peter the Great (Yukio Mishima) of the Ottoman Empire. Actualized lifetime of bringing a medieval empire into modern times, using patience, vision, wile and a steadfast sense of his own imperturbable righteousness, which he would employ again in his next go-round in this series to finish the job he had started.


Storyline: The royal speed king revs through life at full throttle, parlaying privilege into a youthful race against death, which the dark master handily wins everytime out of the gate.

Peter Revson (Peter Jeffry Revlon Revson) (1939-1974) - American racer. Outer: Father was one of the co-founders of the cosmetic company, Revlon. Grew up in privilege, attending several Eastern prep schools and colleges, where he was far more interested in sports, particularly football, than study, despite a good innate intelligence. Known as “Revvie,” he always downplayed his birthright, and would bristle at media suggestions he was a playboy heir. Bought a Morgan in 1960, and began racing it, winning the second event he entered, but earning a ban afterwards for being ‘too aggressive’ behind the wheel. By 1963, he was in Europe earnestly pursuing his newfound career, and by the end of his first year, he had moved up to Formula 1 cars and Grand Prix racing. Drove for Ford on its GT40 team, as well as American Motors, gaining several checkered flag victories on the U.S. circuit. Afterwards, he concentrated on the international circuit. In 1967, his young brother Douglas, who also raced, died in a crash in Denmark, although the tragedy only fueled his desire to be the best at what he did. Raced for the prestigious McLaren team, and wound up 5th in points in 1972 in the world ranking. In 1973, he won his first Grand Prix victories, and the following year he moved to Shadow, but it would prove his undoing, when he lost his life behind the wheel while testing the F-1 Shadow in South Africa, thanks to suspension failure. Inner: Handsome and charismatic, a born winner. Auto-biographical lifetime of revving it up to the max, and proving his mettle behind the pedal, before exiting early once again, in yet another go-round not fully realized. Gaston Chevrolet (1892-1920) - French/American race car driver. Outer: Parents were recent Swiss immigrants. Youngest of a trio of brothers. His older sibling Louis was the founder of the Chevrolet motor car company. After the former emigrated to America and earned enough money, he brought both him and his brother Arthur over in 1902. By that time, Louis had established himself as a fearless driver on the fledgling racing circuit. Worked as a mechanic for the company, and then joined the latter on the racing circuit in his early teens. Became an integral part of the team that pioneered the use of aluminum and other revolutionary materials in the construction of fast cars. In 1916, he finally got a chance to get behind the wheel of one of his team’s constructions, although failed to qualify in his first Indy 500. The following year, he finished third in the Cincinnatti 250, behind his brother Louis, then posted two seconds and a third later in the season. Ran in some outlaw races, and was suspended in 1918 by the ruling racing body, but got his license back the following year, and became one of the leading drivers for Chevrolet’s Frontenac team. Won 3 races that year, and finished 6th in the national standings. Won the Indy 500 in 1920, breaking a European dominance of the race. Didn’t have long to savor his victory, however. After following the racing circuit to the West Coast, he died when his car crashed on the 146th lap on the Beverly Hills Speedway later that year. In 2002, he was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame. Inner: Live fast, die young lifetime of finding a metier that truly appealed to his love of the chase, before exiting early to do the same thing over again the next time around. Peter II (1715-1730) - Russian tsar. Outer: Son of Alexis (Shah Pahlevi), the eldest son of Peter I (Yukio Mishima), mother was a German princess. His father hated his own powerful sire and became a drunkard with a brutal temper, then fled Russia, was accused of high treason, and was tortured and died just before his death sentence could be carried out. Slender and frequently ill, he hated formal study, preferring hunting and drinking, even as a youth. Crowned at the age of 11, he came under the domination of Aleksandr Menshikov (Nikita Khruschev) who was made his regent, and attempted to consolidate his position by betrothing his daughter Catherine Dolgorukova, to the young tsar. Autocratic, he chafed under Menshikov’s control and openly challenged his regent, having him arrested and exiled to Siberia, while various members of the court vied for power. Preferred pursuing his own pleasures to affairs of state, although he was adamant about moving the capital from St. Petersburg to Moscow, mainly because it offered better hunting opportunities. Ignored military matters and reforms, proving to be a passive ruler, leaving all decision-making to his feuding advisers. Influenced by the Dolgoruki family, whose son was his closest companion, while they offered their own daughter as his intended bride. He, however, died on his wedding day of smallpox. Succeeded by Anna Ivanovna (Leonid Brezhnev). Inner: Willful, adolescent, far more interested in himself than the Russian state. Difficult to assess what kind of ruler he would have been, since he showed little maturity. Foreshortened lifetime of extremely brief rule, perhaps as some sort of karmic comeuppance for excesses in the past, before switching over to a far less political realm to open himself up. Mehmed IV (1642-1693) - Ottoman emperor. Outer: Father was Ottoman Emperor Ibrahim (Uday Hussein). Succeeded his deranged progenitor upon the former’s execution at the age of 6. Given little education, his singular interest was in games of all kinds. Showed little interest in state, as power factions formed around his mother Turhan and grandmother, Kosem, with the former ultimately prevailing, via the murder of her rival. A skilled horseman, his singular interest was in hunting as revolts broke out in Constantinople and Anatolia to reflect his complete lack of attention to state affairs, and a series of viziers tried to solve the ongoing financial problems of an empire now seriously in decline, and falling further and further behind its European counterparts in its inability now, to even protect some of its coasts. A former but aged grand vizier, Koprulus, was finally brought back to give some sense of order for 5 years, before dying in 1661, as the empire proved initially victorious against European incursions into its outlying territories, although in 1664, it suffered its first real defeat in a pitched battle against the West’s forces, signaling another ominous decline in their capabilities. The vizier’s son would competently succeed him for the next 15 years, and prove the equal of his father, while the emperor continued to concentrate on his hunting exploits, which were glorified in poetry, and largely wore his attendants out, as he imported hounds and prey from foreign lands to sate his never-ending pursuit of his singular focus. Married Mah-Para Ummatullah Rabia Gül-Nush, with whom he had two future Ottoman sultans. On the death of Koprulus’s son, the emperor appointed a prideful incompetent who managed to lose his predecessor’s gains. Personally participated in military campaigns against Austria in 1663, and Poland in 1672, although his main interest, as always, was in discovering new hunting grounds. A disastrous war with Austria ultimately resulted in a mutiny in the army and an insurrection in Constantinople, which unsat him in 1687, and he spent his last three years in unhappy retirement, forbidden by edict to hunt, while his brother Suleiman II, succeeded him. Inner: Athletic and childlike, with legendary strength and endurance, although absolutely no interest in rule, allowing others to do it in his stead, while he pursued his singular obsession. Happy hunting grounds lifetime of being completely oblivious to a decaying state in a clownish take on power, before following his loose crypto-twin into more productive venues of expressing a childlike personality that enjoys the exhilarating chase of running after the love a mass audience.


Storyline: The desperate despot always confuses fear with popular love, in his need for absolute control over any country or empire he runs, making for a figure who worships dominance, fears weakness, and perpetually thinks someone is trying to undo him, without realizing, it is always himself.

Saddam Hussein (1937-2006) - Iraqi dictator. Outer: From a family of peasants living in a mud-hut village. His name, Saddam, means “one who confronts.” His mother tried to abort him, and he never knew his father, who abandoned the family and died of cancer, leaving him scarred, with no empathy for anyone, but rather a sense of grandiosity to compensate for his meager entrance into this world. His mother tried to kill herself, and his stepfather abused him both physically and emotionally, while his brother died at the age of 12 from cancer, as well. Ran away from home at the age of 10 and went to live with a maternal uncle, who was vehemently anti-Western and fascistic, and filled the boy’s head with Arab warrior-heroes from the past, with whom he would totally identify. By his late teens, he was leading a street gang in Baghdad, then became a strong-arm enforcer for the Ba’ath Socialist Party in 1957. Botched an assassination on the Iraqi prime minister two years later, was wounded in the attempt, and went into hiding in Syria and Egypt. 6’2”, 210 lbs. Attended Cairo Law School in the early 1960s, and then came back to Iraq in 1963, where he completed his education at Baghdad Law College, after the Ba’athists overthrew the government. The same year, he married Sajida Talfah, the daughter of his mentor, three daughters, as well as two sons from union, Uday and Qusay, with the former matching him in sociopathic cruelty, and the latter not too far behind. Also had a number of mistresses, but never flaunted them. The Ba’athists were overthrown that same annum, and he wound up in prison for several years. Escaped and became leader of their party, playing a key role in the coup that brought them to power in 1968, immediately executing 22 of his closest associates. Became vice-president of Iraq in 1969, and modernized the country’s infrastructure, helping to make Iraq one of the most progressive and richest countries in the Middle East. Solidified his powerhold afterwards by ruthlessly going after any perceived political enemies, while filling key positions with members of his family, continuing Sunni rule over the country’s majority Shi’ites. Unrelenting in his need for absolute control, he created an atmosphere of absolute fear with his extended police apparatus, and gradually built a cult of personality around himself. Paranoid in the extreme, he would change residences nightly, so that no one would ever know his schedule and be in a position to assassinate him. Often had his people knock on doors, and have families vacate for the eve. Built a host of pretentious palaces to reflect his own sense of grandiosity, while neglecting the basic needs of anyone not within his immediate Sunni support system. In 1972, he nationalized the oil industry, and by the end of the decade, he was president, and went on to hold all the key posts in the country, while creating a culture of terror to maintain his hold. Ultimately survived 20 coup attempts, while undoing everything he did as vice-president. Following the Islamic revolution in neighboring Iran in 1979, he viciously went after the majority Shi’ites in his country, and ordered the murder of the country’s most popular ayatollah. Suppressed any and all opposition, so that his sham re-elections from then on would be unanimous, as he plastered Iraq with statuary and pictorial representations of himself, so that his image was everywhere. After Israel bombed a research reactor in 1981, he immediately began pursuing nuclear weapons in reaction to the air strike. Following an assassination attempt in 1982, he killed over 100 Shi’ites in reprisal, than drained the marshes of southern Iraq so that rebels would not have a place to hide. In 1980, he started a war with Iran, only to have it ultimately become a battle of attrition over the next 8 years, with his Shi’ite population a vast majority of those killed, while the U.S. supported him and tried to negotiate a transJordanian pipeline. Married a second time to Samira Shahbandar in 1986. Used poison gas on his own Kurdish population in 1988, killing up to 100,000, while repopulating the north with Iraqis to lessen the Kurdish presence in their oil-rich enclave. Suppressed most Shi’a expressions of worship in the south, while desiring to be seen as the primary leader of the Arab world. Tried to develop a nuclear, chemical and biological weapon capability, then overstepped his bounds when he invaded Kuwait in 1990, thinking he had been green-lighted by the U.S. ambassador. The real reason for the deception was his announcement several months prior that he would be selling his oil for euros rather than dollars. The move brought on the full force of an American-led coalition against him, led by Pres. George H.W. Bush, and though he promised it would be “the mother of all battles,” his Republican guard fell within a few weeks, and he was defeated, although not overthrown, and he immediately announced, via his information minister, that it had been a great victory. Continued his reprisal executions, and killing his countryman, while being placed under sanctions for the rest of the decade. Nevertheless, he maintained his iron grip, while playing cat-and-mouse with subsequent inspectors about his potential for harboring weapons of mass destruction. Wrote several novels, as display of his more creative side, although his true penchant would always be for destruction. During this period he made several oil deals with the Chinese, which would prove to be his subsequent American death warrant after century’s turn. Became the obsessive competitive focus of Pres. George W. Bush & Company, who used the 2001 bombing of the World Trade Center as excuse for invading Iraq in 2003, despite finding no connection between the dictator and the disaster, and no sign of troubling weapons, which had all been a ploy to puff up a largely empty arsenal.Beforehand, he had offered to abdicate for a billion dollars, but was turned down. Quite unprepared for the assault, he went into hiding, although no other nation would take him, nor would his own tribesmen safely secrete him. Finally captured in a spiderhole at the end of 2004, looking like a vagrant, after being informed on by a tribesman to the Americans, for $25 milliion. Subsequently publicly examined, and paraded in his underwear in the media, while being put in a cell, where he was allowed to write and tend a garden. Grew very depressed over his plight, until he realized that his martyrdom at the end of it would finally bring him the love he had always wanted. Brought to trial in 2006, for the reprisals deaths he demanded after a failed assassination attempt in 1982, and used the courtroom for his own personal showcase, while denying its validity and at one point, employing a hunger strike to show he was still in control. Before a verdict could be reached, a second trial began over Kurdish genocide in 1988. Sentenced to death two days before the American mid-term elections, he made a magnanimous plea for all Iraqis to bury their differences, in one last public show to shore up his eventual legacy, and was summarily hanged at year’s end, on the first day of a Muslim holy period. Argued with and was taunted by his Shi’a masked guards, but met his death stoically, with his last words, “Down with the traitors, the Americans, the spies and the Persians,” before the trapdoor was sprung amidst a final prayer. A cellphone video of the affair challenged the far smoother official version, so that in death, as in life, he continued to be a star tragedian in his own ongoing theater of violence, and wound up achieving his goal of becoming a martyr to the Sunni world. Inner: Absolute control freak, extremely vicious and without compunction about killing anyone standing in his way. Ruthless, vain, dying his hair jet black, and refusing to be photographed walking more than a few steps, because of a limp caused by a slipped disc. Extremely concerned with how his/story will view him, seeing himself as latter-day Saladin (David Sarnoff). Tyrannical lifetime of bringing a medieval sensibility to the modern world, and once again, mixing up fear with love as the adulating emotion he wished to have bestowed upon him, before facing the judgement of his enemies, and embracing martyrdom as his ultimate self-defining mode of reflecting what he believed was his great love for his people. Nadir Shah (Nadr Qoli Beg) (1688-1747) - Iranian shah. Outer: From a Turkish tribe which was loyal to the Safavid shahs of Iran. Taken as a prisoner by the Uzbeks, while still a child, he escaped and entered the service of the governor of Khurusan, gaining a reputation for bravery. Formed a gang of brigands, which inspired a large following, and with 5000 men defeated the Afghani usurpers of the throne, and restored the Safavid house, thanks to his martial skills. Routed an Ottoman Turkish presence in Iraq, then was outraged by an ignominious peace treaty the shah had concluded with the Turks, and he overthrew the king in 1732. Put the latter’s infant son on the throne, and drove the Ottomans out of Iran. In 1736, he deposed the young shah and took the crown himself as Nadir Shah, ending the reign of the Safavid dynasty. Married two daughters of a local chief. Showed himself to be a brutal but effective military leader, building a potent Navy, and invading and capturing Oman. In 1739, he won a victory over the Mughal armies in India, and ransacked Delhi and Lahore, returning home with vast treasures, including the famed Koh-i-noor Diamond and the Peacock Throne. After a failed assassination attempt 2 years later, he had his eldest son blinded, seeing him as complicitous, while growing ever more paranoid and cruel, the longer he was in power. Continually had people tortured and executed, wherever he went, inspiring more and more of the nation against him, so that the latter part of his reign saw him constantly having to deal with revolts. Tried to turn largely Shi’ite Iran into a Sunni state, and attacked the Ottoman Turks again, only to have to deal with more revolts at home, thanks to Iran’s complete exhaustion by his endless wars, and the tens of thousands of deaths he caused among his own peoples. Tax farmers, in turn, ruined the economy, extracting endless duties for his military policies. in 1745, he won a great victory over the Ottomans, and secured a peace with them the following year. In a campaign against his rebellious Kurds, he was assassinated by officers of his own guard. Succeeded by a nephew who was probably part of the plot. Considered in some circles as the last of the great Asian conquerors. Inner: Capricious, cruel and vindictive. Solely interested in war and conquest, seeing little else in life that mattered, while ruling totally by fear, with outward conquest his singular motivator. Martial lifetime of evincing all his depravity of character in far more brutal times, making him a figure roughly in tune with them, whose singular credo was domination, while caring little for ordinary affairs of state. Murad IV (1612-1640) - Ottoman emperor. Outer: One of 7 official sons of the Ottomon Sultan Ahmed I. Succeeded his brother, Osman II, who was assassinated, and Mustapha, who was mad, coming to the throne at the age of 11. His mother and a council of viziers served as his regent for several years, although the real power lay in the hands of the military, including the Janissaries, who carried out executions of high officials. Tall and hefty, originally, but grew into a fierce-faced dignified athlete, with great physical strength and acrobatic dexterity. Married Aisha, but produced no official progeny. Inherited a corrupt government with an empty treasury, and discontent everywhere in an empire on its decline. In 1632, the sipahis, or cavalry, invaded Constantinople and the palace in a three day rampage, and demanded and got the heads of the grand vizier and 16 of his favorites. Humiliated in having to acceded to them, he reacted ferociously, drenching the mutineers in their own blood. Began personally enforcing his police’s edicts, riding the streets in disguise at night, and striking down offenders. Closed down all coffeehouses and cafes for the rest of his reign, to curtail public meeting-places, and banned tobacco smoking under the penalty of death. Enjoyed drinking to excess with close companions, as his only real release. Maintained his thirst for blood, killing some 20,000, many by his own hand for perceived slights or mistakes by his underlings, creating an atmosphere of frozen fear around him, as a personal messenger of death, which probably saved the empire from the anarchy in which it was heading, thanks to his iron rule. Personally took command in trying to reclaim Mesopotamian lands, sharing the hardships of his men, and rewarding them well for their successes. Besieged Baghdad, which ended in a wholesale massacre of all its citizens, soldiers and civilians alike, per his order. Returned home in triumph, although was suffering from attacks of gout and sciatica. His end was hastened by his excessive drinking, and after two weeks of illness, he succumbed. Just before he died, he called for the execution of his brother Ibrahim (Uday Hussein) to insure he would be the last of his dynastic line, but their mother intervened. Demanded to see the corpse, after he was told the deed had been done, but his attendants held him down, and he died without knowing his last order had not been carried out. Inner: The bloodiest of all the Ottoman sultans, knee-deep in the gore of his people. Despite all his egregious subhumanity, a good organizer and administrator, as well as a total control freak once he came into power, trusting no one. Evinced strong courage and determination, albeit an extremely addictive personality, particularly to the lure of violence as the end-all in personal statements of criticism. Iron-handed lifetime of employing fear, as always, as his weapon of choice of rule, as a potentate with no limits placed on his considerable will, or any capacity to see anyone in terms other than dominance and submission.


Storyline: The avenging angel of Islamic ideals worships death as the ultimate cleanser of a world he see in the harsh black and white of the beloved and the infidel, while employing his charisma and his money in the service of a god, Allah, who has no mercy on his perceived enemies.

Osama bin Laden (19577-2011) - Saudi ideologue and terrorist. Outer: Father was an impoverished Yemeni immigrant who came to Arabia as a bricklayer and founded a multi-billion dollar Saudi construction company, thanks to contracts secured from the royal house. Had 20 wives, although never more than 4 at a time. His mother, who was a great beauty, came from a Syrian working-class family that was largely secular. One of 54 half-brothers and sisters, although he was the single issue of his mother and father. Greatly admired his sire, who died in a helicopter crash in 1967, leaving him some $2 or $3 million a year, as an early teen. Educated at an elite private school in Jedda, which was modeled on its British counterparts. Initially shy, quiet and serious, he loved the American TV series, “Bonanza,” before becoming influenced by a Syrian gym teacher, who was a member of the Muslim Brothers, in his ongoing search for father figures to supplant his own disappeared dad. Never flaunted his great inherited wealth. Instead, he was very much the loner, who had trouble relating to other people. Married Najwah Ghanem, a first cousin when he was 17 and she 14, 11 children from the union. Tall, thin, with large eyes and a sensitive face. In the early 1980s, he went to Afghanistan and began training Arab volunteers against the Soviet invaders. Moved to Peshawar, Pakistan in the mid-80s, and 3 months after the death of his beloved older half-brother Salem in a plane crash, he had a vision telling him the time had come to start a global jihad, or Holy War, and in that spirit, in 1986, he founded Al Qaeda, Arabic for ‘the base.’ It was named after a database of names and contact information, while he was known as the ‘Contractor.’ Created a clearinghouse for Islamic terrorism from his Afghan camps, using his vast fortune to pay for the services of fighters from the entire Muslim world. Employed a combination of fundamentalist interpretation of the Qu’ran and modern technology to forge an outlet for his anger, which was directed at the United States, as well as his native Saudi Arabia, for allowing defiling American troops to stay there, during the Gulf War in 1991. Serially took on 3 more wives, and had more children, numbering perhaps 24. Moved to the Sudan in 1991, where he bought a farm and raised horses and sunflowers, while building up both his martial and business empire, funneling the money he made into jihad, while trying to gather the leading Islamic extremist groups under a single banner. Soon afterwards, he was expelled and repudiated by his family as well as deprived of his Saudi citizenship. In 1996, he was forced to leave the Sudan, and returned to Afghanistan, declaring its Taliban leadership as consistent with his own goals of a pure interpretation of the Qu’ran, and a return to a mega-Sunni state that would reflect 7th century Islamic conquests. Masterminded the bombing of embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, as well as the American destroyer Cole in 2000, after announcing a fatwa to kill all who opposed his vision of a united, purified Sunni Islamic world. Wished to lure America into Afghanistan, where he felt they would be undone, just as the Soviet Union had been. Protected by the Taliban, he remained hidden in Afghanistan until September 11th, 2001, when minions of Al Qaeda allegedly drove planes into the World Trade Center in NY and the Pentagon, killing nearly 3000 people. 2 days earlier he had ordered the death of Shah Massoud, the Northern Alliance anti-Taliban commander. Despite being blamed for the fall of the twin towers, he was never indicted. A summary bombing response by the U.S. rid Afghanistan of its Taliban rule, and he became a fugitive with no base, although he managed to elude his pursuers through their incompetence, while periodically issuing videotapes, showing him growing gaunter and probably suffering from sort of kidney disease, an irony, since the kidney is the purifying organ of the body. Able, however, to remain a symbolic rallying point for world terrorism for years, in a shadowy cat-and-mouse existence dedicated to sheer underground survival, as well as the propaganda stance of himself as Islam’s world statesman. Surfaced days before the 2004 U.S. presidential election, via tape, looking healthy and probably in Pakistan. Mocked the president, and assumed a second role as political leader of oppressed Islam, although had no effect on the subsequent outcome. Did not reappear via tape again until early 2006, when he warned of forthcoming attacks on America’s heartland, then broadened his jihadist call against China and the United Nations, while his own base began to make more of a resurgence in training and potential mischiefmaking in 2007. Released yet another tape around 9/11 of that year with his beard shortened and dyed, just to let the U.S. he was still alive, and as intractable and untraceable as ever, despite having been reduced to the level of symbol, with his movement thoroughly decentralized and outside his control. Shortly before Indian prime minister Benazir Bhutto announced he had been murdered at the end of 2007, she was assassinated, leading to further speculation that he was no longer among the living. In 2011, he was killed by a team of fourteen U.S. Navy Seals, who stormed his Pakistani compound by helicopter, after tracing him there through his couriers. Four others were killed, before he was discovered unarmed on the third floor and dispatched with a bullet to his left eye and chest by a Seal, and his body was hurriedly buried at sea afterwards, leading to much speculation about the veracity of his actual assassination, although al-Qaeda confirmed his death afterwards. The Obama administration, which took credit for the kill, refused to release photographs of his corpse, fearing it would incite his followers. A treasure trove of material would be discovered at his redoubt, showing he was still very active in his plotting and scheming, despite not having left his hide-out for the final five or six years of his life. Later e-mails indicated he was never buried at sea, but rather was flown to the U.S. to be autopsied and examined, while one of his wives claimed he sired four more children during his time on the run. In his hand-written will, released in 2016, he claimed a fortune of $29 million in Sudan, and most should be spent on jihad. Inner: Austere, ascetic, humorless and totally convinced of the righteousness of all his actions, despite their having little real grounding in the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad. May also have been a total product of American intelligence, serving as a convenient bogeyman to give credence to the creation of an unconstitutional police state in reaction to him. Spiritual sorcerer's lifetime of doing much damage in the name of Allah, while giving a singular personality to the perverse tenet that wielding death in the name of God is a manifestation of true spirituality. Mirza Ali Khan (Fakir of Ipi) (1897?-1960) - Indian guerrilla leader. Known as “the Champion of Islam” and “Holy Man of the Sulaiman Mountains.” Outer: Of Pashtun descent. Father was religious, and sent him to schools on the British side of the border, where he ultimately studied under the most influential teacher and leader in Afghanistan. Went on the Haj to Mecca in 1923, and settled into the village of Ipi, afterwards where he gained a reputation for saintliness. Originally worked as a Peshawar porter and in Britain’s indian Civil Service, before disappearing into his native Waziristan hills. 6’, strapping, turbaned and given to baggy pants and a large flowing robe. In 1936, he declared jihad against the British imperial presence in India, demanding a holy war to oust them, after an overt show of force by the latter in a marriage dispute. Used guerilla warfare and terror strikes as his primary tactic, while turning to Nazi help in the 1940s, as he killed thousands in the indiscriminate carnage that was his style. Became a primary target for capture through this period and beyond, although he managed to elude British forces for a decade, thanks to his expertise in mountain guerrilla warfare, where he could never successfully be flushed out of his caves and rocky redoubts. After India’s successful independence in 1947, and the creation of Pakistan, he wound up in the Pakistani tribal regions, and continued to be a spur in the side of the new government until 1954, when his insurrection came to an official end. Ultimately became enfeebled by asthma, and died of its effects. A legendary Muslim fighting figure, he was known as the Fakir of Ipi, and thousands paid homage to him on his death. Inner: Jihadist to the core, with a divinely violent mission, and ultimately an equal sense of self-preservation. Scimitar-in-hand lifetime of exploring the dark side of violent, naked will, when it is wrapped in divine sanction. Al-Mahdi (Muhammad Ahmad Ibn As-Sayyid ‘Abd Allah) (1844-1885) - Nubian spiritual and political leader. Outer: Father was a shipbuilder, who moved his family to a river village shortly after his son’s birth. Showed a marked interest in religious studies, eschewing a nominal career as an Islamic bureaucrat to become a mystical Sufi, practicing self-denial and a purified sense of Islam. Tall, austere and soft-voiced, although it could rise to terrifying levels. Sensitive face, with large, piercing eyes. Separated himself from the Sudanese ruling class, and joined the Sammaniyah order, attracting disciples, moving with them to a hermitage 175 miles south of the capital, Khartoum, although his brand of emotional asceticism brought him into conflict with his teacher, and he transferred over to another in the same order. Able to exploit a feeling of extreme unrest throughout Sudanese society, from both the high and low alike, over their Turkish-speaking Egyptian governors. In his mid-30s, he came to see that the entire ruling class had deserted the true tenets of Islam, and were unbelievers at heart. In 1881, he revealed to his followers that he had been entrusted with a divine mission to purify Islam and destroy all governments who were tainted by the corrupt practices of infidels within the Muslim hierarchy. In June of that year, he assumed the public title of Al-Mahdi, a savior and restorer of the true faith in the Islamic tradition. With only a few followers armed with sticks and spears, he made himself master of a huge territory under Egyptian control within 4 years, as his army grew with captured weapons and booty, and his reputation soared as the true Expected One sent to deliver his people. Grew heavier as he grew older. By 1883, his army, which consisted mostly of nomads, had destroyed 3 huge Egyptian forces sent against him, and he became the head of an armed theocracy, collecting taxes, issuing propaganda in his favor, while disparaging his enemies and thwarting all attempts at disparaging his mission. In 1885, he achieved the pinnacle of his martial success, capturing Khartoum, and in the process, Gen. Charles Gordon (Ahmed Shah Massoud) was killed, against his express orders. Made a triumphal entry after many of the city’s denizens were slaughtered, and led prayers in the principal mosque there. Soon abandoned Khartoum to consolidate his theocratic state, and set up his administrative center at Omdurman, where he took absolute control over all aspects of his followers’ lives, with edicts, sermons and rules galore, while adopting the Turko-Egyptian fiscal system. Left the routines of government to his underlings, while he served as principle principal-maker, utilizing fundamentalist Islam as his guide. Appointed 4 caliphs as his deputies, as the prophet Muhammad had done, while referring to himself as “the successor to the apostle,” in his continuation of his work. At the height of his triumph, however, he died of typhus, and his movement soon died without his charismatic figure at its center. Inner: Ascetic, impassioned, a great believer in his own divine mission. Felt women should be secluded, opposed to music, alcohol, tobacco and all earthly vices. Follow-me lifetime of reading himself into the tenets of fundamentalist Islam, and inspiring a beleaguered nation to rise behind him, only to exit at the height of his triumphs, so that neither his victories or conquests would long outlive him. Muhammad al-Wahhab (Muhammad ‘Abd al-Wahhab) (1703-1792) - Arabian spiritual leader. Outer: Father was a sheikh and judge who was his son’s original teacher. Studied in Medina, then spent numerous years abroad as a teacher. The name Wahhab literally means “generous giver,” in Arabic. Taught in Basra, Iraq for 4 years, before marrying a wealthy woman in Baghdad. After her death, he inherited her property, which gave him the leisure to both think and write. In 1736, while still in Iran, he began teaching against what he considered extremist Sufi views. Returning to his native city in Arabia, he wrote the “Book of Unity,” in which he limned the basic ideals of Wahhabism, an attempt to return to the “true” fundamentalist precepts of Islam, which were both puritanical and highly traditional. Rejected the veneration of any human beings, and sought to purify the hearts of Islam’s adherents from all vice and sin, while using the prophet Muhammad as the ultimate arbiter of all moral law. Placed a strong value on both obedience and responsibility, in an attempt to unify the heavens of Allah with the earthly plane. Felt all innovations to Islam diluted the religion, and wished his adherents to be strict constructionists of the teachings of Muhammad. Eventually was expelled for his teachings in 1744, and resettled in Dar’iyah, where he spent the rest of his life. His teachings would become the basis for Wahhabism, which would be the brand of Islam practiced in Arabia for the next several centuries. Inner: Puritanical, austere and extremely influential. Retro lifetime of giving the textual basis for a reform movement, which would last down through the centuries, in his ongoing role as teacher, exemplar and theorist of his own version of living the unassailable life according to the Prophet Muhammad’s true teachings. Muhammad Ibn Falah (c1400-1461) - Iraqi imam. Outer: Seen as a descendant of the 7th Shi’ite imam, Musa al-Kazim. Received a traditional Islamic education at one of the Shi’ite centers, where he held extremist views that bordered on heresy, and was ultimately excommunicated by his teacher, a noted theologian. From his mid-30s onwards, he found a receptive flock for his firebrand form of Islam among Arab tribes-people living on the border of modern Iran and Iraq. Claimed to be al-Mahdi, the savior, and the divinely appointed representative of ‘Ali, whom the Shi’ites believe to be the true inheritor of the mantle of the Prophet Muhammad. Initially defeated in 1440, the following year they captured the city of Hoveyzeh, which would become the seat of his movement, called Musha’sha. Over the next decade, he was able to consolidate his power, thanks in large part to the divisions of his opponents, the traditional authority in the area, which he exploited as proof of the purity of his own doctrines. Penned a text in the style of the Qu’ran, the sacred teachings of the Prophet, called “Kalam al-mahdi” of “The Words of the Mahdi,” which was a rigid code of conduct based on his interpretation of the tenets of Islam. Served as both spiritual, temporal and religious leader of his community, and upon his death, he was succeeded by his son. Inner: Messianic lifetime of living out the tenet that extremism in the pursuit of purity is no vice, while giving himself a further secular and spiritual foundation as a martial leader to make his will manifest. Nur ed-Din (Nur Ed-din Abu Al-Quasim Mahmud Ibn Imad Ad-Din Zangi) (1118-1174) - Syrian ruler. Outer: Father was Zangi, the ruler of Hatab. Succeeded his sire in 1146, after he was murdered, and went about organizing the Muslim rulers of the region, whose disunited front had made them easy prey for the crusaders. Never misused his authority, and was offended by the impious ways of the caliphs. Waged successful campaigns against the Christians, recapturing the stronghold of Edessa shortly after his succession, and then made Aleppo his capital, continually gaining ground against the invaders from the West, while forging a united army to withstand them. Lived like an ascetic, fasted, and sometimes went into states of religious exaltation. Suffered chronic ill health, which brought out the mystic in him, and was occasionally bedridden, although he often directed battles from that state. Added to his empire through conquest, and did continual battle with Baldwin III (Shah Massoud), the Latin king, ultimately outlasting him. On the latter’s death, he began the process of annexing Egypt, setting the stage for Saladin (David Sarnoff) to complete the task he had set out for himself. Used the spoils of war to build schools, mosques and hospitals, showing little interest in personal wealth. Died suddenly in Damascus. Inner: Noted for both his piety and his personal bravery. Master strategist, and implacable warrior, with a sense of holy mission. Scimitar-in-hand lifetime of doing battle for the cause of Islam, taking on his longtime family as foes, in his subsequent evolution as a jihadist sacred warrior, with the entire world as his ultimate battlefield.



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