The Fist of God by Frederick Forsyth (♦♦♦♦)
I could never do justice to Frederick Forsyth if attempted to retell the plot of any of his novels in my own words. Thus, for The Fist of God, I submitted to Barnes & Noble from which I extracted the official book blurb:
"From the behind-the-scenes decision-making of the Allies to the secret meetings of Saddam Hussein's war cabinet, from the brave American fliers running their dangerous missions over Iraq to the heroic young spy planted deep in the heart of Baghdad, Forsyth's incomparable storytelling skill keeps the suspense at a breakneck pace. Somewhere in Baghdad is the mysterious "Jericho," the traitor who is willing (for a price) to reveal what is going on in the high councils of the Iraqi dictator. But Saddam's ultimate weapon has been kept secret even from his most trusted advisers. And the nightmare scenario that haunts General Schwarzkopf and his colleagues is suddenly imminent, unless somehow, the spy can locate that weapon--The Fist of God--in time."
I spent the month of December on a trip to the past in the form of the Gulf War in 1991. And let me tell you, The Fist of God is not a crash course, but a full immersion complete with army acronyms, rogue, hero pilots, and top notch espionage.
Taut, dense, and brimming with useful (and likely) insider's information, it took me ages to absorb it all, and what a ride that was. It furthered my understanding of the conditions it took to build that big, yet fragile, Coalition, which Saddam Hussein endangered by targeting Tel Aviv with modified Scud missiles, possibly facing retaliatory (and rightly so) action against Iraq's military infrastructure. The U.S. had to convince Israel not to join the war.
Curiously (and likely), a Washington-based think tank wrote in a memo addressed to James Baker, then Secretary of State, the reasons why Saddam Hussein shouldn't be targeted for assassination. The interesting thing is that it seemed they were watching through a wormhole the chaos the Middle East has become since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Don't get me wrong, he had it coming, but his terror regime was a stabilization factor in the region.