In Across Cultures and Empires author Mahir Ibrahimov invites the reader to share his incredible journey through the world-shaking geopolitical transformations of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. This fast-paced narrative based upon the author’s experience serving in the Soviet army as an Azeri minority; working for the Soviet Communist Party and experiencing disillusionment with communism; watching the fall of the Soviet Union; living through the abortive coup against Gorbachev; working in the newly independent Azeri government during its unfolding conflict with Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh, a conflict Moscow purposely exacerbated as it sought to regain a measure of control over its former republics; immigrating to the United States in search of freedom; working with the US Army in Iraq as an interpreter; and becoming a citizen of the United States and continuing his work for the US Army as a language and culture expert.
Across Cultures and Empires is above all an immigrant’s story. Mahir Ibrahimov’s fluency in multiple languages offers the perspective of someone who found a way to successfully cross boundaries amid the fall of empire and the resulting cascade of conflicts, even as he provides the reader with insight into an era where mass migration has become a defining dynamic. In the course of telling his personal story and reflecting upon his experiences, Ibrahimov offers clear observations on the deep connections he has made about freedom and America’s role in the world, the different cultures he experienced, war, peace, the fight against terrorism, and the role of religion. Ibrahimov’s background in both the Soviet and US militaries allows him to expertly contrast the Soviet and American experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition, he offers provocative thoughts on the future course of terrorism and Americaâ€™s wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Across Cultures and Empires, told from the perspective of a Soviet minority, fills important gaps in our knowledge of the post-Soviet reality.