11 Items

Iran Syria missiles

Associated Press

Journal Article - International Affairs

Iran's Syria Strategy: The Evolution of Deterrence

| Feb. 04, 2019

Iran has been a critical player in the Syrian war since 2011, crafting a complex foreign policy and military strategy to preserve its Syrian ally. What have been the drivers of Iranian decision-making in this conflict? And how has Iranian strategy evolved over the course of the war? This article argues that the logic of deterrence has been fundamental not just for shaping the contours of Iran–Syria relations since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, but also for determining the overall trajectory of Iranian strategy in the Syrian war. The authors outline Iran's decision-making calculus and divide the country's strategy on Syria after the Arab Spring into four primary phases: 1) a ‘Basij’ strategy to establish local militias in Syria; 2) a regionalization strategy to incorporate transnational fighters and militias in the war effort; 3) an internationalization strategy to incorporate Russia and balance the United States; and 4) a post-ISIS deterrence strategy to balance against the United States, Turkey and Israel. Iran's Syria strategy progressively escalated in response to the possible defeat of its ally and the deterioration of its forward deterrence capacities against the United States and Israel. Today, the potential for direct inter-state conflict is rising as proxy warfare declines and Iran attempts to maintain the credibility of its forward deterrence.

Hassan Ahmadian

IIP

Broadcast Appearance

IIP Interview with Hassan Ahmadian on the Middle East

| Jan. 22, 2019

Interview with Hassan Ahmadian, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Iran Project, Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, to discuss topics such as the role of the U.S. in Syria and broadly in the MENA region; identity issues; and the role of Iran and the future of the nuclear deal.

Iraqi parliament

Tasnim News

Analysis & Opinions - Aljazeera

How Iran won a face-off with the US in Iraq

| Oct. 24, 2018

Following Iraq's "inconclusive" national election on May 12, the United States tried hard to guarantee a second term for former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. Washington's special envoy Brett McGurk spent months talking Iraqi politicians into following the American blueprint aimed at isolating Tehran and "keeping anyone friendly to Iran out of power." But it was all in vain. The US failed to place its desired candidates in the important positions of prime minister, president and speaker of the parliament. Instead, Iran's Iraqi allies got their way. All three positions were filled with new faces who would not allow Iraq to turn its back to Iran.

Analysis & Opinions - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Iran in Syria: Securing Regional Deterrence

| Oct. 23, 2018

Iran is primarily concerned with preserving Syria’s prominent role in the Axis of Resistance and its overarching goal of securing its regional deterrence. Accordingly, the collapse of Damascus was intolerable because it would have negatively affected Iran and its allies in the region. This includes securing supply routes to Lebanon; enhancing the deterrence capabilities and operational experience of the Axis of Resistance against Israel and the United States, especially with Trump’s renewed hostility; and balancing Turkey in northern Syria. In addition, preserving Syria’s significant position within the Axis of Resistance serves to showcase Iran’s effectiveness in supporting allies and in its leadership role in the axis.

Rouhani and Erdogan Iran Turkey

Tasnim News

Analysis & Opinions - Al-Monitor

Will Iran, Turkey jointly confront US influence east of the Euphrates?

| Oct. 02, 2018

Turkey is facing a new conundrum in Syria. While its main concern is the areas held by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), due to the latter’s links with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), Turkey has had to prioritize Idlib because of the looming attack on the province, which could jeopardize Ankara's presence in northern Syria. Iran, on the other hand, is prioritizing pushback against the United States east of the Euphrates. Tehran’s objective is to restore the status quo in Idlib — under Turkey’s influence — as well as northeastern Syria, where US forces are based. Against this backdrop, a strategic overhaul of Iranian-Turkish cooperation in Syria is not unprecedented.

Rouhani Erdogan Putin turkey iran russia sochi

Wikicommons

Analysis & Opinions - Aljazeera

What does Iran want in northern Syria?

| Sep. 23, 2018

Although there are a number of major disagreements between Iran, Russia and Turkey, what is important in the end is that they are all opposing the current US policies in Syria. All three countries have suffered from US sanctions and all have serious trust issues with the Trump administration. Emphasising this common ground, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier in September that "the US is containable" and that Iran and Russia should continue close cooperation towards this goal. Whichever strategy Iran chooses to pursue, the US will likely feel the pressure on the ground soon enough. That could end up being an effective deterrent against US plans of opening additional fronts against Iran in the Middle East.

Trump Salman White House Meeting

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Analysis & Opinions - Al-Monitor

Why Iran isn't Concerned Over US plans for ‘Arab NATO’

| Aug. 09, 2018

Having been targeted indirectly by the “leading from behind” policy under President Obama, Iran is now faced with a more organized US effort under Trump to establish a regional setting — an "Arab NATO," the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) — that is supposed to “push back” against Iran. Against this backdrop, however, Iran does not seem worried about US efforts to create MESA. In fact, Washington’s new anti-Iran campaign in the Middle East and beyond is interpreted as falling within the “milking logic” of the Trump administration.

Qassem Suleimani Iran

Tasnim News

Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy

What Iran Really Wants in Syria

| May 10, 2018

At such a delicate moment, when the risk of miscalculation and confrontation is growing, it is essential that policymakers in Washington gain a clearer understanding of Iran’s goals in Syria, which are not offensive but focus on deterring Israel and other major foreign stakeholders in Syria. Misperceptions of Iran’s strategic intentions could lead to military confrontation and an escalatory cycle — especially on the heels of U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement.

President Donald Trump signs a Presidential Memorandum on the Iran nuclear deal from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Tuesday, May 8, 2018, in Washington. Trump announced the U.S. will pull out of the landmark nuclear accord with Iran, dealing a profound blow to U.S. allies and potentially deepening the president's isolation on the world stage.

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

News - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Belfer Center Experts on U.S. Withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal

Calling it a “great embarrassment” that fails to “halt Iran’s nuclear ambitions,” President Trump today announced his intention to pull out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and re-impose sanctions on Iran. The independent nuclear, national security, and regional experts of Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs have been assessing the terms of the JCPOA for years. In the wake of Trump’s decision, many of them weighed in with thoughts on the significance of Washington’s policy change – and what comes next.

Trump MBS Saudi

White House

Analysis & Opinions

How Effective is Saudi Arabia’s ‘Counter-Iran Policy’?

| Apr. 07, 2018

This article is aimed at scrutinizing Saudi Arabia’s new policy toward Iran in the Middle East. While King Salman’s ascendance to power brought a new leaf to Iran-Saudi relations, Mohammad bin Salman’s approach has led to a trend of continued escalation between the two countries. And yet, that is not the whole story. The change of leadership in Saudi Arabia came alongside shifts in the regional balance of power, which, coupled with Trump’s presidency, created a momentum for an active – and opportunistic – Riyadh in the Middle East. Accordingly, there has been a growing focus on Iran’s regional role on the part of Saudi Arabia. The defeat of the Islamic State (ISIS) and the Syrian opposition, the regaining of control by Syrian and Iraqi governments over their territories and the continuation of the Yemeni war without any light at the end of the tunnel have all driven Riyadh to see its rival’s position as having been strengthened and its own weakened. Therefore, Riyadh came up with a counter-Iran policy aimed at controlling and, ideally, reversing that regional trend.