8 Items

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.

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Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Affairs

Does the U.S. Have the Wrong Middle East Strategy?

| Dec. 11, 2018

Events in the Middle East tend to have serious policy implications for the United States given the range of important U.S. economic, political, counterterrorism, and broader military interests in the region. Although there is a healthy debate to be had about where the Middle East might fit into a potential recalibration or rebalancing of U.S. global priorities, at this juncture I don’t believe it would be in U.S. interests to turn its back on the region’s crises and just hope for the best. 

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.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are welcomed by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Saturday, May 20, 2017, on their arrival to King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

White House

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

The United States Cannot Afford to Pick a Side in the Shia-Sunni Fight

| June 25, 2018

While many Shia movements may have differences of opinion with Iran, as long as the Trump presidency uncritically supports Saudi Arabia and the threat of military conflict with Iran remains on the horizon, it is unlikely that any popular Shia group will side with the United States. The administration’s narrow focus on Iran will provoke precisely what the Trump White House aims to prevent—a more cohesive regional Shia movement under Iran’s protection and aggrieved Shia supportive of countering U.S. influence in the region. In other words, the current U.S. course is narrowing policy discussions both within individual Shia organizations as well as across transnational Shia alliances by closing the door to pro-U.S. policy alternatives. This further consolidates Iran's position as the center of the Shia world and its long-standing partnership with various Shia transnational movements throughout the Middle East such as the Lebanese Hezbollah, many of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), and Yemen's Ansarallah (the Houthis) all of whom are engaged in critical regional hotspots.

Karbala Iraq Shia

David Stanley/Flickr

Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Affairs

Iran's Axis of Resistance Rises: How It's Forging a New Middle East

| Jan. 24, 2017

In 2006, in the midst of a fierce war between Israel and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice famously stated that the world was witnessing the “birth pangs of a new Middle East.” She was right—but not in the sense she had hoped. Instead of disempowering Hezbollah and its sponsor, Iran, the war only augmented the strength and prestige of what is known as the “axis of resistance,” a power bloc that includes Iran, Iraq, Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas in Palestine.

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

Relations with Iran: Questions to Consider

Spring 2016

With the successful implementation of the historic nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1, a new chapter has opened between Iran and the international community, including the United States. Nevertheless, the future path of bilateral relations between the United States and Iran is uncertain and many challenges exist as the two countries attempt to formulate new terms of engagement. What should U.S. policy be towards Iran after the nuclear agreement? Can the agree­ment open the door to effective collaboration on areas of mutual interest, especially given the rising security challenges and rapidly changing dynamics of the Middle East? Or, will strategic rivalries between Iran and the United States con­tinue to shape and impede cooperation?

Kurdish peshmerga forces stand by their armed vehicles in Mahmoudiyah, Iraq, a day after they take control of the village from the Islamic State group, as they patrol on Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014.

(AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

Bad Move, ISIS: Why America and Iran Should Work Together

| Oct. 06, 2014

"While a threat to U.S. interests, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) presents us with a unique opportunity to 'reset' the Middle East equation—to actively transform regional relations, to abate the cold war between Iran and Saudi Arabia and to forge a new working relationship with Iran," writes Payam Mohseni. "As the United States moves to escalate its war against ISIS and forge a coalition against the terrorist group, it is important that Iran be included in the process. After all, U.S. and Iranian interests have increasingly converged in the Middle East with the emergence of a common enemy, and no power in the region is better suited to taking on ISIS than Iran and its affiliated Shi’a militias in Iraq."

An Iraqi army soldier stands guard at Tahrir Square in Baghdad, Iraq, June 16, 2014. Sunni militants captured a key northern Iraqi town along the highway to Syria a week after capturing a vast swath of territory in the country's north.

AP Photo

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

ISIS Challenge in Iraq: Why America Should Work with Iran

| June 16, 2014

"The U.S. should seize the opportunity presented by the Iraq crisis to reach out and engage Iran. The threat posed by ISIS and radical jihadism as well as the potential for further regional instability represent important areas of mutual strategic concern for both countries. By engaging the Iranians, the U.S. will gain the critical ability to shape the course of events without getting bogged down in the conflict. It will also help the U.S. build a working relationship with Iran that could ease the current nuclear negotiations forward and lay the groundwork for future cooperation when a successful deal is reached."