Middle East & North Africa

18 Items

Iranian parliamentarians dressing in IRGC uniforms to demonstrate solidarity  following the Trump administration's terrorist designation of the organization.

IRNA

Analysis & Opinions

The Iran–U.S. Escalation: Causes and Prospects

| June 09, 2019

Despite the continuing debate in Tehran, the principle of “no negotiation under pressure” with the United States remains a consensual principle among all members of the current regime. The Supreme Leader has expressed this position by stating that the negotiations with the Trump administration are “double poison”. While Iran’s regional enemies are pushing for confrontation, the international community remains supportive of Tehran’s political position, as long as it stays committed to the nuclear deal. Existing indicators do not point at any willingness for confrontation from either side – at least at the moment. And although some regional actors have attempted to pacify the tension, the prospects for a truce remain unlikely within the current context.

Iranian demonstrators in Tehran, Iran

Tasnim

Analysis & Opinions - Aljazeera

Why Trump's strategy against Iran is likely to fail

| June 05, 2019

While Iranians are suffering from the economic crisis, the US "maximum pressure" strategy is compelling them to rally around the flag, rather than try to "take down the regime". This is not only because the cultural value of resistance is relatively high, but also because the more the Iranian leadership resists foreign pressure, the more legitimacy it gains.

U.S. military vehicles on a road in Syria, showing the American flag.

Independent

Analysis & Opinions - Le Monde

International Whiplash over America’s Syria Policy

| Jan. 23, 2019

Confused messaging by the American government on Syria, with presidential tweets and dissonant statements from senior officials, has caused international whiplash in recent weeks. This hasty announcement and its botched implementation have already harmed American credibility and risk inflaming an already complex situation.

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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. 

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 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.

Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani

Tasnim News

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

Geopolitical Fight Club: Why Iraq Must Square off with Saudi Arabia

| Mar. 26, 2018

High mistrust of Saudi Arabia by Iraqi Shi’as is hampering any meaningful outreach Saudi is undertaking toward Iraq and any policy of balancing Iraq and Iran will not succeed unless serious steps toward sectarian de-escalation is taken in the region. In order to bridge the gap, there needs to be broad religious dialogue to discuss the role of Shia’s and Sunnis in the region and forge a common space for the inclusion of both denominations. Major Grand Ayatollahs—the highest authorities in the Shi’a world—have taken positive steps of forbidding the ritual cursing of certain companions of the Prophet Muhammad and the early caliphs considered reverential to the Sunni community. In this endeavor the role of Ayatollah Sistani in Najaf will be crucial as he has a track record of promoting better relations between Shi’as and Sunnis and is an authoritative moderating figure who can reign in hardline elements in Iraq who might be opposed to a détente.

iran president rouhani

Wikicommons

Analysis & Opinions - Aljazeera

Causes behind Iran's Protests: A Preliminary Account

| Jan. 06, 2018

The causes of the uprising that has been rocking the Islamic Republic of Iran for a week now are unsurprisingly both structural and contingent. Initially kicked off by the economically dispossessed youth and joined by lower sections of the middle class, students and also some pensioners, it has reached an unprecedented geographical scope with protests spanning across 70 mainly smaller cities and towns in all four corners of the country.  Besides the structural factors that have been an almost constant feature of the Islamic Republic's rule, the past months and weeks have added a new level of discontent with the regime as a whole, which led me to speculate the recent waves of protests "may only be a forerunner of more to come." 

iranians shopping in bazaar

AP

Analysis & Opinions

Economic challenges loom in Rohani’s second term

| May 28, 2017

Despite its flaws, the May 19 presidential election offered Iranian voters a real choice between the moderate incumbent President Hassan Rohani and a hard-line rival, Ayatollah Ebrahim Raeisi. Djavad Salehi-Isfahani writes to The Arab Weekly that Rohani’s decisive win with 57% of the vote, combined with a sweep by reformist candidates in the city council elections in Tehran and several other major cities, gives him a strong mandate to move for­ward with his program of eco­nomic reform.