Middle East & North Africa

81 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.

A traditional Iranian bazaar in the city of Kashan

Wikicommons

Analysis & Opinions - The Hill

Can Iran Weather the Trump Storm?

| May 03, 2019

In the past 10 years, oil exports have averaged about $67 billion in Iran. Last year, they dropped by two-thirds, and they are expected to drop below $30 billion this year.  There are reasons to believe that, with appropriate policies, the country can live with this level of oil exports, albeit at a reduced standard of living, and even do itself some good in the long run by reducing its dependence on oil.

Iran has been there before. In 2012, when President Obama ratcheted up U.S. sanctions against Iran, oil exports dropped by 27.5 percent, and GDP fell by 6.2 percent. In 2015, sanctions and the collapse of oil prices further reduced oil exports to $32 billion, a decade-long low, and GDP declined by 1.6 percent. If Iran’s leadership is to successfully resist U.S. demands, it must do more than find ways to evade sanctions. A lot depends on its ability to adopt a plan that reduces the economy’s dependence on oil, while distributing the burden of restructuring equitably across social groups.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani

Wikicommons

Analysis & Opinions

The Unimportance Of New Oil Sanctions

| Apr. 25, 2019

For the Islamic Republic, resistance to Washington has become a cultural norm, and it considers independence (esteghlal) as the main achievement of the 1979 revolution.  According to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Iran would have to meet 12 conditions before the United States will renegotiate the nuclear deal and consider removing its sanctions. These conditions, which are nothing short of surrender on Iran’s part, are either set to force Iran out of the nuclear deal and therefore trigger the return of UN sanctions, or they are a thinly veiled call for regime change.

A funeral ceremony in Kobani, Syria

Wikicommons

Journal Article - E-International Relations (E-IR)

Societal (In)Security in the Middle East: Radicalism as a Reaction?

| Apr. 24, 2019

Societal insecurity, stemming from historical and functional realities has emboldened the identity-based gap of states vs. societies in the Arab region. The division of the Ottoman Empire into new states without much attention to identity lines, created a historical identity challenge in those states. On the other hand, Arab ruling elites’ efforts to enforce state-centred identities failed to prevent the challenge of conflicting identities. Later on, their functional inefficiencies emboldened the identity dichotomy.

As a result of threats perceived by Arab societies against their collective identity as well as separate challenges facing each state, the state-society gap continues to challenge state identities. Collectively perceived threats create and strengthen collective frameworks intended to address those threats. And among other frameworks come radical and terrorist organisations.

Iran demonstrations 22 Bahman Iranian Revolution

Tasnim

Analysis & Opinions - Project Syndicate

The Islamic Revolution at 40

| Feb. 12, 2019

US President Donald Trump’s administration seems to hope that, with a nudge from sanctions, ordinary Iranians will rise up and overthrow the Islamic Republic. But the economic data do not support the view that the Iranian public has been driven into abject poverty since 1979, let alone that it is on the brink of revolting.

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.

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

    Author:
  • Amanda Sloat
| 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.

teaser image

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.