Middle East & North Africa

14 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.

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.

Iranian naval vessels excercising during war drills.

(YPA.IR)

Analysis & Opinions - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School The National Interest

Can Iran Stay Anti-American?

| January 22, 2016

The dramatic seizure of American navy sailors in the Persian Gulf by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards could have endangeredImplementation Day—when on January 16 Iranian compliance with the nuclear agreement so far was verified and the international sanctions against Iran lifted. Instead of derailing the deal, however, the Guards used the incident, as well as the highly publicized prisoner swap, as symbolic events to send the world a message.By detaining the vessels and broadcasting images of its crew to a global audience, the Guards used the opportunity to reveal the future path of Iranian foreign policy in the wake of the nuclear agreement—a path that can be best described as ‘pragmatic revolutionism.’

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

Disrupting the Chessboard

| October 2015

Various narratives explaining Russia’s recent decision haveemerged which portray Russia alternatively as attempting tore-establish its role as a world empire or as a power-balancerprotecting its interests in the Middle East. This publicationaims to present different scholarly perspectives and viewpointson Russian objectives in Syria and the implications it holds forworld politics. It does so by gathering the opinions of severalexperts with different backgrounds and analytic viewpointsfrom across the world.

Blog Post - Iran Matters

How to put some teeth into the nuclear deal with Iran

| Aug. 27, 2015

Dennis Ross, International Council Member of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and David Petraeus, Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center, write in The Washington Post that it is necessary for the United States to continue to project a strong deterrent to Iran in order to insure that it does not develop nuclear weapons after the expiration of the most stringent controls of the nuclear deal. Specifically, they argue that the United States should provide Israel with the Massive Ordinance Penetrator bomb, capable of destroying the most heavily defending Iranian nuclear sites, in order to strengthen the deterrent against trying to break out and built a nuclear weapon.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivers a statement on the Iran talks deal at the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria Tuesday July 14, 2015.

(AP Photo)

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

Elements of the Iran Nuclear Deal

| July 15, 2015

The July 14, 2015 comprehensive nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 (known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) consists of the agreement itself and five technical annexes: Annex I – Nuclear-related measures; Annex 2 – Sanctions-related commitments; Annex III- Civil Nuclear Cooperation; Annex IV – Joint Commission; and Annex V – Implementation Plan. The version issued by the EU is used here because pages and paragraphs are numbered in proper order.

This article describes the main elements of the JCPOA. In coming days, the Belfer Center plans to publish a more detailed description and assessment of the agreement.