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Latest Articles

Rocketing Toward War?
By Lawrence J. Haas, U.S. News & World Report, February 20, 2018

Military skirmishes and escalating threats between Iran and Israel of late are raising the risks of a catastrophic regional war, prompting questions about what the United States should do to prevent it.

To date, President Donald Trump has focused more attention on defeating the Islamic State group in Syria than on preventing Iran from filling the resulting void with its own military and proxy forces and, in the process, further implanting itself in Syria as part of its quest for a land corridor all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.

North Korea Wins The Propaganda Gold
By James S. Robbins, U.S. News & World Report, February 15, 2018

Whatever other awards North Korean athletes earn at the Winter Olympics now underway in Pyeongchang, South Korea, their country has made a championship level effort at manipulating the international press.

This week, the American media went on overload in praise of North Korean Minister of Propaganda and Agitation Kim Yo Jong, sister to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The minister was praised for her poise, her smile, her fashion sense and her handwriting. The Washington Post compared her to Ivanka Trump, (which even the New York Times found a bit much). There hadn't been this kind of gushing over a dictator's handmaiden since Leni Reifenstahl was hailed as a genius for her Nazi propaganda film about the 1936 Munich Olympics. And North Korea's propaganda minister can return to her brother claiming a gold medal performance.

Germany's Social Democrats Meet Their Day of Reckoning
By E. Wayne Merry, The National Interest, February 10, 2018

Government formation in Germany is approaching a crunch point. The main center-right (CDU/CSU) and center-left (SPD) parties have reached an agreement on a new grand-coalition government, similar to that which preceded inconclusive national elections last September. The crunch point will be a referendum on that agreement by the dues-paying, card-carrying membership of the Social Democratic Party.

Iran's Uprising Pits The Country's Old Rulers Against Its Young Citizens
By Ilan Berman and Rachel Millsap, The National Interest, February 9, 2018

Last month, with mass protests underway on the streets of Tehran and other cities, one of Iran's most senior clerics inadvertently sparked an altogether different sort of international incident.

On January 8, Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, one of the country's most powerful officials and a potential successor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, traveled to Germany to receive medical treatment amid rumors of failing health. The visit prompted outrage from human-rights activists, and German authorities — under growing pressure from watchdog groups — contemplated bringing charges against Shahroudi for "crimes against humanity" for his role in directing the imprisonment and torture of numerous opponents of the Iranian regime. The sixty-nine-year-old jurist ultimately decided to flee the Federal Republic in order to avoid the fallout.

How Poland Is Stoking Anti-Semitism
By Lawrence J. Haas, U.S. News & World Report, February 6, 2018

After Israel's ambassador to Poland criticized that nation's bill to outlaw words that suggest Polish complicity in the Holocaust, a spokesperson for Poland's ruling party retweeted the comment that the ambassador's action "makes it difficult for me to look at Jews with kindness and sympathy."


Latest In-House Bulletins

China Reform Monitor - No. 1316
February 20, 2018

Walling off Xinjiang;
How China spies on Africa

Resource Security Watch - No. 11
February 16, 2018

The hidden cost of cryptocurrency;
Tehran's toxic air;
Reclassifying climate change;
China moves to manage carbon emissions;
Indonesia's sinking city

Russia Reform Monitor - No. 2188
February 16, 2018

Navalny appeal denied;
Planning for war with the West

Global Islamism Monitor - No. 49
February 16, 2018

Education, Taliban style;
The tip of the Taliban spear;
The Islamic State's new way of making money...;
...and a payday for its opponents;
Pressuring Pakistan

Russia Reform Monitor - No. 2187
February 15, 2018

How Russia hides the true cost of its foreign wars;
An expanding footprint in the Arctic


Latest Policy Papers

Iran Strategy Brief No. 10: Iran's Burgeoning Strategic Forces
By Ian Williams , February 5, 2018

Among the Islamic Republic of Iran’s central strategic goals are the preservation of its political regime and its ascension to what it views as its rightful place as the regional hegemon of the Middle East. These objectives have put Iran on an adversarial footing with its immediate neighbors, and with much of the international community. 

Iran Strategy Brief No. 9: Targeting Iran's Revolutionary Guards
By Ilan Berman , October 19, 2017

The passage this summer of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, a wide-ranging legislative package that imposed new economic pressure on Russia, Iran and North Korea, reignited the debate over U.S. policy toward the Islamic Republic. The relevant provisions of the Act require the White House, pursuant to Executive Order No. 13224, to formally designate the totality of Iran’s clerical army, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), as a terrorist organization by no later than October 31st of this year. In his October 13th speech on Iran policy, President Trump confirmed that he will do so...