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Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 146
Bulletins - April 3, 2014
 

The IRGC versus Rouhani;
Iran's ties with Hamas: Back on track
Iran's oil export surge;
Fear and loathing in Sana'a;
A tug-of-war over investment in Iran

 
South Asia Security Monitor - No. 338
Bulletins - February 19, 2014
 

U.S. freezes Haqqani assets;
Launch dates set for INS Arihant, AGNI-5;
Taliban 15 demands for peace talks;
Pakistan invests in JF-17

 
End the Terror of Ivory Trade
Articles - January 25, 2014
 

Transnational criminal syndicates, terrorist organizations and Islamic extremists are increasingly turning to wildlife trafficking to bankroll their operations. Specifically, elephant and rhinoceros ivory accounts for an increasing share of the budget of Somali militant groups and al-Qaeda affiliates. So far, the White House and international agencies have failed to effectively address this emerging threat.

 
Russia Is Losing Against Radical Islam
Articles - January 8, 2014
 

Last month was a bloody one in Russia. On December 29th and 30th, two suicide bombings in the southern city of Volgograd killed a combined total of 34 people and injured many more. In the process, they shone a rare spotlight on the true state of Russia's counterterrorism policy.

 
The Day the Music Died?
Articles - November 25, 2013
 

The deal hammered out over the weekend between the P5+1 powers and Iran in Geneva should have come as a surprise to no one. The White House’s dogged pursuit of some sort of diplomatic breakthrough with Iran, whatever the political and international-security cost, meant that an agreement — no matter how bad — was in the offing, unless the Iranians themselves decided it wasn’t in their interest.

 
Eurasia Security Watch - No. 303
Bulletins - November 18, 2013
 

Brotherhood banned and fleeing Egypt;
Al qaeda influence spreads in Syria, peace talks delayed;
Brotherhood leader arrested in Egypt

 
Chemical Belly of the Syrian Beast
Articles - October 22, 2013
 

With civil war raging, Syria, a state sponsor of terror, has attacked its own people with chemical weapons and attempted to skirt international sanctions. The United States, the EU, Russia and the UN must identify the full extent of the threat and eliminate Syria's chemical weapons capacity

 
Implosion: The End of Russia and What It Means for America
Books - September 2013
 

Today, Putin’s Russia is fast approaching a social and political crisis—one that promises to be every bit as profound as the fall of the USSR. Author Ilan Berman tackles the crisis that has Russia on the fast track to ruin, and the grave danger Russian collapse poses to America’s security, in his new book, Implosion.

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 138
Bulletins - September 17, 2013
 

Iran's economic crisis deepens...;
...as regime readies nuclear bargaining chip;
A helping hand from Moscow

 
The Fight Against Al-Qaida Is Far From Over
Articles - September 11, 2013
 

Whatever happened to the war on terror? Unless you've been paying close attention, you could be forgiven for thinking that America's struggle against radical Islam is largely a thing of the past.

 
Iran's New President Won't Compromise
Articles - June 27, 2013
 

History, it is said, doesn't repeat itself, but occasionally it does rhyme. So it is with Western policy toward Iran, which is on the verge of returning to the costly rhythm of the past.

 
Despite Sanctions, Iran's Money Flow Continues
Articles - June 25, 2013
 

The United States and Europe are failing to use a tool already in their possession that would deliver a knockout blow to Iran's nuclear program. It isn't a new piece of computer malware or a bomb. The group that would accomplish the mission isn't the Pentagon or the European Union—it's the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or Swift.

 
Iran's Rigged Election
Articles - June 24, 2013
 

Iranians closed the page on the tumultuous eight-year tenure of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when they went to the polls on June 14 to pick a new president. In a national election marked by tremendous fervor and massive turnout (some 75 percent of Iran’s roughly 50 million eligible voters are estimated to have participated), the victor was Hasan Rowhani, a soft-spoken cleric widely billed as a “moderate” among Iran’s field of presidential contenders.

 
Iran: Much More Than Nukes
Articles - June 13, 2013
 

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey's acknowledgment this week that Iran "is a threat to U.S. national security in many ways," and not just in its pursuit of nuclear weapons, is both welcome and timely.

In highlighting Iran's nuclear pursuit, U.S. policymakers and pundits have cast insufficient light on Tehran's other activities in the region and beyond that dog U.S. security interests and make its potential nuclear capacity so frightening.

 
AFPC Iran Strategy Brief: The Sunni-Shi’a Divide and Today’s Iran
Books - June 2013
 

Islam has two main sects, Sunni and Shi’a. The process by which the original schism materialized and played out—though well over 1,400 years old—remains the foundation of the ideas and tensions which continue to drive the split. As such, understanding what happened nearly a millennia-and-a-half ago is essential to understanding the contemporary divisions that exist within the Muslim world.

 
Iran On Our Back Porch
Articles - June 5, 2013
 

Last week, Argentine state prosecutor Alberto Nisman dropped a bombshell when he issued his long-awaited indictment in the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israel Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires. The 502-page report pins the blame for the attack -- which killed 85 and wounded hundreds more in what experts call Latin America's 9/11 -- squarely on the Islamic Republic of Iran. In doing so, it provides a timely reminder that Iran's radical regime is active in the Western Hemisphere and that its presence here is far broader than is commonly understood.

 
Boston Bombing's Russian Roots
Articles - May 14, 2013
 

Ever since last month’s bombings at the Boston Marathon, speculation has abounded as to what led the perpetrators — suspected to be ethnic Chechens 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar — to carry out the most significant act of terrorism on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001. By all accounts, both were largely homegrown radicals who received inspiration, and perhaps even dangerous instruction, from jihadist elements in the United States and abroad. The roots of the Tsarnaevs’ militancy can be traced back at least in part to Russia’s own troubled “war on terrorism” — a struggle that Moscow, more than two decades after the Soviet collapse, is in real danger of losing.

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 133
Bulletins - April 26, 2013
 

Flashpoint: Iran's Azeris;
Economic uncertainty, and food insecurity, in Iran;
Number of Presidential hopefuls continues to grow

 
Overlooked Middle East Crises
Articles - April 23, 2013
 

These days, American policy toward the Middle East tends to be dominated by two regional crises.

The first is the long-running showdown with Iran over its nuclear program. Despite mounting Western financial pressure, the Islamic republic shows no signs of changing course. To the contrary, Iran’s leaders have defiantly tightened their fiscal belts and redoubled their efforts to cross the nuclear Rubicon. Meanwhile, negotiations between Tehran and the West have concluded predictably, without any tangible progress on bringing the Iranian regime’s nuclear ambitions to heel.

 
What Are The Roots Of Tsarnaev's Murder Spree?
Articles - April 21, 2013
 

The apprehension of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev ends a five day reign of terror in the Boston area. Taking him alive allows authorities the opportunity to find answers to critical questions surrounding the deadly April 15 Boston marathon bombing. Most important of this is, why did Dzhokhar and his brother Tamarlan allegedly do it?

 
The Dangers Of Neglecting Central Asia
Articles - April 16, 2013
 

Secretary of State John Kerry made news recently by referring to the venue of the latest nuclear talks with Iran as the fictional country of "Kyrzakhstan." That off-the-cuff comment was a telling indicator of the general lack of concern for Central Asia that prevails in official Washington.

 
Shift Tactics In Iran Negotiations
Articles - February 28, 2013
 

Suddenly, it's springtime for diplomacy with Iran once again. After a year that saw a dramatic escalation of economic pressure against the Islamic Republic, the Obama administration and its allies are now once again talking to Tehran. Yesterday, negotiations concluded in Almaty, Kazakhstan on the latest round of multilateral diplomacy aimed at bringing Iran's nuclear ambitions to heel. Additional talks are now set for April, to be held once again in Kazakhstan.

 
Does Iran Already Have The Bomb?
Articles - February 27, 2013
 

During Secretary of State John Kerry's listening tour of the Middle East, one troubling regional issue might go unspoken: the possibility that Iran already has nuclear weapons capability.

 
Eurasia Security Watch - No. 279
Bulletins - February 26, 2013
 
 
Cutting The Iran-China Connection
Articles - February 14, 2013
 

Just what will it take to bring Iran’s nuclear ambitions to heel? The past year has seen a dramatic expansion of economic pressure against the Iranian regime by the United States and Europe, all with a single-minded purpose: to ratchet up the costs to Iran of its stubborn atomic endeavor.

 
Rogue Nations Shrug Off Obama's Threats
Articles - February 13, 2013
 

In his State of the Union Address, President Obama pledged that "America will continue to lead the effort to prevent the spread of the world's most dangerous weapons."

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 131
Bulletins - February 6, 2013
 


Iran adapts to western sanctions...:
...or does it?;
With an eye towards election, a new order of battle

 
Iran Electoral Power Play Shows How Fragile Regime Actually Is
Articles - February 5, 2013
 

Iran's presidential election may still be some four months away, but the political machinations have already begun. Last week, Iran's Council of Guardians, the powerful governmental oversight body tasked with interpreting the country's constitution, passed a new law imposing additional curbs on the electoral process within the Islamic Republic—and adding a new layer of bureaucracy to its already-convoluted political process.

 
Assessing Iran's Asia Pivot
Articles - January 30, 2013
 

A significant shift is underway in U.S. defense posture. Over the past year, the Obama administration has carried out a public pivot in strategic focus toward the Asia Pacific theater. The reorientation has been driven in large part by concerns over China’s “peaceful” (or not so peaceful) rise to regional prominence—and by an effort to exploit the opportunities that have been created by it. Widespread regional unease over China’s growing footprint among Asian countries has paved the way for stronger relationships between Asia and the United States, as well as a growing willingness to partner with Washington on matters of regional security and politics.

 
The Cost Of Misunderstanding Iran
Articles - January 17, 2013
 

Today, the United States confronts no shortage of strategic challenges in the Middle East. Initial optimism about democratic change among the countries of the “Arab Spring” has given way to deep apprehension over the ascendance of Islamist forces in places like Egypt and Libya. The post-Saddam government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki remains fragile and unstable, riven by sectarian divisions and propelled by divisive power politics. And al-Qaeda, although down in the wake of the May 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden, is decidedly not out, as frequent bombings in Iraq and mounting unrest in Yemen underscore.

 
The Brotherhood's Agenda, Cairo's Catastrophe
Articles - January 14, 2013
 

It has been heralded as a humanitarian gesture and a sign of Arab leadership, but Qatar’s decision last week to double its $2.5 billion aid package to Egypt is also a telling indicator of the true economic state of affairs in post-revolutionary Egypt.

 
Why North Korea's Missile Launch Matters
Articles - December 21, 2012
 

North Korea's successful use last week of a long-range rocket to launch a satellite into orbit has catapulted the Asian rogue state back into the international spotlight. It also has brought back the global danger posed by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea into sharp focus.

 
Anatomy Of A Power Struggle
Articles - December 19, 2012
 
 
U.S. Sanctions Push Iran To Foreign Meddling
Articles - November 27, 2012
 

There's a tried-and-true rule in politics that, when there's trouble at home, it's time to look abroad. The Iranian regime is proving to be no exception to this axiom; as its economic fortunes have dimmed as a result of widening Western sanctions, the Iranian regime has ramped up its interference throughout the Middle East.

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 128
Bulletins - November 20, 2012
 

An Energy Lifeline for Syria...;
...and an Iranian Hand in Yemen's Unrest?;
Still More Fiscal Belt Tightening

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 127
Bulletins - November 8, 2012
 
 
Blacklist The United Arab Emirates
Articles - November 6, 2012
 

The security of many countries is being endangered by the United Arab Emirates, a confederation of seven small states located in the Arabian Peninsula. Usually considered a Western ally, this false friend also serves as a regional financial hub for mob figures, arms dealers, drug traffickers, jihadis, and rogue regimes. The White House and the Financial Action Task Force—set up by the G7 to combat money laundering and terrorism financing—have so far failed to take action to stop this emerging threat.

 
The Mirage Of Nuclear Talks With Iran
Articles - October 22, 2012
 

Call it President Obama’s “October surprise.” This past weekend, just days before tonight’s much-anticipated presidential debate on foreign policy and national security, the New York Times reported that the White House appears to be on the cusp of a diplomatic breakthrough with Tehran—and that direct, one-on-one negotiations over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear effort could take place in the near future, following the U.S. presidential election in November.

 
Iran's Mullahs Blame Mahmoud
Articles - October 11, 2012
 

You've got to feel a little sorry for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. With his nuclear brinksmanship and inflammatory public rhetoric, Iran's firebrand president is accustomed to hogging the international spotlight. But recent days have seen him making news for a different reason entirely. Ahmadinejad is now fighting for his political life against domestic opponents who blame him for the country's current fiscal crisis.

 
The Contours of Iran's Currency Crisis
Articles - October 5, 2012
 

Quite suddenly, it seems, Iran’s economy is in serious trouble. In recent days, the country’s national currency has fallen to record lows against the U.S. dollar. On October 1st alone, the value of the Iranian rial declined by some 17 percent, collapsing to 34,700 to one American dollar. (It has since reportedly fallen still further). All told, the rial has lost more than 80 percent of its worth over the past year.

 
Seeing Sanctions Straight
Articles - October 3, 2012
 

When it comes to American policy toward the Islamic Republic of Iran, one approach has tended to crowd out all others. Over time, economic sanctions have come to be seen as something of a catch-all—a panacea of sorts for the West's nagging problem with the Iranian regime and its persistent nuclear ambitions. As a result, policymakers in Washington, as well as their counterparts across the Atlantic, have invested tremendous time and energy in crafting an elaborate framework of economic pressure against the Iranian regime.

 
The dangerous Iran flirtation: Argentina likely to get burned
Articles - September 27, 2012
 

At first blush, Argentina seems like an odd choice of partners for the Islamic Republic of Iran. The South American nation holds the dubious distinction of being the first victim of Iranian terrorism in the Western Hemisphere, suffering terrorist attacks on Israeli and Jewish targets in Buenos Aires that were carried out by Iranian-sponsored radicals in 1992 and 1994. Yet today, relations between Argentina and Iran are unmistakably on the upswing.

 

 

 
Post-Election, Iran Could Become Obama’s Decision
Articles - September 6, 2012
 

For the moment, let's set aside the friction in U.S.-Israeli relations over Iran's nuclear program, which serves neither Washington nor Jerusalem.

 
The War on Counterrorism
Articles - September 5, 2012
 

Almost eleven years after the attacks of September 11, 2011, it’s still hard to discern exactly how we are faring in the struggle against radical Islam. The death in May 2011 of Osama Bin Laden was a key counterterrorism victory for the Obama administration—one that, according to the State Department, has helped put al-Qaeda on a “path of decline.” Yet it’s far too early to count the Bin Laden network out, as recent terrorist attacks by the group’s regional franchises in places like Yemen, Iraq and Mali make clear. Perhaps the most curious anomaly of our current counterterrorism fight, however, is the fact that the subject matter experts who serve at its intellectual front lines have found themselves unexpectedly under attack.

 
The Economics Of Attacking Iran
Articles - August 21, 2012
 

Will Israel, in fact, attack Iran? That question, a perennial one in the debate over Iran's nuclear program, has gained far greater urgency of late, as it is becoming increasingly clear that Western sanctions have failed to alter the Islamic Republic's strategic trajectory.

 
Iran's Asian Lifeline: Cut off from Western markets, the mullahs are sending their oil eastward.
Articles - August 17, 2012
 

The West isn't the only part of the world going to Asia for commerce. Confronted with Western sanctions over its nuclear ambitions, Iran is increasingly turning to Asia's vast markets and its sympathetic governments.

 
Iran Courts Latin America
Articles - August 5, 2012
 

In October 2011, U.S. attorney general Eric Holder and FBI director Robert Mueller revealed the thwarting of an elaborate plot by elements in Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington at a posh D.C. eatery, utilizing members of the Los Zetas Mexican drug cartel.

The foiled terrorist plot, with its Latin American connections, focused new attention on what had until then been a largely overlooked political phenomenon: the intrusion of the Islamic Republic of Iran into the Western Hemisphere. An examination of Tehran's behavioral pattern in the region over the past several years reveals four distinct strategic objectives: loosening the U.S.-led international noose to prevent it from building nuclear weapons; obtaining vital resources for its nuclear project; creating informal networks for influence projection and sanctions evasion; and establishing a terror infrastructure that could target the U.S. homeland.

 
Eurasia Security Watch - No. 265
Bulletins - August 1, 2012
 

Israel weighs possible attack on Syria's chemical arsenal; U.S. hopes for new military base in Tajikistan...; ...while Russia simply hopes to remain; A way out for Assad; Sectarian violence surges in Iraq

 
Misreading Iran at our peril
Articles - July 13, 2012
 

When it comes to the financial markets, it is a rule of thumb that past success is a poor indicator of future performance. Sadly, it turns out, that's also the case with political science.

Take the latest offering from one of the field's best and brightest. Kenneth N. Waltz, a decorated professor at Columbia University and the University of California at Berkeley, is dean of the "neorealism" school in international relations theory -- a deep thinker whose 1965 book "Man, the State, and War" revolutionized our understanding of how nation-states behave.

 
Inflation And Iran's Regime
Articles - July 6, 2012
 

Europe and the U.S. may be in grim economic straits, but the Islamic Republic of Iran is doing just fine—at least if Iran's leaders are to be believed. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has insisted relentlessly that his country's economy is healthy, while Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has christened the current Iranian calendar year as the "Year of Domestic Production and Support for Iranian Capital and Labor."