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Iran Strategy Brief No. 9: Targeting Iran's Revolutionary Guards
Policy Papers - 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...

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 179
Bulletins - October 9, 2017
 

Facing hard time in Tehran;
How Iran intimidates international media;
The Islamic Republic's child brides;
A broader stake in Syria

 
Resource Security Watch - No. 7
Bulletins - September 29, 2017
 

The Islamic State's scorched earth strategy;
Cairo's hydrological diplomacy;
South Asia's rainy season;
Pakistan's population bomb;
A source or scarcity in Southeast Asia

 
Why Trump Will Not Allow The Iran Deal To Stand
Articles - September 29, 2017
 

Those who support the Obama administration's landmark nuclear deal with Iran are nervous, and for good reason. In his Sept. 19 address to the United Nations General Assembly, President Trump gave what was perhaps the clearest signal to date that he has no plans to recertify the agreement (formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA) next month, as mandated by Congress.

 
Global Islamism Monitor - No. 45
Bulletins - September 18, 2017
 

An ISIS call to arms;
Tunisia's progress sparks clerical pushback;
Preparing for the return of Russia's jihadis;

 
Global Islamism Monitor - No. 44
Bulletins - September 6, 2017
 

Hamas-Iran ties: Back on track;
ISIS eyes the Islamic Republic;
The blowback from Russia's Syria strategy;
Turkey's troubling new curriculum;
How not to discredit the Islamic State

 
Iran's Big Move
Articles - September 5, 2017
 

The western Asian nation of Iran is on the cusp of expanding its reach all the way to the Mediterranean Sea and Israel's northern border - a drive that will make its nuclear pursuit, ballistic missile development and terror sponsorship that much more dangerous to the United States and its regional allies.

 
Common Cause Against The Kurds
Articles - August 30, 2017
 

An odd partnership is taking shape in the Middle East, where Iran and Turkey - two countries that have historically been strategic competitors - are suddenly making common cause.

 
Global Islamism Monitor - No. 43
Bulletins - August 28, 2017
 

China's next Target: The Uyghur language;
Britain bars ISIS returnees...;
...as Tajikistan tries a different tack;
The Islamic State's Russian orphans

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 177
Bulletins - August 21, 2017
 

The Islamic Republic versus the BBC
With an eye on the Kurds, Turkey and Iran tighten ties;
A defiant Majles doubles down

 
Beware Iran's Jihadi Legion
Articles - August 14, 2017
 

Today, the fight against the Islamic State terrorist group has become a top strategic priority of the United States and its allies in the region. In turn, the efforts of Washington and Middle Eastern partners have begun to pay real dividends, with recent months seeing a significant rollback the group's self-declared "caliphate" in Iraq and Syria. But lurking in the background of the current counterterrorism fight is another, and potentially even more significant, long-term threat.

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 176
Bulletins - August 14, 2017
 

In Ankara, fears of the Islamic Republic;
Iran expands role in Iraqi security;
An Iran-Latin America coverup;
A looming hydrological crisis;
Iran's clandestine nuclear quest

 
Global Islamism Monitor - No. 42
Bulletins - August 4, 2017
 

Taking on (some of) Boko Haram;
The Islamic State's fallback plan;
AQAP grows in the shadows;
Turkey's border wall

 
Still A Bad Deal
Articles - July 18, 2017
 

Last Friday marked the two-year anniversary of the Obama administration's signature foreign policy achievement: the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, that agreement was intended as a solution to Iran's persistent nuclear ambitions, and as a vehicle to reboot the Iranian regime's relationship with the world.

 
Iran Raises The Stakes
Articles - July 11, 2017
 

With America's global attention largely focused elsewhere, Iran continues to expand its military capabilities - legally and otherwise - forcing the question of what Washington and its regional allies plan to do about it.

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 175
Bulletins - June 16, 2017
 

ISIS targets the Islamic Republic;
Iran's war on dance;
A helping hand from Moscow
Why Israel fears Iran's role in Syria

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 174
Bulletins - May 31, 2017
 

For Rouhani, four more years...;
...and a more defiant attitude;
Iran and Hamas: Bosom buddies once more;
A wider role in Syria;
Female power in Baluchistan

 
Blacklist The IRGC
Articles - April 25, 2017
 

What should President Trump do about Iran? Campaign rhetoric about a rapid dismantlement of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 powers has given way of late to policy inertia, as the new White House focuses on domestic challenges (like health care) and foreign irritants, such as Syria and North Korea. But there are now fresh signs that the White House could soon seriously rethink its Iran strategy. As it does, it would be wise to revisit one of its earliest foreign policy concepts, and one with the potential to dramatically alter the strategic equation vis-a-vis Iran: a comprehensive blacklisting of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. 

 
Global Islamism Monitor - No. 37
Bulletins - April 20, 2017
 

Meet the new Hamas, same as the old Hamas;
The Islamic State's "scorched earth" strategy;
ISIS flounders in Africa...;
...but advances in the Caribbean;
Islamic extremism on the ascent in Central Asia

 
The JCPOA Helps Iran's Elites And Hurts Rouhani
Articles - March 29, 2017
 

These are hard times for Hassan Rouhani. With fewer than two months to go until Iran's next national election, currently scheduled to take place on May 19, the long knives are out for the soft-spoken cleric who serves as the country's president. 

 
Iran Emboldened
Articles - March 21, 2017
 

Tehran's new threat to ignore a key plank of the U.S.-led global nuclear agreement offers a timely reminder that, no matter what happens with Iran's upcoming presidential election, the regime is, and will remain, just as dangerous as it's ever been. It also hammers another nail in the coffin of the idea – so cherished by the last administration – that the 2015 deal, with its hundreds of billions in sanctions relief for Iran, would moderate the regime and spur a broader rapprochement between the Islamic Republic and the West. 

 
Resource Security Watch - No. 2
Bulletins - March 20, 2017
 

The difficulties of Israeli desalination;
Pakistan's water woes;
In Iran, environmental problems...and protests;
Africa's newest famine;
Russia eyes expanded Arctic presence

 
Global Islamism Monitor - No. 36
Bulletins - March 20, 2017
 

ISIS drones take flight;
Russia's Jihadi legion;
Afghan forces push back;
The economic state of the Islamic State;
An extreme education

 
A Refreshing Change At The U.N.
Articles - March 7, 2017
 

Trump administration deliberations about whether the United States should quit the United Nations' Human Rights Council over its anti-Israel obsession reflect a welcome new U.S. approach to Turtle Bay. 

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 173
Bulletins - March 3, 2017
 

A political dark horse rises;
A route to regional energy dominance;
The debate over IRGC designation...;
...and movement toward an anti-Iranian bloc;
That enduring Russo-Iranian alliance

 
Why Russia Won't Help Trump On Iran
Articles - February 10, 2017
 

By all appearances, the Donald Trump administration is preparing to attempt a historic reconciliation with Russia. In part, the strategy is aimed at driving a wedge into the long-running strategic partnership between Moscow and Tehran. With the proper incentives, the thinking goes, it might be possible to "flip" Russia. "There's daylight between Russia and Iran, for sure," one foreign official familiar with the White House's deliberations explained. "What's unclear is what [Russian President Vladimir] Putin would demand in return for weakening the alliance." 

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 172
Bulletins - February 9, 2017
 

Toward a blacklisting of the IRGC;
Defiant in Tehran;
Iran's proxy forces in Syria;
An opening in North Africa;
Iran's hanging campaign heats up

 
Will Trump Fire Back At Iran?
Articles - February 1, 2017
 

On Sunday, Iran reportedly test-fired a Khorramshahr medium-range ballistic missile from a test site near Semnan, 140 miles east of Tehran. Iran began production of what it calls the "high-precision" weapon in 2016. The missile flew 600 miles before detonating in what U.S. officials called a "failed test of a reentry vehicle." 

 
Iran Strategy Brief No. 8: Iranian Ideology after the Nuclear Deal
Policy Papers - January 11, 2017
 
The Obama administration’s Iran policy has been driven by the conviction that reaching a deal with Iran over its nuclear weapons program would constitute a historic diplomatic breakthrough, lead to a fundamental transformation in U.S.-Iranian relations, and prompt significant changes in the Islamic Republic’s international behavior. This view was apparently based on a belief that American opposition to Iran’s policies played a critical role in perpetuating Tehran’s destabilizing activities, and that pursuing a rapprochement with the Islamic Republic could consequently lead to more moderate policies.
 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 171
Bulletins - January 4, 2017
 

A new morality crackdown;
Second thoughts about public executions?;
A growing Iranian footprint in the Caucasus...;
...as Russo-Iranian military cooperation heats up

 
Trump's Arsenal Against Iran
Articles - December 29, 2016
 

What will the new president do about Iran? 

While still on the campaign trail, President-elect Donald Trump railed repeatedly against President Obama's "disastrous" nuclear deal with Iran. He pledged to tear up the agreement, or at least amend it substantially, as one of his first acts in office. Yet, for a host of reasons, the nuclear pact concluded between the Iran and the P5+1 powers (the U.S., U.K., Russia, China, France and Germany) last summer is likely to prove more resilient than either the president-elect or his advisers hope. 

 
Global Islamism Monitor - No. 34
Bulletins - December 26, 2016
 

Boko Haram's economic impact;
ISIS in Afghanistan: Down, but not out;
How the Taliban moves money;
Targeting the cyber caliphate;
ISIS seeks softer targets in Europe;
A helping hand from Riyadh

 
The End Of The Iran Deal?
Articles - December 7, 2016
 

President Barack Obama believed that reaching a deal with Iran over its nuclear weapons program would be a historic diplomatic breakthrough that could lead to a fundamental transformation in U.S.-Iranian relations and, more importantly, to significant changes in Iran's international behavior. But, nearly a year after the deal's implementation, there are no signs of change in Iran, and good reason to believe that the deal is in its final days. 

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 170
Bulletins - December 5, 2016
 

Single in Tehran;
The regime turns on its own;
An Israeli strike, back on the table;
Iran's newest weapon;
Iran's naval ambitions, revisited

 
Trump And Iran: What The Next Administration Can Do
Articles - November 16, 2016
 

The United States’ relationship with Iran tops the list of foreign policy issues that will confront President-elect Donald Trump when he takes office in January. Like many of the other Republican presidential candidates, Trump was an early and staunch opponent of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the controversial nuclear deal concluded last summer between six world powers and Iran. But Trump took up contradictory positions on the deal over the course of his campaign, at times promising to tear it up and at others suggesting he would simply amend it.

 
Iran And China Get Cozy
Articles - October 28, 2016
 

Scattered among the hundreds of kiosks that made up the massive China-Eurasia Expo held in the western Chinese city of Urumqi in late September were a handful of Iranian rug merchants plying their wares. They didn't seem to sell much, but they weren't worried. The merchants, like the Iranian government itself, were looking ahead - and there are plenty of opportunities these days, particularly in China. 

 
Collapse Over Iran's Missiles
Articles - October 4, 2016
 

The revelation of recent days that, back in January, President Obama agreed that the United Nations should lift its sanctions against two Iranian state banks which financed Iran's ballistic missile development puts the lie to Washington's claims - stubbornly maintained for more than a year - that it was determined to rein in the Islamic Republic's expanding missile program. 

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 169
Bulletins - October 4, 2016
 

Iran's demographic strategy in Syria;
A casualty of Iran's water woes;
A political reprieve for Rouhani

 
The Uncomfortable Alliance
Articles - September 6, 2016
 

Greater cooperation with Russia in the struggle to defeat the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS) and other extremist elements in the Muslim World is now being urged by a number of prominent Americans. Russia and America both have a problem with Islamists, goes the argument, so we should work together to defeat the common enemy. 

 
Iran And The New Monroe Doctrine
Articles - September 2, 2016
 

In Washington, conventional wisdom has long held that Iran's presence south of the U.S. border constitutes little more than an axis of annoyance. In this telling, Iran's activities in Central and South America - from numerous commercial and trade deals with various nations to the establishment of cultural centers throughout the region - are disorganized, opportunistic, and ultimately of little consequence. 

 
Iran Agreement Won't Stop Growing Menace From Foe
Articles - August 31, 2016
 

Years from now, historians are sure to view the nuclear deal concluded last year between Iran and the P5+1 powers - the U.S., U.K., Russia, China, France and Germany - as the greatest foreign policy achievement of President Obama's second term. But it is far less clear that they will see the agreement as having advanced America's strategic interests. 

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 168
Bulletins - August 30, 2016
 

Iran's Iraqi beachhead gets bigger;
A new push into Latin America;
Russian fighters in Iran?
Iran's newest investor
 

 
Iran's Ahmadinejad Is Betting On A Comeback
Articles - August 25, 2016
 

Does anyone remember Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Until recently, the Islamic radical and former military officer who served as Iran's sixth president could be considered something of a political footnote. 

 
Humiliation on the High Seas
Articles - August 25, 2016
 

The United States was humiliated this week when the USS Nitze came under simulated attack by four Iranian missile and torpedo-equipped speedboats in international waters. Despite American warnings, radio calls, flares and foghorns, two of the boats came within a few hundred yards of the Nitze. Iran is harassing American naval warships in the Persian Gulf while Washington refuses to acknowledge Iranian threats for reasons that are both political and practical.

 
Blowing Up America's Nuke Policy
Articles - August 16, 2016
 

President Barack Obama is considering making a "no first use" declaration regarding U.S. nuclear weapons. Under this framework, it would be the policy of the United States not to resort to using nuclear weapons in a potential crisis unless another country did first. This is widely seen as a legacy move in the final months of Obama's presidency, a way to cement his anti-nuclear reputation in history. 

 
Global Islamism Monitor - No. 26
Bulletins - July 29, 2016
 

Sisi's appeal;
Terrorism and the internet of things;
The Islamic State's shifting strategy;
Jittery in Seoul;
Al-Qaeda reemerges in South Asia;
ISIS targets African youth

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 167
Bulletins - July 29, 2016
 

Iran still seeks nukes...quietly;
A second act for Ahmadinejad;
Iran shakes up its military;
Some economic breathing room from the FATF;
Iran trains its Afghan legion

 
A Bitter Birthday For The Iran Deal
Articles - July 14, 2016
 

Before the nuclear deal between Iran and the countries of the P5+1 (the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, China, France and Germany) was concluded a year ago today, the true extent of the compromise struck over Iran's nuclear ambitions wasn't yet publicly known.

 
The Iran of Old
Articles - July 12, 2016
 

As the global nuclear deal with Iran marks its one-year anniversary this week, Tehran is maintaining its fierce anti-Americanism, receiving $100 billion-plus in sanctions relief with which it can better confront the United States in its region and beyond, and apparently trying to cheat its way to nuclear weaponry. 

 
Strategic Primer - Drones
Policy Papers - June 20, 2016
 

Remotely Piloted Aircrafts (RPAs, or drones) are playing an increasingly important role in modern warfare, and performing a growing nunmber of surveillance and reconnaissance missions at home and abroad. This Primer describe how the United States, as well as our allies and our enemies, are using drones, discusses challenges posed by RPAs, and offers recommendations for future defense planning.