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Desperate And Dumb
Articles - November 11, 2014
 

Last month, President Barack Obama reportedly wrote a private letter to Iran's supreme leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, seeking to tie the fight against the Islamic State group to the ongoing negotiations over Iran's nuclear program. The White House purportedly sought to pressure Iran into reaching an agreement by the November 24 diplomatic deadline by hinting that failing to do so would affect American efforts against the Islamic State group. 

 
Should We Be Worried About Iran's Moves In The Western Hemisphere?
Articles - October 31, 2014
 

Sometimes, it's difficult to see the forest for the trees. Optimism may currently be running high in Washington that next month's deadline for negotiations will yield some sort of durable deal over Iran's nuclear program. But amid all of the diplomatic euphoria, one aspect of the Iranian challenge has received remarkably short shrift: its expanding presence and activities in our own hemisphere. 

 
Is the Islamic State Islamic?
Articles - October 14, 2014
 

Nothing could be more curious to Muslims than Western non-Muslims telling them what their religion is about. Would not Christians find it odd to hear from Muslims what the true meaning of their religion is? Nevertheless, after almost every terrorist act against a Westerner, particularly the more gruesome ones like beheadings, Western heads of state reflexively react with protestations that such acts are absolutely un-Islamic, despite the explicit claims of their perpetrators that they are done precisely as religious acts, as they exultantly declare, “Allahu Akbar.”

 
Giving Iran The Store
Articles - October 7, 2014
 

Monday's reported explosion at Iran's secretive Parchin nuclear site - leaving two dead and shattering windows 12 kilometers away - is welcome news to those concerned about Tehran's nuclear progress, but it's likely a mere blip on what seems an increasingly smooth Iranian road to nuclear weaponry. 

For a host of reasons, Washington is growing ever-more desperate for a nuclear deal through which to claim a diplomatic victory, while Tehran is growing less concerned about the ultimate outcome of the ongoing talks and, not surprisingly, more intransigent about offering new concessions. 

 
Putting The Islamic State In Proper Context
Articles - September 17, 2014
 

Quite suddenly, all eyes are riveted on the Islamic State (IS). Ever since its self-proclaimed “emir,” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared the creation of a new “caliphate” during a speech in Mosul, Iraq this June, his group has become global public enemy number one. 

 
Confronting The Evolving Peril In Islamic Extremism
Articles - September 11, 2014
 

What a difference a couple of months can make. This summer, the Bipartisan Policy Center released a new report from Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, the original co-chairmen of the 9/11 Commission. That study, titled "Today's Rising Terrorist Threat and the Danger to the United States," warned that America was running the risk of becoming a victim of its own counterterrorism success. 

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 150
Bulletins - August 12, 2014
 

Russia and Iran: Anti-sanctions synergy;
Iran's notorious image;
More demographic tinkering in Tehran;
Iran's play in Iraq

 

 
An Iranian-Turkish Reset
Articles - July 22, 2014
 

Earlier this summer, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani paid a very public two-day visit to a surprising locale: Ankara, Turkey. The June trip — the first of its kind in nearly 20 years — represented a significant evolution of the political ties between Iran and Turkey. 

 
Iran Won't Slow Down On Ballistic Missiles
Articles - July 18, 2014
 

With time for nuclear diplomacy between Iran and the P5+1 nations (the U.S., UK, Russia, China, France and Germany) running out, and with the White House scrambling to cobble together some sort of deal with Tehran, it's perhaps not surprising that Pentagon's latest annual assessment of Iran's military capabilities has so far garnered little attention, either within the Washington Beltway or outside it. 

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 149
Bulletins - June 19, 2014
 

Celebrating divorce in Tehran;
How Iran helped Assad get his groove back;
Shippers remain wary;
A new wrinkle in Iranian cyber-espionage

 

 

 
Rouhani's Republic Of Fear
Articles - May 22, 2014
 

Will the real Hassan Rouhani please stand up? Since his election last summer - and especially since the start of nuclear negotiations with the West last fall - Iran's new president has become a darling of the U.S. and European diplomatic set. The soft-spoken leader who now serves as Iran's political face is widely viewed as a "moderate" counterpoint to his firebrand predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as well as a guarantor of a much-sought-after nuclear deal with the West.

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 148
Bulletins - May 19, 2014
 

Iran leads in misery;
An addicted government?;
A looming water crisis;
Food supplies, stuck in transit;
Iranian drones on the Syrian battlefield

 

 
Disclosure: Iran's New Diplomatic Weapon
Articles - May 5, 2014
 

Give the Iranian regime credit for creativity. In the midst of extensive nuclear negotiations with the West, officials in Tehran have apparently hit upon a new way to play for time.

 
Why Iran's Missiles Matter
Articles - April 24, 2014
 

In the current debate over the Iranian bomb, the White House is staying quiet about its concerns over the regime’s progress on missile development. It’s the dog that isn’t barking. 

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 147
Bulletins - April 17, 2014
 

Iran puts Hezbollah's house in order;
The controversy over Aboutalebi;
Iran fights the demographic future;
Iranian energy: Out of the box

 
Eurasia Security Watch - No. 314
Bulletins - April 15, 2014
 

Balloting aborted in Iraqi province;
Israel blames Palestinians for failed peace talks;
France wants to haul Syria before the ICC;
Hezbollah: Assad government is safe

 
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

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 145
Bulletins - March 11, 2014
 

Back to a "resistance" economy;
Back to business as usual with Beijing...;
...as Iran works to improve investment climate;
IAEA plays politics with Iran nuke data;
Iranian arms to Iraq;
New Iranian  weapons shipment to Gaza seized

 
The Disarmament Fallacy
Articles - March 4, 2014
 

The campaign to reach “global zero” — the elimination of all nuclear weapons worldwide — has become a cause celebre among an array of retired statesmen, as well as an important policy priority of President Obama himself. But this effort is handicapped by its adoption of several seriously wrong-headed assumptions, positions and ideas that U.S. media outlets have tended to swallow without careful scrutiny.

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No.144
Bulletins - February 13, 2014
 

And the economic winner is...Iran's supreme leader;
Targeting America on human rights;
The high cost of labor dissent;
Biting the hand that feeds;
New natural gas links to Moscow;
A Turkish-Iranian thaw

 
Bring the Iran Deal Into the Light
Articles - February 4, 2014
 

In his State of the Union address last week, President Obama threatened to veto any bill imposing new sanctions on Iran. “For the sake of our national security,” he said, “we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed.” But there is no way to know if diplomacy is succeeding if the terms of the deal with Iran are kept secret, and the mystery shrouding the agreement only encourages those seeking definitive action through sanctions.

 
Israel Keeps Its Options Open On Iran
Articles - January 22, 2014
 

Is an Israeli military attack against Iran truly off the table? Conventional wisdom certainly seems to think that it is. In the aftermath of the signing of an interim nuclear deal in Geneva this past November, the foreign policy cognoscenti in Washington, and elsewhere, have been vocal about the fact that they believe the bell has effectively tolled on the possibility of Israeli military action.

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 143
Bulletins - January 20, 2014
 

Exporting the Basig model;
Iran's trade partners see to reengage...;
...As new ones emerge

 
The Iranian Kabuki dance
Articles - January 16, 2014
 

Starting next Monday, Iran will formally implement an interim agreement with the West. President Rohani has described the accord as the world "bowing to Iran's might, power and resistance." The Islamic Republic has agreed to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities for six months in return for what has been called "modest" relief from the crippling international sanctions imposed for most of the last decade. But the West, by rolling back the sanctions regime, has given Tehran an opportunity to reinvigorate its economic and diplomatic ties with the rest of the world, and Western countries have eagerly exploited the opening to do business with Iran. Re-legitimizing business as usual before Iran makes any significant concessions on its nuclear program not only sends the wrong message, but impairs the West's ability to negotiate effectively.

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 142
Bulletins - December 26, 2013
 

Sanctions relief, but how significant?;
Corporations jockey for business in Iran...;
...While oil buyers dive back in

 

 
The Real Cost of Geneva
Articles - December 17, 2013
 

Start preparing for Pax Iranica. That is the unspoken message behind the interim nuclear agreement hammered out between the P5+1 powers and Iran in Geneva last month. For, despite the insistence in Washington and European capitals that it is only temporary, the new deal has nonetheless prompted what amounts to a seismic shift in Middle Eastern politics.

 
Iran Checkmates the P5+1
Articles - December 3, 2013
 

In the deal between Iran and the six world powers, it appears that a rogue regime marching towards nuclearization has outmaneuvered the West. In disarming the sanctions regime so painstakingly put together over the last few years, the Iranians have given almost nothing meaningful in return. Instead, they are employing the same playbook that brought the mullahcracy to power and the very strategy that allowed North Korea to get the bomb. Above all, Iran now has an international mechanism that will allow it to effectively play for time.

 
After Geneva, Some Hard Choices For Jerusalem
Articles - December 3, 2013
 

You’ve got to feel sorry for Benjamin Netanyahu. Just six months ago, with his government facing what was arguably the most favorable strategic environment in recent memory, Israel’s prime minister could wax cautiously optimistic.

 
Pro&Con: Deal will make an Iranian atom bomb more likely
Articles - November 30, 2013
 

The six-month deal between U.S.-led negotiators and Iran will make an Iranian atomic bomb more likely, not less, because it significantly strengthens the very regime in Tehran that so desperately wants nuclear weaponry.

 
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.

 
White House Could Help Birth Nuclear Iran
Articles - November 17, 2013
 

Commenting on the gullibility of the credulous American consumer nearly a century ago, the famous showman PT Barnum is said to have remarked that "there's a sucker born every minute." To see what this looks like in practice, you need only look at the deal that the Obama administration was on the verge of signing with Iran.

 
Defense of the U.S. Homeland Against Ballistic Missile Attack
Policy Papers - November 15, 2013
 

Today, the Obama administration and Congress have a variety of options before them for strengthening the defense of the U.S. homeland against ballistic missile attack. The word “options,” however, should not be interpreted as an either/or choice. Official Washington should not—indeed, cannot choose between defending the homeland against ballistic missile attack and erecting regional capabilities against the threat. Rather, it is necessary to treat the variety of programs available for this purpose not as options, but as components of a global plan for development and fielding: essentially, an “all of the above” approach. Only in this way can America achieve the proper balance between missile defense capabilities for the protection of the United States and the protection of our friends and allies and forces in various regions around the world...

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 140
Bulletins - November 7, 2013
 

Khamenei's health and the future;
Iran's faltering auto industry;
Another reformist paper bites the dust

 
China Reform Monitor - No. 1063
Bulletins - October 30, 2013
 

Massive re-education campaign for Chinese media;
Protests hit Tibet, Zhejiang
 

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 139
Bulletins - October 28, 2013
 

Moscow, Tehran tighten defense ties;
A thaw with Egypt;
Iran's economic clock

 
The Problem With Making A Nuclear Deal With Iran
Articles - October 17, 2013
 

All this has left the Iranian regime battered, and eager for an easing of the economic pain. This is the motivation behind the charm offensive undertaken in recent weeks by Iran’s new, “moderate” president, Hassan Rouhani, as well as his calls for “constructive engagement” with the West.

 
Lucy and the Nuclear Football
Articles - October 3, 2013
 

If you grew up any time in the last half-century, chances are you have fond memories of Charles Schulz’s iconic “Peanuts” comic strip and its hard-luck protagonist, Charlie Brown. Each week brought a new misfortune for the unhappy Charlie, but never more so than when his crafty friend Lucy offered to play football — a game that, no matter how many times it was attempted, invariably ended with Charlie flat on his back.

 
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

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 137
Bulletins - September 4, 2013
 

Iran's illicit finance hubs;
Rouhani starts to tackle Iran's economic malaise;
Second thoughts on Syria?

 
Missile Defense Briefing Report - No. 316
Bulletins - September 3, 2013
 

Pentagon report highlights Chinese threat...;
...and warns of Iran's evolving ballistic missile capabilities;
A new missile launch site in Iran?

 
The War of Ideas Will Be Televised
Articles - August 27, 2013
 

Among long-time observers of Middle East politics, the sorry state of Israeli hasbara, as the country's foreign image-building is called in Hebrew, is something akin to the stuff of legend. Time and again over the years, Israeli messaging — on everything from its strategic intentions, to relations with the Palestinians, to foreign policy toward the Arab world — has fallen flat or received a cold shoulder from unsympathetic international audiences. This has been the case despite consistent, heavy investments from the Israeli government in the use of television, radio, print media and the Internet to win hearts and minds.

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 136
Bulletins - July 31, 2013
 

Iran's politics: Plus CA change;
Ahmadinejad's second act;
Left behind on literacy

 
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.

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 135
Bulletins - June 11, 2013
 

Iran tightens security ahead of election;
Taliban, Iran mend fences;
Iran, Hamas fall out over Syria...;
...As Tehran doubles down in Damascus

 
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.

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 134
Bulletins - May 30, 2013
 

Ahead of elections, Iran's Internet goes dark...; ...executions rise...; ...and field of candidates gets smaller; The Iranian cyber threat, reloaded; Iran's deepening footprint in Syria

 
Obama's Retreat From The War On Terror
Articles - May 28, 2013
 

President Obama's counter-terrorism strategy, which he unveiled last week in a high-profile speech at the National Defense University, is less off-base than incomplete, reflecting his effort to limit the scope of the problem and the requirements of the response in ways that will prove inadequate to the challenge.