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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...; 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.

AFPC Iran Strategy Brief: Iran’s Naval Ambitions
Books - September 2013

As Iraq and Afghanistan fade from prominence for American military strategists and diplomats, Iran is bound to take their place as a primary security concern for the U.S. and its allies. Iran’s nuclear ambitions and its support for radical Shi’a forces and terrorist organizations in the region pose significant dangers to the United States, its deployed forces and its allies. But for all the focus on Iran’s land-based operations, Iran’s maritime reorganization and naval advancemen present troubling challenges as well.

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

Iran's economic crisis deepens...; 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

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.

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.

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.

Eurasia Security Watch - No. 284
Bulletins - April 15, 2013

Iran training pro-Assad militias;
While the U.S. and Jordan train the FSA...;
...Israel raises questions about UNFIL

Tehran Turns Up The Heat (On Azerbaijan)
Articles - April 10, 2013

With international pressure over its nuclear program mounting, and the recent collapse of its latest round of negotiations with the West, this might seem like a strange time for Iran to pick a fight with its neighbors. Yet on at least one front, that is exactly what it appears to be doing. Recent days have seen a marked downturn in the already-troubled relationship between the Islamic Republic and Azerbaijan, its neighbor to the northwest.

Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 132
Bulletins - March 28, 2013

Field of presidential candidates takes shape...; regime stacks the electoral deck;
Nuclear collusion with North Korea...;
...but dimming economic prospects elsewhere in Asia

Hugo Chavez's Death Is a Blow to Iran
Articles - March 12, 2013

The passing of Hugo Chavez last week shouldn't have come as much of a surprise to most observers. The death watch for the long serving Venezuelan strongman had been in effect since at least mid-2011, when he confirmed longstanding rumors by publicly announcing that he was being treated for an aggressive form of cancer.

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.

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

Bring the Iran Deal Into the Light
Articles - February 4, 2013

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

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.