Topic:

Iran

Conflicting Interests: Tehran and the National Aspirations of the Iraqi Kurds

| December 14, 2017

The national aspirations of the Kurdish minority in Iraq pose a challenge to the four countries that have a large Kurdish population. It is not by chance that the decision to hold a referendum provoked furious reactions among the leaders of Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria. According to the received wisdom, the success of Iraq’s Kurdish minority in realizing its national self-determination will serve as a catalyst for separatist tendencies among the Iranian Kurds. However, Tehran’s firm opposition to the move stems not only from the fear of a “chain reaction” but also from strategic and geopolitical consideration. In other words, the controversy between Shiite Iran and the Kurdish minority in Iraq is not the result of an historical memory of an uprising that led to the establishment of the “Republic of Mahabad” in the 1940s, but consists of other levels that express opposing aspirations in a changing geopolitical space.

Free-Riding Allies are Painful. Free-Riding Enemies are Sheer Folly

| December 3, 2017

The victors in Syria and Iraq – Russia, Iran, Syria, and Turkey – are to meet in Sochi for a conference to discuss a peaceful conclusion to the Syrian civil war. The loser in Syria and Iraq – the US – will be conspicuously absent. The Americans’ adversaries were the beneficiaries of their own campaign against ISIS. Instead of the sheer folly of watching enemies free-ride on US might, the US should have exhausted Iran and Russia in the process of defeating ISIS.

Saudi Arabia’s Lebanon Gamble Might Pay Off

| December 1, 2017

Time will tell, but Saudi Arabia’s gamble to pressure Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed, Lebanese Shiite militia, by forcing Saad Hariri, the country’s prime minister, to resign, may be paying off despite widespread perceptions that the maneuver backfired.

The Political Crisis in Lebanon: An Opportunity to Strengthen Israeli-Saudi Cooperation Against Iran

| December 1, 2017

By strengthening cooperation behind the scenes, Saudi Arabia and Israel can take significant advantage of the political crisis in Lebanon and the regional developments that may result from it. Riyadh and Jerusalem should do their best to cooperate vis-à-vis the superpowers involved in Syria and Iraq, especially the US, as they attempt to shift the strategic balance towards their aligning interests.

Hezbollah and the Yemeni Missiles

| November 29, 2017

Since the onset of the so-called “Arab Spring” in 2011, there has been a continuous upheaval in Yemen, which has escalated into full scale civil war between the Houthis (a Shiite political-religious movement), supported by Iran, and the internationally recognized Government of Yemen, supported by Saudi Arabia. The recent missile attack on Riyadh’s International Airport, which originated in Yemen and triggered a Saudi-Lebanese confrontation, is the fourth such attack this year. The Yemeni civil war has received scant attention in Israel, but its outcome could significantly affect Israel’s national security and the stability of the Middle East.

DEBATE: Decertification of the Iran Deal – What Happens Next?

| November 24, 2017

Q: Will the decertification of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) Iran nuclear agreement by US President Donald Trump pave the way to fixing it?

Respondents: Michael Rubin, Emily B. Landau, Barbara Slavin, Behnam Ben Taleblu, Paulina Izewicz, Raphael Ofek

With Iran on Its Doorstep, Israel Quietly Readies Game-Changing Air Power

| November 21, 2017

Israeli air power now has capabilities beyond any yet seen in military history. Its aerial strike capabilities are likely to prove decisive to the outcome of any military action taken against Iran in Syria.

The Desperate Saudi Bid to Prepare the State for All-Out War

| November 17, 2017

Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman knows he has to transform the state into a war machine if the kingdom is to survive the Iranian onslaught. To do that, he has to amass power by removing the system of checks and balances of rival princely factions and tribal affiliations as well as a security system that is weakened by both. The question is whether he will be able to avoid the fate of the Shah, who transformed Iran into a regional power but fell victim to wall-to-wall opposition bred by his concentration of power.

In Shadowy Covert Wars, Iran Takes Center Stage

| November 14, 2017

A series of incidents involving Iranian ethnic and religious minorities raises the specter of the US and Saudi Arabia seeking to destabilize the Islamic Republic. Indications are that Iran has no intention of sitting back passively in the face of this threat. Beyond its support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah, and Shiite militias in Iraq, Tehran may be strengthening its relations with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Kurdish Battle Positions Kurds as US Ally Against Iran

| October 27, 2017

There may be a silver, if risky, lining for Kurdish nationalists in their devastating loss of Kirkuk and other cities on the periphery of their semi-autonomous region as they lick their wounds and vent anger over the deep-seated internal divisions that facilitated the Iranian-backed Iraqi blitzkrieg. Mounting popular anger coupled with US Congressional fury could position the Kurds as a key player in potential US efforts to roll back Iranian influence in Iraq and counter the Islamic Republic as part of President Donald J. Trump’s tougher approach towards Tehran.