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Some time in the coming decade, Iran will probably acquire nuclear weapons or the capacity to quickly produce them. This monograph provides a midterm strategy for dealing with Iran that neither begins nor ends at the point at which Tehran acquires a nuclear weapon capability. It proposes an approach that neither acquiesces to a nuclear-armed Iran nor refuses to admit the possibility--indeed, the likelihood--of this occurring.
Dangerous But Not Omnipotent: Exploring the Reach and Limitations of Iranian Power in the Middle Eastby Nora Bensahel Frederic Wehrey David E. Thaler
In an analysis grounded in the observation that although Iranian power projection is marked by strengths, it also has serious liabilities and limitations, this report surveys the nature of both in four critical areas and offers a new U.S. policy paradigm that seeks to manage the challenges Iran presents through the exploitation of regional barriers to its power and sources of caution in the regime?s strategic calculus.
The authors describe possible regional security structures and bilateral U.S. relationships with Iraq and Afghanistan. They recommend that the United States offer a wide range of security cooperation activities to compatible future governments in Kabul and Baghdad but should also plan to hedge against less-favorable contingencies. They emphasize that the U.S. Air Force should expect to remain heavily tasked for the foreseeable future.
Regardless of its outcome, the Iraq War has had a transformative effect on the Middle East. To equip U.S. policymakers to better manage the war's long-term consequences, the authors analyzed its effects on the regional balance of power, local perceptions of U.S. credibility, the domestic stability of neighboring states, and trends in terrorism after conducting extensive interviews in the region and drawing from an array of local media sources.
A key tenet of U.S. foreign policy has been that promoting democracy reduces terrorism; however, scant empirical evidence links democracy to terrorism, positively or negatively. This study explores the relationship between the two by examining the effects of liberalization processes on political violence in six Arab cases.
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)--also known as the Pasdaran (Persian for "guards")--was initially created by Ayatollah Khomeini during the 1978-1979 Islamic Revolution as an ideological guard for the nascent regime. Since then, it has evolved into an expansive socio-political-economic conglomerate whose influence extends into virtually every corner of Iranian political life and society. In the political sphere, many high-ranking officials are former Pasdaran. As a force in Iranian culture and society, the IRGC controls media outlets and conducts training and education programs that are designed not only to bolster loyalty to the regime and train citizens in homeland defense, but also to improve the IRGC's own institutional credibility. And on the economic front, the IRGC controls a wide variety of commercial enterprises, including both government contracting and illicit smuggling and black-market enterprises. In this monograph, the authors assess the IRGC less as a traditional military entity and more as a domestic actor, emphasizing its multidimensional nature and the variety of roles it plays in Iran's political culture, economy, and society.
This book surveys how Saudi-Iranian relations have unfolded in the Persian Gulf, Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine since 2003, identifying the sources of rivalry and cooperation between the two powers. Understanding and leveraging this relationship will be a critical part of U.S. efforts to promote stability after the drawdown of U.S. forces in Iraq and to manage the regional impact of Iran's nuclear ambitions.
A compact, user-friendly handbook for U.S. policymakers interested in understanding the Islamic Republic of Iran. It synthesizes existing analyses on Iran and draws from non-American experts with a different interpretive lens for viewing the seemingly opaque Iranian system. It provides short analytic observations about the processes, institutions, networks, and actors that define Iran's politics, strategy, economic policy, and diplomacy.
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