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Middle East

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The Implications of a New President in Iran

September 18, 2021 05:28 PM
The newly elected president of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, is the first hard-line conservative to take office since the administration of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005–13). With Raisi as president, hard-line conservatives control each branch of the Iranian government - conservatives closely aligned with supreme leader Ali Khamenei. Hard-line conservative dominance of the government will likely mean that the negotiations with the United States, focused on a return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, will become much more difficult. Iranian backing of regional militias, which have been problematic to United States interests, will almost certainly continue. Negotiations regarding the Iranian ballistic missile program will almost certainly not happen. Most importantly, regional disputes will likely become more contentious under a hardliner-controlled Iran.
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Monthly Archives: April 2021

Jordan: Coup Attempt or Crackdown?

June 26, 2021 09:24 PM
April 3, 2021, brought shocking news of the arrest of top Jordanian officials for “security reasons,” including former finance minister Bassam Awadallah and Prince Hassan bin Zaid. Prince Hamzeh, son of the late King Hussein’s fourth wife and half-brother of current King Abdullah II, was also placed under house arrest, allegedly for “actions targeting Jordan’s security.” Jordan’s government quickly called it an attempted coup, backed by unspecified “foreign entities” threatening to destabilize the kingdom.
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Monthly Archives: January 2021

UAE Motivations for the Abraham Accords

June 26, 2021 09:07 PM
The Abraham Accords are a groundbreaking step in warming Arab relations with Israel. Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu went as far as to describe it as, “a pivot of history. It heralds a new dawn of peace.” It was a significant policy switch for the United Arab Emirates. The Arab world had long refused to make any formal relations with Israel as part of the Khartoum Resolution in 1967, agreeing to have no peace, no negotiations, and no recognition of Israel until the Palestinian conflict was resolved. If anything, the conflict has only gotten worse from a Palestinian perspective, so why the change in policy from the UAE? The Gulf nations have a lot to gain from exchanging technology, trade, and tourism with Israel, but the military tensions and the shifting power struggle in the region are the main motivating forces of the agreement. This does mean that the United States can continue to soften its military presence in the Middle East, and work with Arab countries as partners against rival influences rather than as the sole protector of the region.
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Monthly Archives: December 2020

The Aftermath of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh’s Death

June 26, 2021 09:03 PM
The killing of the Iranian nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was the latest event to escalate tensions in the Middle East between the US and Israel, and Iran. The head of the Iranian nuclear program was killed in his car in an ambush supposedly done by satellite-controlled machine guns near the Iranian capital, Tehran. The killing has naturally attracted widespread outcry from the international community. The European Union condemned it as a “criminal act” against human rights, and they and many other countries call for restraint.
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Post-Baghdadi ISIL

June 26, 2021 12:50 PM
Summary
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UAE-Iranian Relations

June 25, 2021 11:29 PM
The UAE’s primary goals in its relations with Iran are to avoid conflict and prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Recently, the UAE has pursued these goals through a warming of relations with Iran. Traditionally however, the UAE pursued those goals by joining the Saudi-U.S.-led pressure campaign on Iran. Most notably, the UAE provided funds, air support, and thousands of troops to fight the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. The UAE also ardently supported the U.S. in its campaign to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and welcomed Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA in favor of a more aggressive approach.
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Monthly Archives: February 2020

America and Iran Enter a New Phase of Outright Aggression

June 24, 2021 11:36 AM
For the past few decades, Iran and the United States have been locked in a political dance in which both states attempted to control the domestic, regional, and international politics of the Middle East. From the US using its allies to implement strong-arm tactics, like sanctions against Iran, to Iran inciting anti-American riots in Baghdad, to both states backing opposite sides in war-torn countries such as Syria and Yemen, the two countries have favored using other nations to further their interests instead of using direct force against each other. However, the recent assassination of the powerful Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and his entourage in Iraq by the US military has moved this decades-long conflict between the two states from a proxy war into a new stage of outright aggression.
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Monthly Archives: November 2019

Russian Arms Deals-Altering the Balance of Power in the East

June 19, 2021 06:09 PM
While it cannot be categorically stated that the United States “won” the Cold War, the fall of the Soviet Union and the ensuing economic and political turmoil in Russia left the United States as the only surviving global superpower. In the early 1990s, the modern-day perception of a powerful, ascendant China had not yet solidified, and China remained unable to compete with the United States in spite of its rapid economic growth. Indeed, although it can be considered a regional superpower in Asia, at present China is a global superpower only economically.1
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Monthly Archives: November 2019

“Disputed Borders and Militant Operations: The Fight on the Pakistan-Afghanistan Border”

June 19, 2021 04:39 PM
Late October 2019 saw border clashes between Afghanistan and Pakistan that led to the deaths of three Afghan civilians. These clashes began after Afghan forces and local militias stopped the Pakistani military from establishing a military installation along the border in eastern Kunar province. Afghan sources claimed that Pakistani forces fired mortars and rockets at villages in the border district of Nari during these clashes.
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Monthly Archives: October 2019

The International Response to the Attack on Saudi Arabia

June 19, 2021 03:36 PM
Last month, cruise missiles targeted and damaged oil facilities in Saudi Arabia owned by Saudi Aramco. The Houthis in Yemen immediately claimed responsibility for the attack and the United States and Saudi Arabia blamed Iran soon afterwards, insisting the missiles were launched from southern Iran.[1] The reactions of other countries, particularly those remaining in the JCPOA, have proven to be just as important.
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Monthly Archives: October 2019

How Jordan Fits Into American Foreign Policy

June 19, 2021 03:01 PM
The Kingdom of Jordan, a Middle Eastern country smaller than many American states, has found itself in an increasingly unpredictable environment since 2003. Conflicts in Israel/Palestine, Syria, and Iraq surround it, and its economy is straining with 18% unemployment, high taxes, and corruption.[1]
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Monthly Archives: September 2019

Saudi Nuclear Ambitions

June 17, 2021 01:58 PM
Over the past two and a half years of the Trump administration, American energy companies have quietly made deals with Saudi Arabian energy officials to begin trading information on nuclear energy.[1] The United States and Saudi Arabia see nuclear development as a very symbiotic and lucrative deal, which could bring the US several billions of dollars in trade revenue every year. However, several politicians and energy officials fear that a nuclear arms race will develop between Iran and SA.[2] SA hopes to both satisfy its increasing power needs and protect itself.[3] Despite some hesitations, the US has moved forward with authorizations as the Kingdom hopes to build two new plants in the coming years.
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Monthly Archives: August 2019

The Threat and Death of Hamza bin-Laden

June 17, 2021 01:38 PM
Introduction
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Monthly Archives: August 2019

U.S.-Iran Relations

June 16, 2021 10:01 PM
US-Iran relations have grown increasingly troubled since the election of President Trump. Given the recent rhetoric from the current administration, some worry about the possibility of conventional armed conflict between the two states. Military maneuvers on both sides have postured the two nations for conflict despite some congressional efforts to prevent war. In June, an unmanned US drone was shot down in what Iran claimed was its airspace. President Trump accused Iran of “warmongering”[1] while Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted that the drone had “violated Iranian airspace.”[2] In July, Iranian officials detained a British tanker in response to Britain’s detainment of an oil tanker in Gibraltar.[3]
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Monthly Archives: August 2019

U.S. Options on Iran

June 16, 2021 09:57 PM
This summer has been notably characterized by a heating up of tensions between the US and its allies, and Iran. President Trump’s hardline, “maximum pressure” approach against Tehran, which dates back to his withdrawal from the JCPOA in the spring of 2018, has been firm and constant. The US has imposed strict economic sanctions, sent 2,500 troops to the region, an aircraft carrier, and conducted cyber attacks, while Iran has shot down a US drone and allegedly attacked ships in the region.[1] Iran’s acts of aggression and recent breaches of sections of the JCPOA are primarily meant to coerce the US into lifting the series of economic sanctions it has enacted since its withdrawal from the accord.
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Monthly Archives: May 2019

The Organization and History of Pakistan's Military

May 23, 2021 04:40 PM
The Pakistan Armed Forces were created from the British Indian Army in 1947 (Heathcote 1995, 253). They are comprised of the Army, Navy, and Airforce and are led by Zubair Mahmood Hayat, who currently serves as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (Shaikh 2016; Blood 1996, 287-288). This committee includes the Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, and Chief of Air Staff, and is the highest administrative body in Pakistan’s military (Blood 1996, 288). Also relevant is the Inter-Services Intelligence, the agency responsible for covert operations abroad (Blood 1996, 288). The minimum age for voluntary military service is sixteen, although eighteen is the minimum age for deployment (Central Intelligence Agency, 2019). Women can serve in all three branches (Central Intelligence Agency, 2019).
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Monthly Archives: November 2018

The Kaleidoscope of Lebanese Politics

April 29, 2021 04:09 PM
Lebanese politics are currently centered on forming a new government that can help Lebanon address its pressing economic issues (Perry 2018; Al-Jazeera 2018). However, the process is strongly hindered by spats on the role of Hezbollah and its affiliates in the new unity government (Macaron 2018; Anbar 2018; Dakroub 2018).
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