Iranian Weapons Materiel on Display at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling

Issue Brief

Jul 30, 2019

Avenues for conflict in the Gulf: A matrix game simulation

By John Watts

Iran faces increasing pressure domestically and internationally, while simultaneously perceiving a historic opportunity to reshape regional dynamics through multiple regional conflicts. This convergence creates conditions that could lead to a strategic shock, and which warrant serious consideration.

Conflict Crisis Management
The 13th Battalion of the Golani Brigade during a drill held in the Golan Heights in northern Israel. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Issue Brief

Sep 27, 2018

The evolving Iranian strategy in Syria: A looming conflict with Israel

By Nader Uskowi

Iran began its military involvement in Syria in 2011, at the outbreak of the civil war. Tehran’s immediate objective was to defeat the Syrian opposition militarily to save Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The maintenance of the Shia-Alawi-dominated regime in Damascus was key to the Islamic Republic’s long-term regional strategy, the creation of a contiguous Shia […]

Iran Security & Defense

Issue Brief

May 7, 2018

The United States-Lebanese armed forces partnership: Challenges, risks, and rewards

By Nicholas Blanford

Over the past year, many have questioned the extent to which the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) are an arm of the Lebanese state or beholden to Hezbollah. Pointing to the LAF’s complicated relationship with Hezbollah, congressional and other voices in the United States have criticized US security assistance to Lebanon and threatened to withhold assistance. […]

Iran Middle East

Issue Brief

Dec 4, 2017

Iran in Iraq

By Kenneth M. Pollack

Geographic proximity and shared religion, specifically Shia Islam, give Iran deep influence in Iraq, as shown in a new Atlantic Council issue brief entitled  Iran in Iraq, by American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Kenneth M. Pollack. Despite advantages in geography and demography, Pollack argues that Iranian influence in Iraq is not insurmountable. The United States should […]

Iran Iraq

Issue Brief

Nov 20, 2017

Partners or competitors? The future of the Iran-Russia power tandem in the Middle East

By John Herbst

Ambassador John Herbst, director of the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, writes in a new issue brief entitled Partners or Competitors? The Future of the Iran-Russia Power Tandem in the Middle East that Russia and Iran are currently drawn into partnership over common regional interests and anti-American policies and sentiments despite centuries of historical […]

Iran Politics & Diplomacy

Issue Brief

Nov 9, 2017

Iran’s bottom line in Afghanistan

By Alex Vatanka

Due to proximity and historical ties, no other country is as well placed as Iran to play a dominant role in Afghan society, as Middle East Institute senior fellow Alex Vatanka shows in his new paper, Iran’s Bottom Line in Afghanistan. However, Tehran is focused on short-term tactical gains at the expense of a sustainable, […]

Afghanistan Iran

Issue Brief

Oct 31, 2017

Tehran stands atop the Syria-Iran alliance

By Danielle Pletka

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has managed to hold onto power through the civil war and has the determined support of Iran to thank for his position. In Tehran Stands Atop the Syria-Iran Alliance, author Danielle Pletka examines ties between Syria and Iran, the power relationship that has emerged, and the legacy it leaves for the […]

Iran Politics & Diplomacy

Issue Brief

Oct 19, 2017

Iran’s fingerprints in Yemen: real or imagined?

By Elisabeth Kendall

In Iran’s Fingerprints in Yemen: Real or Imagined?, Dr. Elisabeth Kendall, nonresident senior fellow with the Brent Scowcroft Center’s Middle East Peace and Security Initiative and senior research fellow in Arabic and Islamic studies at Pembroke College at Oxford University, investigates the true extent of Iran’s presence in Yemen, including both military and cultural aspects. […]

Iran Security & Defense

Issue Brief

Oct 2, 2017

The roots and evolution of Iran’s regional strategy

By Suzanne Maloney

Understanding what drives Iran’s regional policies is crucial to confronting its challenges. In her new paper, entitled The Roots and Evolution of Iran’s Regional Strategy, Suzanne Maloney, deputy director of foreign policy and senior fellow for Middle East policy at the Brookings Institution, explores how the Islamic Republic operates throughout the Middle East, and the […]

Iran Politics & Diplomacy

Regional Security Initiative

Apr 18, 2016

After hub-and-spoke: US hegemony in a new Gulf security order

By Bilal Y. Saab

The era of Pax Americana in the Gulf, and perhaps in the broader Middle East, is changing. Regional transformation and chaos resulting from the Arab uprisings, the rise of ISIS and its global terrorist reach, shifting US priorities around the world, and the rise of other outside powers in the Gulf have contributed to an […]

Middle East Security & Defense