Middle East Security Initiative

  • Iraq: In the Crossfire of a Potential US-Iran Conflict?

    Rising tensions between the United States and Iran are causing grave concern in Iraq. Iraq’s security and political stability will suffer greatly if this tension erupts into a violent conflict. Iraq has only just snatched a difficult victory from the jaws of an existential terrorist threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and is coping with post-conflict challenges that range from the reconstruction of destroyed cities—where more than a million internally displaced people are still unable to return to their homes—to the rebuilding of its battered economy and the revival of its energy, agriculture, education, housing, transportation, and healthcare sectors. If a new conflict erupts in the region, it will complicate the situation for Iraq in some unimaginable ways, even if Iraq is not directly involved.
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  • Attacks on Saudi Oil Stations Raise Tensions in Volatile Gulf

    Drones purportedly flown by Houthi rebels in Yemen attacked Saudi oil pumping stations on May 14, creating a new flash point in a region already on edge over rising tensions between the United States and Iran.

    A Houthi military official claimed the group launched multiple attacks against “vital Saudi installations” using drones to deliver bombs. The Houthis have been fighting the Saudi-backed government in Yemen since 2015.


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  • Dagres Quoted in The Washington Post on the designation of Iran’s Elite Revolutionary Guard as a Foreign Terrorist Organization


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  • Dagres Joins BBC to Discuss US Labels Iranian Military Unit as Terrorists


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  • Dagres Quoted in Middle East Eye on Smuggling Along the Iran-Pakistan Border


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  • UK’s Hezbollah Ban May Signal Tougher Stance on Iran

    Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah once dubbed dividing his group into distinct political and military wings an “English innovation.” Yet, last week, the United Kingdom decided to end this mainstay of British policy. Shortly after Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced a total ban on Hezbollah, Parliament amended the UK’s Terrorism Act 2000 to proscribe the group “in its entirety.” London’s acknowledgment of Hezbollah’s unity aligns British law and policy with the United States. In doing so, the UK is signaling a partial departure from Europe’s approach to the group’s patron, Iran, but more importantly, a third way between American confrontation and European conciliation.

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  • Trump’s Iran Policy: Much Ado About Nothing

    The Trump administration’s policy of containing and weakening the Islamic Republic of Iran may appear to be going well to causal observers of Iranian affairs, and there is some evidence to support such a view.

    The United States has withdrawn from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), that solely addressed the regime’s efforts to obtain nuclear weapons but failed to address its menacing actions towards neighboring countries, continued support of international terrorism, and ongoing efforts to develop ballistic missile technology. The JCPOA also completely failed to address the horrible human rights situation inside Iran itself.

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  • Poland Summit Strives for Stability in the Middle East

    The Trump administration accurately identified the Iranian threat and has, on some significant issues, acted accordingly—including the US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the application of increasingly tough sanctions on Iran, as well as organizing the Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East in Warsaw on February 13-14. A reported seventy-nine states will participate in the conference, including the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, and Jordan, as well as Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Iran was not invited to the conference. 

    The Poland summit officially centers around three major issues: The challenge of missiles, terror funding, and cyber threats. The common denominator of all three categories is the Iranian threat, which is for all intents and purposes at the center of the conference—though the Trump administration has...

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  • As Iranian Youth Evolve, So Do Their Means of Communicating

    When I moved to Tehran twenty years ago, I wore a black manteau that stretched to my ankles and a headscarf pulled down to my forehead. By the time I graduated high school in 2005, my highlighted fuchsia hair stuck out like tentacles from a white shawl, and a matching manteau barely covered my rear.

    Such social changes, as minor as some might seem, were and continue to be a barometer of change in Iran.

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  • Glimmer of Hope in Iran for Long-Persecuted Baha’is?

    The Iranian constitution after the 1979 revolution provides limited freedoms for religious minorities, and it does not recognize the Baha’i community, with more than 300,000 members in the country. Instead, for four decades, the Islamic Republic has routinely harassed, prosecuted, and imprisoned Baha’is solely for practicing their faith. Among other things, the government severely restricts Baha’is right to education, including prohibiting Baha’i students from registering at universities and expelling them if their identities are discovered.

    Yet several recent court decisions across the country, that have ended in the acquittal of Baha’is on vaguely defined national security charges, have led some to wonder if this blatant discriminatory behavior might finally be easing up.

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