Much has changed in the Middle East since the eruption of the Syrian Conflict. A late bloomer to the Arab Spring, Syria has gone beyond the narrative of dictator vs. the people and become a major proxy war with the potential to consume the entire region. In the past two years, age old strategic alliances have collapsed while strange and questionable partnerships have been formed. One of the more interesting breakdowns involves the relationship between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkey, most recently evident by Turkey exploring the option of reducing oil imports from Iran.
Archive for the ‘Iranian Nuclear Issue’ Category
Tags: Civil War, Erdogan, Periphery doctrine, Regional hegemony, Regionalism, Syria
Popular political scientist John Mearsheimer and former Pentagon official Dov Zakheim argue about the merits and risks of Iran possessing nuclear weapons and its influence on Middle Eastern stability. The debate over the purpose of nuclear weapons has been reignited in recent weeks by Kenneth Waltz’s piece on the Foreign Policy Magazine, where he argues that Iranian nuclear weapons would bring stability to the region. Waltz’s article can be found here.
In 1984, a Canadian director and an Austrian strong-man created a film franchise based on an intelligent computer system that turns on its creators and wages war on mankind. The Terminator series went onto spawned many sequels, a TV series and even a horrible Nintendo game. Yet be not alarmed, there is no impending robot apocalypse. However, our rapid progress and deeper reliance on technology might be leading us in to a new era of war; adding new layers to an age-old human ritual that has constantly been streamlined and perfected. What does this evolution mean for the nation-state and its concept of war and security? How will these advances impact the century succeeding the bloodiest hundred years in human history?
Tags: Diplomacy, EU, International Relations, Iran, Israel, Negotiations, Nuclear program, P5+1, Politics, United Nations
By Uri Marantz
The latest round of nuclear talks between Iran and the West has once again failed to deliver concrete results, resolutions (of even the most minimally binding nature) or serious agreement of any kind; besides of course, agreeing to reschedule previously scheduled meetings for a future-but-as-of-yet-undefined date in time. The West in this case refers to the P5+1, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) plus Germany (or the EU3+3, named after another Iranian negotiating bloc in the mid-2000s).
This patently predictable turn of events, this lack of progress on a potentially globally destabilizing hot-button political issue, has not surprised a single analyst or political expert on Iranian nuclear affairs. Western-Iranian nuclear negotiations have become almost as endlessly protracted and hopelessly intractable as Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations; to paraphrase the Prussian military strategist Carl von Clausewitz, these nuclear negotiations have become the only continuation of politics by other means.
Tags: Iranian Nuclear Program, Israel, Kadima, Lebanon, Likud, Mahmoud Abbas, Mofaz, Netanyahu, Palestine, Politics, Preventive War
Last week, Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu pulled off either the most despicable or brilliant political manoeuvre in the nation’s 64 year history. A day after having called for new elections that many expected him to win, Bibi, as he is affectionately called, did a U-turn and formed a new coalition with the Centrist Kadima party. It became a media sensation, causing wonderment, shock and anger while raising plenty of questions. Why did the Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz become bed fellows with the man (the “liar”) he vowed to oppose in the upcoming elections? Why did Bibi and Likud change their stance on new elections a day after the announcement? Moreover, what does this deal mean for Israel? Iran? The Peace process?
Tags: Arabs, International Relations, Middle East, Pan-Arabism, Politics, Regionalism
It has been well over a year since the Arab Spring began sweeping through the Middle East like a stack of dominos. While some states have found a new beginning, many are still struggling to find their identity, let alone stability. Amidst the ongoing turmoil, there has been a lack of political unity and leadership amongst the Arab states. During this commotion, the region’s non-Arab states have been strengthening their claims of regional leadership, leaving the majority Arabs to become mere spectators. If and when the dust settles on the Arab Spring, will the Arabs find themselves to be pawns in a larger regional competition; one that hasn’t seen a decent Arab contender since the first Gulf War. So, the question arises; who will lead the Arab world? Turkey? Iran? America? Or will we see an Arab leader/nation spring forth?
Tags: Deterrence, IDF, International Relations, Iran, Israel, Mossad, Nuclear Non-proliferation, Politics, Rational actors
A couple of days ago, the Israeli daily Haaretz ran an interview with Israel’s Chief of Staff Lt. General Benny Gantz that caused a stir amongst political analysts. Contrary to the vision of impending doom frequently painted by Israel’s Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu, Gantz stated that he does not believe Iran will decide to develop nuclear weapons.
While the statements appeared surprising to most, it was not only for the most obvious reasons. The “Israeli perspective” or the “Israeli red line,” has often been used by those who want to exert immense pressure Iran and possibly cease all forms of its nuclear enrichment. The argument goes onto state that while the Americans and Europeans could exist with a nuclear Iran, Israel has no such option. However, General Gantz has painted Iran as a state led by rational leaders, who have yet to make a decision on nuclear weaponization. Gantz goes further by predicting that Tehran will defer such an option. While there are quarters that seek to stretch the facts to fit their political objectives, one can not deny that the Iranian nuclear program is a rational and very real concern for the state of Israel. However, this concern or threat is not a monolith, it is a debate.
Steve Paikin covers a variety of issues surrounding the Iranian Nuclear Program, including the latest developments from the Istanbul conference and the future implications of the 2012 American Presidential Elections.
Tags: American Foreign Policy, Containment, Iran, Iranian Nuclear Program, Islamic Republic, Middle East, Nuclear War, United States
The Middle East Institute hosts Georgetown University professor Paul Pillar and Atlantic Council fellow Barbara Slavin on American options for dealing with Iran. Pillar expels doomsday theories of Iran being a suicidal Islamic Regime that would use nuclear weapons against Israel or any other state. He also argues that containment is preferable to war, one that could be worse than the conjectured consequences of an Iranian bomb. Both Pillar and Slavin state that the United States will be able to successfully contain a nuclear Iran as it has for the last three decades. Through patience and reassurances to its allies in the Middle East (Israel and the Gulf in particular), the United States could dissuade Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon.
Tags: Arab Spring, IAEA, Iran, Iranian Nuclear Program, Islam, Israel, Middle East, Negotiations, P5+1, Politics, Shiite, Sunni, Syria, United Nations
By Uri Marantz
Iran. The country is without a doubt one of the most geopolitically sensitive states in the international system. It is also one of the most challenging and chimerical countries for its immediate neighbours, the region’s rising powers, the world’s great powers and the international community as a whole to fathom. Just this past weekend (April 14, 2012), the first nuclear talks between the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council – China, France, Russia, the U.K., the U.S. – and Germany) and Iran in 15 months took place. During the past decade, subsequent rounds of these talks have led to little or no progress. The most recent talks in Istanbul have been hailed by the Americans, Europeans and Iranians as ‘constructive and useful’, although nothing of substance was actually achieved at these negotiations. If the universally positive atmosphere emanating from Istanbul lasts for another month, the real negotiations on Iranian uranium enrichment and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections will begin in earnest on May 23 in Baghdad.