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  • Author: Seyed Vahid Karimi, Amir Hooshang Mirkooshesh
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: What is the relationship between the doctrine of Tony Blair and America's invasion of Iraq? This paper tries to answer this question. So, it looks at the American invasion of Iraq and the British response, and argues that Brain always prevails over brawn. United States was and still is a hard power. Britain plays a soft power role in international relations. Britain usually uses the American strength and resources for the benefit of Britain. When the British describe their relations with the United States as "special," they mean that they have the power to influence and direct US foreign policy. For an understanding of the international politics, we must concentrate on Anglo-Saxon "interdependency" through the "special relationship" which often exists between British Prime Ministers and US Presidents. Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister of the 1940s, Harold Macmillan in the 1960s, Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s and Tony Blair in the 2000s, all had special relationships with their US counterparts. While not always the case, the relationship between Tony Blair, British Prime Minster, and George Bush, American President, was beneficial to British interest and Blair's doctrine of International Community declared in 1999. it is imperative not only to understand international politics, but also to react properly to international politics. As it has been proven in the Iraq case, Tony Blair manipulated US foreign policy during the George Bush presidency.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, Iraq, America
  • Author: Farhad Atai
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: Developments in the Middle East in the past decades, and especially in the past few years, have drawn the world's attention to this region. Never since the break-up of the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 20th century has the region been so volatile and explosive. While the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to have a deciding effect on the Middle East, other issues have appeared, further complicating the politics of the region. The stunning socio-political developments in the Arab world during the past year, which started in Tunisia and spread to Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Bahrain are still unfolding and will permanently change the Arab World. Where does Iran fit into the political dynamics of the Middle East in these turbulent times? This paper attempts to answer that question. After a review of the recent developments in the Arab world, it examines the Islamic Republic's position in the region in the light of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, the breakup of the Soviet Union and subsequent developments in Central Asia, the U.S.-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. The paper suggests that the changing geopolitics of the region has positioned Iran in a relatively stronger position vis-à-vis the Sunni-Shi'a debate. It further suggests that three decades after its Islamic Revolution, Iran has matured. This is especially true in the wake of the rising extremist tendencies and groups such as al-Qa'ida in the region. Once the shorter term issues are resolved, Iran can have a moderating influence on the dynamics of the region.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Iran, Central Asia, Middle East, Israel, Yemen, Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain
  • Author: Ali Omidi
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: Security is the main concern or raison d'être of any state. The Islamic republic of Iran and the west have had common geopolitical concerns, with some convergence in Afghanistan. The first security priority of the U.S. in particular and Europe in general after the September 11 events has been coping with terrorism in its heartland, i.e. Afghanistan. This paper, after a short review of Iran's historical relations with Afghanistan as well as its geopolitical importance for Tehran, examines Iran's main security concerns stemming from Afghanistan and the consequent Iranian narration of those threats in the post-9/11 era. The article argues that Iranian policy and even ideals for Afghanistan's long-term security is similar to the Iraqi model: outright withdrawal of foreign troops and national self-reliance on security issues. Therefore, Iran welcomes NATO's drawback from Afghanistan in 2014 and implicitly cooperates with the west in Afghanistan for viable and indigenous security.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Europe, Iran
  • Author: Naser Hadian, Shani Hormozi
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: The Iran-US relations since 1979 Revolution have remained tension-ridden. Various efforts towards resolution of the sensitive and critical issues between them have failed to bear fruit. The present article looks into the state of these relations from the vantage of Iran's security environment and how the U.S. policies, particularly since the 2001 occupation of Afghanistan and 2003 war of choice in Iraq, have dramatically affected Iran's immediate security environment. The paper argues that as a result of the removal of the Taliban and Ba'athist regimes and the emergence of pro-Iran ruling coalitions in Afghanistan and Iraq, Iran's regional stature and influence was enhanced, which also coincided with simultaneous shrinking of US material and symbolic resources in the region. The article also tries to shed light on the parameters of Iran 's security environment, decision making processes, sources of security and defense policies, which would help towards a better understanding of the reasons and rationale for the still tumultuous relations with the US, including in particular on Iran's nuclear program. A review of the past U.S. strategies in dealing with Iran as well as of the alternative strategies currently on the table – Containment, Comprehensive and Selective Engagements, Military option – and Iran's Counter Containment strategy, indicates that given the actual situation in the region a mere continuation of the past might simply prove impossible. A full-scale confrontation or a major reconciliation appears to be the only possible scenarios for the future. The paper concludes that Comprehensive Engagement will instead present a way out of the decades-old conflict with tremendous benefits for the protagonists and the surrounding region.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Iran, Taliban
  • Author: Farideh Farhi
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: In the aftermath of the US invasion of Iraq, the blame game regarding the problematic motives of the attack as well as the less than perfect outcome has been a growing industry in the United States. Of particular focus has been the performance of the U.S. (and British) intelligence in collecting and evaluating information about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction programs. The reliability of sources has been questioned with suggestions that human intelligence were purposefully made deceptive by the Iraqi intelligence and security services, while exiles and defectors provided other intelligence seeking to influence U.S. policy.
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, United Kingdom
  • Author: Erzsébet N. Rózsa
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: It is widely held that the 21st century will be China's century on the global stage, while Iran, in the beginning of the 21st century, is becoming a regional power in the Middle East even if the limits to its power can be questioned. Both countries stand practically alone, without allies in a world that looks upon their expansion unfavourably, if not with outright hostility. The 21st century, however, will not be the period of gaining influence by military means, even if the use of military force cannot be excluded. One of the main characteristics of both the Chinese and the Iranian expansions is economic expansion. Chinese presence is booming in the Middle East. Iran has developed a significant economic activity in Western Afghanistan, then in Iraq. Both countries look back on ancient civilisations, to which they frequently refer to and which contributes to their perceptions of the surrounding world. China has traditionally perceived itself as the centre of the universe. Iran, by the right of its Islamic revolution of 1979, wishes to be the leading power of the Islamic world. Ayatollah Khomeini was speaking of Islam, in spite of the fact that the Islamic government put forward by him is rooted in Shiite Islam. This leading role seems to return under the presidency of Ahmadinejad – even if in a new form. 11 September 2001 has created the moving space for Iran in which it can become a regional power.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, China, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, West Asia
  • Author: Michele Brunelli
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: Despite deep differences shown during 2003 Iraqi crisis, European Union expresses a joint policy towards the Persian Gulf. This is essentially based on the equation: “economy” = “development” and so “security and stability”. Economy is the tool which is really trans-European: it means that despite some different approaches on few geopolitical issues of its members, it remains fundamental pillar on which a real “European Foreign Policy”, can be built. During last years, this particular approach allowed EU: i) to start a fruitful discussion with GCC countries about a Persian Gulf currency union, ii) to include in its Agenda establishment of a free trade area with the GCC countries, iii) start negotiations for an EC-Iran Trade and Cooperation agreement, iv) to involve Iran, Iraq and Yemen in this process. All these actions will allow EU to create an area of dialogue, cooperation and exchange, which is one of the EU top priorities. A new wider space of cooperation composed of the countries belonging to the MENA region, GAFTA, Persian Gulf, Iraq and Yemen. While European Union has chosen a “more economic” approach, US policy towards the Persian Gulf is “more political”. US equation is: “freedom and democracy” – even coercively imposed = “security and stability for a specific area” = “security and stability for the US”. But in some parts of the world this strategy showed some imperfections (Afghanistan), demonstrating its fallacy (Iraq). In some cases US applied political model which doesn't reflect social, political realities and doesn't respect historical roots and heritages of the area.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Europe, Iran, Yemen, Persia
  • Author: Kourosh Ahmadi
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: The paper aims to critically consider the proposition maintaining that the contemporary state of affairs between Iran and the Arab world results from an endemic, deep-rooted enmity between these two peoples with roots in the annals of history. To elucidate its argument, the paper offers a brief review of the major ups and downs in the historical relationship between Iranians and Arabs to see whether animosity or good-neighbourliness has mainly prevailed. Then, seeking to pinpoint the causes of uneasiness in the Iranian-Arab relationship since the 1950s, the focus of the paper turns to the formation of pan-Arab ideology and its strong anti-Iranian elements. Major differences in outlooks, coupled with territorial and diplomatic disagreements, had Nasserite Egypt and especially Ba'athist Iraq embrace these elements and begin implementing them to their full and extreme extent at a time when a monarchical West-leaning regime was in power in Iran. The paper concludes that the uneasiness in Iran-Arab relations during the past five to six decades has been situational and a modern phenomenon, chiefly stemming from specific political circumstances with certain roots in nation-building activities in the concerned countries. Hence, historical and ethno-religious or civilizational roots of this strained relationship are either non-existent or insignificant.
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Mahmood Vaezi
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: Iraq, as a major country in the Persian Gulf region, has traditionally played an important role with regard to stability and security in the area. However, the Ba'athist Iraq, especially under Saddam Hussein, acted in large measure as a source of instability, tension and conflict in the area. That period came to an end in 2003 with the collapse of the Ba'athist regime and the emergence of a new governance system in that country. Considering Iraq's position in the region as well as its quite substantial potentials, this country can still play such an important role – perhaps more important than in the past – in the stability and security of the region. Characteristics of the “New Iraq”, particularly its unfolding democratic experience and governance, and a new collaborative approach to foreign policy, especially towards the neighboring countries, have raised hopes for Iraq's prospective positive contribution to regional stability, security, convergence, and ultimate integration, based on a new pattern of engagement and collaboration among regional states and actors. Having suffered for a long period from destructive rivalry, tension and conflict, the Persian Gulf region is acutely in need of a new collaborative, indigenous mechanism to foster and promote lasting stability and security in the area – needless to say, with the active participation of all countries in the region. The present article attempts to look into the Iraqi aggressive posture and policy during the past several decades as well as into the prospects for the future based on the mutual roles and responsibilities of the “New Iraq” and the neighboring states in the Persian Gulf, from the vantage point of peaceful intentions and conduct, interaction and collaboration towards the development of a collective regional system.
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Persia
  • Author: Majid Takht Ravanchi
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: Between 1980 and 2003 Iraq was involved in three armed conflicts; namely, the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980's, the occupation of Kuwait in 1990- 1991, and the American-led war against Iraq in 2003. These are three different conflicts with their own distinct characteristics. A comparative study on the behavior of the United Nations Security Council with regard to each of these conflicts reveals that the Security Council has had three different and notably imbalanced reactions towards these conflicts. While At the beginning of the Iran-Iraq conflict, the Council was silent for a few days and later adopted a very ineffective resolution, the approach and conduct in the second conflict was quite different. A few hours after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the Council adopted a very strong resolution, under Chapter VII of the Charter. In the case of the third Persian Gulf conflict – 2003 - the Security Council was in the middle of discussions as to how to deal with the Iraqi crisis when the American and British forces started the military attacks against Baghdad. Furthermore, international humanitarian law has been violated during these conflicts on numerous occasions, most notably the use of chemical weapons by Iraq during the Iran-Iraq conflict. The Security Council's lack of resolve to adopt necessary punitive measures against Iraq to prevent further use of chemical weapons was considered by Iraq as a green light to continue its resort and practice with a sense of impunity. As discussed in the paper, blatant lack of resolve on the part of the Security Council towards Iraq's repeated use of chemical weapons was, as a matter of fact, the most manifest expression of the strong pro-Iraq tilt in the Council's approach and conduct; the outward expression of alternating implicit-explicit consensus among the permanent members on how to punish the revolutionary Iran and reward a friendly Iraq. The present paper concludes that a different approach and conduct by the Council vis-à-vis Iraq 's aggression against Iran would have most probably created a different situation and dynamism in the Persian Gulf area with all its significant repercussions and implications.
  • Topic: United Nations
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Iran, Kuwait, Baghdad, Persia