Parsing Iran’s grand strategy

  • Author: Kevjn Lim
  • Published: 17 November 2015

To understand the Islamic Republic we need to not look not at its consistencies but at its ‘adjustments’. Iran has now placed a premium on maximising both influence and soft power, constantly renegotiating its margins of maneuver and seeking situations of strength where possible. Whatever hard power it still holds, it has repurposed into tools of deterrence in order to hold its enemies hostage against the threat of regime decapitation and war. Read more

National security decision-making in Iran

  • Author: Kevjn Lim
  • Published: 11 June 2015

In this journal article for Comparative Strategy, Open Briefing analyst Kevjn Lim reviews national security decision-making in the Iranian context by focusing on institutions, formal process and individuals. He specifically examines the Supreme National Security Council, which formalises and embodies the decision-making process, as well as the Revolutionary Guards, which epitomise both the influence of institutions as well as the centrality of the agent-individual. Read more

Bibi’s upset comeback

  • Author: Kevjn Lim
  • Published: 20 March 2015

After a last minute electoral upset, Israeli Prime Minster Benyamin Netanyahu will almost certainly form a new government. What does a fourth term for Bibi mean for Israel, Palestine and the wider region? Read more

US demands for democratic reform in Egypt likely to take backseat to national security concerns

  • Source: Blog
  • Filed: 19 January 2015

The US Congress has stipulated that military aid provision to Egypt will be linked to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s democratic reform. However, the bill also entails that in circumstances pertaining to national security, democratic focus may be abandoned in favour of domestic or regional stabilisation. Given the current security climate, it appears likely that international financial and political support will favour al-Sisi and the waiver of national security. Thus, it remains to be seen how effectual the US aid stipulation for democratic reform will be. Read more

Yemen’s security situation continues to deteriorate following number of violent incidents and kidnappings

  • Source: Blog
  • Filed: 16 January 2015

Yemen faces many internal difficulties, and the latest offensives launched by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Houthi militia and southern separatist fighters threaten to destroy what remains of the already fragile unity of the Yemeni republic. The presence and strength of these rival parties, in a country that lacks both strong state apparatus and political cohesion, suggest that Yemen may be close to civil war. Read more

Kobane, and the failure of Turkey’s Kurdish policy

  • Author: Arman Baisuanov
  • Published: 18 November 2014

Heavily influenced by the memories and legacies of the past, Turkey has not demonstrated the required degree of flexibility and imagination in dealing with the issue of Syria’s Kurds. This article from Open Briefing contributing analyst Arman Baisuanov explores Turkey’s complex and differing relationships with Kurds in Iraq, Syria and Turkey and sets out some of the failings of its Kurdish policies in light of events in Kobane. Read more

Iran: The Ayatollah succession question

  • Author: Kevjn Lim
  • Published: 14 October 2014

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei, recently underwent prostate surgery, following recurrent rumours that he suffers from some form of cancer. The looming succession in Iran is far from straightforward. In this article, Open Briefing contributing analyst Kevjn Lim considers the pool of candidates from which the Supreme Leader’s successor may emerge, as well as the possibility of a temporary leadership council or even a Revolutionary Guards-led military takeover. Read more

Intelligence brief: The use of barrel bombs by the Syrian government

  • Source: Intelligence unit
  • Filed: 15 July 2014

Barrel bombs are a type of IED dropped from a helicopter or cargo aircraft. It is estimated that 5-6,000 such bombs have been dropped by the Syrian military since the uprising began, killing at least 20,000 people. This intelligence brief explores the reasons behind the Syrian government’s use of these improvised devices and assesses whether targeting helicopter manufacturers or spare-part suppliers might be an effective strategy for international NGOs wishing to put pressure on the Syrian government to end its use of these weapons. Read more


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