Underreported political and security risk updates from around the world, including events in Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, United States, Panama, Singapore, Nepal, United Kingdom, Syria and Palestine.
Political and security risk updates from around the world. This week: Filipino government forces attempt to retake city of Marawi, UK prime minister loses government majority in surprise general election result, large anti-government protests take place in Moscow, and more.
Continuing our series of articles on Iranian politics, Kevjn LIm analyses the six contenders in the forthcoming presidential election and assesses the chances of re-election for the moderate incumbent, Hassan Rouhani.
Political and security risk updates from around the world. This week: protests across major US cities against president-elect Donald Trump; British prime minister to announce high-risk Brexit plan; Filipino president suggests martial law could be imposed to stop country becoming a drug haven; and more.
Many intelligence agencies were caught off-guard by the Arab Spring in 2011. Similarly, many agencies failed to anticipate the Islamic State taking over Mosul in 2014. Yet, the reasons behind these instances of strategic surprise were not new at all. They were already apparent over 25 years before, prior to the Iranian Revolution, and still pervade contemporary intelligence work.
This monograph examines post-revolutionary Iran’s grand strategy by way of its adjustments at three key inflection points. The first (1988-91) spans the end of the Iran-Iraq war, the collapse of the bipolar order and the First Gulf War, along with internal structural changes following Ayatollah Khomeini’s death. The second (2001-03) encompasses 9/11 and the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. The third (2011-15) corresponds to the more recent Arab uprisings and the increasing internal and external pressures Iran faced over its nuclear programme.
Tehran has enjoyed observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) since 2005, but has repeatedly pressed its case for full membership. The organisation's two centres of power disagree over Iran's position: Moscow supports Iranian accession but Beijing seemingly opposes such a move. Iran shares with the SCO the ambition to challenge US dominance and the Western-led order. For Iran, the SCO is also the closest it has to an international defence bulwark, since it is not a member of any other regional security organisation.
Despite the obvious constraints, elections in Iran - whether for the Assembly of Experts, the presidency, the parliament, or even the regional municipalities - can still tell observers a lot. And they also matter; they can be the difference between the slow wearing down of the hardliners’ outsized control or the further consolidation of power in their hands. This Open Briefing article for Foreign Affairs explores how the coming Assembly of Experts vote could shape Iran's future.