Category Archives: Intelligence

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Islamophobia in the West: Playing into the Hands of ISIS

by Ehsan Ahrari on April 18, 2016, No Comments

Fear of Islam and Muslims has been a visible trend since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.  In Europe, this trend was given fictional respectability in the name of freedom of speech.  However, the same alleged commitment to freedom of expression was not applied to those who denied the Holocaust.  The point here is not that anyone should deny the Holocaust.  Rather, the point of emphasis here is the hypocritical application of the selective use of that practice and the related double standard.  The same hypocrisy was applied in various cartoons disrespecting the Prophet of Islam.  For those who only read how capable the Europeans can be about insulting or even hating other religions need no proof other than the frequent nefarious acts of insulting the Prophet and Islam through the drawing of these offensive cartoons. (more…)
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Burying the Hatchet is the Precondition for US-Iran Rapprochement

by Ehsan Ahrari on August 13, 2015, No Comments

A lot of ink is being spilled analyzing the pros and cons of the recently concluded US-Iran nuclear deal between Iran and the 5+ 1 countries (4 permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany), and there is ample show of emotions about this deal involving different actors. The Arab states are upset because they concluded that its successful implementation would lead to an era of US-Iran rapprochement in which Iran, more than the Arab states, would be the focus of America’s attention. The Israelis are mad because they see the emergence of a nuclear Iran in the distant future as a result of it. More to the point, Israel’s Prime Minister , Benyamin Netanyahu, envisions that deal as the first historical step toward bringing about an end to Israel’s own preeminence, related to its nuclear deterrence in the region. A study prepared for the RAND Corporation addresses precisely that point when it notes, “Nuclear weapons would probably reinforce Iran's traditional national secu
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Anti-ISIS War Underscores the End of Western Dominance

by Ehsan Ahrari on October 9, 2014, No Comments

The emergence of ISIS/ISIL/IS is just one more example–albeit a significant one–of the passage of an era of Western dominance of the Arab/Muslim world.  President Barack Obama's anti-ISIS strategy (which is anything but a strategy) and his war on that entity in Syria and Iraq should be examined in that context.  The most prominent members of Obama's coalition to bomb ISIS are Arab monarchies of West Asia, whose very survival remains under constant threat not only from the Islamists, but also from the anti-authoritarian forces that played a crucial role in initiating the Arab Awakening in December 2010.  As much as the Arab Awakening has become a somewhat dormant force, its turbulence is still being felt on a daily basis in Yemen and Jordan.  As much as the Saudis succeeded in suppressing the rebellion of largely Shia masses against the Sunni rulers of Bahrain, no one really knows how stable that sheikhdom is likely to remain and for how long.  The Arab states are experiencing
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The Surveillance State of America, Part II

by Ehsan Ahrari on June 12, 2013, No Comments

We now know for sure that, not just Americans, but the whole world is under the constant surveillance of the "Surveillance State of America."  However, if you are living in Congo, Guatemala, China, or another autocratic hell, you will not be surprised by this news, because most of us have assumed that the "security state" is everywhere. (more…)
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The Retrogressive Perspectives of Barack Obama on Countering Terrorism

by Ehsan Ahrari on November 26, 2012, No Comments

Regular readers of my OpEds know that I do not make a habit of quoting myself.  However, I will make an exception this time by reminding my readers of a column that I posted on my website on October 1, 2012 entitled, "Why Do Ex-politicians Make So Much Sense After Leaving Office?"  In that column, I stated: "I challenge anyone to provide a persuasive answer to this question. I have one, but I don't claim that it is any more persuasive than the one provided by any other person. My take is that, once free from the burden of office, ex-politicians can speak their mind. The burden of being in the government forces all smart politicians (and even the dumb ones) to toe the government line–like a parrot–no matter how much they disagree with various policies. However, once out of office, they seem to relocate their previous lost wisdom and insight."  One can also make the same observation about politicians who make very thoughtful observations earlier in their career on complex issues o
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Book Review: Ahmed Rashid’s Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of America, Pakistan, and Afghanistan

by Ehsan Ahrari on April 14, 2012, No Comments

Allah, Army, and America used to be catchphrases to describe the internal political dynamics, as well as the foreign policy behavior, of Pakistan in the previous several decades.  That reality has undergone palpable erosion regarding the influence of the United States on Pakistan under the presidency of Barack Obama.  That is certainly not good news for him, since his political stakes are high.  The Afghan war is a "war of choice" for him as much as the Iraq war was a war of choice for George W. Bush.  Obama cannot lose the war in Afghanistan.  However, for him to win, he needs Pakistan's cooperation and help, which has been getting increasingly hard to come by in the past several months.  Since the support for the Afghan war is steadily in the American domestic arena, Obama has deftly set a date of withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.  He is hoping that such a decision would help him win his reelection campaign. However, wars have their own logic, in determining the winner
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The Emerging Global Realignments

by Ehsan Ahrari on December 27, 2011, No Comments

For the students of international affairs, the notion of power realignment is an old one.[1]  When it really happens, the erstwhile great powers, or even the superpowers, are likely to encounter pleasant or unpleasant surprises.  The year 1991 was one such occasion, when the communist superpower imploded, thereby freeing a number of nations of Eastern/Central Europe and Eurasia, triggering a series of rounds of NATO "enlargement," and, most importantly, creating a "unipolar moment."  The United States remained the only superpower.  The period between 2008 and 2011 is both unique and somewhat similar to that of 1991.  It is similar in the sense that it is also bringing about the decline of the United States.  It is unique in the sense that, unlike the rather quick implosion of the Soviet Union, America's decline is a long and drawn out process and potentially reversible. (more…)
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Getting Ahead by Hook or by Crook: China and Russia

by Ehsan Ahrari on November 5, 2011, No Comments

Espionage is the world's second oldest profession, especially among the top echelon of nation-states who, in their never-ending scuttle for modernization, are looking for short-cuts in their rush to get ahead of others.  The United States, despite all of the chatter about becoming a declining superpower, remains the foremost target of those countries who aspire to become its equal, especially in the realm of technological excellence.  Two countries with a dissimilar state of technological development – China and Russia – are accused of conducting technological espionage, or to put it bluntly, stealing the best U.S. technology and technological know-how.  That is the charge of the latest report issued by the U.S. Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive.  It ought to know, because it has long been tracking the activities of these two (and other) countries. (more…)
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Western Military Intervention as a Death-knell for the Arab Awakening

by Ehsan Ahrari on March 9, 2011, No Comments

The natural American interventionist impulse is surging once again.  This time the pretext is to save the Libyans from Muammar Qaddafi.  The United States and the U.K. are reportedly positioning their military assets to impose no-fly zones in Libya.  At least superficially, that sounds like a good measure, which would scare Qaddafi into submission.  But one has to be apprehensive about such "good measures."  Past American interventionism in the Muslim world has established that there is no such thing as intervention to improve the lot of the populace.  That did not happen in 1953, when the CIA and the British intelligence service colluded to bring Mohammad Reza Pahlevi to power.  The post-Saddam Iraq is tenuous at best.  Afghanistan continues to teeter at the brink of disaster.  The CIA-backed intervention that ousted Sukarno of Indonesia in 1965 brought to power a military dictator, Suharto, who ruled that country with an iron fist for several decades.  (more…)
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Defiant Iran Has Its Achilles’ Heel

by Ehsan Ahrari on November 30, 2010, No Comments

It is hard to say that there is an "open season" on berating, hating, and ridiculing Iran in the West, because that season has never ended since the Iranian revolution of 1979.  Despite all the odds against it, Iran remains a formidable Middle Eastern state with a lot of clout and popularity stemming from its support of the Palestinian cause and for supporting the Hezbollah Lebanon, a political as well as a paramilitary organization that withstood the fury of Israeli attacks during the July-August 2006, a reality that remains intensely popular in Arab streets.  Still Iran's Achilles' heel remains the growing unpopularity of its government from within. The Islamic Revolution brought an end to the rule of "America's Shah."  Even President Jimmy Carter, who has evolved as America's best ex-president, attempted to encourage the Iranian Army to bring an end to the revolution.  Carter's successor, Ronald Reagan, openly sided with Iraq in its aggression against the Islamic Republic.[1]