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The Futile Search for a Silver Bullet for Deradicalization

by Ehsan Ahrari on July 27, 2016, No Comments

A friend of mine sent me this blog (see the URL below) from one of India’s most respected newspapers, The Hindu.  I read all essays and books that deal with radicalization and that of deradicalization.  Thus far, I haven’t read anything that persuaded me to say that, indeed, we have found a silver bullet against those phenomena.  But my search continues. If an economist is writing about these subjects, he/she would lean toward explanations underscoring economic deprivation and the resultant anger as part of the reason for radicalization, as the essay below quotes Princeton University Professor Alan B. Krueger’s work on the subject.  If a political scientist or a sociologist is the author, he/she opts for politico-social variables as reasons for radicalization.  But psychologists remain a source of hope to me, even though all psychological studies that I have seen on the subject are far from being labelled as impressive; even though most of them who have studied these issu
IRAN IRAQ KING SALMAN OF SAUDI ARABIA MOHAMMAD BIN SALMAN PAKISTAN SAUDI ARABIA SAUDI MILITARY INVASION OF YEMEN SECURITY STATE THE ISLAMIC STATE/ISIS/ISIL UNCATEGORIZED US GLOBAL LEADERSHIP

The Sustained Saudi-US Strategic Rift

by Ehsan Ahrari on April 23, 2016, No Comments

Poor Saudis!  They have become the Rodney Dangerfield of the Persian Gulf, at least for the United States.  They have not been getting any respect from the Obama administration lately.  President Barack Obama, in a highly publicized interview, described the Middle East as a region that cannot be fixed, “not on his watch, and not for a generation to come.”  The Persian Gulf is a case in point.  That is a region where the Saudi-Iranian rivalry is getting hotter.  Since King Salman came to power, he appointed his 30-year-old son, Mohammad, as Defense Minister and the chief manager of his court.  In this latter capacity, he is generally regarded as the power behind the thrown.  The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Muhammad Bin Naif, though he holds numerous posts, is not number two in terms of his exercise of power.  Brash Mohammad, it seems, is the second most visible, and ostensibly, the second most influential man in that country.  Personalities are important in authoritarian
AFGHANISTAN ARAB AWAKENING DABIQ HOT GLOBAL ISSUES FROM OTHER SOURCES INFORMATION WAR INTELLIGENCE IRAN ISLAM ISLAMIC STATE/ISIS/ISIL ISLAMOPHOBIA MEGA CHAOS MIDDLE EAST PAKISTAN PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SECURITY STATE SOUTH ASIA STRATEGIC AFFAIRS OF WEST ASIA THE ISLAMIC STATE/ISIS/ISIL UNCATEGORIZED UNITED STATES

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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Whose Version of Political Order in the Middle East?

by Ehsan Ahrari on June 16, 2015, No Comments

Given the rising tide of instability and disorder in the Middle East, Henry Kissinger’s longing for a new world order is more real than it is given credit for, everywhere except in the United States and perhaps in Europe.[i]  Such a world order defends the Westphalian principles created in Europe.  The most relevant feature of the Westphalian system for this discussion is that each nation-state exercises sovereignty over its territory and in its conduct of domestic affairs.   Throughout the Cold War years, the United States established an impeccable record of enforcing that principle in its defense of states of Western Europe against a potential encroachment of the Soviet Union. (more…)
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The Pakistan Army’s ‘Perpetual’ War Against India: A Review of C. Christine Fair’s Book, “Fighting to the End”

by Ehsan Ahrari on June 8, 2015, No Comments

The division of the Indian subcontinent into two countries—a larger India and a considerably smaller Pakistan with its East and West Pakistan wings that were about 1,000 miles apart—was anything but a happy story.  Millions of people were either killed or forced to migrate to and from those countries.  Even now, when the events of that blood-drenched tragedy have become a distant memory, both India and Pakistan appear incapable of freeing themselves from the ghosts of those dark days and continue to depict each other as archenemies.  This statement is more correct for Pakistan, because at least India is focused on the enormously intricate task of emerging as a rising power.  Pakistan, on the contrary, is still wallowing in the injustices of the past.  I agree with Ms. Fair that It “Pakistan did get the short end of the stick in terms of the division of fixed assets, because the bulk of the infrastructure was located in India.” (p. 56)  Pakistan “believes that it was dep
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A Passage to India and Dubai

by Ehsan Ahrari on May 5, 2015, No Comments

The best part of international travel is returning home safely and then telling your friends and acquaintances what you have learned from your travels.  In that sense, our travel to India and Dubai was quite joyful as well as instructive. Every time I go to India, I am full of high hopes about finding progress that I read so much about in the Western press.  But every time, I come back not exactly overwhelmed by the evidence of said progress.  Since I look at India from the grassroots level, I see more evidence of continuity than change.  But that is not to say that progress is totally absent.  Surely not. (more…)
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The American Century Is Far From Over: A Review Essay

by Ehsan Ahrari on March 21, 2015, No Comments

One of the ostensibly interminable debates about foreign policy is whether the United States is a declining power, or whether it has already retrogressed into a “has-been” superpower.  From the vantage point of this perspective, the issue of America’s decline is not yet complete. The advocates of this perspective appear open to the proposition that America’s waning can be reversed.[1]   However, the pessimist regard America’s decline as virtually complete and may even be irreversible.[2]   Needless to say, this perspective remains very much open to challenge.  In any event, the issue of America as a declining power is not only multidimensional, but it opens up spirited and engaging discussions among its exponents and opponents. (more…)
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Do US-Iran Strategic Interactions Have a Promising Future?

by Ehsan Ahrari on March 17, 2015, No Comments

The realignment of forces in the different regions of the globe at times start with some significant events whose import remains a matter of speculation among strategic thinkers until it eventually becomes a major development.  On other occasions, that force realignment springs from minor events that suddenly transform into a major force for change.  Applying this observation to the Middle East, current strategic interactions between the United States and Iran belong in the former category.  Even though it is only in its initial stages, it may have a great future, especially if Washington and Tehran can agree on a mutually acceptable nuclear deal.  The Arab Awakening, which started in December 2010 and later swept three long-standing dictators out of power, belongs in the latter category.  Even though that potentially revolutionary change seems to have fizzled out since the 2013 restoration of the military dictatorship in Egypt, the sudden outburst of another wave of Arab Awakenin
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US-Iran’s Nuclear Conflict and the Exercise of Arab/Iranian Realpolitik

by Ehsan Ahrari on March 6, 2015, No Comments

The partisan circus in the US Congress involving Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's March 3, 2015 speech condemning US-Iran nuclear negotiations is over, while the assessment phase of that speech over the prospects of a nuclear deal continues.  If Netanyahu wanted to minimize, if not kill, the chances of a deal that is acceptable to the United States and Iran, he may have succeeded, at least in making its emergence difficult.  What is left to be seen is how resolute American and Iranian negotiators will be about concluding a nuclear deal. (more…)