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The National (UAE)

Iranian Presidents Threaten Khamenei At Their Own Peril

  • By
  • Afshin Molavi,
  • New America Foundation
March 5, 2012 |

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and former president Mohammad Khatami have little in common. Mr Ahmadinejad, a rabble-rousing populist hardliner, is a world apart from Mr Khatami, a mild-mannered reformist with a bent for philosophy and a distaste for confrontation.

They are unlikely to be found breaking bread together, but if they did, talk might turn to something they have in common: the Supreme Leader as their supreme nemesis.

The Rise of the Angry Young Man

  • By
  • Afshin Molavi,
  • New America Foundation
February 20, 2012 |

Last October, amid the din of the Arab uprisings, the euro-zone crisis, the lingering effects of the Japan earthquake, and the US gearing up for a election season, a quiet milestone was passed: the world population hit the seven billion mark.

The Real Afghanistan Binary: State Rule vs. State Failure

  • By
  • Afshin Molavi,
  • New America Foundation
February 6, 2012 |

Amid the international debate over the future of Afghanistan, a false binary has taken hold. Afghanistan is torn, we are told, between two choices: a corrupt, ineffective, increasingly unpopular government of President Hamid Karzai or the prospect of the return of the Taliban and their twisted and violent vision of Islam and a manifestly disastrous ruling history. In this stark choice, Mr Karzai is the usual winner.

Syria Crisis Talks In Bid For Unified Opposition | The National

February 9, 2012

Randa Slim, an adjunct research fellow at the New America Foundation, a Washington-based think tank, suggested the SNC was not up to the task. Made up mostly of exiles, the council lacks the legitimacy on the ground, she said, that is enjoyed by the ...

Tehran is Feeling the Oil Squeeze

  • By
  • Afshin Molavi,
  • New America Foundation
January 27, 2012 |

While winter is in full swing in Tehran with snow blanketing the capital, senior officials of the Islamic Republic can be forgiven for feeling hot. Over the past three weeks, the major powers have dramatically turned up the pressure on Iran over its nuclear programme. We have now entered the oil-squeeze phase.

Iran's Threats to Close the Strait of Hormuz More Theater than Reality

  • By
  • Afshin Molavi,
  • New America Foundation
January 9, 2012 |

Chest-thumping threats by senior Iranian officials in recent days to close down the Strait of Hormuz sound like the proverbial cutting off one's nose to spite one's face. Iran's economy is overwhelmingly dependent on oil sales, most of which moves through the Strait to markets in Asia and Europe. A shut-down of the Strait would largely close the taps on Iran's own oil sales.

The Death and Rise of the Soviet Model

  • By
  • Afshin Molavi,
  • New America Foundation
December 26, 2011 |

On a cold, grey Moscow winter day exactly 20 years ago, the red hammer and sickle Soviet flag was lowered at the Kremlin for the last time. The Soviet Union had died. The world's second most powerful state had crumbled under the weight of a bankrupt ideology, bankrupt finances and courageous self-determination movements across Eastern Europe. The Communist behemoth, once seen as the most dangerous foe of the western world, fell with a whimper.

The Inventions of Newt Gingrich and Palestine

  • By
  • Afshin Molavi,
  • New America Foundation
December 12, 2011 |

The half-educated man is dangerous because, as the adage goes: "Knowing a few things, he thinks he knows everything." There is bizarrely something of the half-educated man in the Republican presidential candidate and front-runner Newt Gingrich. A PhD "historian", Mr Gingrich certainly "knows" a few things. In fact, he has impressed audiences in debates with sweeping historical references and a seemingly assured command of policy details. This has partly contributed to the Gingrich surge, catapulting him into first place in many Republican polls.

The Tragedy of the Euro and the Middle East

  • By
  • Afshin Molavi,
  • New America Foundation
December 1, 2011 |

For the past several years, Italy under Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi resembled a political comic opera, with a larger-than-life character of ravenous appetites and tragic hubris. But the recent "political death" of Mr Berlusconi represents only the end of Act One. Two more acts remain, and this drama could turn from comedy to tragedy quickly.

Bashar Assad's Arab Winter

  • By
  • Afshin Molavi,
  • New America Foundation
November 14, 2011 |

Yesterday marked 41 years since a young and ambitious Syrian defence minister and air force officer executed a bloodless coup, taking over the post of prime minister. It was the 10th coup in 17 years in a country riven by factionalism and bitter disputes among senior military officers. Less than a year later, he was anointed president.

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