Middle East

Moscow and Tehran’s Role in the Middle East
Middle East, Geopolitics and International Security, Study Office

Moscow and Tehran’s Role in the Middle East

By José Carlos Palma* In recent years, the Middle East has become a battleground for geopolitical maneuvering, with Moscow and Tehran emerging as key players in shaping the region's dynamics. The evolving relationship between Russia and Israel, coupled with Iran's growing influence, underscores a complex interplay of interests and alliances that have far-reaching implications for regional stability and global security. Redefining Alliances The historic friendship between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has undergone significant strain in the face of shifting geopolitical realities. While once considered allies in the fight against terrorism, particularly in Syria, the relationship between Moscow and Jerusalem has cooled in recent years,...
Iran’s Ring of Fire: A Strategic Analysis
Middle East, Geopolitics and International Security, Regions, Study Office

Iran’s Ring of Fire: A Strategic Analysis

By José Carlos Palma* In the ongoing geopolitical chess game between Iran and Israel, the Middle East has become a battleground where tactics are nuanced, and consequences dire. At the heart of Iran’s strategy lies a two-pronged approach: a military nuclear capability acting as a shield, and a network of proxy forces encircling Israel, known as the “Ring of Fire.” The Strategic Framework Iran’s ambition to establish itself as a dominant regional power has manifested in its development of a sophisticated strategy aimed at maintaining a safe distance from confrontation while exerting influence through proxies. The “Ring of Fire” strategy, orchestrated by the Islamic Republic, involves bolstering militant groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, and vario...
Navigating the Complexities of Iran’s Response: Balancing Act in the Face of Escalation
Middle East

Navigating the Complexities of Iran’s Response: Balancing Act in the Face of Escalation

By Daniel Robinson* In the aftermath of recent events, particularly the Israeli strike which significantly escalated tensions, Iran finds itself at a critical juncture, forced to carefully calibrate its response. Observers and experts alike weigh in on the intricate dynamics unfolding, highlighting the delicate balance Iran must strike between demonstrating responsiveness without veering into full-scale confrontation. "They have faced this real dilemma that if they respond they could be courting a confrontation which they don't want," one analyst observed. This sentiment underscores Iran's cautious approach, seeking to avoid escalation while still signaling its ability to defend its interests. The potential consequences of Iran's response loom large, with v...
Iran’s Strategic Missile Strikes Escalate Regional Tensions: Targets Include Syria, Iraq, and Pakistan
Middle East, Geopolitics and International Security, Study Office

Iran’s Strategic Missile Strikes Escalate Regional Tensions: Targets Include Syria, Iraq, and Pakistan

By José Carlos Palma* Date: 29 January 2024 In a series of coordinated missile attacks, Iran has escalated its regional conflict by targeting strategic positions in Syria, Iraq, and Pakistan. The missile strikes, which began as responses to perceived threats from these nations, have added fuel to an already tense geopolitical landscape. Syrian Retaliation for Suicide Bombings: Iran's attack on Syria comes in the aftermath of devastating suicide bombings in Kerman, Iran, claiming nearly 100 lives. Syria, under President Bashar al-Assad, has been a key ally for Iran in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS). The Iranian response underscores its commitment to defending its interests and supporting its regional allies. Erbil Struck Amidst Israel-Iran Tensions:...
Navigating Governance Challenges in Postwar Gaza: Strengthening the Palestinian Authority
Middle East, Geopolitics and International Security, Study Office

Navigating Governance Challenges in Postwar Gaza: Strengthening the Palestinian Authority

By José Carlos Palma* As the echoes of explosions and gunfire subside, the critical question of who will govern Gaza in the aftermath of the war looms large. With options limited, the Palestinian Authority (PA) emerges as a potential candidate, despite its own set of challenges. In this analysis, we explore the complexities surrounding Gaza's governance and delve into potential strategies for revitalizing the PA to play a central role in the region's stability. Current Challenges: Hamas Dilemma: Hamas, a prominent Palestinian organization, is not an acceptable option for Israel due to security concerns. Israel remains determined not to let Hamas rebuild its military capabilities, posing a significant obstacle to the group's governance in Gaza. Israeli Occupation Co...
Turkey’s Controversial Resettlement Policy: Demographic Shifts in Afrin, Syrian Kurdistan
Middle East, Human Rights

Turkey’s Controversial Resettlement Policy: Demographic Shifts in Afrin, Syrian Kurdistan

By ISSG Staff Introduction In a controversial move, Turkey has reportedly resettled around 10,000 Arab Palestinians in the Turkish-occupied Kurdish city of Afrin in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava). This strategic demographic shift has significantly altered the ethnic composition of the region, diminishing the Kurdish majority and sparking concerns about the long-term consequences for the displaced population. Background Following the Turkish army's occupation of Afrin in March 2018, after a two-month conflict with Kurdish forces, a policy aimed at the Arabization of the Kurdish region was set in motion. The policy received financial support from various Arab nations, including Palestine. Demographic Changes Abdulrahman Apo, a Kurdish politician no longer residing in Afrin, revealed tha...
Saleh al-Arouri: Unraveling the Life and Impact of the Hamas Deputy Leader Killed by a Drone Strike
Middle East

Saleh al-Arouri: Unraveling the Life and Impact of the Hamas Deputy Leader Killed by a Drone Strike

By ISSG Staff In a recent drone strike in a Beirut suburb, Saleh al-Arouri, the deputy leader of the fundamentalist Hamas movement, met his demise. This targeted attack by Israel has implications not only for the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas but also for the broader geopolitical landscape in the Middle East. This deep-dive analysis explores the life, role, and political significance of Saleh al-Arouri within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Life of Saleh al-Arouri Born in 1967 in Aroura, in the occupied West Bank, Saleh al-Arouri emerged as a prominent figure in the Hamas movement. His journey began in 1987 when he joined the group, eventually becoming a key player in establishing the military wing of Hamas in the Palestinian territories occupied by ...
Iran’s Role in Hamas Attack May Lead to Israeli Retaliation, Regional Conflict
Middle East

Iran’s Role in Hamas Attack May Lead to Israeli Retaliation, Regional Conflict

By ISSG- International Studies of Strategic and Geopolitics October 11, 2023 Washington - Iran's alleged involvement in the planning of a recent Hamas attack on Israel could lead to Israeli retaliation and a wider regional conflict, experts say. According to an Oct. 8 report by The Wall Street Journal, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) helped plan the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel that killed more than 900 Israelis and resulted in the kidnapping of more than 100 people. The report said that beginning in August, senior IRGC officials -- including, at times, Quds Force commander Esmail Ghaani and, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian -- met biweekly with Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Hezbollah to plan the attack, which Iran allegedly gave its fin...
Iran’s Raisi welcomes invitation from king to visit Saudi Arabia
Middle East

Iran’s Raisi welcomes invitation from king to visit Saudi Arabia

Iranian president has received an invitation to visit Saudi Arabia following reconciliation deal, Iranian official says. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has favourably received an invitation from Saudi Arabia’s King Salman to visit the kingdom following the reconciliation deal between the two countries, an Iranian official has said. “In a letter to President Raisi … the King of Saudi Arabia welcomed the deal between the two brotherly countries [and] invited him to Riyadh,” tweeted Mohammad Jamshidi, the Iranian president’s deputy chief of staff for political affairs, adding to this Sunday message that “Raisi welcomed the invitation”. The two regional heavyweights announced on March 10 a Chinese-brokered deal to restore ties seven years after they were severed. Riyadh cut relations af...
Iraq’s new geopolitics and the importance of regional engagement: A view from Brussels
Middle East, Regions

Iraq’s new geopolitics and the importance of regional engagement: A view from Brussels

By *Domènec Ruiz Devesa, Emiliano Alessandri Following the shock of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the United States’ invasion of Iraq in March 2003 marked one of the opening salvos of what has so far turned out to be a conflict-ridden 21st century. Whereas the 1990-1991 Gulf War was heralded by then-President George H. W. Bush as the founding moment of a “New World Order,” as Washington successfully mobilized a vast United Nations-mandated coalition to repel Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the second Gulf War epitomized the emerging instability in the international system caused by the excesses of America’s “unipolar moment,” the retreat of multilateralism, a Global South increasingly critical of Western-led initiatives, and the rise of non-state actors and terrorist networks. Although the high...