Browsing All Posts filed under »Iran«

From the Archives: The New Year’s War in Gaza

November 16, 2012

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With it kicking off in Gaza again, I thought I’d post an unpublished article I wrote in late 2009 about what I called the New Year’s War in Gaza. Some of the observations are understandably dated, but I think the piece is still relevant. At eleven o’clock Saturday morning, on December 27th 2008, the New […]

No permanent threats, only permanent interests

November 6, 2012

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A conceptual problem with British defence policy is that it is too focused on deterring threats, not on safeguarding interests – a problem unintentionally highlighted by The Telegraph today. It reports that the United Kingdom may increase its military presence in the Persian Gulf region ‘to counter the growing threat from Iran’, not to protect […]

History is more complex than the Iran debate allows

October 23, 2012

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Whenever I have written about Iran, I have looked at the problems of numerous policies to deal with the country, rarely offering my own suggestions for solving the Iran problem. There are two reasons for this, one of which is that it is ridiculously complex and no one can really come up with what I […]

Some thoughts on the storming of the British embassy in Tehran

November 29, 2011

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There were two concerns I had when I learned that the British Embassy in Tehran had been stormed today. One concern was whether any hostages had been taken, which continues to be unconfirmed, and I was also worried about the reaction of the “usual suspects”, for whom Iran is worse than Nazi Germany. England has […]

Striking Pakistan

September 26, 2011

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Since the September 13th attacks in Kabul, relations between Pakistan and the United States have become so bad that it is rumoured the baddies in the next Indiana Jones film will be the ISI, which is much more damaging to a country’s reputation than being listed as a state sponsor of terrorism. On Thursday, Admiral […]

Israel and its inability to think strategically (still)

May 23, 2011

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Last summer, when perennial concern about Iran’s nuclear programme grew hysterical, Ron Tira, a noted Israeli strategic thinker, wrote that the importance of an attack on the country was not the operation itself but manipulating international reaction. ‘It is necessary to examine Israel’s response to different events, for example, the Turkish flotilla to the Gaza […]

A few thoughts on the Iranian arms seizure

March 9, 2011

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It was reported earlier that NATO had seized Iranian rockets on their way to the Taliban. William Hague, the British Foreign Secretary, released a statement condemning this as ‘unacceptable’. Before the usual suspects claim to be shocked – shocked! – at this revelation, and use it as a cause for war, I think we should […]

Steven Metz: Islamophobia and the crumbling of American strategy

February 7, 2011

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Although I don’t agree with the conclusions, this guest post by Dr. Steven Metz is an excellent critique of American grand strategy since September 11th and the corrosive effects which Islamophobia has had. He is the author of more than a hundred publications on future war, the emerging security environment, military strategy, defense policy, international […]

Iran, murder and reason of state

December 15, 2010

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There is a new article on the Newsweek site about the ‘covert war’ going on inside Iran to destabilise its nuclear programme, noting the suspicious attacks on its nuclear scientists recently. It brought me back to the discussion about murder and reason of state: are Iran’s scientists ‘fair game’ for targeted killing? Xavier says no: […]

The Godfather Doctrine

September 13, 2010

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There is nothing wrong with using popular culture to enliven international relations. I have drawn comparisons between Afghanistan and The Magnificent Seven, while Adam Elkus and Crispin Burke look at strategy and giant robots. The Godfather Doctrine has taken one of the best films of all time and used it as a parable for American […]

Republicans and the military

August 26, 2010

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I have always been interested in American politics, and I often wonder whether I’d be a moderate Republican or a conservative Democrat if I lived in the United States. Since summer 2008, I’d have been a reluctant Democrat simply because the GOP has become pretty crazy. This happens when a party loses power spectacularly, and […]

Up to a point, Lord Copper…

August 24, 2010

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Tim Montgomerie, the editor of influential blog ConservativeHome, has written an article in the London Times today (£) defending George W. Bush and his legacy. He credits the president with many deserved but underrated achievements, from Africa and his outreach to moderate Islam to a burgeoning special relationship between India and the United States. ‘The […]

Anticlimax?

August 20, 2010

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Although I will persist in my series on Iran, I think the announcement today of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority has made academic any discussion of military strikes. Netanyahu will not order an attack in the next week, at least; and there will not be one for a year at most, if […]