Shi'ism and geopolitics

From Detente to Containment: the Emergence of Iran's New Saudi Strategy
Hassan Ahmadian and Payam Mohseni. 5/2021. “From Detente to Containment: the Emergence of Iran's New Saudi Strategy.” International Affairs, 97, 3. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Iran's strategy with respect to Saudi Arabia is a key factor in the complex balance of power of the Middle East as the Iranian–Saudi rivalry impacts the dynamics of peace and conflict across the region from Yemen to Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Bahrain. What is Iranian strategic thinking on Saudi Arabia? And what have been the key factors driving the evolution of Iranian strategy towards the Kingdom? In what marks a substantive shift from its previous detente policy, we argue that Tehran has developed a new containment strategy in response to the perceived threat posed by an increasingly pro-active Saudi Arabia in the post-Arab Spring period. Incorporating rich fieldwork and interviews in the Middle East, this article delineates the theoretical contours of Iranian containment and contextualizes it within the framework of the Persian Gulf security architecture, demonstrating how rational geopolitical decision-making factors based on a containment strategy, rather than the primacy of sectarianism or domestic political orientations, shape Iran's Saudi strategy. Accordingly, the article traces Iranian strategic decision-making towards the Kingdom since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and examines three cases of Iran's current use of containment against Saudi Arabia in Syria, Yemen and Qatar.

Read full article here.

A Genealogy of Conflict

A Genealogy of Conflict: An Interior View of the War in Yemen

March 11, 2021

The Project on Shi'ism and Global Affairs hosted an event with Marieke Brandt, a senior researcher at the Institute for Social Anthropology (ISA) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, on the subject of the contemporary war in Yemen. The full paper of the report can be viewed below.

Abstract: Over the past years, the war in Yemen developed many internal and external dynamics. The focus of international observers and the media is often more on its regional political contexts, thereby largely disregarding the local dynamics of this...

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Arab Spring

Iran and the New Geopolitics of the Middle East: In Search of an Equilibrium

February 16, 2021

Project Associate Hassan Ahmadian recently published an academic article in the Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies. on Iran's changing strategic foreign policy following the Arab uprisings of 2011.

Abstract: Iran’s regional policy was subject to heated debates in the post-Arab Spring period both within Iran and beyond. Though welcomed by allies, Iran’s regional involvement was fiercely criticized by its rivals and foes and, as such, different theories emerged on its causes, aims and scope. There was less divergence,...

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2021 Apr 05

Symposium on Diversity and Unity in Transnational Shi'ism

Mon Apr 5 (All day) to Thu Apr 8 (All day)

Location: 

Zoom | Register at bit.ly/symposium-signup

The Project on Shi’ism and Global Affairs at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs is proud to host a landmark international symposium entitled “Diversity and Unity in Transnational Shi’ism” over four days (April 5-8, 2021).

This symposium brings together interdisciplinary voices from across various interpretations of Shi'a Islam in both contemporary and historical contexts with leading scholars in the field who study the diversity of Shi’a thought and communities across...

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Shi'a Workshop

Project on Shi'ism Summer Workshop

October 20, 2020

The WCFIA Project on Shi’ism hosted a summer workshop on geopolitics, contemporary ideology, and political movements in the modern Middle East. Led by Project Director Payam Mohseni and Project Associate Mohammad Sagha, the workshop covered conceptual Shi'a political and ideological frameworks and their implications in current regional and international relations. Subject areas included Twelver Shi’a approaches and understandings of political mobilization and theory and wider revivalist strands in political Islam across the region.

2020 Mar 11

*POSTPONED* The Unfinished History of the Iran-Iraq War: Faith, Firepower, and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards

5:30pm to 7:00pm

Location: 

CGIS South South S050 Thomas Chan-Soo Kang Room, 1730 Cambridge St., Cambridge MA 02138

UPDATE:

Due to the measures Harvard University has taken concerning the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID 2019) outbreak, 
Dr. Samuel's talk has been *POSTPONED*.

برگزارکنندگان المپیاد ورزشی بسیج یزد تجلیل شدند

This talk, and the book on which it is based, will analyze how Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has documented the history of the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88) in its...

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