Conflict Assessment

Article

How Trump Can Avoid His Predecessors’ Iran Mistakes

Author: Ray Takeyh
Politico

There are important lessons for the incoming Trump administration on Iran they can learn from their predecessors, argues CFR’s Ray Takeyh. They should recognize that the Islamic Republic is a unitary nation-state purged of reformers, that it is susceptible to a threat of force, and that Iran is not interested in normalizing relations with the United States.

See more in Iran; Conflict Assessment

Op-Ed

There’s a Way Obama’s White House Can Save Syrian Lives, There’s Just No Will

Author: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Defense One

While increased U.S. military action in Syria may be favored by numerous policymakers, the Obama administration remains unwilling to sanction further intervention. Gayle Tzemach Lemmon writes that “The Obama White House has long argued that it was elected to end wars in the Middle East, not to escalate them…” but meanwhile, Aleppo remains “full of carnage and bunker-busting munitions with rockets falling on children and no hope of escape for anyone.”

See more in Syria; United States; Conflict Assessment

Article

What a Failed Soviet Coup Can Teach Us About 21st-Century Populism

Author: Stephen Sestanovich
Washington Post

Twenty-five years ago this week, a group of Politburo hard-liners launched a coup against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The effort to depose him provoked a gigantic popular protest and collapsed in just three days. With the failure of the coup, the communist system itself began to unravel. “The 20th century” — so claimed Boris Yeltsin, Gorbachev’s rival, rescuer and eventual successor — had “essentially ended.” People power had defeated the Soviet state.

See more in Russian Federation; Conflict Assessment; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Op-Ed

What Comes Next After Raqqa and Mosul?

Author: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Defense One

As U.S.-backed rebels fight to liberate Raqqa and Mosul, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon questions next steps for these cities. “Will these disparate forces stay together to form a federation of at least relative order that allows people to go to work and send their children to school?,” asks Lemmon. “Who will do the governing? Under what authority? And what comes next if that doesn’t happen?”

See more in Iraq; Syria; Military Operations; Conflict Assessment

Article

A Peace Plan for Syria II

Authors: Philip H. Gordon, James Dobbins, and Jeffrey Martini
RAND Corporation

Philip Gordon, along with James Dobbins and Jeffrey Martini of RAND, discusses how Syria could decentralize power in order to reduce violence and save lives while the parties work toward a more comprehensive long-term transition. 

See more in Syria; Conflict Assessment