Asked by Arianna Talaie, from College of William and Mary Author: Ray Takeyh
Ali Khamenei is the Supreme Leader of Iran and has the final say on all issues pertaining to its foreign policy. The Islamic Republic has a complex constitutional structure whereby the authority of the president and the parliament are subservient to that of the Supreme Leader. All issues of war and peace, treaties and elections have to be approved by Khamenei. As such, the presidents and foreign ministers can engage in negotiations but cannot commit Iran to a final course until the Supreme Leader approves.
"The best means of guaranteeing adherence is to make certain that sanctions relief is always provisional and can be reconstituted if Iran violates its obligations," writes Ray Takeyh about the West's nuclear deal with Iran.
In his testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs; Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa & Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, Stephen Biddle argues that short term success in Afghanistan is less important than the United States' ability to secure its long term interests beyond 2014.
In his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, CFR Senior Fellow Ray Takeyh discusses the perception of Iranian president Hassan Rouhani as a reformer or pragmatist, the role of the Supreme National Security Council, and the future of the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.
In a section of this week's "Saturday Essay" in the Wall Street Journal, Steven Cook says that Turkey will continue its current course of action relating to Syria: "supporting factions within the Syrian opposition, providing refugee relief and advocating for international intervention to bring the conflict to an end."
In his testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Stephen Biddle acknowledges that neither the case for nor against using force in Syria is without serious costs and risks. He evaluates the five main goals an attack might be designed to achieve: deterring further CW use and upholding norms against the employment of such weapons; preserving U.S. credibility; enabling a negotiated settlement to the war; toppling Assad and his government; and ending the humanitarian crisis by saving civilian lives.
International forces in Afghanistan are preparing to hand over responsibility for security to Afghan soldiers and police by the end of 2014. U.S. President Barack Obama has argued that battlefield successes since 2009 have enabled this transition and that with it, "this long war will come to a responsible end."
Steven Cook presents a revisionist account of Egypt's uprising and argues that a robust regime change has actually never taken place, as solidified by the recent repression of Muslim Brotherhood opposition forces.
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