West Asia: Publications

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  • Evaluating the Political and Economic Role of the IRGC

    The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) is Iran's most powerful security and military organisation, responsible for the protection and survival of the regime. Over time, the IRGC has attained a position of dominance vis-à-vis the regular army (Artesh). In due course, the Guards have also been transformed into a leading political and economic actor. The major political role of the IRGC started with the election of the reformist presidency. However, the Guards' involvement in the Iranian economy began during Rafsanjani's presidency.

    July 2012

    India's Afghan Policy: Beyond Bilateralism

    The India–Afghanistan relationship is not a simple bilateral engagement. India's Afghan policy is driven by, and is dependent on, many extraneous factors such as India's troubled relationship with Pakistan, its search for a land transit to Central Asia through Iran and Afghanistan and its concerns regarding use of Afghan territory by Pakistan to the detriment of Indian interests. Given the geographical constraints, India has relied on Iran for land access to Afghanistan. This has been complicated by Iran–US relations —the two countries with whom India shares common interests.

    July 2012

    Conflicts between Iran and the Gulf Arab States: An Economic Evaluation

    The post-2003 Persian Gulf sub-region has witnessed intensified geopolitical conflicts and competition between Iran and the Gulf Arab states, particularly between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Scholars and experts have mostly analysed the conflicts through political and strategic prisms while neglecting their economic dimensions. This article analyses the various post-2003 conflicts between Iran and the Gulf Arab states with a focus on how economic integration or the lack thereof creates the incentives to resolve or sustain the conflicts.

    To Stop Iran Getting the Bomb, Must We Learn to Live with Its Nuclear Capability?

    The latest report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Iran's alleged nuclear weapons programme, released on November 8, 2011, has effectively raised the global threat level. The agency faced the daunting challenge of making a judgement on how far Iran's nuclear programme has advanced and its potential for weaponisation on the basis of suggestive but dated, inconclusive and possibly fake evidence (hundreds of pages of evidence have been sourced to one laptop of unproven provenance given to the IAEA by a Western intelligence agency).

    March 2012

    The Delicate Balance: Israel and India's Foreign Policy Practice

    India's foreign policy interactions with Israel are marked by a political discreetness which is in contrast to its prominent political engagement with the Palestinians and countries of the Arab world. India plays down its robust defence engagement with Israel, censures Israeli policies regarding the Palestinians, supports Palestinian-related resolutions at multi-lateral forums like the UN, differs strongly from Israeli policy on issues such as Iran's nuclear programme while being opposed to the possibility of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons capability.

    January 2012

    Velayat-e-Faqih (Supreme Leader) and Iranian Foreign Policy: An Historical Analysis

    There has been an increasing assertion of the velayat-e-faqih in Iranian politics in recent years. This has led to tensions between them and the presidential office in Iran. Against this backdrop, this article seeks to analyse the constitutional position of the velayat-e-faqih and how it has interacted with other institutions to shape Iranian foreign policy. The article critically analyses the relationship between the velayat-e-faqih and different popularly elected presidents.

    January 2012

    Shangahai Cooperation Organization: Challenges to China's Leadership

    The SCO— a linchpin of China's Eurasia policy is viewed ominously by most international watchers. China is nurturing the SCO as an exclusive nucleus to undercut the US strategic outreach. But, Central Asia, the main nucleus, suffers from strategic ambiguity and the states there seek varied goals and play major power off each other. There is also an ostensible mismatch between Russia's liberal and China's expansionist approach. Will the SCO emerge as a distinct pole or will it remain an opportunistic alliance of desperate states?

    July 2008

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