Wednesday Round-Up

Iran: 36 Years After The Revolution
Iranian Ambassador Seyed Hossein Mousavian, a research scholar at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School and a former spokesman for Iran’s nuclear negotiators, looks at where his nation stands 36 years after the revolution which overthrew the US-backed Pahlavi regime in 1979.

Mousavian writes in Al Monitor that Iran has emerged from the Iran-Iraq War in a stronger position, but could make improvements in the area of human rights.

He says that “Iran’s political arena is also a scene of fierce and counterproductive factional infighting, with almost all former heads of past administrations having been accused or humiliated, and having their credibility put into question by rivals.”

Despite its failings, “the Islamic Republic of Iran remains a political reality. It has firmly entrenched roots in Iran and now garners substantial geopolitical clout throughout the Middle East. After 36 years of overcoming what many thought were insurmountable obstacles, Iran has remained a strong and stable state. This is both testimony to impressive statecraft and demonstrates the necessity of a detente among the countries in the region, the West and this power that is here to stay.”

Why ISIS Will Remain Resillient
Fidaa Itani argues in NOW Lebanon that despite recent battlefield losses and a loss of morale, the terrorist group will remain a threat.

Itani says one of the more important advantages ISIS has is its ability to adjust and adapt, particularly after suffering defeats.

“ISIS’s ability to learn from its experiences and develop militarily. It deduced that the war of attrition it fell into in Kobani wasn’t going anywhere, so it changed course. It knows the coming war will not be as easy as the past war, so it has made preparations and reshaped its forces. The group will not be affected by the defection of a few dozen fighters in Syria or Iraq,” he writes, adding that “it is a large conglomeration that unites dozens of different components — a few changes to its body will not cause any damage.

Book Review: The Putin Mystique: Inside Russia’s Power Cult
Andrew Stuttaford of the Wall Street Journal reviews Russian-American author Anna Arutunyan’s new book, “The Putin Mystique: Inside Russia’s Power Cult.”

Stuttaford says that she is aware that some may take her examination of those who support Putin as “making the Russian people take the rap for Mr. Putin,” so instead emphasizes how their leader has “cunningly taken advantage of social phenomena that predate him,” most notably the space for authoritarianism created by Russians’ belief in a state “beyond influence, beyond logic.”

He describes it as a “fascinating book is an examination of a dance between ruler and ruled, swirling on amid the ruins the Soviets left behind.”

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