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The Future of Iran’s Regional Role – A Historical Backgrounder

For this strategic foresight and warning series focused on the future of Iran notably as a regional player, within the next three to five years, we shall start analysing Iran’s history and political institutions and then we shall investigate Iran’s relations with leading regional and global powers.

Signals: Jerusalem – The U.S. Defeated at the U.N., China Seeks Advantage?

Impacts and Consequences Increased likelihood to see a global perception of the global U.S. influence and power lowered; Increased likelihood to see a global perception of the regional (Middle East) U.S. influence and power lowered. Should China step in successfully as peace broker between Israelis and Palestinians Increased likelihood to see global perception of a… Read More

Signal: U.S. President Trump’s Statement on Jerusalem

On 6 December 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump declared that the U.S. recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and, as a result will move its embassy there (see sources below), while also reasserting commitment to the peace process and specifying that the U.S. would support a two-state solution, if approved by both the Israelis… Read More

Signals: A Russian-backed Congress in Sochi for Future Peace in Syria?

Impacts and Consequences If Russia succeeds in gathering major actors in a congress in Sochi, which we estimate as likely (55% to 70%) Increased likelihood to see, at the end of the process, a constructive peace settling in Syria Increased likelihood to see the birth of a Federal Syria Increased likelihood to see the survival… Read More

Signal: Russia’s Putin Hosts Syria’s Assad for Working Meeting on Future Syria at Peace

Impact on Issues and Uncertainties ? Degree of influence of Russia on Turkey compared with Turkey’s perception of threat related to a Kurdish polity on its southern flank (near future critical uncertainty) ? Finding a compromise on Hezbollah and Iran presence or withdrawal from a future peaceful Syria (near future critical uncertainty) ? Are the root causes that allowed the… Read More

Signals: China enters the Fray in the Middle East; Israel Unprecedented Interview; Saudi Arabia…

A new state of play is emerging in the Middle East, which redraws the regional web of influence, following the military victory over the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the concurrent and related negotiations for the end of the war in Syria. At the global level, the current jockeying taking place in the Middle East and its result will also have consequences as it impacts perceptions of global players, as well as influence and thus capability. On 16 November, three major diplomatic events centred around Saudi Arabia and Iran’s influence and involving China and Israel took place which impacted this state of play.

Signals: Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Israel…

Impact on Issues and Uncertainties ? Unity of Arab States, willingness and capability to support Saudi Arabia, willingness and capability to counter growing Iranian influence, (critical uncertainties) ➚ (➃ conflict in Yemen) Saudi perception of Iranian expansion and resulting threat ➙ ? Lebanon destabilisation ➚  ? Hezbollah influence in Lebanon ➚➚ Iran actualization of the Shia crescent to the Mediterranean… Read More

Signal: Al Qaeda / Islamic State New Front In Western Egypt?

Impact on Issues and Uncertainties ➚ ➃  Reinforced jihadist front in Western Egypt ➚ ➃ Challenges to Egypt as it is squeezed between the Sinai and Western fronts ➚ ➄ Survival of the Islamic State ➚ ➄ Islamic State resurgence in the MENA region, notably Libya ➚ ➄ Strengthening of al-Qaeda in the MENA region ➚ ➄ Reinforced linkages with other jihadist groups and… Read More

Signal: Still no Agreement – Iraqis Forces and Peshmergas

Impact on Issues and Uncertainties ➚ ? ➃  Short term – Willingness of Iraq to capitalize further on their military victory against the Kurds, notably capturing Kurdish oilfields (uncertainty) ➘ ? Medium to longer term – capacity of Iraq to govern legitimately over its multi-sectarian multi-ethnic population (critical uncertainty) ➚ ➃  /➄ Iraq strength and international support ➘ ➂ Legitimacy of Iraqi Kurdish political authorities and parties ➘ Prospects for Iraqi Kurds’ independence and even autonomy ➙ ➃  Iran’s influence in Iraq and in the region ➘ ➃  U.S. influence in the region ➘ Middle East American order (Other issues stable as regard to this signal only – a full assessment would need to consider events in Lebanon and Yemen) On 5 November 2017, the ongoing negotiations between… Read More

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Signals: Russia, Iran, Turkey – A Syrian Strategic Triangle

Impact on Issues and Uncertainties ? Degree of influence of Russia – and now possibly Iran – on Turkey compared with Turkey’s perception of threat related to a Kurdish polity on its southern flank (critical uncertainty) ➚➚ ➃ Turkey’s perception of threat ➚➚➚ ➃ to ➂ Survival of the Kurdish-led Federation of Northern Syria ➚➚ ➄ to ➂ Constructive peace for Syria ➘ ➃ to ➂ Middle… Read More