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Analysis & Commentary

2nd September 2015 – FDD Policy Brief

Kurds Mark Milestone by Joining Turkish Cabinet

Aykan Erdemir, Merve Tahiroglu

Kurds Mark Milestone by Joining Turkish Cabinet

The suspension of Turkey’s ceasefire with Kurdish fighters in July, followed by airstrikes against Kurdish militant targets in Turkey and Iraq, have brought the greatest rupture in Turkish-Kurdish relations in decades. Politically, however, Turkey’s Kurds achieved a milestone this week, as the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) became the first predominantly Kurdish party to join the Turkish cabinet in the country’s history. more...

31st August 2015 – FDD Policy Brief

Saudi King’s Visit Offers Chance to Reset Relations

David Andrew Weinberg

Saudi King’s Visit Offers Chance to Reset Relations

President Obama is set to host Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud at the White House on Friday for the king’s first visit since ascending to the throne in January. White House spokesperson Josh Earnest has indicated that the meeting will focus on bilateral ties, joint counterterrorism efforts, regional topics such as Syria and Yemen, and “steps to counter Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region.” more...

28th August 2015 – FDD Policy Brief

Interviewing Scientists is Key to Iran’s PMD

Amir Toumaj

Interviewing Scientists is Key to Iran’s PMD

A fatal flaw of last month’s Iran nuclear deal is its failure to account for possible military dimensions (PMDs) of Tehran’s previous nuclear work. That failure could be rectified, at least in part, by demanding that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) be allowed to interview Iran’s nuclear scientists and military officers involved in suspected weaponization research. more...

19th August 2015 – FDD Policy Brief

Closer Iran-Turkey Ties Face Hurdle over PKK

Amir Toumaj, Merve Tahiroglu

Closer Iran-Turkey Ties Face Hurdle over PKK

Turkish and Iranian leaders have each expressed a desire in recent weeks to enhance bilateral cooperation on regional issues. Meeting that objective, however, will require overcoming some significant differences regarding the Kurdish question. more...

17th August 2015 – FDD Policy Brief

The Unraveling of Sanctions on the Quds Force’s Qassem Soleimani

Toby Dershowitz, Annie Fixler

The Unraveling of Sanctions on the Quds Force’s Qassem Soleimani

Sanctions against Qassem Soleimani “will stay forever,” Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday. Soleimani is head of the Quds Force, the arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), responsible for “exporting the revolution” abroad. more...

17th August 2015 – FDD Policy Brief

Russia’s Airline Aeroflot Carried Qassem Soleimani to Moscow and Back

Emanuele Ottolenghi

Russia’s Airline Aeroflot Carried Qassem Soleimani to Moscow and Back

Fox News reported that on July 24, General Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force (IRGC-QF), travelled to Moscow, met Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, and discussed possible future arms deals with Russian officials. more...

17th August 2015 – FDD Policy Brief

Turkey’s Terrorism Policies and the Case of Hamas

Merve Tahiroglu

Turkey’s Terrorism Policies and the Case of Hamas

“A terrorist organization is a terrorist organization,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told a military ceremony Tuesday, defending Turkey’s two-front war against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Islamic State (IS). more...

14th August 2015 – The Long War Journal

New Taliban Emir Accepts al Qaeda’s Oath of Allegiance

Bill Roggio, Thomas Joscelyn

New Taliban Emir Accepts al Qaeda’s Oath of Allegiance

The Taliban’s new leader, Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, has accepted the oath of allegiance (bayat) from al Qaeda emir Ayman Zawahiri, as well as the pledges to him from “Jihadi organizations spread throughout the globe.” Mansour’s statement was released just one day after al Qaeda released an audio message from Zawahiri in which he gave bayat to Mansour. more...

13th August 2015 – FDD Policy Brief

The Iran Deal Rewards Airlines that Served as IRGC Terror Fronts

Emanuele Ottolenghi

The Iran Deal Rewards Airlines that Served as IRGC Terror Fronts

Between 2011 and 2013, the U.S. Department of Treasury designated five of the seventeen airlines currently operating in Iran for their support to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). more...

13th August 2015 – FDD Policy Brief

The IRGC’s Sanctions Relief Bonanza

Emanuele Ottolenghi, Saeed Ghasseminejad

The IRGC’s Sanctions Relief Bonanza

The European Union is slated to delist the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), its commanders, and dozens of its commercial entities within the next eight years, pursuant to the nuclear deal. Washington has downplayed this, noting that the agreement only grants relief for nuclear-related sanctions, and that the IRGC will benefit minimally if at all, noting that IRGC entities will remain under U.S. sanctions even after the EU has delisted them. more...