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When Mustafa Hijri, the secretary-general of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (Hezbî Dêmokiratî Kurdistanî Êran, also known as Partî Dêmokiratî Kurdistanî Êran ), invited young Iranian Kurds to join his party in a speech delivered on March 2016, several Kurdish analysts and activists interpreted his message as an attempt to restart the xebati chekdari, which authorized the use of arms against the government of the Islamic Republic. Others were less convinced. As the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) has taken up arms in the provinces of Iranian Kurdistan and Iranian A
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Publication Title: Masarat 24 “Friction at the Helm: Four Decades of Amity, Conflict, and Reconciliation between Hashemi Rafsanjani and Ali Khamenei” Date of Publication: Rajab – Shaban, 1437 – April – May, 2016. This issue of Masarat traces the ongoing competition and ideological clash between the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, which for the past thirty years has had a significant impact on the Iranian political scene. The 24th issue of Masarat focuses on the history of the on-off rivalry between t
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Publication Title: Masarat 23 “Understanding the Rise of the Lebanese Hezbollah: The 1985-2000 South Lebanon Security Zone Conflict.” Publication Date:  Jumada I – II, 1437, February – March, 2016.   While pundits attribute the Damascene regime’s resilience in the ongoing Syrian conflict largely to the Russian intervention since September 2015, the sudden emergence of the Lebanese Hezbollah on Syrian turf since 2013 has arguably proven to be no less valuable for Bashar al-Assad’s continuous grip on power. This report showcases, by virtu
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Masarat 22nd Issue, Published January, 2016/Rabi Al-Thani, 1437 Hijri.   This paper aims to discuss the asymmetric, interdependent nature of the relationship between Russia and Iran. The two countries have found themselves on the same side in a variety of conflicts in which their national interests have coincided, and among these conflicts is the current Syrian civil war. The paper discusses the aspects that the alliance on the Syrian issue is based on, the consolidation of this alliance through military synergies between the two countries, and the criticism received by Iran&r
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Masarat 21st issue, published December 2015/Rabi Al-Awwal 1437 Hijri.    ‘Deciphering Russian Interference in Syria: What is at Stake for Moscow?’   Amid the turmoil in the Levant, a region entangled in the Syrian civil war for over four years, a significant change in trajectory has recently taken place. In mid September 2015, Russian armed forces deployed along the Syrian Mediterranean coast in the La
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The 20th Masarat issue, published November 2015/Safar 1437.   When Russia jumped into the fray, adding yet another layer of complexity to the already intractable Syrian conflict, commentators and politicians responded predominantly by projecting their hopes unto a game-changer seen as shifting a hurting stalemate toward its denouement. The prospect of a dangerous escalation making the crisis even more difficult to solve was largely dismissed, based on a rather speculative and wishful understanding of Russia’s intentions or capacities.
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The 19th Masarat issue, published October 2015/Muharram 1437.   This study, looks at the civil protest movement in Iraq post July 31, 2015 from two angles: first, by analyzing the alliance of the three influential forces of the reform movement (the protesting masses, the religious authority of the Marja‘iyya led by Sistani, and Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi) and second, by examining the convergence of grassroots demands for actual change from policymakers.
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Issue 17. Jumada1 1436 18 March 2015>   Abstract: As mainstream narratives focus on the truly horrendous forms of violence carried out against Iraqi and Syrian civilians by the so-called “Islamic State,” little attention is being paid to the many acts being carried out against national unity and state-institutions in Iraq and Syria at the hands of extremist movements of militant Shiite ideologies. Too often dismissed as merely an effect or unfortunate consequence of their Sunni equivalent, Shiite militia
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Issue 16. November 2014 (Safar 1436 H.)   Abstract: The succession mechanisms and processes for the Supreme Leader post in the Islamic Republic have been one of the more contentious and nebulous elements in post-revolutionary Iran’s statecraft. A unique position, which is not immediately comparable to other “summit” institutions of modern state systems, such as the presidency of a republic, the helm of a monarchy, or the highest military rank in a junta, the Supreme Leader in Iran is effectively an irreplacea
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Issue 15. September 2014 (Dhu Al-qadah 1435 H.)   Abstract: One of the defining features of the present-day Islamic Republic of Iran is the unique nature of its political class. “Political class” here is taken to mean the segment of society which holds incumbency in state institutions, according to the definitions of Gaetano Mosca and others. The Islamic Republic’s ruling elite is at once restricted and diverse. It encompasses a complex mix of pious laity and Shi’ite clergy of various levels and promine
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