As of mid-March 2012, Azerbaijani authorities announced the arrest of 22 Azeri citizens who were suspected of working with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in a cell that had reportedly been in place for more than a decade. This event serves as a sharp reminder to the international community that Iran has both the intention and the capability to hit targets outside its borders, and that it may strategically employ well-placed sleeper cells to conduct the attacks.
The upcoming April 1st elections in Burma (Myanmar) will be a critical indicator of whether changes underway in the country are likely to be sufficient to end Western economic sanctions. Regardless of how that election unfolds, however, the many factors at play below the surface render the geopolitical...
As of mid-March 2012, the question in the eyes of keen Hamas-watchers is: Will the group split into two, one in Gaza, and another in the West Bank and beyond? This is a very real question in light of the ongoing air strikes in Gaza and the resulting calls for escalation by the Gaza wing of Hamas, and at the same time the relocation of other parts of the group from Syria -- and the negative impact this has had on support both from Syria and Iran, formerly prime allies and influencers...
The U.S.-led effort to chart a course toward a peaceful future in Afghanistan has been shaken by two recent events. First, the news on February 21st that U.S. military forces had burned Korans at Bagram Air Base led to several days of violent protest outside several U.S. military installations across the nation. Second, on March 11th, a U.S. soldier left his post in southern Afghanistan, forced his way into several homes, and shot a number of local civilians, killing as many as 16 according to latest reports...
As of early March 2012, Iranian Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was solidifying both his personal and office's control over Iranian politics, at the expense of current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the office of the presidency as a whole. This most recent reorientation of power around his office, seen most clearly in the preliminary results of the 02 March 2012 parliamentary elections in which loyalists to Khamenei dominated over those who identified with Ahmadinejad, should be viewed as a continuation of a characteristic of Khamenei that dates from the 1980s, a characteristic that has a profound effect on on-going and future efforts by Western governments to deal with Iran...