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Council on Foreign Relations
Treading Carefully on Iran

U.S. President Barack Obama's condemnation of the Iranian regime's crackdown on civilians protesting the presidential election marked his strongest words on the crisis since it unfolded more than ten days ago. They also prompted immediate speculation about a slowdown of the Obama administration's stated plans...

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Iran's Revolutionary Guards

IntroductionIran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was founded in the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic Revolution to defend the regime against internal and external threats, but has since expanded far beyond its original mandate. Today the guard has evolved into a socio-military-political-economic force with influence reaching...

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Realigning Pakistan's Security Forces

IntroductionGrowing militancy inside Pakistan has spotlighted the inability of the country's security forces to fight domestic insurgency. Militants have been expanding their reach: Large swaths of territory in northwestern Pakistan are out of government control; extremist groups across the country are working together; and suicide...

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The Tehran Test

The Iranian Guardian Council's announcement that it would consider a partial vote recount, following mass protests in Tehran in which several demonstrators were killed (FT), has kicked off speculation about what the fallout of the country's disputed presidential vote will mean forĀ Iranian politics. Iran's moderate...

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Presidential Power in Iran

IntroductionNo incumbent has lost a presidential election in post-Revolution Iran. But 2009's challengers are directing unusually intense criticism at President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on matters of foreign policy, domestic economic health, and management of the nuclear file. This has triggered enormous interest in the West about...

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Gauging Hezbollah After the Vote

Lebanon's Western-backed "March 14" bloc appears to have defeated an opposition bloc led by Hezbollah in a much-anticipated electoral showdown, retaining its parliamentary majority. The result, in which March 14 reportedly won sixty-eight to seventy seats in the 128-seat parliament, gave some Western analysts hope...

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Lebanon's Parliamentary Elections (June 7, 2009)

IntroductionLebanon holds parliamentary elections on June 7, 2009. The main question at stake is whether the country's Hezbollah-led "March 8" coalition will defeat its Western-backed "March 14" coalition. Analysts expect a close vote, and many see a narrow victory for March 8 as likely. The...

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The Reset Button On U.S.-Muslim Dialogue

U.S. President Barack Obama's Cairo speech calling for a "new beginning" between the United States and the Muslim world directly took on the tensions that have plagued relations, particularly since the 9/11 attacks. The speech was not heavy on concrete policy prescriptions, notes CFR's Steven...

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China's Role in the World

China's rise on the global stage is one of the most important geopolitical events of the last two decades. Now the world's third-largest economy and largest holder of foreign exchange reserves, China's growing international influence is also marked by its cooperation in the Six-Party Talks...

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Geithner's Rebalancing Bid

Timothy Geithner, in his first trip to China as U.S. treasury secretary, presented a plan for the United States and China to work together in a speech at Peking University. Geithner called for China to make its currency more flexible (FT) in exchange for fiscal...

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