Things to read to understand the Iran protests

I’ve written over the years about Iranian politics, Iranian security agencies and tactics, and the Iranian quest for freedom. As Iran’s largest post-revolutionary protests enter their fourth day, here are a few stories that might be of interest:

  • Iran: The Case for Regime Change,” Commentary Magazine, April 2010. (This lengthy essay discusses a lot of the soft power options the United States and Europe have at their disposal.)
  • To Keep America Safe We Must Address Our Intelligence Failures In Iran,” Fox News, October 12, 2011. (Politicians always talk about what we know about Iran; this essay looks at our intelligence gaps, and what they might mean when Iran faces another uprising.)
  • Crackdown demonstrates Iran’s cyber capabilities,” Operational Environment Watch, November 2014. (Operational Environment Watch is the flagship publication of the US Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office. Its articles are apolitical, focusing on analysis of foreign publications. In this particular example, the Iranian police are bragging about their ability to crack down on social media, something we have again seen in recent days.)
  • Who Will Stand with the Iranian People?” Commentary Magazine, January 10, 2016. (A blog post asking every candidate to formulate a policy to address the likelihood their presidency would witness a new Iranian uprising.)
  • Iran’s Achilles’ heel: Unfulfilled expectations,” AEIdeas, March 1, 2017. (This blog post questions whether Iranians would tolerate the fact that they wouldn’t see any of the cash flowing back into regime coffers.)
  • Both sides undermine regime change in Iran,” AEIdeas, July 19, 2017. (This blog post takes to task those on both sides of the US political divide who engage in activities that do more harm than good. Repeat after me, Iranian freedom shouldn’t be a political football.)
  • Iran: Policing the Internet and Social Media,” Operation Environment Watch, September 2017. (Iran has a cyberpolice force. Here’s an overview of some of their recent activities.)

There’s much more, of course. Here, for example, is a whole list of my recent AEI work on Iran. And here are some pieces dating back from the 2009 Iranian uprising. All of these provide some background. But the important thing now is to realize that while American strategy and planning matter, what’s going on wasn’t caused by the United States and isn’t about the United States. It’s about a basic human desire for freedom and liberty, something Iranians deserve. Let’s hope they succeed.

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