Iran, the Shia Crescent and the Arab Spring

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Making predictions for the future by closely following developments at home and abroad, conducting scientific research on bilateral and multilateral relations and the security strategies of Turkey, as well as on domestic problems in political, economic, technological, environmental and socio-cultural areas, providing also decision-makers with practical recommendations, policy options, and proposals in line with the national interests are all included in the founding purposes of the Wise Man Center for Strategic Studies (BILGESAM). BILGESAM is preparing reports to fulfill the purposes quoted above.

With the Arab Spring, the nature of the ruling parties has changed and the authoritarian regimes have started to be dethroned in the Middle East. These have resulted in a transformation process in the political geography of the region. The ruling parties in the Middle East that had been at the hands of a small elite or a certain sectarian groups for a long period of time have changed hands as a result of people’s movements or they have been forced to make reforms in the direction of democratization. The Shia Crescent, which has prospered with the rise of the Shia factor and become more apparent, has come to be a crucial dynamic for Iran’s clout in the region.

The report “Iran, the Shia Crescent and the Arab Spring” mainly focuses on these issues: Iran’s foreign policy line as of 1979, the Shia factors in Middle Eastern countries, Iran’s influence on these factors, and Tehran’s attitudes and the movements in the face of the rebel movements in the Arab world. Moreover, the report assesses Iran’s reactions to the people’s movements in the Arab countries along with its aims in the direction of the Shia Crescent. Within this scope, it analyses Tehran’s different stance towards the rebellion that has erupted against the Syria’s ruling party, the Nusayris [Alawis], and how iTehranhas supported the current regime in Damascus.

I hope the report will provide Turkish decision-makers with the chance of reading a substantial analysis on Iran’s steps in the Middle East within the scope of the Shia geopolitics. It will also serve for taking the right decisions in line with Turkey’s national interests in the reshaped politics of the region. I also extend my thanks to Emin Salihi who participated in the preparation of the report and the BILGESAM personnel who contributed to the publication process of the report.

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