Surely, @QuincyInst’s latest paper will cause some minds in DC to explode

@Matthew_petti & I test the DC analysis that a single "bad actor" - invariably aligned against the US - accounts for most of the region's ailments. If it only was this simple…>>…
Our quantitative and qualitative study published today shows that there is a set of powerful states who all are ROUGHLY EQUALLY INTERVENTIONIST. There is no one outlier - whether Iran, Libya, or Iraq - who more than the others is responsible for regional instability.>>
Six states have been the most interventionist: Iran, Israel, Qatar, Saudi, Turkey & UAE. Iran is highly interventionist but not an outlier. The others are often equally interventionist — and at times even more so. UAE & Turkey have actually recently surpassed Iran.>>
Nor does the US have clean hands. Five of the six most interventionist powers in the Middle East are armed and politically supported by the US. One-third of US arms exports 2010-2020 went to these interventionist states.>>
But therein lies an opportunity: If the US seeks stability in the region, it has much more influence over these five powers. The US should help resolve the proxy conflicts between its partners diplomatically and by that help stabilize the Middle East.>>
Though not easy, addressing these conflicts are low-hanging fruit. The reason the US may be neglecting them - and by that missing key opportunities for stability - is precisely because it adheres to the false “bad actor” analysis...
And finally: The data does not support the argument that the #IranDeal caused an increase in Iranian interventionism. Iranian intervention remained high and steady, while other powers’ increasing interventionism was often totally unrelated to Iran.>>
In fact, much of the regional escalation since 2011 has taken place in battlefields where Iran is not involved, but where Turkey, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar are jousting for power. >>
One tempting explanation is that #IranDeal created the perception that the US was abandoning regional powers to Iran, incentivizing THOSE POWERS to act more aggressively in pursuit of their perceived interests.

Troll army attacks will start in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...

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More from @tparsi

7 Jun
/THREAD/ Won’t lie, tremendously honored to receive this recognition from Chomsky.

But more importantly, Chomsky is right that between the official sanctions narrative on Iran and the one I present in Losing an Enemy, there’s no serious scholarship behind the official line. >>
The official line essentially says that Obama sanctioned Iran till they begged for mercy and agreed to negotiate. Then, despite the sanctions remaining in place, the Iranians were so desperate for sanctions relief that it took almost three years to reach a deal (!!??) >>
Thus, had it not been for sanctions, the JCPOA would never have come about and only war could have stopped Iran from getting a nuke. The sanctions were, the official line goes, “essential leverage.” >>
Read 17 tweets
12 May
@IgnatiusPost has a good column today where he recognizes the outbreak of MidEast diplomacy. But he underplays the main force behind this: Regional actors' conviction that the US is leaving the region and that the era of complete deference to regional partners may be ending >>
Here’s David’s column. For the US to support this embryonic yet promising diplomacy, it needs to better understand WHY it is happening now and not earlier. Hint: It is NOT because the UAE suddenly has become a force for peace as David suggests. >>…
But UAE deserves credit. As David writes, UAE reached out to Iran in 2019 after attacks on UAE ships & Saudi oil fields. What David fails to mention is that the UAE did so after realizing the US wasn't going to defend the UAE. I wrote about it at the time:…
Read 15 tweets
18 Apr
News of Iraqi-brokered talks between Saudi & Iran is a VERY BIG DEAL. Not just because the two sides are talking, but WHY they have started talks. I explain here how the US's military disengagement is incentivizing countries to pursue their own diplomacy…
In January 2020, I wrote a controversial piece for @ForeignPolicy arguing that the US's military involvement in the region has incentivized US partners to be more reckless and destabilizing.>>…
When that involvement reduced, good things emerged. I argued Trump's refusal to go to war with Iran over the attacks on Saudi oil fields, prompted Saudi to both engage in its own diplomacy with Iran and reduce aggression in Yemen.>>
Read 13 tweets
15 Apr
The @nytimes keeps on sticking this into its reporting and it's highly problematic.

Three heads of the Mossad in a row have publicly rejected this notion: Halevi, Dagan & Pardo.
Ehud Barak has consistently rejected it since 1992. Here's why: >>
As Barak and Halevy argue, Iran is a threat, but NOT an EXISTENTIAL threat because that notion belittles Israel's own power. Israel is indestructible Halevy maintains, and as such, Iran can't be an existential threat.

The data supports their argument. >>
Even if Iran had nukes - which it doesn't but Israel does - it would be suicidal for it to attack Israel due to Israel's 2nd strike capability. As a senior Israeli official told me, whatever Iran does to destroy Israel, it cant destroy Israel's ability to destroy Iran in turn. >>
Read 7 tweets
13 Apr
In response to the Israeli attack on Natanz, Iran is increasing enrichment to 60%. Highly problematic - yet predictable.

Iran tries to dispel the notion that the attack reduced Iran's leverage.

Yet, counter-escalation is what Israel wants as it makes diplomacy more difficult. >
All parties that want to see the JCPOA revived have a responsibility both to IGNORE and to CONTAIN spoilers.

Netanyahu is the biggest spoiler of them all and there is little evidence to suggest that Biden has contained - or even tried to contain him.
There's much that Netanyahu has done that Tehran has managed to ignore. Lack of Iranian capabilities has likely also contributed to this.

But attacks such as the one in Natanz cannot reasonably be ignored, which is precisely what Bibi counted on.
Read 4 tweets
12 Apr
Told @dwnews that Netanyahu is not intensifying his attacks on Iran because he fears the Vienna diplomacy, but because he fears they will succeed.

For him, attacking Iran is a win-win. He pays no price for it, all the while undermining diplomacy and increasing the risk of war.
For Netanyahu to attack Iran while Sec. Def. Austin is arriving in Israel shows that the Biden admin's strategy of appeasing Netanyahu in hope that it will prevent him from sabotaging Iran diplomacy is not working.
Bibi's biggest fear is not an Iranian bomb, but a nuclear deal that checks Iran's program and allows the US to check out - militarily - from the Middle East.

Netanyahu, Saudi, UAE want the US permanently stuck in the Middle East - and the #IranDeal is a threat to that.
Read 4 tweets

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