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America vs. Iran: the competition for the future of the Middle East.


The countries where Iran aspires to expand its power and influence include Egypt, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Afghanistan, and the Gulf Cooperation Council states.


Relations with Iran. In our 2012 report, we explained:

   On balance, Egypt's revolution has thus far delivered
   little by way of practical results for Tehran.
   Cairo, likely under some additional pressure from
   the Gulf and from Washington, has made only miniscule
   steps in the direction of renewed relations. As
   for Tehran's promises of major Iranian investments in
   Egypt--worth $5 billion, according to one account--Egyptians
   would be well advised to consider other
   such Iranian promises and wait for the money to
   materialize before rejoicing. (149)

The collapse of the Mubarak regime in Egypt was eagerly welcomed by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Prior to this, Tehran had severed relations with Cairo in the wake of the Camp David Accords and applauded the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. But the Ahmadinejad government was ready to put the Sadat era behind it; Iran reached out with unbridled enthusiasm to Mubarak's successors even before Mohammed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government was elected in 2012. (150)

Despite several reciprocal visits, expressions of interest on both sides, and a notable willingness to open the Suez Canal to Iranian military shipping (151) (including port visits to Iran's embattled protege, Bashar al Assad), the awaited rapprochement between the two countries never truly materialized. Small steps were made, including an increase in bilateral dialogue, joint trade fairs, and the vacillating resumption of direct air service between Tehran and Cairo. (152) But underlying tensions have remained, as Iran's condemnation of the June 2013 military coup (153) and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's subsequent condemnation of the postcoup violence have upheld frosty overtones in relations between the two nations. (154)

Any serious improvement of ties between Iran and Egypt will likely await a resolution of the Syrian conflict, as both the Egyptian military and the Muslim Brotherhood have ranged themselves firmly on the side of the rebels fighting Assad. Nonetheless, the possibility that the two nations may find common ground--perhaps in Cairo's newfound hostility toward the United States--should not be underestimated. Assumptions that the determinedly secular Egyptian military will not slowly continue the spadework of repairing ties with Iran are incorrect. After all, as Khaled Amareh, chief of the Egyptian interest section in Tehran, promised in September 2013: "The relationship between Iran and Egypt is important to the entire region, and there is a consensus among all national Egyptian groups about the significance of this relationship. Naturally, Egypt is now in transition and it is natural that it is difficult to take important and strategic decisions in this period, but officials of the two countries are keen to improve relations." (155)

Relations with the United States. The traditionally robust US-Egypt relationship is currently experiencing rocky times. Egyptians on all sides of the Arab Spring--liberals, secularists, Islamists, and the military--have perceived the Obama administration as supporting the wrong side. These perceptions commenced with the administration's confused approach to the widespread anti-Mubarak demonstrations in 2011, its equivocal calls for the aged leader to step down, and what many viewed as a seamless transfer of its affection to Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood government. Washington further exacerbated these tensions by continuing its confused approach in dealing with the June 2013 coup ousting Morsi; Obama refused to label the takeover a coup (which would trigger an automatic cutoff in assistance), but this decision was followed by the contradictory cancelation of annual joint military exercises and suspension of substantial portions of aid in October 2013. (156) The lack of any cohesive strategy has left all in Egypt (and many in Washington) scratching their heads.

Obama administration officials claimed that the United States had little leverage with Cairo, dismissing complaints about the failure to adopt a consistent policy toward either the Arab Spring in general or Egypt, specifically. (157) This is despite the fact that the United States is Egypt's largest bilateral trading partner (with trade totaling $8.4 billion in 2012) and a major investor (in 2010, the US stock of foreign direct investment in Egypt was $11.7 billion) (158) and that, since 1979, the United States has annually provided $1.3 billion in military assistance (159) and up to $815 million in economic support and development funds to Egypt. (160)

Competition. In theory, the idea that there could ever be any US-Iranian competition in Egypt appears ludicrous. Egypt is overwhelmingly Sunni and, as such, there is little affection for Iran's fundamentalist Shia doctrine. Conversely, one of the largest US Agency for International Development (USAID) missions in the world is in Cairo, (161) and US-financed training, maintenance, and weaponry have been the backbone of the Egyptian military for more than three decades. Moreover, both the United States and Sunni Gulf states that are concerned with Iran's growing regional influence have worked to stymie the Iran-Egypt relationship.

Nonetheless, Iran continues to make slow inroads into Egypt. One small flagship operation is the Misr-Iran Development Bank, 40 percent of which is owned by the Iran Foreign Investment Company with Cairo controlling nearly 60 percent (split between the state-owned National Investment Bank and the semi-state-owned Misr Insurance Company). (162) As we previously noted, (163) some have suggested that the bank has become a conduit for Iranian sanctions evasion and, as such, it has been placed on the US Treasury Department's Iranian Transactions Regulation list. (164) As of 2012, however, the bank was still providing financing in key Egyptian sectors. (165)

Of course, Iranian investments are dwarfed by the size and breadth of US investment and aid. An April 2013 US trade mission, for example, brought almost a dozen major US-based corporations to Egypt, including international powerhouses Google and Raytheon. (166) Indeed, despite confusion about the White House's approach to Egypt, the focus on Egypt's business sector has continued and in theory provides a stable foundation for private-sector relations between the two nations.

On balance, there is little prospect of a head-to-head competition for Egyptian affections between the United States and Iran. More than 50 US-funded projects are ongoing in Egypt, ranging from antiquities research and agricultural and food security programs to health, education, and micro and mortgage finance. And while it is true that US programs tend to focus more heavily on areas that mirror American political biases (for example, there are currently five programs on "gender equality"), the sheer volume of assistance programs over the years has meant that more-practical areas relevant to a broader swath of the Egyptian public are hard to avoid.

On the military side, Iran has little to offer in competition with the robust supply of sophisticated US weaponry and aircraft to the Egyptian armed forces. And while the cutoff of significant weapons transfers that the Department of State announced in October 2013 (167) (after a $1.4 billion arms sale was approved only five months before (168)) may tarnish Washington's reputation as a reliable supplier, the notion of sneering at an arsenal that includes F-16s, M1A1 Abrams tanks, E-2C Hawkeyes, TOW antitank missiles, Stingers, advanced radar and patrol ships, and much more in technical support and related military assistance seems hardly credible. In truth, Iran has little to add to Egypt's readiness, and a shift of allegiance to Russian or Chinese weaponry given the preponderance of US equipment also appears to be a long shot.

Finally, while the current instability in the Egypt-US relationship should be a cause for concern, the overall framework of economic and military assistance--the 1979 Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel--and the imperative of investing in a stable foundation in the Arab world's largest nation make it very likely that Washington will ultimately restore much of its aid. Should that not occur, Iran and other global actors like China and Russia will have an opportunity to make inroads and influence Egypt's future course. However, it should be understood that neither Iran, Russia, nor China, is likely to invest meaningfully in Egypt's infrastructure and development, nor will any of them be capable of competing with Gulf countries who will seek to maintain a balance of power favorable to Sunnis in the Middle East. Ultimately, therefore, while Egypt may drift from its relationship with the United States, it is unlikely to find itself in the Iranian camp of influence.

The West Bank and Gaza Strip

Relations with Iran. The growing Sunni-Shia divide has complicated Iran's much-vaunted support for the Palestinian cause. Sunni Hamas's 2012 decision to pull out of Damascus and split with the Assad regime meant that the most militant Palestinian rejectionist group was nominally operating apart from its Iranian sponsors. In the years since that decision, however, it has become clear just how much Hamas depended on Iranian largesse for its arms and treasury. Nor has it been possible for the group to turn to other Arabs for support. The Arab League is now on record supporting a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine; a new leader has taken the helm in Qatar, which might have been a ripe target to replace Iran as a major funder for Hamas; and Sunni Islamist extremists are out of favor in many parts of the region.

Iran is keenly aware of the shifting alliances in its neighborhood and believes its loyalty to the Palestinian cause is a trump card against the less committed Sunnis. In 2013, Iran took the unusual step of boasting of its arming of Palestinian militant groups. Then-Majlis speaker Ali Larijani told Iran's Mehr News Agency, "We provide assistance to the people of Palestine, including military assistance, and Palestinians succeeded in striking the mouth of Israel with the help of Iran during the eight-day war [Pillar of Defense]," adding, "We do not conceal our support for Palestine from anyone, and we do not act like some countries which supply arms to Syria and reject this when asked about it." (169)

Iranian support is, however, a double-edged sword for the Palestinians. If Palestinian groups continue to range themselves with Iran and against Sunni Arabs, how does that bode for the long-term viability of those groups? Can Palestine be a Sunni and a Shia cause in the Middle East? If so, it will indeed be unique. But for Palestinian groups, such reflections are a luxury. They need money and arms now.

Before the 2012 split, Hamas enjoyed a unique relationship with Tehran in the sense that it viewed itself less as a proxy of the Iranian regime and more a partner that brought its own credibility to the relationship. That sense brought Hamas to refuse training with Hezbollah and rebuke Iran for its willingness to support Assad against his own people. (170) But the loss of Iranian support has been hard on the group, which has been forced to purchase some arms on the open market, beg for cash from the Qatari government, and otherwise tighten its belt.

Consider what was:

* Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) training for the elite Hamas Izz ad Din al Qassam Brigades in both Iran and Syria. (171)

* IRGC training in missile-launch exercises in Sudan. (172)

* IRGC and Syrian experts training Hamas in the Gaza Strip. (173)

* Antiaircraft missiles. (174)

* Sophisticated guidance systems. (175)

* Chinese-made C-704 missiles. (176)

* Katyusha, Grad, and Fajr rockets.

* Sophisticated antitank guided missiles and specialized training on improvised explosive devices. (177)

Reports now conflict as to whether Iran has continued to arm Hamas, with some Israeli sources suggesting weapons transfers have continued unabated, (178) and others noting a major downturn in both cash and arms shipments. (179) Reliable sources suggest that Iran has continued to provide certain arms to Hamas, most notably the advanced Fajr-5 rocket, capable of reaching deep into Israeli territory and believed to be shipped via Sudan. (180)

One certain result of the Hamas-Iran tensions was Tehran's turn to Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a once-prominent terrorist group fallen on hard times. As we stated in our May 2012 report, Ziyad al Nakhalah, PIJ's number two, complained to the pan-Arab daily Asharq Alawsat in 2009, "What we can obtain from the donors can satisfy some of our needs, but the Jihad Movement remains a resistance movement; it is poor, and it always pursues to increase its resources as long as its body and its needs grow." (181) But with Hamas on the sidelines, former Florida native Ramadan Shallah, the leader of PIJ, has made clear that his loyalties are not in question. As a result, Tehran has showered diplomatic and military affection on the group.

During the late-2012 Pillar of Defense operation in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli military found PIJ's ability substantially improved from earlier battles, thanks, some suggest, to Iranian support. PIJ's al Quds Brigades boasted primacy in the short-lived fight with the Israeli military, claiming to have been the first to fire (Iranian-supplied) missiles on Tel Aviv and that it destroyed "31 fighters [people], fired 933 rockets, killed 3 Israelis and wounded tens more." (182) The Quds Brigades also claims to be producing its own long-range rockets based on Iranian blueprints, which Israeli sources have confirmed. (183)

Iran has also lavished aid on the languishing Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), another group that sided with Tehran and Assad. The group reportedly met with Iranian sponsors under the auspices of Hezbollah in Beirut. "Following the resumption of Iranian support, there will soon be a dramatic increase in the strength of the PFLP's military wing, the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, after the internal reorganization of the group is completed," sources told Al Monitor newspaper. (184)

Whether because of this competition or because the fruits of the Arab Spring and the restoration of Egyptian military rule on the Gaza Strip have added to Hamas's burdens, the group has moved to restore relations with Iran. Khaled Meshal, the Hamas leader who made a great show of his distance from Tehran only last year, has reportedly tempered his view that Assad should be ousted, recommending peace talks instead. (185) And the group has even turned to rival Hezbollah to help repair relations with its old sponsor. (186) As of this writing, however, the hoped-for rapprochement had yet to gel. (187)

On the soft-power side, Iran continues to provide assistance, but at sharply diminished levels. In mid-2013, Hamas Finance Minister Ziad Zaza acknowledged financial troubles but insisted that these were due to Israeli restrictions and that aid from Iran and others still ran from $5 to 12 million a month. Others disagreed off the record, saying that Iranian cash transfers had dropped by more than half. (188) A donation from Qatar for $400 million in the wake of renewed conflict with Israel eased the sting slightly. (189)

Worse yet for Hamas, Iran began in 2013 to distribute assistance to Gazans via PIJ rather than through Hamas. (190) Using the Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation, a known conduit for funding terrorist groups (and one so designated by the US Treasury Department), Iran and its friends in PIJ handed out $2 million worth of food aid to Gazans during Ramadan. (191) PIJ, hardly squeamish about its ties to Iran, distributed tens of thousands of packages from trucks painted with the Iranian flag. (192)

Consistent with Iranian aid-giving habits in the Gaza Strip, most assistance has been situational, given to promote a particular group or burnish Iran's own reputation. Examples include aid packages at Ramadan; assistance for rebuilding in the wake of conflict with Israel; budgetary support for Hamas governance; and most often, subsidized or free arms shipments to congenial militant groups.

Relations with the United States. No one can accuse the United States of underinvesting in either the Palestinian people or the peace process. The American taxpayer has transferred approximately $5 billion to the Palestinians since limited self-rule was established in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, (193) and each president since Jimmy Carter has staked considerable personal political capital on a solution to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Barack Obama is no different than his predecessors in that regard, and despite promising the nation a rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific, (194) the president's main focus in his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly following his reelection was almost exclusively on the Middle East, Iran, and the Palestinians. Secretary of State John Kerry has also thrown himself into the peace process with gusto, and notwithstanding the faltering US economy, has announced several new USAID and State Department programs in 2013 alone, including a US-backed plan "for private firms to invest $4 billion in the Palestinian territories to contribute to a solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." (195)

Particularly since the 1993 Oslo Accords, American assistance to the Palestinians (which now excludes any governmental assistance to the Gaza Strip because it is governed by a US-designated terrorist group) has covered a wide variety of areas, including basic humanitarian assistance, education, governance, economic reform, institution building, and exchange programs.

US programs like the Palestinian Community Assistance Program, (196) Community Infrastructure Development Program, (197) Infrastructure Needs Program, (198) Palestinian Authority Capacity Enhancement Project, (199) Education Reform Project, (200) Investment Climate Improvement Project, (201) and many more such ventures make clear that, philosophy about aid and its effectiveness aside, the United States has a clear strategy for the West Bank and even the Gaza Strip. The theory behind the projects is straightforward: a better economy, better governance, more responsible and transparent leadership, more investment, and better living conditions will form the foundations of a new Palestinian state.

Certainly, there has been no shortage of criticism of these aid programs over the years. The Palestinians themselves have been shoddy stewards of their own territories, and many aid programs with ambitious titles have had little material benefit. But on paper, these programs hew to a theme, with a coordinated strategic goal closely linked to American interests in both Israel and the Palestinian territories. Again, without regard to the merit of each project or its execution by subcontractors and contractors, as well as USAID officials, the program makes sense in light of US foreign policy ambitions.

If the answer to the question "what does the United States want in Palestine?" is better schools, governance, prosperity, and a peaceful population, these are USAID programs that at least nominally fit the bill. Similarly, US foreign policy, while ripe for criticism in both its vision and execution, is nonetheless coherent. A strategic ambition is peace, and all US agencies sing from much the same songbook. The facts that US ambitions are not realized, that the partnership with the Palestinian Authority is flawed, and that little has in fact improved as a result of these programs are problems we must relegate to a separate report.

Finally, it should be clear that some of these kudos apply largely to work in the Fatah-governed West Bank and not to the Hamas-governed Gaza Strip, where the US profile is diminished because of Hamas's status as a specially designated foreign terrorist organization. It does however beg the question of the efficacy of US programs in the Gaza Strip prior to the Hamas takeover. If the Palestinian population was pleased to elect Hamas in free elections, rejecting outright the Palestine Liberation Organization and its political wing, Fatah, obviously there is a sustainability and effectiveness problem for US assistance.

Competition. Ironically, neither the United States nor Iran appears focused on the question of competition with the other among the Palestinians. Indeed, the two nations share a similar plight: notwithstanding vast expenditures and the commitment of substantial political, military, and diplomatic resources for the Palestinian cause, neither is particularly appreciated by the Palestinian people. A 2011 poll found 7 in 10 Palestinians mistrusted Barack Obama and fully 77 percent viewed Iran negatively. (202) Similar polls show that most Arabs see neither Iran nor the United States as contributing to peace and stability in the region. (203)

Unlike US investment, the bulk of Iranian investment among the Palestinians is in arming militant groups for conflict with Israel. The United States is obviously more focused on soft power among the Palestinians (though the relationship with Israel is tipped heavily in the other direction). Despite investments across the spectrum, neither the United States nor Iran has seen great success from its investments, rhetoric notwithstanding. There is no peace with Israel, nor has Israel been destroyed. Fundamentally, both Tehran and Washington invest in the Palestinians for different strategic purposes having to do with credibility in the former case and strategic vision (or reflexive adherence to foreign-policy establishment views, depending on your perspective) in the latter. For all intents and purposes, the United States and Iran do not compete in the Palestinian territories.


Afghanistan is a tertiary theater for both sides in the US-Iran competition. With one exception, Iran's objectives there are almost entirely defensive. The United States has never shaped its Afghan policy with Iran in mind, nor must it do so, aside from a couple of considerations. Afghanistan's impact on the overall competition will be limited, although it will generally be positive for the United States as long as America sustains its support for the Afghan government and necessary military presence to help that government survive.

Iranian involvement in Afghanistan is well documented. (204) It ranges from cash payments to President Hamid Karzai (which he himself has acknowledged) to limited support to Taliban groups fighting the United States and the Afghan government. Tehran has not sent advanced weapons to the Taliban as it did to Iraqi Shia militias (apart from a few abortive shipments that were intercepted). Nor has its money been able to persuade Karzai or other Afghan leaders to oppose a long-term US military presence, which the Iranians have made clear that they strongly oppose. (205) Tehran has been unable to shape the formation of Afghan governments, in stark contrast to the dominating role it played in the formation of governments in Iraq. It has been neither kingmaker nor major spoiler.

Iranian interests in Afghanistan are limited and largely defensive. Tehran does not want to see US bases permanently established on its eastern border, which it would not otherwise have to defend. It certainly does not want to see the Taliban back in power in a way that could threaten Iran. It suffers from the opium trade, which feeds large-scale heroin addiction in Iran, although the IRGC also benefits from facilitating that trade. (206) Iran has sought to benefit from India's desire to divert Central Asian trade away from Pakistan through the construction of the Zaranj-Delaram highway that connects with Iran's Chabahar port at the expense of Pakistan's Gwadar. Iranian leaders remain concerned about Afghan water management because Iran is downstream from it. They also remain distressed by the large numbers of Afghan refugees and migrant workers in Iran, whom they see competing for jobs in a depressed economy with high unemployment.

Iran cannot do much to shape Afghanistan on its own, however. The scale of support the Afghan government and security forces need to survive runs into the billions of dollars annually--well beyond what the Iranians could provide even if Afghanistan were a priority for them. Afghans are well aware of this fact, which helps explain why Afghan leaders have been willing to take Iranian cash without feeling obliged to follow Tehran's wishes in any important way. Iran's relationships with China, India, and Pakistan are all far too tenuous to allow Tehran to subcontract its Afghan policy with any assurance of success and, again, Iran has many much more important issues with all three of those powers than it has interests in Afghanistan.

The only positive advantage Afghanistan offers Iran is the ability to attack US personnel directly but somewhat deniably and to hold them at risk to deter an American attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. The American withdrawal from Iraq has left some targets for Iranian militias--notably the massive embassy complex in Baghdad and consulates in Basra, Kirkuk, and Irbil. But US targets in Afghanistan are (at least for now) more widespread and in some respects more vulnerable. They could be hit by Iranian-supported insurgent groups with somewhat more plausible deniability than, say, US military targets in the Persian Gulf.

But American military positions in Afghanistan are hardened and US diplomatic personnel are carefully protected, whereas there is little evidence to suggest that Iranian proxies there are particularly numerous or effective. The US presence in Afghanistan, on the other hand, has caused the Iranian military to beef up the defenses along its eastern border, in particular by constructing a new air base at Birjand in October 2007. (207) Concerns about Afghan refugee flows have also led Tehran to spend money on border security and to deploy more troops toward its eastern frontier. Since the United States does not need to use Afghan bases to attack any target in Iran, anything the Iranians spend on defending against such hypothetical attacks is wasted from their perspective. That fact has not prevented them from wasting their money, however.

The United States could take measures to encourage the Iranians to waste more money, principally by retaining a presence at Shindand Air Base in Herat Province. This large airfield is home to the Afghan Air Force's main training facility and a short hop away from the Iranian border. The Afghans have been fighting to retain this base so as to avoid having to relocate their training to one of the bases in eastern Afghanistan nearer to where the United States plans to continue to maintain its presence. Doing so would very likely cause the Iranians to continue to expend resources on air defense and air force capabilities to defend against a possible US attack from this direction. Even maintaining the ability to conduct regular joint air exercises out of Shindand without actually keeping a permanent American presence there (which would be far cheaper) might have such an effect.

The United States should not make decisions about Afghanistan or expend resources within Afghanistan solely to compete with Iran in that theater. The benefits would not be worth the effort. But we should realize the incidental benefits vis-a-vis Iran that we can derive from pursuing a long-term relationship with Afghanistan aimed at fighting al Qaeda.

Gulf Cooperation Council States

The countries bordering the Persian Gulf and linked politically and economically as members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This section will focus on the latter six countries, in addition to Yemen, which is negotiating for GCC membership. Bahrain will be discussed in its own section.

Several factors have combined to turn the mutual suspicion between Iran and some of the GCC states into open hostility. That hostility has not, however, translated directly into closer ties between the US and those states.

Long-serving Saudi ambassador to the United States Prince Bandar bin Sultan recently announced his kingdom's displeasure with and desire to distance itself from the United States. (208) The UAE does not appear to be refusing to launder Iranian money, even as it increases its orders for American weapons systems to defend against Iran. Qatar maintains its customary ambivalence in choosing between the United States, whose principal air command-and-control center it hosts, and Iran, with which it shares a vast gas field. And Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman has sought to capitalize on Washington's desire for a nuclear deal with Iran by using his close ties with Tehran to facilitate a rapprochement.

Circumstances over the last few years have been extremely propitious for cementing a very close bond between the United States and most of the GCC states, but that bond appears to be weakening instead. And yet it is not too late to repair the damage and build a strong regional alliance aimed at checking the expansion of Iranian power with states that have the financial resources and the incentive to compete seriously in the soft-power realm.

US relations with the Gulf states seem at first glance as though they should be straightforward from the standpoint of cooperation against the Iranian threat. The Saudis have seen Iran as their principal strategic rival since at least the destruction of the Iraqi threat in 2003. Kuwaitis have feared the emergence of an Iranian-supported Shia government in Iraq and are aware that they are a very short drive from the Iranian border. Iranian occupation of the Tunb Islands, which the Emiratis also claim, has alienated Abu Dhabi. Iranian support to Shia opposition movements in all of those states--and to the Shia revolutionaries in Bahrain--antagonizes the Sunni rulers of those states. The Yemeni government has also become increasingly hostile to Tehran in the face of increasingly obvious Iranian support not only to the quasi-Shia Houthi rebels but also to the frankly Sunni Southern Mobility Movement advocating for the redivision of the Yemeni state. Only Qatar and Oman remain on good terms with Iran, suffering little from Iranian depredations. If this were the Cold War and the US cared only about competing with Iran in the Gulf, policy would be simple.

But we are not in a Cold War-style world, and policy is far from simple. American policy toward Iran must address the reality that the United States is threatened also by al Qaeda groups operating with increasing strength and impunity in the Middle East. It is not in America's interest to support Gulf policies that, intentionally or unintentionally, strengthen al Qaeda simply to build up frontline allies against Iran. The Arab Spring brought this reality home quite sharply.

The United States relied on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to sustain the Camp David Accords with Israel, maintain free passage through the Suez Canal, and suppress the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt for three decades. He performed all three tasks, but only by consolidating an authoritarian and brutal government that alienated a broad swath of Egyptian society. When that society rose up against Mubarak in 2011, he was unable to maintain power--and the Muslim Brotherhood swept in to replace him.

One lesson the United States should learn from this experience is that supporting leaders like Mubarak is not a sound strategy in the long term--or even, with the aftershocks of the Arab Spring continuing to rock the region, the short term. It might seem easiest simply to back the undemocratic or quasi-democratic regimes of Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud, Kuwaiti Emir Sabah al Ahmad al Jaber al Sabah, Bahraini King Hamas bin Isa bin Salman al Khalifa, and so on against both Sunni and Shia dissenters, but such an approach is unlikely to succeed. Tensions between Washington and our Gulf allies are almost inevitable in this context, therefore, as the US pushes for moderation and reform in dealing with threats that the Gulf regimes would prefer to crush.

Tensions with Bahrain and Saudi Arabia indeed peaked over President Obama's refusal to back King Khalifa's suppression of the Shia uprising, and US Ambassador to Bahrain Thomas Krajeski has been publicly assailed by the nation's government for his efforts to mediate the dispute and press for a more moderate policy toward Bahrain's Shia majority. (209) Saudi King Abdullah has also resented American ambivalence on an issue that seems to him clear-cut: the Iranians are (he believes) inciting and supporting an insurgency against a major US ally (Bahrain hosts the headquarters of the US Fifth Fleet) that is also a critical Saudi ally. The United States, it follows naturally, should therefore have supported both his and King Khalifa's efforts to defeat that Iranian-sponsored attempt to seize Bahrain. Obama's failure to do so to Abdullah's satisfaction is one of the long-running sources of tension in the US-Saudi relationship. (210)

Efforts to solidify a Gulf coalition using soft-power tools are also complicated by the nature of the economic relationship between the Gulf states and the United States. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman range from very wealthy to moderately wealthy and do not need US foreign assistance in any form. Their economies have long been magnets for international investment, and they do not need America3n help to attract or maintain foreign direct investment. Bahrain and Yemen, by contrast, are relatively poor and depend on Saudi Arabia for their continued financial survival. The Saudis have effectively given Bahrain the right to exploit some Saudi petrochemical deposits as a sort of permanent subvention. (211) Riyadh has been giving Yemen substantial sums (by Yemeni standards) for years. (212) But even Bahrain's relative poverty does not offer much of a lever for US economic assistance, since Riyadh is as determined to keep the nation under its effective suzerainty as it is to keep the Sunni Khalifa family in power.

The core element of US soft-power interaction with the Gulf states, therefore, has been through military sales, training, and counterterrorism support. Even in this realm, direct support is very low. Only Yemen receives nonsecurity aid from the United States. USAID's disbursements to Yemen ranged from $13.9 million in 2009 to $91.7 million in 2013. (213) Yemen is also the only Gulf state that receives more in Foreign Military Financing, International Military Education and Training funds, and counterterrorism assistance than it purchases through the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. The US netted more than $16 billion in FMS purchases from the GCC states between 2006 and 2012, in fact, making the soft-power strategy in this region one of the most immediately and directly profitable engagements the United States has in the world. (214)

The depth of Gulf military interaction with the US as measured by FMS deliveries has grown substantially over the past six years. FMS purchases have increased in every Gulf state except for Kuwait and Oman. Saudi purchases have grown from around $1 billion in 2006 to nearly $1.7 billion in 2012. Emirati FMS deliveries have skyrocketed from $191 million in 2006 to nearly $1.5 billion last year. Whatever tensions and resentment toward the United States that Gulf leaders may express, growing fear of Iran is evidently driving them to ever-greater levels of cooperation with and interdependence on the US military. (215)

The specific weapons systems Gulf states have ordered over the past year suggest that fear of Iran is indeed a key driver of Gulf FMS purchases. Qatar has proposed more than $17.5 billion in FMS purchases of long-range antiaircraft missiles, Patriot missile batteries, and early-warning radar systems since November 2012. The UAE purchased long-range antiaircraft missiles ($1.135 billion), JDAMs ($304 million), Blackhawks ($217 million), air-to-air missiles ($251 million), and Apaches ($5 billion) since 2010. (216) Proposed Saudi purchases collectively worth more than $13 billion over the last year include continued support and modernization of the Royal Saudi Air Force, C-130 transport aircraft, and coastal patrol boats. Saudi purchases may reflect, in part, concerns over securing long sea and land borders with unstable states such as Yemen and the Horn of Africa, but Iran is the only state that poses an air or missile threat that would justify Qatar's orders (and the previously ordered enhancements to the Emirati air force and air defense forces). (217)

American relations with the GCC states are also cemented by significant US military bases in several GCC states. Kuwait has hosted a massive infrastructure including both air bases and facilities for ground forces since its liberation in 1991, although the scale of that infrastructure is rapidly declining following the withdrawal of all US troops from Iraq and the major reductions in American military presence in Afghanistan. Bahrain continues to host the headquarters of the US Fifth Fleet--the "sole main naval operating base in the Middle East," as former US Central Command Commander General James Mattis noted earlier this year. (218) And Qatar is home to the only Combined Air Operations Center the US has today, which has been overseeing air operations throughout southwest Asia and the Horn of Africa for two decades. The UAE does not provide the United States with long-term fixed basing, but ports there do host the most US Navy ships of any port abroad. (219) The United States also sustains its military-to-military relationships with Gulf states through regular joint exercises--four so far this year. (220) Gulf militaries sent nearly 1,500 students to train with US forces, primarily in counterterrorism, between 2006 and 20 1 2.221

Iran has attempted to counter the military-to-military relationships the United States has built in the Gulf by conducting (or, at least, talking about conducting) joint exercises with Oman and with Qatar--and, more significantly, by signing memoranda of understanding on security cooperation with Iraq. However, the Gulf militaries are effectively dependent on and interoperable with the US military, and rising tensions with Iran have increased both that dependency and that interoperability.

Yet recent speeches and statements by senior Saudis known for their historic support for a strong relationship with the United States suggest an unraveling of the partnership between America and its most important regional ally. Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the current Saudi intelligence chief, and Prince Turki bin Faisal, his predecessor, lambasted US policies in the Middle East and threatened to move away from the American partnership. (222) The princes made the obligatory (for Saudis) criticisms of the United States for not pushing hard enough for Israeli-Palestinian peace but focused their anger on American policy in Syria.

Prince Turki said, "The current charade of international control over Bashar's chemical arsenal would be funny if it were not so blatantly perfidious. And designed not only to give Mr. Obama an opportunity to back down [from military strikes], but also to help Assad to butcher his people." Another Saudi source explained, "Relations with the US have been deteriorating for a while, as Saudi feels that the US is growing closer with Iran and the US also failed to support Saudi during the Bahrain uprising." (223) Prince Bandar added that Riyadh's decision to forgo a seat on the UN Security Council, for which it had been lobbying hard, "was a message for the US, not the U.N." (224)

Saudi anger reportedly results from the way the Obama administration has handled the Syria crisis. The Saudis resent that the US has supported the Syrian opposition halfheartedly, despite multiple promises to, alongside the Saudis, assist moderates fighting the Iranian-backed Assad regime. They were reportedly eager for the United States to conduct promised missile strikes against Assad after he used chemical weapons against his own people, but distressed when American military officials apparently said that they could not necessarily protect Saudi oil infrastructure if the Iranians retaliated.

President Obama's decision to call off the strike in return for a Russian-brokered deal to remove chemical weapons from Syria was seen as a betrayal in Riyadh. Additionally, the Saudis are also suspicious of US approaches to Iranian President Rouhani, which they reportedly fear might lead to a deal on the nuclear issue that abandons other Saudi core concerns about Iranian nonnuclear expansion and adventurism in the region. (225) White House officials sought to play down these statements, offering boilerplate comments about the US commitment to the Saudis, long-standing common interests, and "honest and open discussions" about points of disagreement. Yet another anonymous official added, "Our interests increasingly don't align." (226) That statement gains strength from reports of the deep ambivalence of key officials in the administration about whether supporting the Syrian rebels is a good idea.

According to the New York Times, Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff, "questioned how much it was in America's interest to tamp down the violence in Syria. Accompanying a group of senior lawmakers on a day trip to the Guantanamo Bay naval base in early June, Mr. McDonough argued that the status quo in Syria could keep Iran pinned down for years. In later discussions, he also suggested that a fight in Syria between Hezbollah and Al Qaeda would work to America's advantage, according to Congressional officials." (227)

That view is certainly antithetical to the policies that the Gulf states believe to be in their interests and would unquestionably drive an ever-widening wedge between the United States and its regional partners. If current US policy toward Syria continues unchanged, in fact, the divide between Washington and the Gulf states is likely to grow.

Reports of the demise of US-Saudi relations, however, are almost certainly premature. The Saudis (and their Gulf allies) simply do not have other potential patrons more likely to support them against Iranian adventurism or attack. The visible tensions in the relationship, however, may over time undermine Tehran's perception of a unified front of opposition, still less containment. Reestablishing a strong and solid relationship with Riyadh--not just through issuing meaningless talking-point statements, but through high-profile engagements and substantive actions--has become a priority for sustaining the credibility even of US soft power in the region.

The trouble is that that relationship will be difficult to reestablish through soft power alone. The US-Gulf relationship has long been based on a three-part deal: the Saudis and their Gulf allies keep the United States and its allies supplied with oil, but they also use some of their oil profits to support common objectives in the region, and the United States provides the muscle to protect them and support their interests. That deal is breaking down for two reasons--the Obama administration seems unclear about exactly which interests it has in common with the Gulf states, and it actively desires not to use American military power to pursue such US interests it has identified in the region. Saudi fear and anger in this context is not surprising, but neither will they be easily assuaged.

The future of the US-Gulf relationship likely depends on two key factors--Syria and the nuclear negotiations with Iran. If the United States actually pursues its stated policy of helping the moderate opposition overthrow Assad, then one key irritant between Washington and Riyadh will be removed. If Obama makes clear fairly soon that he is not prepared to accept a bad nuclear deal and, more important from the Saudi perspective, that he is not willing to abandon the interests of his Gulf partners in pursuit of any nuclear deal, then fears of fundamental American betrayal in the Gulf will lessen.

The fundamental dilemma of developing soft-power strategies in the Gulf at this point, therefore, is that such strategies cannot be decoupled from the actual and potential use of US hard power. Even if Obama were to state publicly that he is committed to supporting the moderate Syrian opposition and opposed to bad deals with Tehran, the Gulf states at this point would likely look for concrete actions before accepting his statements.

But the president has long refused even to make any such statements. On the contrary, the administration has alternated between strong words from Secretary Kerry about the need for Assad to go and private or leaked indications, such as McDonough's statement, indicating that the White House does not necessarily agree with Kerry. There is no prospect for an effective diplomatic strategy in the Gulf as long as the administration seems to disagree with itself over the core issue of the moment.

One can well ask if any of this matters. The Saudis, Kuwaitis, Bahrainis, and Emiratis will continue to fear and oppose Iran, while the Qataris and Omanis continue to prevaricate. Gulf militaries will remain reliant on the US military and on American military equipment and will continue to host US bases. All Gulf states will continue to repress their Shia populations and aggressively (often overaggressively) root out Iranian agents supporting Shia uprisings in their countries. The entire world has an interest in keeping the Strait of Hormuz open. Why should the United States care about Saudi displeasure?

The aim of strategies of deterrence and containment is to prevent conflict and find nonmilitary ways of advancing a country's or an alliance's interests. The purpose of constructing a soft-power strategy of containment is to put political, economic, diplomatic, and psychological pressure on Iran's leaders to dissuade them from adventures and incline them toward moderation. The perception that the US-Gulf relationship is weakening will have the opposite effect in Tehran. It is likely to encourage bold actors in the belief that adventurism will not necessarily be effectively checked. It may cause Iran's leadership to miscalculate and act from the mistaken conviction that the United States and its partners will not respond.

The purpose of building a strong diplomatic, political, and economic--yes, and peacetime military--bloc is not to win the war, but to prevent it. By undermining the formation of such a bloc, current US policy may be making future wars more likely.


In a report on US counterstrategies to Iranian regional influence, a section fully devoted to the question of Bahrain may appear anomalous. Yet in many ways, the tiny Gulf kingdom encapsulates both Iranian soft-power strategy and American opportunity.

Although 70 percent of its population of more than a million identifies as Shia Muslims, (228) Bahrain has long been ruled by the Sunni minority al Khalifa family. Much like the rest of the Middle East and North Africa, the nation was rocked by the Arab Spring movements, which brought disgruntled Bahraini Shia to the streets of the capital, Manama, on February 14, 2011.

In deciding how to manage the protests, which brought long-simmering tensions over mistreatment of the Shia majority to the fore, the Bahraini government embraced the Syrian model over the Tunisian and Egyptian responses. Inviting in Saudi forces (the Bahraini military and police forces are too small for most major operations), the regime and their Sunni Arab partner crushed the protest, arrested many (including nonviolent protestors), and squelched the Bahrain Spring with a firm hand.

Bahraini leaders accused the Iranian regime of complicity in the demonstrations, alleging that Tehran had trained, armed, and financed Bahrain's Shia directly or in cooperation with Lebanon's Hezbollah. In October 2012, for instance, Bahrain summoned the Iranian envoy over "interference" amidst the belief that Iran's "conduct incites sedition and sectarian" in Bahrain. (229)

Certainly, there is ample evidence that Iran has supported Bahrain's Shia organizations. Ayatollah Isa Ahmad Qassim al Dirazi al Bahrani, better known simply as Sheikh Qassim and one of the spiritual leaders of the Bahraini al Wefaq opposition party, lived until 2001 in Iran's theological heartland of Qom and has been endorsed as a guide by none other than Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. (230) Sheikh Qassim has also been present in photographs with the supreme leaders and with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. (231)

Additionally, the Iranian regime, particularly under former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, did not make any secret of its hostility toward the Bahraini government. Repeated claims by senior officials and mouthpieces of the Tehran government that considered Bahrain as "the fourteenth province of Iran until 1970" have won few friends in Manama, despite other efforts to reconcile with Bahrain and its partners in the GCC. (232)

The Iranian government has also repeatedly sought to insert the question of Bahraini human rights abuses into international negotiations; Khamenei not only labeled Bahraini accusations of Iranian meddling in their affairs a "lie," but he also suggestively stated, "the claim by the ruler of the Bahrain island about our interference in that country is incorrect because if we had interfered in Bahrain's issue, another story would have happened." (233)

But it is important to note that notwithstanding repeated accusations of active Iranian involvement in Shia demonstrations, most Iranian support for the Bahraini opposition was rhetorical and consisting of condemnations, repeated complaints about Manama's conduct, and offers to hold human rights conferences and demarches. Indeed, the officially accredited Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) issued a 500-page report on the 2011 protests that found no "discernible link" between the demonstrations and Iran. (234)

Nevertheless, unrest has continued sporadically since the height of demonstrations and violence in 2011, with bombings, attacks, and other signs of bubbling discontent. As recently as October 2013, a Bahrain court sentenced 50 nationals to lengthy jail terms for supposed links to the February 14 Youth Coalition, which has been labeled as a terrorist organization by the government. Some of these were convicted on grounds of spying for Iran and receiving training from Iran's elite IRGC. (235)

Iranian involvement notwithstanding, excessive use of force and numerous documented human rights violations brought condemnation on the Bahraini government from a variety of international actors, Washington included. But the US government is conflicted: on the one hand, US officials believe Iran has been meddling in Bahraini affairs even as they understand that the complaints of the kingdom's Shia population are well founded. For instance, shortly after Bahrain slammed Iran for its involvement in the Shia-led protests of 2011, then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton stated, "We share the view that Iran's activities in the Gulf, including its efforts to advance its agenda in neighboring countries, undermined peace and stability." (236) On the other hand, Bahrain has been home to the US Fifth Fleet since 1948 and, before that, its precursor, the Middle East Force. Indeed, Bahrain is a vital piece of US regional security strategy: the Fifth Fleet and US Naval Forces Central Command manage naval assets deployed to the Gulf, cover substantial territory, employ and deploy up to 6,000 personnel (civilian and military), and serve as headquarters for vital maritime security partnership activity. (237) (See appendix 2 for excerpts of US diplomatic statements on Bahrain).

As a result, US policy has walked a fine line. Congressional objections stood in the way of a particularly ill-timed September 2011 administration decision to sell tens of millions of dollars in armored vehicles and optically tracked wire-guided missiles to Bahrain. (238) Laying out guidance for future such transfers, an unnamed senior administration official explained, "Sales of items that are sort of predominantly or typically used by police and other security forces for internal security, things used for crowd control, we're not moving forward with at this time. That would include things like tear gas, tear gas launchers, stun grenades--those sorts of things." (239)

In addition, numerous US officials have continued to underscore the importance of a political solution to the unrest plaguing Bahrain, specifically the need to more fully implement the BICI recommendations. The former assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights, and labor, Michael Posner, made his way through Bahrain in 2012 with the same message, (240) with current Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Tom Melia hard on his heels in 2013. (241) A variety of meetings have also occurred in Washington in which Bahraini leaders drive home the image of friendship with the United States mixed with continued exhortations to do more. (242)

Finally, unlikely to break new ground is the odd effort to "empower" Bahraini women volleyball coaches with a trip to the United States. In one of the only US-Bahrain soft-power initiatives discernible on US government websites, the American taxpayer brought a group of 10 female volleyball coaches from Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and Yemen to meet American coaches in Washington, DC; Louisville, KY; and Knoxville, TN. The US embassy in Manama proclaimed additional goals for their visit: "They will participate in discussions on Title IX, sports psychology, nutrition, and participate in teambuilding and leadership activities." (243)

As for Tehran's government, Bahrain is clearly not a priority. While the regime is content to expend minor sums of money and political capital in supporting Bahrain's genuinely beleaguered Shia community, it is difficult to uncover any evidence of a serious commitment to overthrow the Bahraini regime or otherwise achieve any decisive results. More simply, the Islamic Republic enjoys the opportunity to impose costs on its Sunni Gulf adversaries; continue to bolster its image as the only champion of Shia populations, Arab or not; and force the United States to devote resources to fleet protection, counterterrorism, and counterintelligence against Iranian targets on new territory--for Tehran, a reasonable bang for small bucks.

In turn, the United States has missed repeated opportunities to turn the tables and impose similar costs on Iran: it has avoided dedicating serious programmatic resources to the Bahraini Shia, adopting a harder line with the Manama government on becoming more politically open, and even implementing simple information operations that would expose the nature of Iranian interference in Bahrain. In other words, Iran defines the terrain and calls the plays. Although Bahrain remains of singular strategic importance to the United States, Washington remains entirely unwilling to compete for influence with the people and has instead contented itself with the leadership for as long as it lasts.


The future of the Middle East hangs in the balance. There are no clear-cut options of good versus bad, but rather questions about the nature of the region, who will dominate, what direction new governments will take, and whether the overall trajectory serves the national security interests of the United States. Arguably, the answer to the last question is no.

The United States has long struggled with its place in this complex region. Is it the champion of Israel, but not of democracy? The oil consumer obsessed with the security of the supply chain? The moral leader in favor of human dignity? Or the realist hegemon that favors stability? Over the decades, administrations have leapt around, toying with one set of principles, then another. Throughout eight-plus years in Iraq, advocates and opponents of the war sparred over motives and interests, never agreeing, except perhaps on the wisdom of never again venturing into the region in force.

It is in this context that the United States finds itself, by default, in a nominal competition with the Islamic Republic of Iran--nominal because there are few indications that the United States is actually pursuing competitive strategies. In our 2012 report, we outlined Iranian strategies throughout the region. An update of an earlier survey on the same question, we found that the Islamic Republic pursues an integrated soft- and hard-power strategy throughout the Middle East and into South Asia, investing in infrastructure, linking roads, electrical grids, and education systems where possible and in joint ventures, local aid programs, and community-building services in what can only be called a "hearts and minds" effort. It also replicates its Lebanon model where possible, training and equipping militias cum charities so it can burrow into sympathetic communities and amplify Iranian messages and influence.

In 2012, as a result of shifting priorities throughout the region, sanctions against Iran, the growing conflict in Syria, and the inept leadership of the Ahmadinejad years, Iranian influence declined rather precipitously. All the hallmarks of their soft- and hard-power strategies remained, but in many instances Iran failed to deliver on promises or split with longtime allies, their ties riven by the growing Sunni-Shia Muslim divide.

For the American side, influence is Washington's to lose. There is no real competitor for leadership in the region, and as Iran grows ever closer to a nuclear weapons capability, Gulf nations have looked to the United States for reassurance. Similarly, in the Levant, the spillover from the Syrian civil war, Hezbollah's growing clout in Lebanon, and the instability of Egypt have added up to a hunger for partnership with an outside power. Certainly, many of the region's problems are its own to solve; however, historically the United States has made its preferences--against terrorism and proliferation, for security, peace, and markets--known via a variety of soft- and hard-power methods.

Like Tehran's, Washington's instruments of power remain in place. Aid programs have not shifted markedly. Prepositioned armaments and other elements of American hard power are still dotted through the region. But increasingly, the Obama administration has chosen not to use those tools to achieve any particular goals. Therefore, the United States has stepped back from Syria, Iraq, and Egypt, leaning in only to talk to Iran and to encourage Israeli-Palestinian dialogue.

In addition, programs that might, by default, increase sympathy for the principles America professes to hold dear, or wean local populations away from ideas anathema to US national security, are ill configured, oriented toward charitable rather than strategic goals, and otherwise not integrated into an overall strategic policy guided by the US Department of State. Instead, the US Agency for International Development appears unfettered to State Department policy guidance, its projects existing in a dimension separate from US national interest.

Bottom line: the United States is not competing with Iran for influence. In Syria and Lebanon, Iran has a largely free hand to do as it wishes. Among the Palestinians, the United States seeks influence, but not vis-a-vis Iran, even with Hamas. In the Gulf, the United States is largely absent, neither reassuring through arms sales and military programs, nor using those assets to deter Iranian efforts to expand its own influence. Gulf leaders complain the United States is mostly AWOL.

If the question before us is what does the United States seek to achieve? and the answer is nothing, then US policy will require little retooling. If, however, Washington recognizes that the Middle East hangs in the balance, and that Iran is likely to increase its influence with dire consequence to US interests, its direction will require substantial correction.

Iran has divided the region into Tier 1 top-priority countries (see p. 8) and Tier 2 targets of opportunity (see p. 26). Where its attention is focused, Iran has won friends and intimidated adversaries using simple tactics that speak to the population, bolster its friends in government, and address directly Iran's priorities. Want to preserve Assad in power? Arm him. Teach Hamas a lesson? Arm its enemies. Win over disenfranchised Shia in Lebanon? Provide direct services. Domineer Iraq? Be there, even as the United States withdraws.

Elsewhere, Iran free rides on the opportunities Middle Eastern realities have dealt. Shia populations in Yemen, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia are disenfranchised. Do they love Persia? Iran doesn't care, providing resources and diplomatic support where needed. This is a low-cost way to ratchet up costs for Saudi Arabia, the United States, and other perceived hostile powers.

What are US countermeasures? In short, not much. Whether in Iraq, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Syria, or Lebanon, American policy is to timidly pursue a variety of separate objectives without any clear view to a decisive policy victory. This compares unfavorably with the clarity that Washington brought to, for example, the surge in Iraq: clear goals, clear strategy.

The lessons of counterinsurgency have not been lost on the Iranians. The nation that facilitates essential services--civil security, civil control, essential services, governance, and economic infrastructure, and development--creates an environment in which it is more likely to achieve its own strategic objectives. In each case studied, on a field of battle defined by Iran, the United States is at best oblivious to Iranian efforts and, at worst, willfully pursuing a policy that enables Iranian victory.


This report is the culmination of a project executed with the support of numerous individuals. The authors would like to thank their colleagues at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), particularly J. Matthew McInnis, who contributed invaluable support in the drafting and analysis of this report.

The authors recognize Alexandra Della Rocchetta, Katherine Earle, Katherine Faley, Will Fulton, Heather Malacaria, David Maxwell, and Maggie Obriwin. We also thank Zachary Huffman, Adam Lucente, Sarah Saleeb, Kathryn Turlo, and Treston Wheat for their diligent research efforts. Gratitude is also due to the publications staffs at AEI and the Institute for the Study of War for their keen editorial and technical assistance.

As always, credit belongs to many, but the contents of this report represent the views of the authors alone.



This appendix is composed of excerpts of statements from the US embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, highlighting US assistance to Lebanon, including humanitarian and military support.

Embassy of the United States in Beirut, Lebanon, "Remarks by US Ambassador David Hale Following His Meeting with Prime Minister-Designate Tammam Salam," September 26, 2013, http://lebanon.usembassy .gov/pr092613.html.

   In the last 48 hours between President Obama and
   Secretary of State John Kerry, the United States, in
   fact, has announced over $112 million in assistance
   for Lebanon, and I think as you know that's $8.7 million
   for the Lebanese Armed Forces for their security
   work, but beyond that an additional $74 million to
   help address the humanitarian crisis related to the Syrian
   refugees, and just last night another $30 million
   for immediate direct assistance to help the local communities
   that are dealing with the impact of the refugee

Embassy of the United States in Beirut, Lebanon, "Continued US Assistance to Refugees from Syria and Host Communities in Lebanon," fact sheet, May 9, 2013,

   Yesterday, the State Department announced that
   the United States is contributing an additional $100
   million in humanitarian assistance to support those
   affected by the crisis, including $32 million in additional
   funding for assistance to refugees in Lebanon.
   This announcement brings the US total contribution
   since the beginning of the conflict to nearly $510 million.
   The US total contribution is $83 million to support
   humanitarian assistance efforts for refugees from
   Syria who have fled to Lebanon and help mitigate the
   impact on host communities. The United States continues
   its long-term and continuing commitment to
   assist to under-developed Lebanese communities, particularly
   those hosting Syrian refugees, and to invest in
   the Lebanese people.

Embassy of the United States in Beirut, Lebanon, "US Generals Visit Lebanon," May 5, 2013, http://lebanon.

   In their meeting, Generals Beydler and Cosentino
   emphasized the strong and sustained military cooperation
   between the two countries. As part of this cooperation
   and to strengthen the LAF's [Lebanese Armed
   Forces'] capacity and mobility, they noted the over
   $140 million in equipment delivered to the Lebanese
   Armed Forces since June 2012 that includes aircraft, a
   naval vessel, armored and unarmored vehicles, guns,
   ammunition, equipment, and medical supplies.

      Generals Beydler and Cosentino also underscored
   the Department of Defense's support for Lebanon's
   initiatives to implement its obligations under United
   Nations Security Council Resolution 1701.

Embassy of the United States in Beirut, Lebanon, "US Assistance to the Internal Security Forces," fact sheet, March 6, 2013, factsheet030613.html.

   Since 2006, the United States has provided over
   $100 million to the Internal Security Forces (ISF)
   through various assistance programs that provide
   training, facility upgrades and construction, vehicles,
   and equipment. This assistance is coordinated by the
   Department of State's Bureau of International Narcotics
   and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and is part
   of US efforts to support the development of the ISF
   into a modern professional police force that is capable
   ensuring Lebanon's security and stability while serving
   and protecting all of Lebanon's citizens.

      One key component of US assistance to the ISF
   is the Aramoun Training Academy. This $9.7 million
   program will provide modern facilities and policing
   and investigative techniques through a tactical
   training village, a forensics investigative laboratory
   and classrooms, a shooting range, and a vehicle maintenance

Embassy of the United States in Beirut, Lebanon, "Media Fact Sheet: US Assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces," December 21, 2012, http://lebanon

   In the past six months, the United States has provided
   approximately $140.37 million in equipment
   and assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF)
   that includes aircraft, a vessel, vehicles, guns, ammunition,
   equipment, and medical supplies. This assistance
   is coordinated by the Office of Defense Cooperation
   (ODC) at the US Embassy and is part of US efforts to
   strengthen the capacity of the Lebanese Armed Forces
   (LAF), recognizing its importance, as Lebanon's sole
   legitimate defense force, in securing Lebanon's borders
   and defending the sovereignty and independence of
   the state.

      The $58 million military assistance package to provide
   six new Huey II helicopters and spare parts for
   both the Huey II and existing LAF Huey I fleet is the
   largest single military assistant package in US-Lebanese
   bilateral military relations. The helicopters dramatically
   increase the LAF's air support capabilities in
   order to provide air cover for troops on the ground,
   provide search and rescue capabilities, and better
   secure Lebanon's borders. The US has also provided
   a flight simulator device and built a special-purpose
   building for the device at Rayak Air Base to improve
   pilot training. The LAF further received five aircraft
   refueling semitrailers.



This appendix is composed of excerpts of statements from the US embassy in Manama, Bahrain; the US Department of State; and the White House, highlighting US-Bahrain relations, military assistance and cooperation programs, high-level visits, and the stability of Bahrain's government.

US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, The Gulf Security Architecture: Partnership with the Gulf Cooperation Council, June 19, 2012, 13-15, www.foreign.senate .gov/imo/media/doc/74603.pdf.

   US Security Assistance and Training: The largest beneficiary
   of US grant security assistance among the
   GCC States, Bahrain is slated to receive approximately
   $500,000 in Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining,
   and Related assistance (NADR); $700,000
   in International Military Education and Training
   (IMET); and $10 million in Foreign Military Financing
   (FMF) in fiscal year 2012. Bahrain agreed to purchase
   close to $91 million in US defense equipment
   and training through Foreign Military Sales in fiscal
   year 2010, and in fiscal year 2011, it was granted US
   Excess Defense Articles (EDA) worth more than $55
   million. Training has also been a significant component
   of US security assistance to Bahrain. In fiscal year
   2010, 253 students were trained in competencies such
   as maritime security, leadership, maintenance, and
   counterterrorism at a value of $2.8 million.

US Department of State, "Remarks with Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al Thani after Their Meeting," March 5, 2013, .htm.

QUESTION: ... Could you tell us what you did say to your Bahraini counterpart regarding the human rights situation in this country? The last Human Rights Report from the Department of State in 2012 pointed out, I quote, "egregious human rights problems in 2011 in Bahrain, including the inability of citizens to peacefully change their government." Thank you very much.

SECRETARY KERRY: ... We had a very good, constructive conversation about all of the issues of the region as well as the internal issues of Bahrain. And I expressed the concern of all people for the protection of the rights of everybody. And we talked about the dialogue. The Foreign Minister made it clear to me that they remain committed to the dialogue, that they are engaged right now in advancing it, they're at some important stages within it, progress is being made. And what I did was encourage him to continue that dialogue and to reach a resolution with respect to some of these difficult issues.

He assured me that they are going to continue in good faith, and obviously, all of us encourage that and look forward to some positive results.

The White House, "Statement by the Press Secretary on the Situation in Bahrain," April 11, 2012, the-press-office/2012/04/11/ statement-press-secretary-situation-bahrain.

   The United States continues to be deeply concerned
   about the situation in Bahrain, and we urge all parties to
   reject violence in all its forms. We condemn the violence
   directed against police and government institutions,
   including recent incidents that have resulted in serious
   injuries to police officers. We also call on the police to
   exercise maximum restraint, and condemn the use of
   excessive force and indiscriminate use of tear gas against
   protestors, which has resulted in civilian casualties.

US Department of State, "Senior Administration Officials on Bahrain," April 11, 2013, prs/ps/2012/05/189810.htm.

   Now in light of our own US national security interests,
   the United States has decided, as the press statement
   noted, to release additional items and services for the
   Bahraini Defense Forces, Bahrain's Coast Guard, and
   Bahrain's National Guard. And the purpose of this is
   to help Bahrain maintain its external defense capabilities.
   We have informed Congress of this decision
   today and we'll continue our close consultation with
   Congress on Bahrain in general, including our security

   We are continuing to maintain our hold on some
   items. And the items that we're not moving forward
   with are those that aren't typically used for crowd control
   and--or, I'm sorry. The items that we are moving
   forward with are those that are not typically used
   for crowd control and we would not anticipate would
   be used against protestors in any scenario. But sales of
   items that are sort of predominantly or typically used
   by police and other security forces for internal security,
   things used for crowd control, we're not moving
   forward with at this time. That would include things
   like tear gas, tear gas launchers, stun grenades--those
   sorts of things.

Embassy of the United States in Manama, Bahrain, "Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports," December 4, 2012, 120412.html.

   As part of its global Empowering Women and Girls
   Through Sports Initiative, the US Department of
   State announced today that 10 female volleyball
   coaches from Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and Yemen will
   travel to the United States to participate in a Sports
   Visitors program, where they will share their experiences
   as female athletes and coaches as well as learn
   about sports opportunities for women in the US.

Embassy of the United States in Manama, Bahrain, "Remarks from Assistant Secretary Posner on Visit to Bahrain," December 9, 2012, http://bahrain.usembassy .gov/pas-120912.html.

   To create a climate where dialogue and reconciliation
   is possible, the government needs to prosecute
   those officials responsible for the human rights violations
   that occurred in early 2011. It also should
   drop charges against all persons accused of offenses
   involving non-violent political expression and freedom
   of assembly. Many of these convictions appear
   to be based, at least in part, on the defendants' criticisms
   of government actions and policies. We urge a
   comprehensive review of all of the medics' cases in the
   interest of turning the page on the events of last year
   and repairing the social fabric of Bahrain. The government
   also should continue work to professionalize
   and diversify Bahrain's security forces so that the
   police better reflect the communities which they serve.
   We also are concerned about the recent revocations of
   citizenship. Advancing these recommendations in an
   inclusive way will enhance trust and create the space
   for dialogue and negotiation, as well as encouraging a
   more constructive media environment.

Embassy of the United States in Manama, Bahrain, "Remarks by Deputy Assistant Secretary Thomas Melia on the Conclusion of His Visit to Bahrain," March 16, 2013, .html.

   We note that Bahraini authorities have in some cases
   held security personnel accountable in cases of human
   rights abuses, including the recent decision of the
   High Criminal Court to sentence two policemen
   to ten years in prison for the killing of a detainee in
   April 2011. We urge Bahraini authorities to continue
   to investigate all reports of torture and excess use of
   force by security officers, as it has pledged to do. Such
   measures contribute directly to restoring public confidence
   in governing institutions, which is vital for Bahrain's

      We also encourage Bahrain to enhance its efforts to
   address important human rights issues. The government
   should drop charges against all persons accused
   of offenses involving non-violent political expression
   and freedom of assembly. We urge a comprehensive
   review of all of the medics' and teachers' cases, and
   reconsideration of the revocation of citizenship for 31
   Bahrainis, in the interest of turning the page on the
   events of the last two years and repairing the social
   fabric of Bahrain. We note that many of those who
   were dismissed from their jobs in the aftermath of the
   unrest of early 2011 have been restored to their jobs or
   comparable positions, or otherwise received compensation.
   Social peace would be further enhanced by the
   return to their positions of Bahraini citizens who have
   been convicted and served their sentences, and especially
   of those who were acquitted of charges that were
   brought against them. The government should continue
   work to professionalize and diversify Bahrain's
   security forces. Advancing these recommendations in
   an inclusive and transparent way will enhance trust
   and foster the climate necessary for true dialogue and
   constructive negotiation.

Embassy of the United States in Manama, Bahrain, "Special Envoy Hussain's Visit to Manama," April 2-3, 2013,

   Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation
   (OIC) Rashad Hussain met with senior Bahraini
   government officials, political leaders, civil
   society activists, and religious leaders in Manama,
   Bahrain April 2-3. He underscored US encouragement
   for all segments of Bahraini society to promote
   unity and reform through the ongoing National Dialogue.
   He discussed the importance of rejecting the
   use of violence and promoting human rights, including
   religious freedom, for all Bahrainis. Special Envoy
   Hussain also discussed US engagement and partnerships
   with Muslim communities around the world.

Embassy of the United States in Manama, Bahrain, "Statement by Ambassador Krajeski on Violence in Bahrain," May 30, 2013, http://bahrain.usembassy. gov/pas-053013.html.

   We are deeply concerned about acts of violence in
   Bahrain. Bahraini officials have confirmed reports
   of a blast on the evening of May 29th that injured
   seven police officers, with at least one officer suffering
   critical injuries. The blast was reportedly caused by a
   homemade bomb that targeted on-duty police officers
   near the village of Bani Jamra.

      We strongly condemn this attack on police and
   extend our deepest sympathies to all those injured. All
   violence is completely unacceptable and unhelpful in
   efforts to rebuild trust and pursue meaningful reconciliation
   in Bahrain.

Embassy of the United States in Manama, Bahrain, "Statement by NSC Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden on Deputy National Security Advisor Tony Blinken's Meeting with Bahraini Crown Prince and First Deputy Prime Minister Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa," June 5, 2013,

   President Obama joined Deputy National Security
   Advisor Tony Blinken's meeting today with Bahraini
   Crown Prince and First Deputy Prime Minister
   Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa. The President
   reaffirmed the importance of the United States' partnership
   with Bahrain and our commitment to further
   strengthening the ties between our two countries.
   The President congratulated the Crown Prince on
   his appointment as First Deputy Prime Minister, and
   wished him success in this new role.

Embassy of the United States in Manama, Bahrain, "Secretary Kerry's Meeting with Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa," June 6, 2013, http://

   Secretary Kerry met earlier today with Bahraini
   Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa at the
   Department of State. This meeting provided an
   opportunity for the Secretary and Crown Prince to
   discuss the full range of bilateral and regional issues.
   Secretary Kerry highlighted the importance of the
   US-Bahrain partnership as well as our commitment
   to further strengthening the ties between our two
   countries. He also welcomed the leadership of the
   King, the Crown Prince, and the Bahraini Government
   in launching the National Dialogue. Secretary
   Kerry and the Crown Prince both agreed that all sides
   should contribute constructively to reconciliation,
   meaningful dialogue, and reform that meets the aspirations
   of all Bahrainis. Secretary Kerry reiterated our
   belief that all sides must reject violence and pursue
   actions that will contribute to Bahrain's future growth
   and prosperity.

Embassy of the United States in Manama, Bahrain, "Readout of Vice President Biden's Meeting with Bahrain's Crown Prince and First Deputy Prime Minister Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa," June 6, 2013,

   The Vice President met with His Royal Highness
   Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, Crown Prince
   and First Deputy Prime Minister of Bahrain, this
   afternoon in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.
   The Vice President emphasized US support for Bahrain
   and America's shared interest in Bahrain's security,
   stability and reform. The Crown Prince and the Vice
   President agreed that timely and tangible progress on
   reform is essential. The Vice President underscored
   that the United States condemns violence inside Bahrain
   and continues to stand by Bahrain and our partners
   in the Gulf.




           Egypt     Iraq     Jordan    Lebanon   Yemen   Bahrain *

FY 2010   881,782   374,945   169,826   69,273    5,564    111,896
FY 2011   960,322   520,711   208,660   17,373    4,809    50,729
FY 2012   811,201   590,465   369,659   23,276    3,924    98,138

          Kuwait *   Oman *   Qatar *     Saudi       UAE *
                                        Arabia *

FY 2010   241,776    30,067   14,002    1,587,160    583,689
FY 2011   420,229    38,452   17,108    1,415,106    647,202
FY 2012   236,668    51,835   26,799    1,558,510   1,435,755

Notes: * Indicates Gulf Cooperation Council state.

We omitted figures for Afghanistan because it is a tertiary theater
for both sides in the US-Iran competition, and an American military
presence in Afghanistan, not US foreign assistance, is the impetus
for competition. See page 31 for the section on Afghanistan. No US
military sales were made to Syria or the West Bank and Gaza Strip
during this period.

Source: "Foreign Military Sales, Foreign Military Construction
Sales and Other Security Cooperation Historical Facts," Defense
Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) Historical Facts Book, September
30, 2012,

Note: Table made from bar graph.


            Egypt       Iraq      Jordan    Lebanon   Syria

FY 2010   1,505,400    520,100    601,300   44,800     NA
FY 2011   1,409,700   1,222,000   667,700   122,050    NA
FY 2012   1,444,500   1,149,900   794,200   120,500    NA

          West Bank &   Yemen    Bahrain *   Kuwait *   Oman *
          Gaza Strip

FY 2010     472,600     32,600    19,000        NA      8,847
FY 2011     543,200     49,560    15,461        NA      13,000
FY 2012     172,400     63,900    10,000        NA      8,000

          Qatar *    Saudi     UAE *
                    Arabia *

FY 2010     NA         0        NA
FY 2011     NA         0        NA
FY 2012     NA         0        NA

Notes: * Indicates Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) state.

We omitted figures for Afghanistan because it is a tertiary theater
for both sides in the US-Iran competition, and an American military
presence in Afghanistan, not US foreign assistance, is the impetus
for competition. See page 31 for the section on Afghanistan. No
USAID payments were made to Syria or the GCC states during this
period. Foreign Military Financing data are unavailable for Syria,
the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Kuwait, Qatar, and the UAE.

Sources: "Foreign Assistance Data--USAID,",; "Foreign Military
Sales, Foreign Military Construction Sales and Other Security
Cooperation Historical Facts," Defense Security Cooperation Agency
(DSCA) Historical Facts Book, September 30, 2012,

Note: Table made from bar graph.


               Egypt       Iraq        Jordan     Lebanon

USAID + FMF   4,359,600   2,892,000   2,072,200   287,350
FMS           2,659,305   1,486,121   748,145     109,922

              West Bank &    Yemen     Bahrain *   Kuwait *
              Gaza Strip

USAID + FMF   1,188,200      146,060   44,461      NA
FMS           0              14,297    260,763     898,743

              Oman *    Qatar *   Saudi Arabia *   UAE *

USAID + FMF   29,847    NA        0                NA
FMS           120,354   57,909    3,157,776        2,666,646

Notes: * Indicates Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) state.

We omitted figures for Afghanistan because it is a tertiary theater
for both sides in the US-Iran competition, and an American military
presence in Afghanistan, not US foreign assistance, is the impetus
for competition. See page 31 for the section on Afghanistan.

No USAID payments or US military sales were made to Syria during
this period. USAID expenditures were not made to the GCC states
during this period. Foreign Military Financing data are unavailable
for Syria, the West Bank and Gaza, Kuwait, Qatar, and the UAE.

Sources: "Foreign Assistance Data--USAID,",; "Foreign Military
Sales, Foreign Military Construction Sales and Other Security
Cooperation Historical Facts," Defense Security Cooperation Agency
(DSCA) Historical Facts Book, September 30, 2012,

Note: Table made from bar graph.


(1.) A. W. Marshall, "Competitive Strategies--History and Background," unpublished paper, March 4, 1988; Bradford A. Lee, "Strategic Interaction: Theory and History for Practitioners," in Competitive Strategies for the 21st Century: Theory, History, And Practice, ed. Thomas G. Mahnken (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2012), 30-39.

(2.) See Joseph S. Nye Jr., Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power (New York: Basic Books, 1991); Joseph S. Nye Jr., Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics (New York: Public Affairs, 2005).

(3.) Mahnken, Competitive Strategies for the 21st Century.

(4.) Lawrence Sondhause, Naval Warfare, 1815-1914 (New York: Routledge, 2002).

(5.) United States National Security Council, NSC-68, 1950.

(6.) Chen Jian, Mao's China and the Cold War (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001).

(7.) James R. Holmes and Toshi Yoshihara, eds., Strategy in the Second Nuclear Age: Power, Ambition, and the Ultimate Weapon (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2012), 210.

(8.) International Institute for Strategic Studies, "Chapter Seven: Iran," The Military Balance 113, no. 1 (2013): 359; Parliament Planning and Economic Directorate, Planning and Budget Office, "Layehe-ye budge-ye sal-e 1391 kolle keshvar" [The 20102011 National Budget Bill], June 12, 2013, ac58913caee8cc15.

(9.) Stephen Peter Rosen, "Competitive Strategies: Theoretical Foundations, Limits and Extensions," in Mahnken, Competitive Strategies for the 21st Century, 12.

(10.) Barry D. Watts, "Barriers to Acting Strategically: Why Strategy Is So Difficult," in Mahnken, Competitive Strategies for the 21st Century, 42-43.

(11.) Lee, "Strategic Interaction."

(12.) Ibid.

(13.) Frederick W Kagan et al., Iranian Influence in the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan, American Enterprise Institute and the Institute for the Study of War, May 2012, 15-18, egypt-iraqand-afghanistan_171235465754.pdf.

(14.) Aaron Kalman and Raphael Ahren, "Netanyahu: Syria Is Iran's 'Testing Ground,'" Times of Israel, August 25, 2013, www.

(15.) Kagan et al., Iranian Influence in the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

(16.) "Huge Protests Grip Syria; 24 Killed in Clashes," MSNBC, January 7, 2011, news-asia_pacific/; and "Thousands March in Syria, as Fresh Wave of Protests Erupts," Telegraph (London), March 21, 2011, www.

(17.) Adrien Oster, "Syria's Army: What the West Will Face in Case of Intervention," Huffington Post, August 29, 2013,

(18.) "An Arms Pipeline to the Syrian Rebels," New York Times, March 24, 2013, world/middleeast/an-arms-pipeline-to-the-syrian-rebels.html.

(19.) "US, Europe Call for Syrian Leader al-Assad to Step Down," CNN, August 19, 2011, us.syria/.

(20.) "Iran Praises President Assad's Reforms in Syria," Fars News Agency, February 2, 2012, php?nn=9010173383; "German Ship Carrying Weapons Stopped Near Syria," Der Spiegel, April 14, 2012, international/world/0,1518,827553,00.html; Joby Warrick and Liz Sly, "US Officials: Iran Is Stepping Up Lethal Aid to Syria," Washington Post, March 3, 2012; and Jessica Donati, "Exclusive: Iran Helps Syria Ship Oil to China: Sources," Reuters, March 30, 2012,

(21.) Bradley Klapper, "US Worried Iran May Be Supporting Syrian Crackdown," Associated Press, April 14, 2011,

(22.) Simon Tisdall, "Iran Helping Syrian Regime Crack Down on Protesters, Say Diplomats," Guardian (London), May 8, 2011,

(23.) US Department of the Treasury, "Administration Takes Additional Steps to Hold the Government of Syria Accountable for Violent Repression Against the Syrian People," May 18, 2011, releases/Pages/tg1181.aspx.

(24.) Will Fulton, "The Assassination of Iranian Quds Force General Hassan Shateri in Syria," AEI Critical Threats Project, February 28, 2013, 28-2013.

(25.) US Department of the Treasury, "Treasury Sanctions Syrian, Iranian Security Forces for Involvement in Syrian Crackdown," June 29, 2011,

(26.) Will Fulton, Joseph Holliday, and Sam Wyer, Iranian Strategy in Syria (American Enterprise Institute and the Institute for the Study of War, May 2013), 13,

(27.) "Syria's Intelligence Services: A Primer," Middle East Intelligence Bulletin 2, no. 6 (July 1, 2000), articles/0007_s3.htm.

(28.) Yara Bayoumy, "Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's Inner Circle," Reuters, May 4, 2011, /04/us-syria-assad-circle-idUSTRE7433TN20110504.

(29.) Michael R. Gordon, "Russia Sends More Advanced Missiles to Aid Assad in Syria," New York Times, May 16, 2013, www.

(30.) Jonathan Marcus, "Israeli Air Strikes: A Warning to Syria's Assad," BBC News Middle East, November 1, 2013,

(31.) Bradley Perrett, "Joint N.K.-Iranian-Syrian Scuds Said to Have Failed in May Testing," Aerospace Daily and Defense Report, August 19, 2009.

(32.) David Makovsky, "The Silent Strike," New Yorker, September 17, 2012, 120917fa_fact_makovsky.

(33.) "US Ambassador to IAEA Dissatisfied with Level of Cooperation with Iran," Trend, September 26, 2009, news/politics/1548073.html.

(34.) Kagan et al., Iranian Influence in the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan, 20.

(35.) Louis Charbonneau, "Exclusive: Iran Steps Up Weapons Lifeline to Assad," Reuters, March 14, 2013, article/2013/03/14/us-syria-crisis-iran-idUSBRE92D05U20130314.

(36.) Karen Deyoung and Joby Warrick, "Iran and Hezbollah Build Militia Networks in Syria in Event That Assad Falls, Officials Say," Washington Post, February 10, 2013, militianetworks-in-syria-in-event-that-assad-falls-officials-say/2013/02/10/257a41c8-720a-11e2-ac36- 3d8d9dcaa2e2_story.html.

(37.) "Jafari: hamle pish dastaneh nemi konim" ["Jafari: We Will Not Preemptively Attack"], Islamic Republic News Agency, September 16, 2012, D9%84%D9%87-%D9%BE%D9%8A%D8%B4-%D8%AF%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%A7%D9%8 6% D9%87-%D9%86%D9%85%D9%8A-%D9%83%D9%86%D9%8A%D9%85-%D8%AC%D9%84%D9%88% D9%8A-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%A6%D9%8A%D9%84.

(38.) US Department of the Treasury, "Treasury Sanctions Al-Nusrah Front Leadership in Syria and Militias Supporting the Asad Regime," December 11, 2012,

(39.) Joseph Holliday, "The Assad Regime: From Counterinsurgency to Civil War," Institute for the Study of War, March 2013, 16-19, 30-32,

(40.) "Syria Builds Paramilitary Force Aided by Iran: NGO," Agence France Presse, January 21, 2013, hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5ieoZUM4Nws5_cKdOGDUqWB-0zL5w?docId=CNG.57fbc89c875ff2813e5605 f4ea70d382.1f1.

(41.) US Department of the Treasury, "Treasury Sanctions Syrian, Iranian Security Forces for Involvement in Syrian Crackdown," June 29, 2011,; "Insight: Syrian Government Guerrilla Fighters Being Sent to Iran for Training," Reuters, April 4, 2013, insight idUSBRE9330DW20130404.

(42.) "Iran Envoy Says Syria to Open Golan Heights Front against Israel 'Soon,'" BBC Monitoring Trans Caucasus Unit, June 10, 2013.

(43.) "Field Listing: Imports-Partners," CIA World Factbook, 2012, fields/2061.html.

(44.) Kagan et al., Iranian Influence in the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan, 24.

(45.) Jamal Mahamid, "Syria's Frail Economy, before and after the Revolution," Al Arabiya Institute for Studies, April 2, 2013, revolution. html.

(46.) "Syria, Iran Sign One Billion-Dollar Credit Agreement," BBC Monitoring Middle East, January 18, 2013.

(47.) "Iran/Syria: Iran Exports 100,000 Tons of Flour to Syria," Thai News Service, February 20, 2013.

(48.) "Iran Grants Syria $3.6b Loan to Buy Oil Products," Arabian Oil and Gas, August 5, 201, article-11347-iran-grants-syria-36b-loan-to-buy-oil-products/.

(49.) Jason Ukman and Liz Sly, "Obama: Syrian President Assad Must Step Down," Washington Post, August 18, 2011, www gIQAM75UNJ_blog.html.

(50.) Kagan et al., Iranian Influence in the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan, 15-18.

(51.) US Department of State, "US Response to the Syrian Crisis in 2012," fact sheet, January 10, 2013, ps/2013/01/202705.htm.

(52.) The White House, "U.S. Humanitarian Assistance in Response to the Syrian Crisis," fact sheet, September 24, 2013, www.

(53.) US Department of State, "US Response to the Syrian Crisis in 2012."

(54.) US Department of State, "Secretary Kerry Announces Doubling of US Non-lethal Assistance to the Syrian Opposition and New Humanitarian Aid for the Syrian Crisis," April 20, 2013,

(55.) Ernesto Londono and Greg Miller, "US Weapons Reaching Syrian Rebels, Washington Post, September 11, 2013, http://

(56.) US Department of State, "Secretary Kerry Announces."

(57.) Karen DeYoung, "Kerry Says US Will Expedite New Aid to Syria Opposition," Washington Post, April 21, 2013, www. aa8f11e2-a8b9-2a63d75b5459_story.html.

(58.) "US Says It Will Give Military Aid to Syria Rebels," BBC News, June 14, 2013, 22899289.

(59.) "Syria Chemical Attack: What We Know," BBC News Middle East, September 24, 2013, east-23927399.

(60.) Edith M. Lederer, "U.N. Panel Probing 14 Suspected Syrian Chemical Weapon Attacks," Huffington Post, September 17, 2013,

(61.) Shawna Thomas, "Obama Draws 'Red Line' for Syria on Chemical and Biological Weapons," NBC News, August 20, 2012, weapons.

(62.) Daniel Arkin, "Arab States Call for International Action against Syrian Regime," NBC News, September 1, 2013, http://

(63.) Londono and Miller, "US Weapons Reaching Syrian Rebels."

(64.) "Iran Protecting Lebanon from 'Consequences' of Syrian Conflict," BBC Monitoring Middle East, January 17, 2013.

(65.) "Iran Willing to Provide Assistance to Lebanon to 'Face' Israel--Hezbollah TV," BBC Monitoring Middle East-Al Manar TV, November 25, 2008.

(66.) "Report: Iran Trained More Than 30,000 Hezbollah Fighters," United Press International, October 9, 2013.

(67.) Kagan et al., Iranian Influence in the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan, 33-34.

(68.) "Highlights: Iran Economic and Financial Issues, 14-18 August 2008," Open Source Center, August 19, 2009; "Iranian Delegation in Lebanon Not Happy with Siniora's Government," Aftb-e Yazd, April 7, 2008.

(69.) "Iran, Lebanon Keen on Promoting Economic Ties--Envoy," BBC Monitoring Middle East, May 3, 2013.

(70.) "Iran/Lebanon: Iran, Lebanon Boosting Oil Cooperation," Thai News Service, June 6, 2013.

(71.) Kagan et al., Iranian Influence in the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan, 34-35.

(72.) "Iran/Syria/Lebanon: Iran to Supply Power to Middle-East States," Thai News Service, July 10, 2013.

(73.) "Iran Protecting Lebanon from 'Consequences' of Syrian Conflict."

(74.) "Iran Sends Humanitarian Aid to Syrian, Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon," BBC Monitoring Middle East, January 23, 2013; "Iran/Lebanon: Iran Sends Humanitarian Aid Cargo to Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon," Thai News Service, August 1, 2013.

(75.) Julie C. Herrick, The Changing Middle East: A New Look at Regional Dynamics (Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 2010), 182.

(76.) Ron Ben-Yishai, "Hezbollah Moves into South Lebanon Villages," Israel Opinion, February 10, 2013, articles/0,7340,L-4343397,00.html.

(77.) Zainab Yaghi, "Beirut's Southern Suburbs Rise from the Ashes of War," Al Monitor, May 10, 2012, pulse/business/2012/05/270-buildings-for-400-million-th.html.

(78.) Yishai, "Hezbollah Moves into South Lebanon Villages."

(79.) Christopher M. Blanchard, Lebanon: Background and US Policy, Congressional Research Service, November 6, 2012, www.

(80.) Embassy of the United States in Beirut, Lebanon, "US Generals Visit Lebanon," May 5, 2013, pr_050513.html.

(81.) United Nations, "Security Council Calls for End to Hostilities between Hizbollah, Israel, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 1701 (2006)," Security Council 5511th Meeting, August 11, 2006,

(82.) "Lebanese Army Takes Over Security in Beirut's Southern Suburbs," Al Monitor, September 30, 2013, pulse/originals/2013/09/lebanese-army-takes-over-dahiyeh.html.

(83.) Nazeer Rida, "Unknown Group Claims Responsibility for Beirut Bombing," Asharq Alawsat, August 16, 2013,

(84.) Those who suggest that Hezbollah's decision to bring in ISF and LAF troops after the Dahieh bombing ignore the fact that entry into this part of southern Beirut required both an invitation and the permission of Hezbollah, which controls this territory exclusively.

(85.) Embassy of the United States in Beirut, Lebanon, "US Assistance to the Internal Security Forces," fact sheet, March 6, 2013,

(86.) "Lebanon Hariri: Fifth Suspect Indicted for Murder," BBC News Middle East, October 10, 2013, world-middle-east-24479640.

(87.) US Agency for International Development, Support for Lebanon's Accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) SOW, December 1, 2009, to%20the%20World%20Trade%20Organization%20(WTO)%20SOW.pdf; ACDI/VOCA, "Lebanon--Agricultural Quality Control and Certification (QCC) Program--Fostering Sustainable Growth, Reducing Poverty," March 2012, site/ID/lebanonQCC; Social Impact, USAID Lebanon--Agricultural Product Quality Control and Certification (QCC) Program: Final External Evaluation Report, August 2012,

(88.) US Agency for International Development, "Office of Transition Initiatives/Lebanon," fact sheet, April 2012, sites/default/files/documents/1866/OTI%20Lebanon%20Factsheet%20August%202013.pdf.

(89.) Ibid.

(90.) US Agency for International Development, "Microenterprise Development," September 11, 2013, microenterprise-development.

(91.) Office of the Inspector General, US Agency for International Development, Audit of USAID/Lebanon's Investment in Microfinance Program, July 17, 2013,

(92.) The White House, "Remarks by President Obama and President Sleiman of Lebanon after Meeting," press release, December 14, 2009,

(93.) Institut Fur Auslandsbeziehungen, "Clerics without Borders," 2013, resolution/ current-projects/hayya-bina-libanon.html.

(94.) "Prominent Shiites Condemn Hezbollah Role in Syria," Daily Star (Lebanon), July 9, 2013, uploads/files/Shia_TDS_Jul092013.pdf.

(95.) "MPAC President Appears at US Shia Gathering: Intra-Faith 'Code of Honor' Signed," Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch, June 18, 2013, signed/.

(96.) Headquarters: Department of the Army, Counterinsurgency, December 2006, 24.pdf.

(97.) Strategic Framework Agreement for a Relationship of Friendship and Cooperation between the United States of America and the Republic of Iraq, November 17, 2008,

(98.) Michael R. Gordon and Gen. Bernard E. Trainor, The Endgame: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Iraq, from George W. Bush to Barack Obama (New York: Pantheon Books, 2012), 433.

(99.) President Barack Obama, "Responsibly Ending the War in Iraq" (remarks, Camp Lejeune, Jacksonville, NC, February 27, 2009),

(100.) Kenneth M. Pollack, "Reading Machiavelli in Iraq," National Interest, October 24, 2012, reading-machiavelli-iraq-7611.

(101.) Marisa Sullivan, Maliki's Authoritarian Regime, Middle East Security Report 10, Institute for the Study of War, April 19, 2013,

(102.) "ISW Deputy Director Marisa Sullivan Testifies on the Future of Iraq," Institute for the Study of War, June 23, 2011,

(103.) Pollack, "Reading Macchiavelli in Iraq," 1.

(104.) Michael S. Schmidt and Tim Arango, "Bitter Feud between Top Iraqi Leaders Stalls Government," New York Times, June 25, 2011,

(105.) Jane Arraf, "Iraq Signals Willingness to Allow Some US Forces to Stay," Christian Science Monitor, August 3, 2011,

(106.) Gordon and Trainor, The Endgame, 668.

(107.) Martin Chulov, "Iraq: Cleric Warns Maliki of Walkout if US Troops Stay," Guardian (London), January 9, 2011,

(108.) Marisa Cochrane and Jeremy Domergue, "Backgrounder #36: Overview of the SOFA Negotiations," Institute for the Study of War, October 28, 2008,

(109.) Tim Arango, "Iraq Denies Legal Immunity to U.S. Troops after 2011," New York Times, October 4, 2011, www.nytimes .com/2011/10/05/world/middleeast/iraqis-say-no-to-immunity-for-remaining-american-troops.html.

(110.) President Barack Obama, "Remarks by the President on Ending the War in Iraq" (White House, Washington, DC, October 21, 2011),

(111.) Ramzy Mardini, "Iraq After the U.S. Withdrawal," Institute for the Study of War, December 18, 2013, www

(112.) Kagan's discussions with numerous US government officials in Iraq in 2009 and 2010.

(113.) Walter Pincus, "Top Diplomat Defends Size, Cost of State Dept. Presence in Iraq," Washington Post, February 1, 2011,

(114.) Institute for the Study of War, "Fact Sheet on Shia Militia Actors," April 2008, Shia%20militia%20actors.pdf.

(115.) Stephen Wicken, "Iraq Update #52--Demonstrations against Maliki after Issawi Bodyguard Arrest," Institute for the Study of War, December 27, 2012, issawibodyguard-arrest.

(116.) Sinan Salaheddin and Lara Jakes, "Judicial Probe Says Iraqi VP Behind Death Squads," Boston Globe, February 16, 2012,

(117.) Ramzy Mardini, "Iraq's Post-withdrawal Crisis, Update 7," Institute for the Study of War, February 3, 2012, www; Ramzy Mardini, "Iraq's Post-Withdrawal Crisis, Update 14," Institute for the Study of War, March 30, 2012, withdrawalcrisis-update-14-0; Marisa Cochrane Sullivan and Stephen Wicken, "Iraq's Post-Withdrawal Crisis, Update 16," Institute for the Study of War, April 5, 2012,

(118.) Jessica D. Lewis, Al-Qaeda in Iraq Resurgent, Middle East Security Report 14, Institute for the Study of War, September 7, 2013,

(119.) Gordon and Trainor, The Endgame, 679-80.

(120.) Larry Hanauer, Jeffrey Martini, and Omar al-Shahery, Managing Arab-Kurd Tensions in Northern Iraq after the Withdrawal of U.S. Troops, RAND National Defense Research Institute, 201, RAND_OP339.pdf.

(121.) Stephen Wicken, "Weekly Iraq Update #51," Institute for the Study of War, December 19, 2012, http://understandingwar. org/backgrounder/weekly-iraq-update-51.

(122.) Jane Affaf, "Q&A: Iraqi Kurdish Leader Massoud Barzani," Al Jazeera, July 30, 2012, features/2012/07/201272991311907942.html.

(123.) "Iraqi Kurds Defy Baghdad, Export Own Oil," United Press International, November 1, 2012, News/Energy-Resources/2012/11/01/Iraqi-Kurds-defy-Baghdad-export-own-oil/UPI-98091351794794/.

(124.) Michael Rubin, "Will America Leave Kurdistan?" Kurdistan Tribune, September 26, 2011,

(125.) IHS Global Insight, "PKK Due to Begin Withdrawal from Turkey to Iraq," May 8, 2013; "Iraq Threatens Turkey Peace Plan with PKK," United Press International, May 16, 2013, Turkeypeace-plan-with-PKK/UPI-53311368723777/; Denise Natali, "PKK Challenges Barzani in Iraqi Kurdistan," Al Monitor, May 9, 2013,; Constanze Letsch, "PKK Begins to Withdraw from Turkey," Guardian (London), May 8, 2013, withdraw-turkey.

(126.) Wicken, "Weekly Iraq Update #51."

(127.) Humeyra Pamuk and Orhan Coskun, "Exclusive: Turkey, Iraqi Kurdistan Clinch Major Energy Pipeline Deals," Reuters, November 6, 2013,

(128.) Ibid.

(129.) Wicken, "Iraq Update #52."

(130.) Gordon and Trainor, The Endgame, 680.

(131.) Ramzy Mardini, "Iraq's Post-Withdrawal, Crisis Update 13," Institute for the Study of War, March 23, 2012,

(132.) Michael R. Gordon, "Tensions Rise in Baghdad with Raid on Official," New York Times, December 20, 2012, www.nytimes. com/2012/12/21/world/middleeast/tensions-rise-in-baghdad-with-raid-on-sunni-official.html.

(133.) Kamal Naama, "Iraqi Sunnis Mourn Protesters Shot Dead by Troops," Reuters, January 26, 2013, 2013/01/26/us-iraq-protests-idUSBRE90P0JW20130126.

(134.) Institute for the Study of War, "2013 Iraq Update #17: Iraq's Sunni Mobilize," April 27, 2013, http://iswiraq.blogspot. com/2013/04/2013-iraq-update-17-iraqs-sunni-mobilize.html.

(135.) Jessica Lewis, "Al Qaeda in Iraq's 'Breaking the Walls' Campaign Achieves Its Objectives at Abu Ghraib--2013 Iraq Update #30," Institute for the Study of War, July 28, 2013, walls.html.

(136.) Kelly Edwards, "Prison Break and Violence Levels Demand Maliki Security Response: 2013 Iraq Update #32," Institute for the Study of War, August 13, 2013,

(137.) Ahmed Ali, "The Struggles of the Iraqi Security Forces: 2013 Update #33," Institute for the Study of War, August 21, 2013,

(138.) Ahmed Ali, "The Baghdad Division," Institute for the Study of War, September 27, 2013, 2013/09/the-baghdad-division-iraqi-shia-militia.html.

(139.) Ahmed Ali, "Update #23: Sadrists and Asa'ib Ahl Al-Haq Fight for Baghdad," Institute for the Study of War, June 11, 2013,

(140.) "Iran, Iraq Sign Defense Pact," Tasnim News Agency, September 26, 2013, 151153.

(141.) Ali, "The Baghdad Division."

(142.) Hassan Hafidh, "Iran Seeks Respite From Sanctions in Iraq," Wall Street Journal, July 22, 2013, articles/SB10001424127887323829104578621944132759694. The United States had sanctioned an Iraqi bank for working with a blacklisted Iranian financial firm, but lifted the sanction earlier this year after the Iraqi bank had "reduced its business with the Iranian financial sector" and frozen the assets of the sanctioned Iranian entity. See "U.S. Lifts Sanctions on Iraq Bank That Had Ties to Iran," Reuters, May 17, 2013,

(143.) Philip Rucker, "Obama Meets with Iraq's Maliki, Vows Ongoing Partnership; No Public Aid Commitment Made," Washington Post, November 1, 2013, nopublic-aid-commitment-made/2013/11/01/14d6a402-4319-11e3-8b74-d89d714ca4dd_story.html.

(144.) "Foreign Assistance Data--USAID,",

(145.) Ibid.

(146.) Ibid.

(147.) "Iraq's Oil Fields Open to Bidders," CNN Money, June 30, 2008, iraq_bids/.

(148.) Ramzy Mardini, "Iraq's Post-withdrawal Crisis, Update 27," Institute for the Study of War, June 22, 2012, www

(149.) Kagan et al., Iranian Influence in the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan, 59-60.

(150.) "Iran's Ahmadinejad Urges Egypt to Rebuild Ties," Reuters, June 1, 2012, iranahmadinejad-egypt-idUSTRE7503T620110601.

(151.) "Netanyahu Blasts Iran for Sending Ships through Suez," VOA News, February 19, 2011,

(152.) "Iran, Egypt Reach Initial Agreement on Establishing Direct Flight Line," Iranian Students' News Agency, October 5, 2013,

(153.) "Iran Criticizes Egyptian Army for Meddling in Politics," PressTV, July 8, 2013, egypt-army-meddling-in-politics-slammed/.

(154.) "Ayatollah Khamenei Condemns Massacre of Egyptian People," Fars News Agency, August 28, 2013, http://english.farsnews. com/newstext.aspx?nn=13920606001239.

(155.) "Envoy Hopes for Improvement of Iran-Egypt Ties," Tehran Times, September 24, 2013, /111013-envoy-hopes-for-improvement-of-iran-egypt-ties-.

(156.) Embassy of the United States in Cairo, Egypt, "Remarks by President Obama on the Situation in Egypt," August 15, 2013,

(157.) Brian Montopoli, "We're Not Taking Sides in Egypt," CBS News, January 31, 2011, 503544_16220030108-503544/white-house-were-not-taking-sides-in-egypt/.

(158.) Embassy of the United States in Cairo, Egypt, "Acting Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce Ken Hyatt, Nine US Firms to Visit Cairo," press release, April 11, 2013,

(159.) "Egypt to Keep Receiving US Military Aid," Middle East Online, August 16, 2013, english/?id=60759.

(160.) Jeremy M. Sharp, Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations, Congressional Research Service, June 27, 2013, 12, sgp/crs/mideast/RL33003.pdf.

(161.) Sean Dorman, Inside a U.S. Embassy (Washington: American Foreign Service Association, 2011).

(162.) "Joint Egyptian-Iranian Bank in Spotlight for Bypassing Sanctions," Global Insight, November 18, 2010.

(163.) Kagan et al., Iranian Influence in the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

(164.) "Egypt-Iran Bank Being Used to Bypass Sanctions," Jerusalem Post, November 19, 2010.

(165.) American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, "Tenders Alert Service: Loans and Grants," July 29, 2012, http://image2.

(166.) Embassy of the United States in Cairo, Egypt, "Acting Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce Ken Hyatt, Nine US Firms to Visit Cairo."

(167.) Jen Psaki, "US Assistance to Egypt," press statement, US Department of State, October 9, 2013, ps/2013/10/215258.htm.

(168.) Yoel Goldman, "Kerry Quietly Approves $1.3 Billion in Arms to Egypt," Times of Israel, June 7, 2013, www.timesofisrael. com/kerry-quietly-approved-1-3-billion-in-arms-to-egypt/.

(169.) "Speaker: Iran Provides Military Assistance to Palestinians," BBC Monitoring Trans Caucasus Unit, February 12, 2013.

(170.) Kagan et al., Iranian Influence in the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan, 42.

(171.) Marie Colvin, "Iran Arming and Training Hamas Force," Sunday Times (London), March 9, 2008.

(172.) Sara Hassan, "Sudan Dismisses Allegations That Iranians Are Training Hamas on Its Soil," World Markets Research Centre, May 19, 2010.

(173.) "Hamas Rejects Israeli Media Reports about Syrian, Iranian Presence in Gaza," BBC Worldwide Monitoring, December 23, 2010.

(174.) "Israeli PM Says Hamas 'Has Anti-aircraft Missiles,'" BBC, October 18, 2010, east11569900.

(175.) "Israeli General: Iran Has Equipped Proxy's Rockets with Guidance Systems," World Tribune, November 15, 2010,

(176.) Aron Heller, "Israel Intercepts Ship with Arms Intended for Gaza," Associated Press, March 16, 2011.

(177.) "Israel Says Iran Makes Skinny Missiles for Hamas," Iran Times International, May 13, 2011; and "Iran Training Palestinians with New Missiles," Investigative Project on Terrorism, November 17, 2011.

(178.) Annie Lubin, "Iranian Weapons Support for Hamas Shows No Signs of Slowing," Israel National News, January 13, 2013,

(179.) Jamie Dettmer, "Hamas Moves to Improve Ties With Iran," Voice of America, October 23, 2013, content/hamas-moves-to-improve-ties-with-iran/1775453.html.

(180.) Adam Kredo, "A Sudan Surprise," Washington Free Beacon, November 21, 2012, surprise/.

(181.) Kifah Zaboun, "Islamic Jihad Deputy Ziyad al-Nakhalah Talks to Asharq al-Aswat," Asharq Alaswat, June 30, 2009,

(182.) Abeer Ayyoub, "Iran Top Backer of Palestinian Islamic Jihad," Al Monitor, January 9, 2013, originals/2013/01/palestinian-islamic-jihad.html.

(183.) Gabe Kahn, "Islamic Jihad Threatens Tel Aviv," Israel National News, March 16, 2012, News.aspx/153826#.UnkTsnDBOSo.

(184.) Hazem Balousha, "Iran Increases Aid to PFLP Thanks to Syria Stance," Al Monitor, September 17, 2013, monitor. com/pulse/originals/2013/09/iran-pflp-gaza-palestine-syria.html.

(185.) Dettmer, "Hamas Moves to Improve Ties With Iran."

(186.) Stuart Winer and Times of Israel Staff, "Hamas Patches Up Ties with Hezbollah, Iran," Times of Israel, July 28, 2013, www.

(187.) "Iran Unlikely to Put Negotiations with US at Risk in Event of Reconciliation With Hamas," IHS Jane's Intelligence Weekly, October 24, 2013, reconciliation-withhamas.

(188.) "Hamas-Ruled Gaza Suffers Drop in Aid from Iran, Foreign Charities Because of Syrian Civil War," Fox News, June 13, 2013, syrian/.

(189.) "Iran Cuts Funding to Hamas for Cultural Programs," Al Monitor, June 19, 2013, 2013/06/gaza-iran-funds-culture-hamas.html.

(190.) Rushdi Abu Alouf, "Iran Gives Gazans Aid, but Bypasses Hamas," Los Angeles Times, July 30, 2013, world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-iran-gazan-aid-hamas-20130730,0,5639488.story#axzz2jiSCANVC.

(191.) Fares Akram, "In Gaza, Iran Finds an Ally More Agreeable Than Hamas," New York Times, July 31, 2013, www.nytimes. com/2013/08/01/world/middleeast/in-gaza-iran-finds-a-closer-ally-than-hamas.html.

(192.) "Iran Promoting Rival to Hamas," Iran Times International, August 9, 2013.

(193.) Jim Zanotti, US Foreign Aid to the Palestinians, Congressional Research Service, September 30, 2013, mideast/RS22967.pdf.

(194.) Brianna Lee, "Obama Stresses Asia-Pacific's Importance as He Announces Increased Military Presence in Australia," PBS, November 17, 2011, announcesincreased-military-presence-in-australia/12384/.

(195.) Embassy of the United States in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, "Kerry Unveils $4 Billion Investment Plan for Palestinians," press release, May 29, 2013, http://photos Unveils%20_4%20Billion%20Investment%20Plan%20for%20Palestinians.pdf.

(196.) US Agency for International Development, "Working in Crises and Conflict," October 28, 2013, bankand-gaza/working-crises-and-conflict.

(197.) ANERA, "Palestinian Community Infrastructure Development Program (PCID)," October 31, 2013, projects/palestinian-community-infrastructure-development-program-pcid/.

(198.) US Agency for International Development, "Water and Infrastructure," October 28, 2013, andgaza/water-and-infrastructure.

(199.) US Agency for International Development, "Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance," October 28, 2013, www.usaid. gov/west-bank-and-gaza/democracy-human-rights-and-governance.

(200.) US Agency for International Development, "Education," October 28, 2013, gaza/education.

(201.) US Agency for International Development, "Economic Growth and Trade," October 28, 2013, bankand-gaza/economic-growth-and-trade.

(202.) Karl Vick, "Poll Finds Palestinians Disenchanted with Hamas, Iran and the Peace Process," Time World, July 14, 2011, http://

(203.) James Zogby, Arab Attitudes Toward Iran, Arab American Institute Foundation, 2011, 5, 305479e9e4365271aa_q3m6iy9y0.pdf.

(204.) Ahmad K. Majidyar, "Iran's Hard and Soft Power in Afghanistan." Operational Environment Watch, August 27, 2012, www. afghanistan/; Ahmad K. Majidyar, "Iran's Aggressive Campaign to Undermine US Efforts in Afghanistan," Afghan Analytica, January 8, 2013, www.aei. org/article/foreign-and-defense-policy/regional/india-pakistan-afghanistan/irans-aggressive-campaign-to-undermine- usefforts-in-afghanistan/; Kagan et al., Iranian Influence in the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan, 79-86.

(205.) Ernesto Londono, "Iran Intensifies Efforts to Influence Policy in Afghanistan," Washington Post, January 4, 2012, http://

(206.) Ali Alfoneh and Will Fulton, "Quds Force Commander and Candidate: Gholamreza Baghbani," AEI Middle Eastern Outlook (April 2012), Baghbani.pdf.

(207.) Kagan et al., Iranian Influence in the Levant, Iraq and Afghanistan, 47.

(208.) Ellen Knickmeyer, "Spy Chief Distances Saudis from U.S," Wall Street Journal, October 21, 2013, news/articles/SB10001424052702303902404579150011732240016.

(209.) "Bahrain Approves Proposal to Stop 'Interference' by US Ambassador," RT, May 5, 2013, King Hamad walked this condemnation back somewhat shortly thereafter; see "HM King Hamad Receives US Ambassador and CENTCOM Commander," Bahrain News Agency, June 16, 2013, news/565838.

(210.) "Saudi Arabia Warns of Shift Away from US over Syria, Iran," Reuters, October 22, 2013, reu-saudi-arabia-us-relations-syria-iran/1774995.html.

(211.) "Bahrain's Saudi Links Vital to Economy: Minister," CNBC, July 27, 2011,

(212.) Ginny Hill and Gerd Nonneman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States: Elite Politics, Street Protests and Regional Diplomacy, Chatham House, May 2011,

(213.) "Foreign Assistance Data--USAID."

(214.) Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Historical Facts Book: Foreign Military Sales, Foreign Military Construction Sales and Other Security Cooperation Historical Facts, September 30, 2012, sep_2012.pdf.

(215.) Ibid.

(216.) Defense Security Cooperation Agency, "Major Arms Sales,"

(217.) Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Historical Facts Book.

(218.) Gen. James N. Mattis, "2013 Posture Statement," United States Central Command, March 5, 2013, http://centcom.ahp.

(219.) US Department of State, "US Relations with United Arab Emirates," fact sheet, June 11, 2013,

(220.) United States Central Command, "Exercise Eagle Resolve 13," fact sheet, April 21-May 6, 2013, fact-sheets/exercise-eagle-resolve-13-april-21-may-6-2013; United States Central Command, "Press Conference Kicks Off Exercise Eager Lion 2013," June 9, 2013,; United States Central Command, "United Arab Emirates and U.S. Central Command Host Counter-WMD Exercise," press release, February 6, 2013,; United States Central Command, "IMCMEX 13: Mine Countermeasures Exercise Concludes," countermeasures-exercise-concludes.

(221.) Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Historical Facts Book, 110-18.

(222.) Amena Bakr and Warren Strobel, "Saudi Arabia Warns of Shift Away from U.S. Over Syria, Iran," Reuters, October 22, 2013,

(223.) Ibid.

(224.) Knickmeyer, "Spy Chief Distances Saudis from US."

(225.) Bakr and Strobel, "Saudi Arabia Warns of Shift Away from US Over Syria, Iran."

(226.) Knickmeyer, "Spy Chief Distances Saudis from US."

(227.) Mark Mazetti, Robert F. Worth, and Michael R. Gordon, "Obama's Uncertain Path Amid Syria Bloodshed," New York Times, October 22, 2013,

(228.) US Department of State, "Bahrain: International Religious Freedom Report 2008," 2008, 108480.htm.

(229.) "Bahrain Summons Iran Envoy over 'Interference,'" Agence France-Presse, October 16, 2012, afp/article/ALeqM5js0JBYvjQJuktDWe6y58Xl2MlzXA?docId=CNG.0602af1344224b2597ffacb7a5fe3a93.351.

(230.) "Introducing ... Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Ahmed Qassim," Arabian Peninsula Focus, January 16, 2013, http://arab- peninsula.

(231.) Ali Alfoneh, "Between Reform and Revolution: Sheikh Qassim, the Bahraini Shia, and Iran," AEI Middle Eastern Outlook (July2012), revolutionsheikh-qassim-the-bahraini-shia-and-iran/.

(232.) Mehdi Khalaji, "Iran's Policy Confusion about Bahrain," Real Clear World, June 28, 2011, articles/2011/06/28/irans_policy_confusion_about_iran_99568.html.

(233.) "Iran/Bahrain: FM Summons Bahraini Diplomat over Anti-Iran State-Sponsored Rally," Thai News Service, February 15, 2012.

(234.) Bob Morris, "BICI Report: Iran Not Linked to Bahrain Protests, Do Monarchists Agree?" Middle East Voices, November 24, 2011,

(235.) "Bahrain Politics: Quick View--Opposition Activists Accused of Spying for Iran," EIU ViewsWire, October 4, 2013.

(236.) US Department of State, "Press Availability at Chief of Mission Residence," March 19, 2011, rm/2011/03/158658.htm.

(237.) US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, The Gulf Security Architecture: Partnership with the Gulf Co-Operation Council, 2012,

(238.) Kenneth Katzman, "Bahrain: Reform, Security, and US Policy," Congressional Research Service, September 13, 2013, 27,

(239.) US Department of State, "Senior Administration Officials on Bahrain--Special Briefing," May 11, 2012, pa/prs/ps/2012/05/189810.htm.

(240.) Embassy of the United States in Manama, Bahrain, "Remarks from Assistant Secretary Posner on Visit to Bahrain," December 9, 2012,

(241.) Embassy of the United States in Manama, Bahrain, "Remarks by Deputy Assistant Secretary Thomas Melia on the Conclusion of His Visit to Bahrain," March 16, 2013,

(242.) Embassy of the United States in Manama, Bahrain, "Special Envoy Hussain's Visit to Manama," April 2-3, 2013,

(243.) Embassy of the United States in Manama, Bahrain, "Empowering Women and Girls through Sports," December 4, 2012,

Frederick W Kagan is the Christopher DeMuth Chair and director of the Critical Threats Project at AEI. In 2009, he served in Kabul, Afghanistan, as part of General Stanley McChrystal's strategic assessment team, and he returned to Afghanistan in 2010, 2011, and 2012 to conduct research for Generals David Petraeus and John Allen. In July 2011, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen awarded him the Distinguished Public Service Award, the highest honor the chairman can present to civilians who do not work for the US Department of Defense, for his volunteer service in Afghanistan. He is coauthor of the report Defining Success in Afghanistan (AEI and the Institute for the Study of War, 2010) and author of the series of reports Choosing Victory (AEI), which recommended and monitored the US military surge in Iraq. His most recent book is Lessons for a Long War: How America Can Win on New Battlefields (AEI Press, 2010, with Thomas Donnelly). Previously an associate professor of military history at West Point, Kagan is a contributing editor at the Weekly Standard and has written for Foreign Affairs, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and other periodicals.

J. Matthew McInnis is a resident fellow at AEI, where he focuses on Iran, specifically its intentions, strategic culture, military power, and goals. He also works on US defense and regional security issues in the Persian Gulf (Iran, Iraq, and the Arabian Peninsula) and on the effectiveness of the US intelligence community. Before joining AEI, McInnis served as a senior analyst and in other leadership positions for the US Department of Defense.

Danielle Pletka is the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at AEI. Before joining AEI, she served for 10 years as a senior professional staff member for the Near East and South Asia on the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Pletka writes regularly on the Middle East and South Asia, US national security, terrorism, and weapons proliferation for a range of American newspapers and magazines. Her writings and interviews have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, CBS News, the Los Angeles Times, and POLITICO, among others. She has testified before Congress on the Iranian threat and other terrorist activities in the Middle East. Pletka is the coeditor of Dissent and Reform in the Arab World: Empowering Democrats (AEI Press, 2008) and the coauthor of Containing and Deterring a Nuclear Iran (AEI, 2011).
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Title Annotation:p. 26-63
Author:Pletka, Danielle; Kagan, Frederick W.; McInnis, J. Matthew
Publication:AEI Paper & Studies
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Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2014
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