Middle East Dialogue 2015

March 15, 2015

Catino_Assessing Iranian Security Capabilities

The Middle East Dialogue 2015 this past February in Washington, D.C was another year of interesting papers, discussions, and individuals shedding light on the developments in this critical region. I was happy to present my paper: “Assessing Iranian Security Capabilities: The Case of the Green Movement.”

The thesis of my paper is:

This paper will assert that the defeat of the Green Movement occurred as a result of more than “brutal crackdowns” by Iranian security forces.  Rather, the Iranian regime demonstrated strategic security capabilities including cohesive institutional backing of the state, comprehensive operational skills, mass tactical ground support, and ideological strength exploited by Iran’s senior leadership, which effectively mobilized large segments of Iran’s population against the reformers.   Moreover, the potency, depth, range, and reach of Iran’s security forces indicated a preponderance of power over the opposition, an advantage not likely to diminish in the short and medium terms.

Here is a link to the presentation:

http://www.slideshare.net/martincatino/assessing-iranian-security-capabilities-catino

The paper’s conclusions:

  • The Islamic Republic of Iran possesses strong state and security structures able to withstand severe opposition.
  • The Islamic Republic is likely to resist effectively similar political challenges it faces in the near and medium terms.
  • The tactics of civil disobedience used by the opposition are likely to prove ineffective against a regime which possesses strong security capabilities operating effectively across broad geographical areas of Iran and with significant mass support.
  • The regime’s ability to anticipate, organize, and posture against “soft power” threats is one of its striking features or capabilities.

If the United States is ever going to successfully promote regime change, and encourage the Iranian people to achieve their extraordinary potential, far more insight, effort, and planning will have to occur than simply standing back and watching a radical and tyrannical regime devour its best hopes for a future.

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