• Obama’s Diplomacy with Iran and the 2009 Election Scandal

    • February 25, 2012

    CIPS Policy Brief No. 14 (February 2012). By TRITA PARSI. Barack Obama’s presidency began with a diplomatic outreach to Iran. However, the space for diplomacy turned out to be limited, due in part to the effects of Iran’s fraudulent 2009 elections and related domestic pressures on Obama not to pursue negotiations. The Obama administration consequently

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  • The Cockeyed Case for Preemptive War on Iran

    • February 24, 2012

    I was invited to talk about fragile states at the annual meeting of the Conference of Defence Associations in Ottawa on Thursday. As it turned out, however, I spent most of my time speaking about Iran. I couldn’t help myself. I arrived at the conference an hour before my panel was to begin and settled into a chair with a cup of coffee to watch

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  • Something Borrowed, Nothing Gained: John Baird’s Big Ideas in Foreign Policy

    • February 3, 2012

    “Canada is what I like to call a ‘smart power’,” Foreign Minister John Baird declared in a major speech in Israel last week. That’s reassuring, although as a means of distinguishing our foreign policy it is likely to prove elusive. What country would proudly proclaim the opposite? Every state hopes to exercise power in smart

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  • Event Report: The Arab Spring, One Year Later

    • January 24, 2012

    On January 18, a CIPS discussion panel brought together Omar Ashour (Exeter University and Brookings Doha Centre), Barak Barfi (New America Foundation) and Peter Jones (University of Ottawa) to take stock of events in countries affected by the ‘Arab Spring’ of 2011. Having been asked by moderator Roland Paris to prepare remarks on Egypt, Libya

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  • The Rhetoric and Reality of Attacking Tehran

    • November 11, 2011

    Published on November 11, 2011 in the Globe and Mail. The latest United Nations report on Iran’s nuclear program has further raised tensions. While the report was notable for its candour, it carefully avoided making definitive statements on two critical issues: whether Iran has actually decided to build a bomb, or is merely content with

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  • Run Towards War with Iran

    • October 30, 2011

    In the wake of the alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington, the predictable chorus of right-wingers has come forward to promote one of their favourite causes: the idea of an attack on Iran. Not surprisingly, the idea of an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities features highly in all of this. Many of those who

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  • The Ripple Effects of Gadhafi’s Death

    • October 21, 2011

    Published in the Globe and Mail, October 21, 2011. Although the images of Moammar Gadhafi’s body being dragged through the streets are disturbing, one can understand why his death is being deliriously welcomed in Libya. Often regarded as a clown in the West, Colonel Gadhafi was a brutal tyrant. His death removes the slim chance

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  • Why Israel Made the Deal

    • October 20, 2011

    The full article was published in the Ottawa Citizen, October 20, 2011. In 1991, the Italian parliament passed a law prohibiting anybody not only from paying ransom but also from even negotiating with kidnappers. Colombia later followed suit. The legislation derived from the entirely logical argument that if fewer people paid ransom there would be

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  • The Arab Democratic Wave and the Middle East Conflict: A Window of Opportunity

    • October 4, 2011

    In the past nine months popular demonstrations have swept the Middle East and have led to the toppling of authoritarian governments in Tunisia, Egypt, and later Libya. At the same time, other governments in the region have been experiencing intense popular uprisings challenging their rule and asking for political reforms: some are trying to repress

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