Special Interview with Doctor Ibrahim al-Jafari
Doctor Ibrahim Abd al-Karim al-Eshaiker al-Jafari was born in Karbala in 1947 and joined the Dawa Islamic Party when he was less than twenty years old. He was educated at Mosul University as a medical doctor.
He moved to Syria in 1980 and started working as a member of the leading council of the party in the political office and got elected as the official spokesperson of the party in 1996.
He then moved to Iran and took part in founding the Islamic Revolution Council of Iraq and represented Dawa Party in this council and was chairman of the administration office of the supreme council.
He moved to London in 1990 and participated in forming and leading the committee of common measures of Iraqi opposition in 1991; he had an active role in Iraqi political conferences such as Beirut Conference and in forming and leading the Iraqi National Congress in 1992. In 2002, he called for an alliance of the Iraqi national forces which attracted 17 Iraqi political forces and 33 political figures.
He returned to Iraq after Saddam fell and was elected as the first interim president of the Iraqi Governing Council. He also served as the vice president in 2004, the Prime Minister in 2005 and the Foreign Minister in 2014.
He was elected as the Member of the Parliament in both 2006-2010 and 2010-2014 elections.
In 2005, he founded the political party of National Reform Trend and headed the Iraqi National Alliance.
Dr. Jafari is also a knowledgeable scholar with profound studies, papers and theories about the political and international issues.
He considers the human being the linchpin of politics and says that 'as long as the Islamic countries enjoy a diversity of resources such as water, oil, agricultural resources, strategic advantages and also intellectual and spiritual treasures, they would be vulnerable to the enemies' conspiracies and wouldn't experience total peace. What they have to do is to create a powerful defense force in order to protect their assets and security.'
Jafari maintains that we are living in the age of victory of the 'right' and the new wave of awakening and awareness among the nations wouldn't ebb away; it would go on until justice dominates the world.
He attributes all the civil unrest in Iraq to the American and Zionist's schemes and says that it's unfortunate that Shia Islamic movements in Iraq are ignorant of what happens in this country and are preoccupied with trivial differences and conflicts.
Dr. Jafari believes that Imam Khamenei has a pivotal role in unifying the Muslims and states that, 'we can clearly understand his concerns regarding the unification of the Muslims in both his speeches and in the seminars of the Islamic unification in which all the Islamic scholars participate.'
In his view, this seminars and conferences in which the notable figures of all different Islamic sects take part can adequately indicate the unification approach and the necessity to go beyond religious differences; they have been able to exponentially spread all the elements of Islamic unification in the Islamic countries.
The Tehran Foreign Policy Studies Quarterly has had a special interview with him which due to the covid-19 pandemic was done in the form of written correspondence. The interview is presented in two parts in this issue and the next one.
Turkey's Foreign Policy in Syria's Crisis; A Shift from the Brotherhood Approach to Returning to the First Issue of the National Security
Mehdi Honarmandzadeh (Ph.D.)
The transformations known as the Islamic awakening led to the Turkey's allies in beliefs and faith, i.e. The Society of the Muslim Brothers (Muslim Brotherhood) gaining power. As the Muslim Brotherhood gained power, Turkey's officials came to the decision that cooperation with other states is now of no consequence and should advance a common plan in the region by forming strategic brotherly relations. As a result of the transformations we know as the Islamic awakening and the Arabic revolutions, there also happened a revolution in Turkey's relations with the Arab countries, especially those in North Africa, which also spread to Syria. Based on the aforementioned changes, the Turks turned their back on all the previous agreements with the Syrian regime. However, as the time passed, the Brotherhood couldn't see through their plans in Egypt, Tunisia and Syria, and Turkey had to deal with the Kurdish conflict. Due to the anarchy in Syria, the Kurds could expand their territories and were about to form their second Kurdish autonomous government after the Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq. The new state of events resulted in a change of strategies by Turkey.
Key words: Syria's crisis, Turkey, Muslim Brotherhood, Syrian Kurds
The Expert Panel: Biden's Foreign Policy; Continuity or Change?
Rezadad Darvish (Ph.D.)
(Editor of International Affairs)
The countries' strategic behaviors in the international arenas is formed based on the components of the national power, limitations, challenges, capacities and the mental conception of the decision-makers of all these components and their willpower to utilize them. The foreign policy patterns and trends of the countries, especially the great powers, are always continued by the changing of the governments on a platform of "stability" and "change". The governments' strategic behavioral pattern are defined and executed in a process of combining the foreign policy components and instruments.
American behavioral pattern during the last decades indicates that the structure formed by the possibilities, limitations, and capacities created by integrating the components of power, instruments and the agents' conceptions has continued to exist amongst both stability and change. George W. Bush was after creating an empire, Obama was after hegemony, Trump was an exceptionalist and Biden dreams of the revival of America's leadership in the world. After Trump came to power, the rather continual trend with changes according to the circumstances and time requirements turned into the dominance of the change paradigm over continuity. Yet, it can't be interpreted as a strategic shift in the US foreign policy.
Now that Biden is about to embark on the tasks of the forty-sixth American president in the White House after a controversial election and the tainted legitimacy of the government, many scholars and analysts of the American foreign policy issues both inside and outside the US are trying to decode Biden's foreign policy for the United States.
The main question is this: "What principles and axes will the American foreign policy be based on?" In order to find out the answers to the main questions, a series of secondary questions will be answered during the expert panel of "Biden's Foreign Policy; Continuity or Change?"
The Tehran Foreign Policy Studies Quarterly is holding this expert panel with a number of senior experts and researchers in the field of American foreign policy to examine and strategically decode Biden's foreign policy model based on the views, stances and statements of both him and his advisors.
The experts taking part in the panel are as follows: Mahmood Yazdanfam (Ph.D.), American strategic policies expert, Behzad Ahmadi (Ph.D.), senior researcher of European affairs, Isa Kameli (Ph.D), senior expert in American issues and Rezadad Darvish (Ph.D.) editor of the international affairs in the Tehran Foreign Policy Studies Quarterly.
2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War: Coordinates, Actors and the prospects
(Political Science Ph.D. student at University of Tehran)
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is a territorial conflict –with ethnic and religious streaks- over the ownership of the mountainous region of Karabakh. All the multiple mediations to end this conflict were futile till 2020 and the most important disagreement is over the "eventual state of the mountainous heights of Karabakh". When the balance of power shifted in favor of Azerbaijan in 20 November, Russia managed to end the war by a three-sided agreement and assert itself as the dominant power in the region. Since this peace deal also failed to solve the problem and was merely signed as a result of the shifting of the power balance, it seems that the 2020 peace deal would prove to be precarious again and get violated when the balance is restored.
All the analysts are firmly certain that the tensions and competitions will remain in Transcaucasia (or South Caucasus) and the tentative 2020 peace agreement is only a continuation of the frozen conflict.
On the one hand, the Armenian public opinion demands the reclaiming of the lost regions and the fall of the unsteady Pashinyan cabinet and the coming to power of a more leftist Prime Minister raises the probability of violating the agreement. On the other, the national sovereignty of both parties of the conflict has been breached and practically, only the Russian military is guarding the South Caucasus. The Western players are also expected to make a move and try to have a role to compensate for their lost interests in the region.
Key words: mountainous Karabakh, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, 2020 Peace
Nagorno-Karabakh War: Past, Present and Future
(Journalist and expert in the Middle Asia, Caucasus Region and Turkey)
The new round of Nagorno-Karabakh war over the mountainous districts of southern Nagorno-Karabakh, a strategic spot in the region, started on 27 September 2020. Unlike the previous conflicts which used to end after several days, this one continued for 44 days for different reasons.
The first Nagorno-Karabakh War was an ethnic conflict which took place on 20 February 1988 between the majority ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh backed by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan with 996 kilometer of common border inside the Soviet Republic. However, the conflicts are rooted in older days.
The present paper aims at finding the roots of the conflicts between these two countries which have stayed in a no war-no peace situation during the last 26 years. It also tries to answer this question that why the conflict remained unsolved from the cease-fire agreement of 22 may 1994 till the Moscow-brokered deal on 10 November 2020. In order to answer this question, we inevitably examined the role that all the domestic and foreign players had in this war. The reasons for the rise of new conflicts and the trend of future changes after the Moscow deal are also examined based on the current evidence. In the end, the plausible solutions to end the futile war are looked into by studying the stance of the countries influential in solving the problem.
Key words: Karabakh, Azerbaijan, Armenia, ceasefire agreement of 1994