May 29, 2017 The strategy assumed that the greater the dissension in a country, the weaker it would be.
May 25, 2017 Geography and demography work against the government in Tehran.
May 29, 2017 All the signs are there: The U.S. is telling North Korea, in no uncertain terms, that war is…
May 26, 2017 The Kremlin wants to appear influential in an issue that has great consequence for the U.S.
May 25, 2017 Two seemingly unrelated events will affect the regional balance of power.
May 24, 2017
George Friedman joins the podcast this week to talk about indicators that suggest the U.S. is gearing…
May 26, 2017 Iran is more formidable on paper than perhaps it is in practice. It is the 17th-largest country in the world and the 17th-most populous. It is the sixth-largest producer of oil and the third-largest producer of natural gas. And, according to the International Monetary Fund, it boasts the world’s 29th-largest economy by gross domestic product despite decades of economic sanctions against it.
But the country is constrained by its demography. Iran has several large minority populations, including Azeris, Kurds, Arabs and Baluchis, all of which have separatist tendencies. Since its founding in 1979, when it toppled the secular monarchy, the current regime has tried to solve this problem by cultivating a national identity steeped in Shiism. (The shared use of the Persian language has also helped in that regard. In fact, historically, it has influenced the cultures and civilizations of peoples in all the surrounding regions.)
But religion can go only so far. Its efforts have not exactly endeared the government to the Sunni minorities that populate Iran’s farther reaches. And the clerics who dominate the government are often at odds with the country’s republican institutions.Keep reading