Sheehan to Present at 2014 Middle East Dialogue

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Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan has been invited to deliver a talk at the 2014 Middle East Dialogue hosted by the Policy Studies Organization on February 27. Dr. Sheehan’s talk titled Clarifying a Contested Concept: Regime Change from Within will trace the evolution of the concept of regime change from within and argue that meaningful policy demands more precise articulation of the term. The conference, held at the Whittemore House in Washington, D.C. will feature scholars and policy analysts that address the event’s 2014 theme of Strategies for Change in the Middle EastDr. Sheehan’s remarks at the 2013 Middle East Dialogue resulted in the publication of an article in the peer-reviewed journal, Digest of Middle East Studies.

Clarifying a Contested Concept: Regime Change from Within

The term “regime change from within” has become increasingly popular in opposition and policy discourse, especially in relation to the Islamic Republic of Iran. It has also begun entering the academic literature. But what does it mean? Despite its increasing use “regime change from within” is rarely defined and scant scholarly attention to date has been paid to defining it. This is problematic since, as an “umbrella concept,” the term can be stretched to include a wide variety of discrepant processes. In fact, “regime change from within” has been used as a holder for democracy promotion efforts within a country that start both inside and outside a country, as well as indigenous efforts that exclude outside support, to highlight the need for radical change, and more vaguely to call for “continuous” change or reform. This paper argues that coherent strategic policy demands better articulation of the meaning of the term. As a first step, the paper traces the evolution of use of the term “regime change from within,” tries to unpack its components, and develops a preliminary framework that partitions the concept into ends (vision) and means (strategy) to assess its utility for policy.

PSO/MED / Speaker Bios / Invitation

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