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Sheehan Moderates National Geographic TV Film Premiere on ISIS in Washington, D.C.

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FILM PREMIERE | Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria & the Rise of ISIS | National Geographic Channel

On June 6, 2017, Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan – Associate Professor of Public and International Affairs – served as the Moderator for the National Geographic Channel premiere of Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria & the Rise of ISIS in Washington, D.C. The documentary – by Academy-Award nominated filmmaker and New York Times #1 best-selling author Sebastian Junger and Emmy award winner Nick Quested – traces the origins of the Syrian crisis and the rise of Islamic State.

Learn more http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/hell-on-earth/

Time Magazine notes that the film “traces how the bloody crackdown on youth dissent in March 2011 metastasized into the intractable conflict that today has left an estimated 500,000 dead and millions uprooted.”

“Syria became a civil war in response to the violence of the government; eventually Iran got involved through Hezbollah to support the Assad regime. The Kurds got involved. Turkey got involved. The Arab Gulf states got involved. Eventually all the world powers and all the regional powers had some investment in the war in Syria and in many cases were actively involved in the fighting.” 

Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria & the Rise of ISIS – which featured at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival has been screened to wide acclaim by critics and audiences around the world – debuts on National Geographic Channel on Sunday, 11 June at 9 PM EST.

About the Film Co-Directors:

Sebastian Junger is an Academy-Award nominated filmmaker and New York Times No. 1 best-selling author of books including War and Tribe. As an award-winning journalist, a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, and a special correspondent at ABC News, he has covered major international news stories around the world and has received both a National Magazine Award and a Peabody Award. Nick Quested is executive director and owner of Goldcrest Films, one of the world’s premiere documentary brands. He has earned two Emmys for his work.

This is the second film premiere for which Dr. Sheehan has been commissioned by National Geographic Channel. To contact him with media inquries or book him for special events, please visit

Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan is the Director of the graduate programs in Negotiations & Conflict Management and Global Affairs & Human Security in the College of Public Affairs at the University of Baltimore. For additional research or media related updates or to learn more about Dr. Sheehan, follow him at @ProfSheehan or link to his research profiles.

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Sheehan Interviewed on Iran Policy from Paris

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Live Interview | Iran’s Regional Conduct, The Gulf Summit, & Obama Administration Policy | May 14, 2015 | 

Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan, Associate Professor of Public and International Affairs at the University of Baltimore, participated in a live online interview from Paris with journalists from around the world on May 14, 2015. The program with Professor Sheehan came one day after a similar question and answer session with Ambassador Robert Joseph, who formerly served as United States Special Envoy for Nuclear Nonproliferation.

Dr. Sheehan is the Director of the graduate programs in Negotiations and Conflict Management and Global Affairs and Human Security in the College of Public Affairs at the University of Baltimore.

For additional research or media related updates or to learn more about Dr. Sheehan, follow him on Twitter @ProfSheehan or link to his research profiles.

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Sheehan Speaks at Rally Outside White House

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Hundreds of Iranian-Americans rallied outside the White House on April 14 as Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi met with President Obama.

Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan, Associate Professor of Public and International Affairs at the University of Baltimore, addressed the crowds by discussing the destructive role played by the Iranian regime’s interference in Iraq and called for the prompt eviction of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force and its commander, Major General Qassem Soleimani, from Iraq noting that these were prerequisites for a durable solution to the Iraqi crisis.

Also speaking at the event were Col. Wesley Martin, formerly stationed at Camp Ashraf as Senior Anti-Terrorism and Force Protection Officer for Coalition Forces in Iraq; Professor Raymond Tanter, a Senior National Security Council staffer in the Reagan White House; Mr. Bruce McColm, former Executive Director of the prominent human rights organization Freedom House; and Mr. Steven Schneebaum, international lawyer and Professorial Lecturer at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. The speakers pointed to ongoing detention of the Iranian resistance in Iraq and called on the international community to do more to protect the Iranian dissidents from Iraqi forces acting as proxies for Tehran.

Dr. Sheehan is the Director of the graduate programs in Negotiations and Conflict Management and Global Affairs and Human Security in the College of Public Affairs at the University of Baltimore.

For additional research or media related updates or to learn more about Dr. Sheehan, follow him on Twitter @ProfSheehan or link to his research profiles.

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Sheehan Speaks in U.S. Senate on Iran Policy

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On March 25, 2015, Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan – Associate Professor of Public and International Affairs – spoke at a bipartisan congressional briefing in the United States Senate on a panel featuring Senator Joseph Lieberman (former candidate for Vice President of the United States), Senator Chuck Schumer, Senator Gary Peters, and distinguished military leaders and academics. Dr. Sheehan’s talk addressed matters related to the ongoing P5+1 nuclear discussions with Iran and the prospect of regime change from within.

Dr. Sheehan is the Director of the graduate programs in Negotiations and Conflict Management and Global Affairs and Human Security in the College of Public Affairs at the University of Baltimore.

Several of his recently authored studies on U.S.-Iran policy can be accessed @:

SHEEHAN: What Is “Regime Change From Within?” Unpacking the Concept in the Context of Iran | Digest of Middle East Studies | Fall 2014 | Vol. 23, Issue 2

SHEEHAN: Balancing Ends, Ways, and Means: The Case for Reviving Support for “Regime Change from Within” in Iran | The Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis | Syracuse University | Spring 2015 | 10th Edition

For additional research or media related updates or to learn more, follow Dr. Sheehan on Twitter @ProfSheehan or link to his research profiles.

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SHEEHAN: Balancing Ends, Ways, and Means: The Case for Reviving Support for ‘Regime Change from Within’ in Iran | The Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis | Syracuse University | Spring 2015 | 10th Edition

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SHEEHAN: Balancing Ends, Ways, and Means: The Case for Reviving Support for “Regime Change from Within” in Iran | The Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis | Syracuse University | Spring 2015 | 10th Edition

As a March 31 deadline looms and world powers scramble to negotiate over Iran’s nuclear program – and on the heels of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s warnings to a joint session of Congress this week – Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan has published his latest paper titled Balancing Ends, Ways, and Means: The Case for Reviving Support for ‘Regime Change from Within’ in Iran in The Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis (Syracuse University). In the paper he argues that “the U.S. needs to abandon the idea that pressure on Iran in the form of support for “regime change from within” will only derail talks. As Kenneth Pollack has pointed out, Iran does not moderate when the pressure is off but when it is high.

Excerpt: The regime’s expanding use of proxies to destabilize its neighbors is another matter of urgent concern. Iran still provides small arms shipments and training to the Taliban in Afghanistan. In addition, and despite its pledge to support Iraq’s stabilization, it gives regular guidance and training to Shia militants in Iraq. It has also deployed several hundred military specialists, including senior Quds Force commanders to Syria and is believed to have spent billions of dollars to support the Assad regime as it continues its brutal crackdown on the Syrian people, a crackdown that has resulted in the deaths of more than 70,000 civilians. Additionally, Iran has been sending weapons to secessionist movements to foment dissent and destabilize Yemen. These activities too are unlikely to stop in the presence of a nuclear deal, if one occurs. As Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, indicated as recently as November 2013, Iran is determined on “challenging the influence of America in the region and extending its own influence”and it does not appear to be inclined to change how it pursues its influence “one iota.” 

Further, to support these activities and defend against potential fallout, Iran has intensified a brutal crackdown on its own citizens. While the regime’s record on human rights has always been poor, its repression of ordinary Iranians reached new heights in the wake of the disputed elections of 2009. Protestors were arrested en masse, tortured, raped and killed in prison. Today, as many as 500 Iranian dissidents, including minority rights and women’s activists, are still behind bars. Leading opposition figures such as Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Zahra Rahnavard have now been held under house arrest for three years without charges or trial, and “despite President Rouhani’s numerous promises to respect people’s rights following his June 2013 electoral victory,” serious rights abuses continue. One of the most alarming trends is the surge in executions. Iran is now ranked number one, above China, in executions per capita. According to Ahmed Shaheed, Iran’s UN special rapporteur for human rights, 176 people were put to death in January, February, and early March of 2014 alone. Several were executed in public and many sources believe the numbers are much higher. According to other reports, including the Human Rights Documentation Center, more than 500 people have been executed since Rouhani took office. These trends, coupled with the regime’s record of arbitrary detention and unfair trials, discrimination against minorities, mistreatment of political prisoners and restrictions on freedom of expression, led the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, to deliver a sharp rebuke to Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, as recently as March 2014. The problem is that such abuses not only affect individuals and communities. In “a world of complex interdependencies and trans-border activities,” they also have “spillover effects.” In particular they can increase the flow of refugees with destabilizing effects in neighboring countries. In addition, as Tim Dunne points out they “diminish the constraining capacity of key norms” and in the process give a “green light” to other states to engage in similar repression in blatant violation of international standards of behavior.

Access a full PDF of the newly published article here.

For additional research or media related updates or to learn more, follow Dr. Sheehan on Twitter @ProfSheehan.

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Sheehan to Speak at 2015 Middle East Dialogue

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Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan has been invited to speak at the 2015 Middle East Dialogue, a conference hosted by the Policy Studies Organization on February 26, 2015. The annual meeting — held at the historic Whittemore House in Washington, D.C. — attracts academics, analysts, and government officials with an interest in policy issues impacting the Middle East.

Dr. Sheehan’s presentation – “Suicide Terrorism: Competing Explanations and Policy Implications for the Middle East” – will feature the results of his forthcoming study in a special issue of the journal Clinical Innovations in Neuroscience (“Suicide Terrorism: A Critical Assessment of the Evidence”). The presentation will challenge the conventional thinking on suicide terrorism in the Political Science and International Relations literatures by examining the theoretical and empirical evidence for and against the possibility that suicide terrorists may suffer from psychopathology.

This is Dr. Sheehan’s third time presenting at the Middle East Dialogue (2013, 2014, 2015). He has also twice published in the peer-reviewed journal Digest of Middle East Studies (2013, 2014) and also in a Policy Studies Organization edited volume (2014).

In February 2015, Dr. Sheehan is also scheduled to speak at the Annual Meeting of the International Studies Association in New Orleans where he will discuss his latest study on regime change in Iran, as well as serve as a chair and discussant for other panels related to his scholarship.

Stay tuned for updates and follow Dr. Sheehan on Twitter @ProfSheehan

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Sheehan to Speak at International Studies Association Conferences in 2014 & 2015

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Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan has been invited to speak at several international meetings organized by the International Studies Association in 2014 and 2015. In addition to delivering papers, Dr. Sheehan has also been asked to serve as a chair and discussant for panels on a range of topics related to his research. Panel I / Panel II / Panel III

2015 International Studies Association 56th Annual Convention
Global IR & Regional Worlds: A New Agenda for Int’l Studies
New Orleans, Louisiana / #PDF
February 18th – 21st, 2015

  • International Studies Association’s 56th Annual Convention, Global IR and Regional Worlds: A New Agenda for International Studies. “What is “Regime Change from Within?” Unpacking the Concept in the Context of Iran.” At Panel on “Vying for regional supremacy in the Middle East: Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey,” New Orleans, Louisiana. February 18-21, 2015.
  • Chair, International Studies Association’s 56th Annual Convention, Global IR and Regional Worlds: A New Agenda for International Studies. At Panel on “Networks, violence and non-state actors,” New Orleans, Louisiana. February 18-21, 2015.
  • Discussant, International Studies Association’s 56th Annual Convention, Global IR and Regional Worlds: A New Agenda for International Studies. At Panel on “Effective Counterterrorism Strategies: Causes, Connections, and Innovations,” New Orleans, Louisiana. February 18-21, 2015.

2014 International Studies Association Northeast Annual Conference
Concept & Conceptualization in International Relations
Baltimore, Maryland / #PDF
November 7th – 8th, 2014

  • International Studies Association (Northeast Regional Meeting), At Panel on Conflict and Healing. “Untangling the Concept of Regime Change from Within,” Baltimore, MD, November 7-8, 2014.
  • Chair/ Discussant, International Studies Association (Northeast Regional Meeting), At Panel on Terrorism, September 15, 2014, Baltimore, MD, November 7-8, 2014.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

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