Archive for the hostages Category

Dr. Sheehan Serves as Academic Observer at 2016 Conference for Democracy in Iran

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In July 2016, Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan  Associate Professor of Public and International Affairs – traveled to Paris as part of a distinguished research delegation examining the Iranian opposition on the first anniversary of the conclusion of negotiations that resulted in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran.

A guest of the organizing committee, Dr. Sheehan met with a series of bipartisan U.S. officials in Paris to discuss U.S.-Iran policy and his research on regime change. He also chaired a panel featuring former U.S. Attorney General Judge Michael Mukasey. While in Europe, Sheehan met with a recently released American hostage detained at Iran’s notorious Evin Prison and examined the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran through a series of interviews with Iranian dissidents.

The annual conference – which featured crowds estimated at more than 100,000 – is the largest annual gathering of the democratic Iranian opposition in exile. The July event featured remarks by leaders from more than fifty countries, a bipartisan delegation of senior U.S. officials, and prominent academics from around the world. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran, democracy, human rights, the rule of law, and the deteriorating situation in neighboring Syria and Iraq were discussed.

Dignitaries in attendance included former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich; former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge; former U.S. Attorney General Judge Michael Mukasey; and former National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush, Frances Townsend, among many others.

Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, a former Director of the Saudi General Intelligence Directorate, Saudi Arabia’s Intelligence Agency, pledged his commitment to regime change from within via the Iranian resistance. Clare M. Lopez, Vice President for Research and Analysis at the Center for Security Policy, reflected on the significance of the new alliance between the former Saudi Ambassador to the U.S., a member of the House of Saud, and the principal Iranian opposition:

Although not openly stated by bin Faisal, the new NCRI-Riyadh alliance may be expected to involve funding, intelligence sharing, and possible collaboration in operations aimed at the shared goal of overthrowing the current Tehran regime.

Dr. Sheehan has written and spoken extensively on the concept of regime change from within in the context of Iran in both scholarly and news outlets and for the U.S. policy community. 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 on Twitter @ProfSheehan or link to his research profiles.

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Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan | U.S. House of Representatives | 5 Nov 2015

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On November 5, 2015, Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan, Associate Professor of Public and International Affairs, spoke in the U.S. Congress alongside prominent U.S. officials. Excerpts from Sheehan’s remarks are available above and additional details are available here. See also recent media appearances here.

Dr. 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 on Twitter @ProfSheehan or link to his research profiles.

Social Media: @ProfSheehan / @PublicAffairsUB / #Ubalt

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SHEEHAN: An Opportunity to Focus on Human Rights in Iran | Al Jazeera | Op-Ed

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SHEEHAN: An Opportunity to Focus on Human Rights in Iran | Al Jazeera | Op-Ed | 28 Sept 2015 | Print #PDF

As the United Nations General Assembly gets underway, Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan, Associate Professor of Public and International Affairs, weighs in at Al Jazeera on the human rights situation in Iran and the unique opportunity before world leaders.

Excerpts:

“The Iranian regime continues to execute its citizens at a higher rate than any U.N. member state. In fact the regime boasts the highest rate of executions per capita in the world, surpassing even China. More than two thousand have been executed on President Hassan Rouhani’s watch in just two years, more than in any similar period in the past twenty-five years.

Robert Kagan of the Brookings Institution makes the case that regime change in Teheran is the “best nonproliferation policy.” But regime change from within may also be the best strategy to uphold human rights.

U.S. President Barack Obama makes a mistake by treating Tehran as a fixture of the Middle East landscape but other U.S. officials need not make the same mistake. International law does not simply guarantee sovereignty. It upholds human rights. States are instruments of and by the people, not the other way around.”

Dr. 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 on Twitter @ProfSheehan or link to his research profiles.

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Sheehan Participates in Press Conference on Iran Nuclear Accord

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PRESS CONFERENCE | Iran: Nuclear Ambitions, The Agreement, Rights Violations: Prospects & Challenges | July 21, 2015 |

Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan, Associate Professor of Public and International Affairs at the University of Baltimore, participated in a live online press briefing with journalists from around the world on July 21, 2015. The briefing featured remarks from former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission Kenneth Blackwell and The Honorable Linda Chavez, whose distinguished record of public service includes having served in the White House under Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush. The speakers addressed congressional oversight of the preliminary Iran nuclear accord announced by President Barack Obama in July 2015. Sanctions, state-sponsored terrorism, and human rights concerns were also addressed.

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.

#Update: Dr. Sheehan’s remarks on the Iran nuclear deal were featured in a prominent Arab newspaper on July 22. #PDF / I / II

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2015 Annual Conference for Democracy in Iran

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Louis Freeh, Tom Ridge, Ivan Sascha Sheehan, Frances Townsend, Michael Mukasey

In June 2015 Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan, Associate Professor of Public and International Affairs at the University of Baltimore, traveled to Paris as part of a distinguished research delegation examining the Iranian opposition in the context of the ongoing P5+1 nuclear negotiations with the Iranian regime.

A guest of the organizing committee, Dr. Sheehan met with a series of elected officials while at the meeting to discuss U.S.-Iran policy and his research on regime change.

The annual conference – which featured crowds estimated at 100,000 – is the largest annual gathering of the democratic Iranian opposition in exile. The June event featured remarks by leaders from more than fifty countries, a bipartisan delegation of U.S. policymakers, and prominent academics from around the world. The ongoing nuclear negotiations between the P5+1, democracy, human rights, the rule of law, and the deteriorating situation in neighboring Iraq were discussed.

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 on Twitter @ProfSheehan or link to his research profiles.

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Sheehan Joins Global Research Delegation at 2015 Conference for Democratic Change in Iran

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Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan, Associate Professor of Public and International Affairs at the University of Baltimore, has been invited to Paris as a guest of the Committee for the Convention of Democracy in Iran to join a delegation of researchers at the largest annual gathering of the democratic Iranian opposition on June 13, 2015. The event will feature remarks by leaders from more than fifty countries, a bipartisan delegation of U.S. policymakers, and distinguished academics from around the world. P5+1 nuclear negotiations, democracy, human rights, ISIS, and the Iranian regime’s interference in the sovereign affairs of Middle East countries will be examined.

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 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 Syracuse University National Security Studies Conference

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Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan has been invited to speak at a conference – The Global Threat: Emerging Issues in National Security – hosted by the prestigious Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University on February 27-28, 2015.

Dr. Sheehan is also scheduled to speak next week at the 2015 Annual Conference of the International Studies Association (ISA) in New Orleans and the week after at the 2015 Middle East Dialogue (MED) conference hosted by the Policy Studies Organization in Washington, D.C.

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

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SHEEHAN: What Is “Regime Change From Within?” Unpacking the Concept in the Context of Iran | Digest of Middle East Studies | Oct 14

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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

Digest of Middle East Studies (DOMES); Copyright © Wiley / Policy Studies Organization; Fall 2014; Vol. 23, Issue 2; Pgs. 385-403

Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan is published in the fall 2014 issue of the Digest of Middle East Studies, a peer-reviewed journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the Policy Studies Organization. Dr. Sheehan’s latest study — What Is “Regime Change From Within?” Unpacking the Concept in the Context of Iran — clarifies the contested concept of regime change from within via Tehran’s organized opposition and makes contributions to the concept’s formation to increase its policy relevance and classificatory significance.

Abstract: The use of the phrase “regime change from within” has surged in recent years in media, policy, and opposition discourse, especially in relation to the Islamic Republic of Iran. But what does “regime change from within” actually mean? Is it just a script to encourage the aspirations of a people, or can it be defined with more specificity? This article argues that to be of value as a concept and the basis for articulate policy, “regime change from within” needs to be better defined. To bring greater clarity to the term, the article tries to unpack the concept by disaggregating it into three analytically separable problem components: the “regime,” “change,” and “from within.” Drawing on the case of Iran, I argue that although most of the current debate around the concept is on the “from within” component, the definitional choices that need more discussion are the “regime” and “change” aspects of the phrase.

Excerpt | What Is “Regime Change From Within?” Unpacking the Concept in the Context of Iran | Digest of Middle East Studies | F.14 | Vol. 23, Issue 2 –

[The concept of] ‘regime change from within’ has been employed for an array of very disparate processes — as a holder for democracy promotion efforts from outside a country as well as indigenous efforts that exclude outside intervention, to highlight the need for radical change and more vaguely to call for continuous reform. But to be of value as a concept and the basis for articulate policy, a term needs to have some degree of specificity of meaning, some shared consensus. Otherwise, it just becomes a proverbial “you know it when you see it” concept that is difficult to distinguish from other types of political phenomena.

To address this gap and bring greater clarity to the concept, this article looks at some of the definitional choices that need to be addressed to come to a consensus on the meaning of “regime change from within.” Using the case of the Islamic Republic of Iran, I show how different decisions about what constitutes “regime change from within” could lead to very different conceptualizations in empirical cases…

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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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SHEEHAN: Iran is the Real Middle East Threat | The Hill | Commentary

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Press Release -- International Affairs Professor: U.S. Must Keep an Eye on Iran

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SHEEHAN: Iran is the Real Middle East Threat | The Hill | Commentary

While presenting at the World Congress of Middle East Studies in Turkey on August 19, Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan published an article in the congressional newspaper The Hill on Iraq, Iran, ISIS and the growing unrest on the Iraqi street. In the article, he questioned whether White House officials have a plan to counter the larger threat posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“…U.S. policy on Iran must ensure significant consequence for continued Iranian interference in Iraq. The failure to act against Assad by enforcing the red line in Syria or push back on Putin’s adventures in Ukraine diminished U.S. credibility and squandered valuable influence. But Congress can correct these missteps by insisting that the White House lean in on Iran by giving the ayatollahs a new problem to keep them busy.

Since Tehran fears internal threats more than external ones, U.S. legislators should embrace a policy of regime change from within via Iran’s organized opposition.

Obama’s declaration that there is no military solution to Iraq’s troubles and that a legitimate Iraqi government must be established is an accurate diagnosis insofar as it goes. But the intoxication resulting from a combination of U.S. impotence, Iranian interference, and Iraqi frustration will only lead to continued regional instability.

Solving the Iraq puzzle requires that U.S. officials double down on the real threat in the Middle East and increase the prospect of collapse in Tehran.” #PDF

You can learn more about Dr. Sheehan’s recent media appearances in a University of Baltimore press release.

Please also stay tuned for forthcoming publications in fall 2014 on topics related to regime change in Iran and suicide terrorism.

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Sheehan Interviewed on Bloomberg Television

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WATCH @Islamic State vs. Iran: Which Threat Is Bigger? / Bloomberg TV / August 13, 2014

University of Baltimore Professor Ivan Sascha Sheehan and the Heritage Foundation’s Steven Bucci discuss the threat posed by Islamic State in Iraq and Iran’s influence in the country live on Bloomberg Television on August 13, 2014.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s departure is a very positive development for Iraq and represents an opportunity for the creation of a more inclusive, truly representative government in Baghdad.

–Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan

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