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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

Posted in analysis, ankara, arak, ashraf, assad, baghdad, ballistic missiles, bioterrorism, bipartisan, bloomberg, BloombergTV, brussels, camp liberty, chemical weapons, CIA, civil unrest, clinton, college of public affairs, congress, counterterrorism, covert, crimes against humanity, delisting, democracy, deterrence, diplomacy, dissident, european union, farsi, fordow, foreign policy, foreign policy analysis, freedom, fundamentalism, geneva, global, haider al-abadi, hostages, human rights, human security, IAEA, intelligence, international relations, international security studies, interview, iran, iraq, irgc, ISIS, israel, kerry, killing, kurd, maliki, media, MEK, metu, MI6, middle east, military, mossad, natanz, NCRI, negotiation, netanyahu, nuclear, obama, P5+1, paris, peace, PMOI, policy, politics, preemptive, protest, putin, qum, quoted, rajavi, regime change, republican, research, rouhani, sanctions, scholarly, sectarian conflict, security studies, senate, senate foreign relations committee, sheehan, shiite, state department, strike, sunni, syria, tanter, teaching, tehran, terror tagging, terrorism, the hill, threat, turkey, u.s. foundation for liberty, ukraine, uncategorized, university of baltimore, unrest, war, weapons, white house, wocmes, zarif with tags , , , , , on August 25, 2014 by Professor Sheehan

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 Presenting at 2014 World Congress of Middle Eastern Studies

Posted in analysis, ankara, arak, ashraf, assad, baghdad, ballistic missiles, brussels, chemical weapons, CIA, clinton, college of public affairs, conflict resolution, congress, courses, covert, crimes against humanity, debate, delisting, democracy, digest of middle east studies, diplomacy, dissident, DOMES, education, european union, evidence-based, fordow, foreign policy, foreign policy analysis, global, hostages, human rights, human security, IAEA, intelligence, international relations, international security studies, iran, iraq, kerry, maliki, media, MEK, metu, MI6, middle east, middle east dialogue, military, mossad, natanz, NCRI, negotiation, nuclear, obama, P5+1, paris, PMOI, policy, policy studies organization, politics, protest, qum, rajavi, regime change, research, rhetoric, sanctions, scholarly, security studies, sheehan, social science, state department, syria, tanter, tehran, terror tagging, terrorism, threat, turkey, united kingdom, university of baltimore, unrest, war, weapons, wocmes, zarif on June 19, 2014 by Professor Sheehan

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2014 World Congress of Middle East Studies / Strategies for Change in the Middle East: Clarifying the Contested Concept of Regime Change from Within / Panel on Democracy and Reform in Iran from a Historical Perspective / August 18-22, 2014 / Middle East Technical University (METU)

Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan has been invited to Ankara, Turkey to present at the 2014 World Congress of Middle East Studies (WOCMES) between August 18-22, 2014. The symposium will be held at Middle East Technical University (METU), one of Turkey’s leading universities. Dr. Sheehan is scheduled to present a paper titled Strategies for Change in the Middle East: Clarifying the Contested Concept of Regime Change from Within.

Presentation Abstract: 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.

Stay tuned for two forthcoming articles by Dr. Sheehan:

SHEEHAN: What is “Regime Change from Within?” Unpacking the Concept in the Context of Iran | Digest of Middle East Studies | Fall 2014

SHEEHAN: Balancing Ends, Ways, and Means: The Case for Reviving Support for “Regime Change from Within” in Iran | Under Review

More on Dr. Sheehan’s research can be found at the below links.

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The Opposition on the Eve of the Iranian Elections – Commentary

Posted in analysis, CIA, congress, counterterrorism, covert, databases, delisting, democracy, democrat, deterrence, diplomacy, dissident, european union, evidence-based, foreign policy, global, human rights, intelligence, international relations, iran, iran policy committee, iraq, israel, MEK, MI6, middle east, military, mossad, NCRI, negotiation, nuclear, obama, paris, PMOI, policy, politics, preemptive, presidential election, protest, rajavi, regime change, republican, research, sanctions, scholarly, sheehan, state department, strike, tanter, terrorism, threat, u.s. foundation for liberty, unrest, war on June 13, 2013 by Professor Sheehan

SHEEHAN & TANTER: The Opposition on the Eve of the Iranian Elections – Commentary

Professors Ivan Sascha Sheehan and Raymond Tanter at United Press International on the need for the U.S. officials to make an evidence-based assessment of the Iranian regime and their opposition in the wake of the tightly controlled presidential elections on June 14.

Challenging the regime by acknowledging the facts is the first step toward providing ordinary Iranians what they will be denied at the ballot box on Friday: An opportunity to exercise self determination armed with credible information.

–Sheehan & Tanter

Tanter Interviewed on Obama Visit to Israel; Iranian Nuclear Threat

Posted in analysis, counterterrorism, covert, delisting, democracy, diplomacy, dissident, european union, foreign policy, global, haaretz, intelligence, international relations, iran, iran policy committee, israel, media, MEK, middle east, military, NCRI, negotiation, nuclear, obama, paris, peace, PMOI, policy, politics, preemptive, rajavi, regime change, sanctions, sheehan, state department, strike, tanter, terrorism, threat, war on March 21, 2013 by Professor Sheehan

Professor Raymond Tanter, former Senior Member of the National Security Council, addresses President Obama’s visit to Israel, the Iranian nuclear threat, and the potential for regime in Tehran from within on France24 in Paris – March 20, 2013.

Read recent commentaries by Drs. Ivan Sascha Sheehan and Raymond Tanter @:

Time to ‘Man Up’ on Iran – The Jerusalem Post – March 4, 2013

Clinton’s Diplomatic Missile Launched at Tehran – The Jerusalem Post – September 3, 2012

Now the Cards are on the Table – Haaretz – September 28, 2012

Time to ‘Man Up’ on Iran – The Jerusalem Post

Posted in analysis, CIA, counterterrorism, covert, delisting, democracy, deterrence, diplomacy, dissident, european union, foreign policy, global, human rights, intelligence, international relations, iran, iran policy committee, iraq, israel, MEK, MI6, middle east, military, mossad, NCRI, negotiation, nuclear, PMOI, policy, politics, preemptive, protest, rajavi, regime change, sanctions, sheehan, tanter, terrorism, threat, war on March 8, 2013 by Professor Sheehan

Time to ‘Man Up’ on Iran - The Jerusalem Post - OpinionTANTER & SHEEHAN: Time to ‘Man Up’ on Iran – The Jerusalem Post

Professors Raymond Tanter and Ivan Sascha Sheehan in The Jerusalem Post on the need for the pro-Israel community to act on behalf of Iranian dissidents under fire in Iraq.

CLICK HERE FOR ORIGINAL ARTICLE FROM THE JERUSALEM POST

By Raymond Tanter, Ivan Sascha Sheehan
March 4, 2013

“Man up” on Iran? The phrase appears to suggest preparations for military action. But being tough on Iran means acting to facilitate regime change from within. Tehran pays more attention to domestic threats than international pressures, including sanctions or threats of military action.

There is broad consensus that the Iranian regime is a threat to Israel and the United States. Economic sanctions and threats of military action against Iran’s nuclear program are assumed to be the only tools with which to confront Tehran. But one of the lessons of the Arab revolts against dictatorial regimes is the need to pay attention to opposition groups before radical Islamists seize control during periods of domestic unrest. This lesson was also manifest in the 1979 Iranian Revolution when a secular coalition, including the Mojahedin (now more commonly referred to as Mujahedeen-e-Khalq or MEK), was able to oust the Shah but lacked a plan to stave off Islamists who now run the Islamic Republic of Iran.

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