Beginning in 2010, the entire Arab world was rocked by unprecedented popular protests and uprisings that upended the region’s political equilibrium. Even though the rest of the Arab world has remained largely politically stagnant in the decade since the original uprisings, the Arab Spring protests still represent a turning point for democratic ideals in the Middle East.
Many countries link their foreign policy and military strategy, though few are as interwoven as Iran’s. Informed by their fatalistic worldview and under constant threat from Western adversaries, their unique blend of foreign and military policy has successfully guarded against aggression, prevented regime change, and built powerful regional partnerships. Often misconstrued as antagonistic power plays, Iranian sabre rattling instead seeks to legitimize its deterrent capabilities and highlight Western weaknesses, especially political and diplomatic constraints.