For eight consecutive years, the International Institute for Iranian Studies has published its prominent Annual Strategic Report (ASR), offering its esteemed readership a comprehensive and in-depth analysis of world dynamics, whether in the political, military, security or economic spheres. With each year, Rasanah has expanded its scope of discussion, covering new regions — trying to keep its readers up-to-date with the most prominent developments in the world, providing them with strategic assessments and forecasts that uncover the roots of crises and potential future outcomes. Throughout the eight years, Rasanah’s research team has provided reliable forecasts that have very often proven true. As for 2023, which witnessed unexpected conflicts, whether in the West or East, Rasanah’s research team categorized their annual assessment of the global landscape into three main sections: World in Flux: Global Dynamics, Strategic Shifts in Saudi Policy and Iran Overview (Rasanah’s longstanding field of expertise)
The first section, “World in Flux,” discusses the undergoing strategic transformations impacting political, economic, military, security, stability, and ideological aspects across the world. These changes are closely tied to heightened competition among major powers and the transitional phase of the international system. The intensification of strategic competition among major powers has led to conflicts spreading to various regional environments. Beyond the ongoing conflict in Ukraine since 2022, tensions have risen in Africa and the Middle East, with the latter facing uncertainty post-Operation Al-Aqsa Flood. This operation disrupted the approach toward de-escalation and stability, in which regional powers had made progress. The competition between great powers has persisted also in Central Asia and Latin America. Consequently, various global transformations and strategic issues are observable, carrying implications for both the short and long term. Therefore, this segment of the ASR concentrates on key transformations and issues. It delves into trends in the Russia-Ukraine war and their implications for the West and Russia, the competition between the United States and China and the strategic balance in East Asia, global economic interactions and transformations, security and competition in non-traditional fields, the clash of ideologies, the state of fundamentalist movements and extremist groups worldwide, and strategic interactions in regional spheres.
The report also examines the “Strategic Shifts in Saudi Policy.” The year 2023 stands out as exceptional in Saudi Arabia’s trajectory, with the evident manifestation of results from Vision 2030 at both the internal and external levels. Notably, the kingdom is undergoing significant internal modernization, acting as a pivotal force to secure its rightful position regionally and internationally. This segment of the ASR focuses on pivotal transformations within Saudi Arabia, encompassing modernization and good governance policies under Vision 2030, the kingdom’s role as a peacemaker to foster regional stability, economic diversification in the post-oil era, and transformations in the national defense strategy.
Finally, “Iran Overview” provides a comprehensive analysis of developments related to Iran at home and abroad. Throughout 2023, significant events unfolded in the Iranian arena, impacting various internal facets — political, economic and social. Iran adopted diverse policies and approaches in its Arab spheres of influence, including Iraq and Lebanon, with it encountering challenges to its influence in Syria. Notably, in Yemen, Iran’s stance on peace initiatives lacked clarity. The report also delves into the evolving relations between Iran and regional/international powers, reflecting numerous developments that shaped the overall Iranian situation. It also examines the performance of the Raisi government and the stances of political forces pre-election, internal and external economic policies and their impact on living conditions, the positions of political forces in Iran on relations with Saudi Arabia following the Beijing agreement, the escalation of the hijab crisis and its implications for the ruling establishment’s legitimacy in Iran. Additionally, the ASR covers Iran’s perspective on the International Peace Initiative in Yemen, Iran’s novel approach to bolstering its influence in Iraq, challenges to Iran’s influence in Syria, Iran’s strategy in addressing the Lebanese crisis, the dynamics of US-Iran relations marked by détente and complexity, European pressures on Iran, Iranian responses to transformations in Central Asia and the Caucasus, Iran’s relations with Pakistan, the deteriorating ties between Iran and the Taliban, and the motives behind Iran’s engagement with countries in South America and Africa.
We are delighted to announce that at Rasanah, we are dedicated to ensuring that knowledge is accessible to all readers. In keeping with this mission, the electronic version of ASR 2023-2024 can now be downloaded from our institute’s website Furthermore, printed copies are also available for purchase at book fairs we attend or through our trusted distributors. Our research team members are pleased to receive your inquiries and comments about our latest publications at our official communication portal https://rasanah-iiis.org/english/contact-us/