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Annie Tracy Samuel

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Annie Tracy Samuel

Associate, International Security Program




Annie Tracy Samuel is an associate in the Belfer Center's International Security Program, a Ph.D. candidate in history at Tel Aviv University (TAU), and a junior research fellow at TAU's Center for Iranian Studies. Her doctoral dissertation examines the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Iran-Iraq War and analyzes how the Guards have documented the war and their roles in the conflict. Her research interests include Iranian security and foreign policy, civil-military relations, the role of Islam in military and foreign policy, and U.S. policy in the Middle East. She has published several articles on those subjects and has presented her work at the 2011 Gulf Studies Conference at the University of Exeter. Ms. Tracy Samuel earned an M.A., magna cum laude, in Middle Eastern history from TAU in 2008 and a B.A. in history and political science from Columbia University in 2006. Her undergraduate and master's theses explored U.S. policy in the Middle East after World War I. She has working proficiency in Farsi and Hebrew.



By Date



Wikimedia Commons

December 20, 2013

"Revolutionary Guard is Cautiously Open to Nuclear Deal"

Op-Ed, Iran Matters

By Annie Tracy Samuel, Associate, International Security Program

"The IRGC's economic role also plays a part in explaining the organization's reactions to the nuclear deal. The IRGC is sustained not only or primarily by ideology, but by its economic and military interests, which have forced the Revolutionary Guards to balance ideology with pragmatism as those interests dictate. Though they will not tolerate aspersions on their military might, the Guards are not amateurs and are not ignorant of their military weakness relative to the United States."



Winter 2013-14

"Tehran Via Tel Aviv: Annie Tracy Samuel's Academic Journey"

Newsletter Article, Belfer Center Newsletter

By Ramiro Gonzalez Lorca and Annie Tracy Samuel, Associate, International Security Program

Research Fellow Annie Tracy Samuel's passion for the Middle East was born from a love of history. As a history major at Columbia, her coursework stoked a particular curiosity for the region. "Learning about the breakup of these multi-national, multi-ethnic empires that was going on during World War I got me very interested in other parts of the world," she said, "and particularly the period following the First World War in the Middle East." This nascent interest in the region steered her academic journey in new directions, leading to her expertise in the history and politics of the Middle East and Iran, and a fellowship with the Belfer Center.



Wikimedia Commons

October 2013

"Viewpoint Iran: The Past and Present of the U.S.-Iran Standoff"

Journal Article, Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective, issue 1, volume 7

By Annie Tracy Samuel, Associate, International Security Program

"While Americans understand relations with Iran in terms of its nuclear program and incendiary anti-Israel homilies, Iranians see the relationship as part of a long and troubling history of foreign intervention and exploitation that reaches back into the nineteenth century. Iranian leaders argue that if interactions between Iran and the United States are to improve, this history will have to be addressed and rectified."



AP Photo

August 4, 2012

"Attacking Iran: Lessons from the Iran-Iraq War — Part 2"

Op-Ed, Fair Observer

By Annie Tracy Samuel, Associate, International Security Program

"Like the 1980 Iraqi invasion, an attack will be viewed in Iran as part of a pattern of Western subversion and aggression that links together British and Russian economic exploitation, occupation during World War II, the coup that overthrew Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq in 1953, and years of support for the Shah's repressive regime. For those in Iran who question the standard narrative of concerted and constant Western aggression, an attack on Iranian territory will dispel any doubt and engender the next generations of Iranians who subscribe to that view."



AP Photo

July 28, 2012

"Attacking Iran: Lessons from the Iran-Iraq War — Part 1"

Op-Ed, Fair Observer

By Annie Tracy Samuel, Associate, International Security Program

"While the regime may increase its strength in the wake of an attack, it may also be able to capitalize on an attack to eliminate its internal enemies. That is precisely what happened following the 1980 Iraqi invasion. Ayatollah Khomeini and his allies used the war to strengthen their control over the state along the war-making state-making nexus, following the pattern of revolutionary elites in other countries. Their main rival for power within the Islamic Republic was the secular leaning constituency led by President Abolhassan Banisadr, who had tried to gain the support of the regular armed forces and to steer the war effort in his role as commander in chief. To minimize Banisadr's power, Khomeini sent his own representatives to oversee the armed forces, which eroded their support for the president, and built up a competing powerbase in the IRGC."



AP Photo

June 27, 2012

"The Syrian Uprising: The View from Tehran"

Journal Article, Tel Aviv Notes, issue 12, volume 6

By Annie Tracy Samuel, Associate, International Security Program

"Though the inconsistency of Iranian support for popular protest everywhere but Syria (and Iran itself) is apparent, it is hardly remarkable. Throughout the last 18 months of tumultuous events in the region, governments have struggled to calibrate their interests and align them with the values and beliefs used to justify their actions."



May 2012

"Perceptions and Narratives of Security: The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Iran-Iraq War"

Discussion Paper

By Annie Tracy Samuel, Associate, International Security Program

This paper explores the importance of the Iran-Iraq War for the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) by analyzing how the Guards have used the war to present their positions on Iran's national security.



AP Photo

March 28, 2012

"Why Negotiating with Iran is Israel's Best Strategy"

Op-Ed, GlobalPost

By Annie Tracy Samuel, Associate, International Security Program

"...[S]anctions and threats are strengthening the power of Iranian hardliners and the Revolutionary Guards, the forces that present the gravest danger to Israel. A policy that is centered on pressure will increase the likelihood that Iran will decide it needs a nuclear weapon and that it cannot reduce its enmity toward Israel and the United States. Such a policy will likely make Israel less secure."



AP Photo

February 21, 2012

"Ask the Experts: What Would Iran Do With a Bomb?"

Op-Ed, Politics, Power, and Preventive Action, A Council on Foreign Relations Blog

By Micah Zenko, Former Research Assistant to Graham Allison, 2003–2006; Former Research Associate, Project on Managing The Atom, 2006–2008, Kyle Beardsley, Sarah Kreps, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2007–2008, Matthew Kroenig, Former Research Fellow, Project on Managing the Atom/International Security Program, 2007–2008, Annie Tracy Samuel, Associate, International Security Program and Todd Sechser, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2004–2006

"Iran's leaders, like those in other states, want to remain in power.  They want the regime in which they have invested and which serves their interests to endure.  Foreign policy, in addition to safeguarding Iran's borders and national integrity, is a means for safeguarding the regime.  Possession of a nuclear weapon will likely make Iran more impervious to attack and may make Iran bolder in its support for armed groups.  However, possessing a nuclear weapon will is not likely to alter Iran's paramount foreign policy goals of national and regime security."



December 2011

"Attacking Iran: Lessons from the Iran-Iraq War"

Policy Brief

By Annie Tracy Samuel, Associate, International Security Program

This policy brief seeks to contribute to and inform the debate concerning a possible attack by the United States and/or Israel on Iranian nuclear and military facilities. The presumed aim of such an attack would be to weaken the Islamic Republic, particularly by hindering its ability to build a nuclear weapon. However, the history of the Iraqi invasion of Iran in September 1980 calls into question the contention that an attack will weaken the regime in Tehran. This policy brief examines Iran's reactions to the Iraqi invasion in order to shed light on Iran's possible reactions to a U.S. or Israeli attack.



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