Discuss the policy purpose of Iran-Contra Affair
Paper details: Was the policy purpose of the case study (below) a critical factor for its success or failure?
The “Iran-Contra Affair” led to significant tightening of policies regarding covert actions. In essence, Iran Contra was not one distinct operation, but a series of actions attempting to free American hostages from their Lebanese Hezbollah captors. Aside from legal issues with the operation, it is that set of contiguous actions that reveals significant flaws in both planning and execution. The operation began as a shipment of arms to a group of Iranians, with the Israelis as intermediaries, in the hope that the Iranians would influence Hezbollah, a Shia Islamist group in Lebanon with strong ties to Iran, who were holding six U.S. citizens as hostages. Essentially, this was an arms for hostages deal, although initially it had overtones of attempting to improve relations with Iran. The proceeds from the arms deal would allow the Intelligence Community to provide funding for the contras in Nicaragua, a group opposing the anti-Sandinista regime.
An important aspect of this operation was the role of President Reagan. There are different schools of thought as to whether he knew about the arms transfer or the proceeds being diverted to the Sandinistas, which was an effort to attempt to bypass Congressional restrictions on this aid.
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