Middle East & North Africa

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US Defense Department

Blog Post - Iran Matters

Lessons for the U.S. from Israel’s Iran Experience

| Aug. 21, 2017

In its attempts to deter North Korea from developing the capability to credibly threaten the continental United States with a nuclear weapon, Washington now finds itself in a crueler version of the strategic dilemma Israel faced in 2011 amid what it saw—or at least presented—as a closing operational window of opportunity to deal with Iran’s nuclear program. In his piece for Iran Matters, Daniel Sobelman argues that the basic structure of the crisis between the United States and North Korea is analogous to the challenge Israel faced when trying to dissuade or stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Donald Trump

AP

Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy

Things Don't End Well for Madmen

| Aug. 16, 2017

"As a bargaining technique, the madman theory has a certain logical coherence to it....is there any evidence that this approach actually works in the real world of international diplomacy? If the madman theory were a useful guide to statecraft, then past world leaders with a well-deserved reputation for unpredictability, impulsiveness, irascibility, violence, and bizarre behavior should have been extremely successful at getting what they want. Is that in fact the case? What does the historical record show?"

mosul

AP

Magazine Article - New Scientist

Anatomy of Terror: What Makes Normal People Become Extremists?

    Author:
  • Peter Byrne
| Aug. 16, 2017

"Mironova trained as a mathematician, game theorist and behavioural economist....she is one of few researchers to venture directly into combat zones to examine the roots of jihadist terror. Her work has been funded variously by the US National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), George Soros's Open Society Foundations, the United Nations and the World Bank."

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson escorts Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani to the Treaty Room of the State Department in Washington, Wednesday, July 26, 2017. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

Qatar Is Playing a Dangerous Game of Political Chicken

| Aug. 06, 2017

Last month a Saudi-led group of nations that includes Egypt, UAE and Bahrain modified the thirteen demands it had made on Qatar over a month ago and instead insisted on six principles. These principles are an attempt to convince the Qataris to combat extremism and terror, to prevent the expression of incitement to violence, to stop interfering in the internal affairs of other states, and to refrain from supporting illegal entities, among other things. And while moving from making demands to urging an acceptance of principles is being spoken of as a reconciliatory gesture on the part of the anti-Qatar bloc, the central contentious issue remains: Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood. The Saudi coalition knows what the experiences of numerous Muslim governments have long proven: the Muslim Brotherhood is an oppositionist movement that does not represent a sustainable form of governance, offers little in the way of social or economic programs, and some of its members have been linked to political violence and jihadist terror.

Donald Trump

AP

Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy

The Top Five Foreign-Policy Blunders Trump Hasn't Made Yet

| Aug. 04, 2017

"As bad as Trump's first six months have been, there are a number of major foreign-policy blunders he hasn’t made yet and for which we should therefore be grateful. Unfortunately, there are also signs he's contemplating several of them, and plunging ahead may look more tempting as his political fortunes erode. The more desperate he gets, the more he may be inclined to divert attention from his incompetence here at home by stirring up trouble somewhere else."

Video - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Ban Ki-moon on Office Hours

| Aug. 01, 2017

Ban Ki-moon, the 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations (2007–2016), takes a moment to talk with Aroop Mukharji (@aroopmukharji) about Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, how to become UN Secretary-General, and his favorite meals in New England.

Audio - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Ban Ki-moon on Office Hours

| Aug. 01, 2017

Ban Ki-moon, the 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations (2007–2016), takes a moment to talk with Aroop Mukharji (@aroopmukharji) about Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, how to become UN Secretary-General, and his favorite meals in New England.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gestures as he responds to a reporter's question during a meeting with Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani at the State Department in Washington, Wednesday, July 26, 2017. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Analysis & Opinions - Wall Street Journal

Tillerson Can End the Qatar Standoff

| Aug. 01, 2017

"Defeating Islamic State is the Trump administration’s most important national-security priority. But removing ISIS from Mosul and Raqqa may end up meaning little absent the ability to secure, reconstruct and govern these and other cities. Preventing a dangerous power vacuum from forming in areas liberated from ISIS control requires the urgent involvement of unified Sunni Arab states."