The overarching question imparting urgency to this exploration is: Can U.S.-Russian contention in cyberspace cause the two nuclear superpowers to stumble into war? In considering this question we were constantly reminded of recent comments by a prominent U.S. arms control expert: At least as dangerous as the risk of an actual cyberattack, he observed, is cyber operations’ “blurring of the line between peace and war.” Or, as Nye wrote, “in the cyber realm, the difference between a weapon and a non-weapon may come down to a single line of code, or simply the intent of a computer program’s user.”
Thoraya El-Rayyes is a scholar of Middle East politics interested in the study of political economy, authoritarianism and contentious politics. She holds a BSc in Psychology from University College London, an MSc in Social Policy and Planning from the London School of Economics and an MSc in Sociology from the University of Oxford. She is a PhD Candidate in Political Science at the London School of Economics.
Before embarking on an academic career, El-Rayyes spent nine years as a practitioner and policy analyst working on labour and employment issues across the Middle East. She is also an award-winning literary translator who specializes in bringing political literature from around the Arab region into English. Ms. El-Rayyes was a predoctoral research fellow with the Middle East Initiative at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs for the 2020-2021 academic year.Last Updated: Jul 14, 2021, 3:50pm