42 Items

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Analysis & Opinions - The Conversation

Iran Nuclear Deal: How to Ensure Compliance?

| February 3, 2016

In this op-ed for The Conversation, Kalman Robertson writes that Iran agreed never to develop nuclear weapons when it signed the NPT in 1968. There's no ironclad method to prevent Iran from breaking its promise and developing nuclear weapons, but this new agreement builds in a number of strong protections. In conjunction with U.S. and allied intelligence capabilities, these rules mean even a sophisticated and carefully executed secret plan would carry a high risk of detection.

The agricultural fields in active use (dark green) or fallow (brown to tan), are approximately 1 km in diameter. Much of the Saudi Arabia's Wadi As-Sirhan Basin shown here is sandy (light tan to brown surfaces).

Wikimedia CC 2.0

Journal Article - Sustainable Production and Consumption

Food Security Amidst Water Scarcity: Insights on Sustainable Food Production from Saudi Arabia

Water, energy, and food security are of critical concern as rising population growth and rapid urbanization place greater pressure on our natural resources. This study evaluates the growing internationalization of food production in water-scarce countries using the case of Saudi Arabia as a microcosm to illustrate the tradeoffs in resource consumption associated with crop selection and farming practices.

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

Sanctions Against Iran: A Guide to Targets, Terms, and Timetables

| June 2015

To assist Members of Congress and observers in analyzing these issues and judging a potential comprehensive agreement, the Belfer Center prepared this brief to outline the key facets of sanctions against Iran. Written as an addendum to our April policy brief, ‘Decoding the Iran Nuclear Deal,’ this report is driven by the policy debate’s leading questions.

Analysis & Opinions - The Huffington Post

Is Cybersecurity Like Arms Control?

| May 18, 2015

"In little more than a generation, the Internet has become the substrate of the global economy and governance worldwide. Several billion more human users will be added in the next decade, as will tens of billions of devices, ranging from thermostats to industrial control systems (the 'Internet of Things'). All of this burgeoning interdependence implies vulnerabilities that governments and non-governmental actors can exploit. At the same time, we are only beginning to come to terms with the national-security implications of this. Strategic studies of the cyber domain resemble nuclear strategy in the 1950s: analysts are still not clear about the meaning of offense, defense, deterrence, escalation, norms, and arms control."

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

Decoding the Iran Nuclear Deal

| April 2015

On April 2, 2015, the E.U. (speaking on behalf of the P5+1 countries) and Iran announced agreement on “key parameters” for a comprehensive agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. The E.U.-Iran Joint Statement is buttressed by unilateral facts sheets issued by the U.S. and Iran, which provide further details of the framework accord. Negotiators now turn to translating this framework accord into a final comprehensive agreement by June 30, 2015. Members of Congress and their staffs, as well as informed citizens, are now focusing on the Iranian challenge and assessing the framework accord. The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School has prepared this Policy Brief summarizing key facts, core concepts, and major arguments for and against the current deal aimed at stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons. The purpose of this Policy Brief is not to advocate support for or opposition to the tentative deal that has been negotiated, but rather to provide an objective, nonpartisan summary to inform Members and others in coming to their own conclusions. The team of experts who prepared this report includes Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and internationals, who have many disagreements among themselves but who agree that this Brief presents the essentials objectively.

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

How Iran Became the Middle East's Moderate Force

| March 20, 2015

"There is only one country in the Middle East that is truly in alliance with the United States in its fight against the ISIS and that is Iran. The military presence of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps' (IRGC) elite forces in defense of the territorial integrity and political stability of Iraq has already expanded from the Kurdish city of Erbil to the multiethnic capital city of Baghdad."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry disembarks from his plane after traveling from Kabul, Afghanistan, to Vienna, Austria, on July 13, 2014 for allied talks with Iran about its nuclear program.

State Dept.

Journal Article - Washington Quarterly

The Fool's Errand for a Perfect Deal with Iran

| Fall 2014

"The P5+1 should set aside the effort to craft an all-at-once comprehensive bargain and instead adopt a strategy of negotiating incremental agreements. An incremental approach has a number of advantages. The negotiators could focus on one sticking point at a time, without having to coordinate agreement on all of them at once. Negotiators could defer currently intractable issues, like enrichment capacity, until greater trust is built or new opportunities arise. Most importantly, the compromises already achieved under the JPA could be maintained and consolidated, independently of the ups and downs of ongoing negotiations."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry & P5+1 foreign ministers & Iranian FM Javad Zarif, center, listen as EU High Rep. Catherine Ashton speaks at UN HQ in Geneva, Switzerland, after negotiations about Iran's nuclear capabilities concluded, Nov. 24, 2013.

State Dept Photo

Analysis & Opinions - Middle East Report Online

Learning from the Past in the Iranian Nuclear Dispute

| April 16, 2014

The controversy over the Iranian nuclear program is in many ways a product of the US-Iranian conflict. The United States and Iran are in the grip of mutual negative perceptions that, in turn, have been reinforced by the escalatory dynamics of the nuclear dispute. After years of seeming diplomatic deadlock, these dynamics suddenly changed for the better in the autumn of 2013. The positive trends culminated in November, when Iran agreed with the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany, the so-called P5+1, on a confidence-building deal known as the Joint Plan of Action (JPA). Given the record of diplomatic non-achievement, the deal is a historic development.

Analysis & Opinions - Nuclear Security Matters

Beyond the Summits: The Way Forward for Nuclear Security in the Middle East

| April 11, 2014

"This short piece provides a number of recommendations for countries in the region to strengthen nuclear security through a regional process, independent of a global one. In addition to enhancing nuclear security and ensuring that nuclear materials and weapons do not fall into the hands of terrorists, our approach would also help establish confidence and security-building measures in a region that lacks both security and confidence."

A water tank truck in Jordan, April 1, 2010. Future water availability in arid regions may be assessed by considering key projects that have been identified or planned by regional experts, such as desalination plants.

Xavi Talleda Photo CC

Paper - Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Assessing Future Water Availability in Arid Regions Using Composition and Salience of Decision Criteria

| March 2014

Water resources development options are usually selected on a least-cost basis. While economic considerations are dominant in choosing projects, there are also a mix of other factors including social demands, political expediency, social equity, and environmental considerations that impact final decisions and development of water supply systems. Understanding local priorities in water resource management decisions can allow for forming expectations of future regional water availability. In this research, the authors propose that future water availability in arid regions may be assessed by considering key projects that have been identified or planned by regional experts.