408 Items

A large refugee camp on the Syrian side of the border with Turkey, near the town of Atma, in Syria’s Idlib province, April 19, 2020.

AP Photo/Ghaith Alsayed

Paper

Syria Redux: Preventing the Spread of Violent Extremism Through Weaponized Populations and Mobile Safehavens

| May 2020

The resurgence of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the next evolution of violent extremist ideology will undoubtedly flow from this region. Regional and global actors have protracted the conflict and stymied the peace process. This paper is not an exposé on the plight of Syrian refugees nor is a plea to rebuild Syria. Instead, this paper discusses the national security threat components of weaponized populations and mobile safe havens used by violent extremist organizations and offers policy recommendations to support a long-term strategy to reduce violence in the region, contain these new threats, and set conditions for reconciliation and peace.

What To Look For In Any Deal Between the U.S. and the Taliban

AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko

Analysis & Opinions - Bloomberg Opinion

What To Look For In Any Deal Between the U.S. and the Taliban

| Aug. 08, 2019

For many, like me, who worked on policy toward Afghanistan for years, recent leaks about an impending agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban bring mixed emotions. It is impossible to separate any deal from President Donald Trump’s persistent declarations that he wants to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan now. Such assertions weakened the hand of America’s negotiators and inevitably color any agreement – whatever its merits – with “America First” and the sense that the U.S. is cutting and running.  Nevertheless, if a deal materializes, it could represent the best opportunity in years to secure American interests and downsize U.S. military commitment in Afghanistan.

Former Diplomat Farah Pandith Speaks to PBS News Hour About Reducing Extremism

PBS News Hour

Analysis & Opinions - PBS NEWSHOUR

Why We Need to Think About Extremism Differently in Order to Reduce It

| Apr. 22, 2019

As Sri Lanka reels from a series of deadly Easter Sunday attacks, the problem of violent extremism enters the spotlight once again. How can the U.S. and the world anticipate and counter the threat of terrorism, which experts agree cannot be addressed by military means alone? Amna Nawaz talks to former diplomat Farah Pandith, whose new book “How We Win” outlines a strategy for keeping us safe.

Iran Syria missiles

Associated Press

Journal Article - International Affairs

Iran's Syria Strategy: The Evolution of Deterrence

| Feb. 04, 2019

Iran has been a critical player in the Syrian war since 2011, crafting a complex foreign policy and military strategy to preserve its Syrian ally. What have been the drivers of Iranian decision-making in this conflict? And how has Iranian strategy evolved over the course of the war? This article argues that the logic of deterrence has been fundamental not just for shaping the contours of Iran–Syria relations since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, but also for determining the overall trajectory of Iranian strategy in the Syrian war. The authors outline Iran's decision-making calculus and divide the country's strategy on Syria after the Arab Spring into four primary phases: 1) a ‘Basij’ strategy to establish local militias in Syria; 2) a regionalization strategy to incorporate transnational fighters and militias in the war effort; 3) an internationalization strategy to incorporate Russia and balance the United States; and 4) a post-ISIS deterrence strategy to balance against the United States, Turkey and Israel. Iran's Syria strategy progressively escalated in response to the possible defeat of its ally and the deterioration of its forward deterrence capacities against the United States and Israel. Today, the potential for direct inter-state conflict is rising as proxy warfare declines and Iran attempts to maintain the credibility of its forward deterrence.

Great Decisions Cover

Foreign Policy Association

Journal Article - Foreign Policy Association

The State of the State Department and American Diplomacy

| Jan. 03, 2019

During the Trump administration, the usual ways of conducting diplomacy have been upended. Many positions in the State Department have never been filled, and meetings with foreign leaders such as Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin have been undertaken with little advance planning. What effect are these changes having now, and how will they affect ongoing relationships between the United States and its allies and adversaries?

Wendy Sherman, Belfer Center Senior Fellow and forthcoming Director of the Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership, answers a question from a student during a JFK Jr. Forum focusing on Sherman’s career as a diplomat and negotiator.

Martha Stewart

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

Q&A: Wendy Sherman

| Fall/Winter 2018-2019

Ambassador and Belfer Center Senior Fellow Wendy R. Sherman, the former U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, will lead HKS’s Center for Public Leadership and become a professor of the practice of public leadership in January. Sherman, who negotiated with the North Koreans and the Iranians on nuclear issues, is the author of Not for the Faint of Heart: Lessons in Courage, Power, and Persistence.

One Fewer Reason to Be Nervous About the G-20 This Weekend

Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Analysis & Opinions - Bloomberg Opinion

One Fewer Reason to Be Nervous About the G-20 This Weekend

| Nov. 29, 2018

If asked what will be the most consequential meeting this weekend in Argentina at the G-20, you might have a hard time making up your mind. You’d have good reason to choose a) the Trump-Xi bilateral. But b), the gathering to sign the new Nafta deal, could also go awry. If you are like me, you are relieved that c), the Trump-Putin meeting, is now off the table.