Reports & Papers

6 Items

A Tajik conscript looks out over remote stretches of northern Afghanistan from a border outpost near Khorog, Tajikistan.

Photo by David Trilling (c)

Report - Russia Matters

Jihadists from Ex-Soviet Central Asia: Where Are They? Why Did They Radicalize? What Next?

| Fall 2018

Thousands of radicals from formerly Soviet Central Asia have traveled to fight alongside IS in Syria and Iraq; hundreds more are in Afghanistan. Not counting the fighting in those three war-torn countries, nationals of Central Asia have been responsible for nearly 100 deaths in terrorist attacks outside their home region in the past five years. But many important aspects of the phenomenon need more in-depth study.

This research paper attempts to answer four basic sets of questions: (1) Is Central Asia becoming a new source of violent extremism that transcends borders, and possibly continents? (2) If so, why? What causes nationals of Central Asia to take up arms and participate in political violence? (3) As IS has been all but defeated in Iraq and Syria, what will Central Asian extremists who have thrown in their lot with the terrorist group do next? And (4) do jihadists from Central Asia aspire to acquire and use weapons of mass destruction? If so, how significant a threat do they pose and who would be its likeliest targets?

    Global diplomats after reaching an interim agreement with Iran over its nuclear program on November 24, 2013.

    AFP/Getty Images

    Report

    A Final Deal with Iran: Filling the Gaps

    | May 14, 2014

    What would be the consequences if the interim deal became, de facto, permanent?  Does the interim deal have gaps that would be fatal to any long-term arrangement?  What are the consequences if no deal is reached?  And, are such consequences better or worse than those resulting from an extension of the interim deal, or from a deal that fails to meet minimum acceptable standards? These questions, among others, were addressed at a private roundtable discussion hosted by the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control on April 25, 2014.

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    Paper

    Russia’s “Black Widows”: Organization Behind Sensation

      Author:
    • Nabi Abdullaev
    | November 8, 2013

    This article analyzes female suicide bombings in Russia in order to prove that suicide terrorism in the largest of the post-Soviet states is an organizational rather than trauma-driven phenomenon.While female suicide bombers have so far used conventional explosives in their attacks, one can imagine how much havoc a suicide terrorist or terrorists could wreak if they got their hands on radioactive materials to make a dirty bomb, or penetrated a nuclear facility to sabotage it.

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

    What Happened to the Soviet Superpower’s Nuclear Arsenal? Clues for the Nuclear Security Summit

    | March 2012

    Twenty years ago Russia and fourteen other newly-independent states emerged from the ruins of the Soviet empire, many as nations for the first time in history. As is typical in the aftermath of the collapse of an empire, this was followed by a period of chaos, confusion, and corruption. As the saying went at the time, “everything is for sale.” At that same moment, as the Soviet state imploded, 35,000 nuclear weapons remained at thousands of sites across a vast Eurasian landmass that stretched across eleven time zones. 

    Today, fourteen of the fifteen successor states to the Soviet Union are nuclear weapons-free. This paper will address the question: how did this happen? Looking ahead, it will consider what clues we can extract from the success in denuclearizing fourteen post-Soviet states that can inform our non-proliferation and nuclear security efforts in the future. These clues may inform leaders of the U.S., Russia, and other responsible nations attending the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit on March 26-27, 2012. The paper will conclude with specific recommendations, some exceedingly ambitious that world leaders could follow to build on the Seoul summit’s achievements against nuclear terrorism in the period before the next summit in 2014. One of these would be to establish a Global Alliance Against Nuclear Terrorism.

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

    Ensuring Strategic Stability in the Past and Present: Theoretical and Applied Questions

      Author:
    • Andrei A. Kokoshin
    | June 2011

    In the Foreword to this paper by Andrei Kokoshin, Belfer Center Director Graham Allison writes: "The global nuclear order is reaching a tipping point. Several trends are advancing along crooked paths, each undermining this order. These trends include North Korea’s expanding nuclear weapons program, Iran’s continuing nuclear ambitions, Pakistan’s increasing instability, growing doubts about the sustainability of the nonproliferation regime in general, and terrorist groups’ enduring aspirations to acquire nuclear weapons. Andrei Kokoshin, deputy of the State Duma and former secretary of Russia’s Security Council, analyzes these challenges that threaten to cause the nuclear order to collapse in the following paper."

    Report

    The U.S.-Russia Joint Threat Assessment of Nuclear Terrorism

    | June 6, 2011

    Researchers from the United States and Russia have issued a joint assessment of the global threat of nuclear terrorism, warning of a persistent danger that terrorists could obtain or make a nuclear device and use it with catastrophic consequences. The first joint threat assessment by experts from the world’s two major nuclear powers concludes: “If current approaches toward eliminating the threat are not replaced with a sense of urgency and resolve, the question will become not if but when, and on what scale, the first act of nuclear terrorism occurs.”