Reports & Papers

22 Items

Report - International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence

Will ‘We Won’ Become ‘Mission Accomplished’? A US Withdrawal and The Scramble for Northeastern Syria

| Dec. 16, 2019

This report charts some of the major developments in northeastern Syria from the December 2018 withdrawal announcement up until the start of Operation Peace Spring on 9 October 2019. It describes and notes the significance of the bitter dispute between Ankara and Washington over a proposed "safe zone," analyses how the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have sought to navigate the crisis and gauges the strength of the so‑called Islamic State (IS) in Syria. Providing this context enables this report to selectively incorporate more limited analysis on the latest and most pertinent developments in northeastern Syria at the time of this writing.

Report - Middle East Initiative, Belfer Center

The Crisis of the Arab State

August 11, 2015

During the spring 2015 semester, Professor Michael C. Hudson assembled eight leading Middle East scholars under the auspices of the Middle East Initiative at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs to participate in a study group titled Rethinking the Arab State: the Collapse of Legitimacy in Arab Politics. Over the course of the semester these experts used a variety of interdisciplinary approaches to  analyze the crisis of legitimacy of the Arab state in the wake of the 2011 uprisings.

Report - Chatham House

Iraq Ten Years On

    Editors:
  • Claire Spencer
  • Jane Kinninmont
  • Omar Sirri
| May 2013

This report brings together a variety of perspectives on the state of Iraq ten years after the US-led invasion in 2003 and sets out some possible scenarios for the country's future.

Discussion Paper - Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, Belfer Center

WikiLeaks 2010: A Glimpse of the Future?

    Author:
  • Tim Maurer
| August 2011

The recent publications on WikiLeaks reveal a story about money, fame, sex, underground hackers, and betrayal. But it also involves fundamental questions regarding cyber-security and foreign policy. This paper argues WikiLeaks is only the symptom of a new, larger problem which is the result of technological advances that allow a large quantity of data to be 'stolen' at low or no cost by one or more individuals and to be potentially made public and to go 'viral', spreading exponentially online.

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

Iraqi Politics And Implications For Oil And Energy

| July 2011

Iraq could be poised for a dramatic transformation in which it finally escapes the political and technical constraints that have kept it producing less than 4 percent of the world’s oil, writes Meghan L. O'Sullivan. Should Iraq meet its ambitions to bring nearly 10 million more barrels of oil on line by 2017, it would constitute the largest ever capacity increase in the history of the oil industry. Even half this much would represent a massive achievement.

U.S. General David Petraeus, Commander designate, U.S. Central Command, leaves 10 Downing Street in London after a meeting with the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Sept. 29, 2008.

AP Photo

Paper - International Security Program, Belfer Center

U.S. Interagency Regional Foreign Policy Implementation: A Survey of Current Practice and an Analysis of Options for Improvement

| April 2010

The United States has a complex, multi-agency structure to plan, synchronize, and execute foreign policy and national security. By statute, the State Department is the lead agency for foreign policy. However, in practice, the much larger and better-funded Department of Defense conducts much of America's foreign policy activity, often with little coordination with the State Department or other relevant agencies. Over the past two decades, the military's Geographic Combatant Commands have taken an increasing lead in planning and executing foreign policy activities around the world. This has often effectively put a military face and voice on America's foreign policy, sometimes to the detriment of broader U.S. goals and relationships. More effective U.S. foreign policy requires greater interagency coordination at all levels and a greater role for the State Department as America's lead agency for foreign policy.

A Saudi woman and her son walk past the Imam Muhammad ibn Abdel-Wahhab Philanthropic School for Women's Quranic Studies in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, March 21, 2003.

AP Photo

Paper - Combating Terrorism Center

The Failure of Jihad in Saudi Arabia

| February 25, 2010

The paper argues that despite the widespread view of Saudi Arabia as "al-Qa'ida country," and despite the recent developments in Yemen, the jihad in Saudi Arabia has failed so far. The late 1990s saw no operations in the Kingdom because Bin Ladin's infrastructure there was too weak. The AQAP campaign, made possible by the massive influx in 2002 of al-Qa'ida members from Afghanistan, petered out in 2006. Today, practically nothing remains of the original AQAP organization. Nevertheless, its legacy and propaganda continues to inspire amateur cells, and al-Qa'ida in Yemen is actively planning operations in the Kingdom.

Paper

Securing the Peace: The Battle over Ethnicity and Energy in Modern Iraq

This article examines the legal and political impediments to the Kurdish Regional Government's (KRG) exploration and production contracts, which the central government in Baghdad has refused to recognize. The newly established Iraqi national constitution significantly opened as many petroleum-control questions as it resolved. Negotiated in 2005, the constitution not only separated branches of government, but established Federalism as its lodestar. When faced with unresolved issues over regional and national control over petroleum resources, however, International Oil Companies (IOCs) function in an ambiguous legal environment that fails to clearly distinguish between federal and regional powers.

A C-17 Globemaster III at Baghram Air Base gets loaded for a Joint Precision Airdrop Delivery System of 40 bundles of humanitarian supplies to a drop zone in Afghanistan, on Jan., 14, 2008.

AP Photo

Paper - International Security Program, Belfer Center

Enhancing Full-Spectrum Flexibility: Striking the Balance to Maximize Force Effectiveness in Conventional and Counterinsurgency Operations

| April 2009

With the United States currently engaged in difficult and taxing counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, renewed emphasis has been focused upon the country's capabilities and priorities vis-à-vis this type of warfare.  Within the military, the Air Force has been especially and increasingly criticized for being too enamored with a Cold-War era conventionally minded force structure and for not shifting aggressively to meet the threats of COIN-style conflicts that many predict will be pervasive throughout the Global War on Terror.

This paper addresses the conceptual capabilities and limitations of air power in COIN in order to illuminate how the Air Force can leverage the distinct asymmetric advantage that air power presents across the spectrum of conflict.  This asymmetry is founded upon a clear U.S. superiority in air power capabilities combined with the unique flexibility inherent in air power.  An understanding of air power's efficacy in COIN, measured against conventional requirements and capabilities, will inform decisions on appropriate force structure and employment.