Middle East & North Africa

4503 Items

A member of the Czech Army takes part in an anti-terrorism drill at the Temelin nuclear power plant near the town of Tyn nad Vltavou, Czech Republic, April 11, 2017.

REUTERS/David W. Cerny

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Twenty Years After 9/11, Terrorists Could Still Go Nuclear

| Sep. 16, 2021

The probability of terrorists getting and using a nuclear bomb appears to be low—but the consequences if they did would be so devastating that it is worth beefing up efforts to make sure terrorists never get their hands on a nuclear bomb’s essential ingredients. To see the possibilities, we need to look at motive, capability, and opportunity.

Taliban special force fighters arrive inside the Hamid Karzai International Airport

AP/Khwaja Tawfiq Sediqi

Analysis & Opinions - TRENDS Research & Advisory

An Unassailable Position of Total Weakness — U.S. Foreign Policy Since 9/11

| Sep. 11, 2021

Nathaniel L. Moir writes of historical cases in which a U.S. tendency to over-rely on military capabilities and American economic strength proved unwise and how such power eventually proved to be irrelevant. In addition to the Vietnam War as an example, the rapid collapse of the Republic of China and its large military forces in late 1948 and 1949 offers some parallels with the collapse of the Afghan National Army and the Afghan Government, despite the United States investment of trillions of U.S. dollars.

Afghan military's helicopter

AP/Mohammad Asif Khan

Analysis & Opinions - Project Syndicate

What Difference Did 9/11 Make?

| Sep. 06, 2021

Joseph Nye asks: When the next terrorist attacks come, will US presidents be able to channel public demand for revenge by precise targeting, explaining the trap that terrorists set, and focusing on creating resilience in U.S. responses? That is the question Americans should be asking, and that their leaders should be addressing.

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Journal Article - World Politics Review

Vaccine Rollouts Are an Uphill Battle in the Middle East and North Africa

| Aug. 31, 2021

Many countries across the Middle East and North Africa, or MENA, region have faced critical challenges in ensuring the effective and equitable vaccination of their citizens against COVID-19. With a few exceptions, like Morocco, Israel and several Gulf states, countries in the region have faced difficulties in securing sufficient doses due to logistical constraints, poor planning and vaccine hesitancy. As of mid-August, only 21 percent of the region’s population had received at least one dose, and less than 13 percent were fully vaccinated. This puts the region far behind the developing country average of 36 percent with at least one dose and 22 percent fully vaccinated. Moreover, while some countries have accelerated their vaccination campaigns under the pressure of recent COVID-19 surges, other campaigns seem to be slowing or stalling. As countries brace for new waves of the pandemic, MENA governments—and their international supporters—must find ways to address the root causes of their halting vaccination campaigns.

Afghan people climb atop a plane as they wait at the Kabul airport in Kabul on August 16, 2021, after a stunningly swift end to Afghanistan's 20-year war, as thousands of people mobbed the city's airport trying to flee the group's feared hardline brand of Islamist rule.

Wakil Kohsar / AFP via Getty Images

Analysis & Opinions - The Wall Street Journal

A Way Out of Biden’s Afghan Trap

| Aug. 25, 2021

President Biden seems to have set a trap for himself—and for Americans, allied personnel and Afghans seeking to leave Afghanistan. Those civilians were stranded after Mr. Biden withdrew U.S. troops only to be surprised by the Taliban’s quick takeover. Mr. Biden promised to evacuate them by Aug. 31, and the Taliban said they’d hold him to that deadline. On Monday the administration signaled that it intends to abide by it. It won’t be enough time.

Doha, Qatar is one of the Persian Gulf cities most at risk from a spent fuel fire at Barakah.

Hossein Ostovar/Wikimedia Commons

Journal Article - Science & Global Security

Risks to Persian Gulf Cities from Spent Fuel Fires at the Barakah and Bushehr Nuclear Power Plants

| Aug. 18, 2021

Interest in nuclear power has grown in some Middle Eastern states despite poor economics, seismic activity, and attacks on nuclear facilities in the region. This article assesses risks from cesium-137 release and dispersal from spent nuclear fuel fires at Barakah in the United Arab Emirates and Bushehr in Iran to public health, the water supply, and the food security of major Persian Gulf cities. Doha, Dammam, Al-Hofuf, and Manama are most at risk of receiving 1.5 MBq/m2 for a spent fuel fire at Barakah, while a spent fuel fire at Bushehr could affect Shiraz, Ahvaz, Basrah, and Kuwait City, albeit at lower probabilities. Absent a decision to end nuclear power in the region, options for reducing the potential risks of spent fuel fires on Persian Gulf populations include the timely transfer of spent fuel from pools into safer dry cask storage, multilateral disaster-response planning, and a commitment not to attack nuclear facilities.

Israelis passing by the walls of Jerusalem's Old City next to Jaffa gate lit up with the Israeli and Moroccan flags.

EPA

Analysis & Opinions

Partial Normalization: Morocco’s Balancing Act

| Aug. 10, 2021

Following the UAE, and Bahrain, and one month before Sudan, Morocco became the third country in the MENA region to normalize ties with Israel in 2020. In exchange for resuming ties with Tel Aviv, Rabat benefited from important security and financial deals with the United States and ensured the recognition of the kingdom’s sovereignty over Western Sahara. This paper explores the domestic, regional, and international politics that determined the kingdom’s approach and assesses how the kingdom has navigated competing pressures.