Middle East & North Africa

10 Items

The nuclear archive warehouse outside Tehran (Satellite image via Google).

Satellite image via Google

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

The Iran Nuclear Archive: Impressions and Implications

In mid-January, a team of scholars from the Belfer Center’s Intelligence and Managing the Atom Projects traveled to Tel Aviv, Israel to examine samples of, and receive briefings on, an archive of documents related to Iran’s nuclear weapons program. The large cache includes some 55,000 pages of documents and a further 55,000 files on CDs that included photos and videos. A clandestine Israeli intelligence operation spirited the materials out of Iran in early 2018.

The documents that the Belfer group were shown confirm that senior Iranian officials had decided in the late 1990s to actually manufacture nuclear weapons and carry out an underground nuclear test; that Iran’s program to do so made more technical progress than had previously been understood; and that Iran had help from quite a number of foreign scientists, and access to several foreign nuclear weapon designs. The archive also leaves open a wide range of questions, including what plan, if any, Iran has had with respect to nuclear weapons in the nearly 16 years since Iran’s government ordered a halt to most of the program in late 2003. 

This brief report summarizes the group’s conclusions about what the archive reveals about Iran’s program and questions that remain open.

Security personnel surround Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro during an incident as he was giving a speech in Caracas on Saturday.

(Xinhua/AP)

Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

Drone Attacks Are Essentially Terrorism by Joystick

| Aug. 05, 2018

A failed assassination attempt against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro on Saturday was mounted with explosive-armed drones, according to news reports. Nine days earlier, and on the other side of the world, terrorists claimed to have sent an armed drone to attack the international airport in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. No one was killed in either case, and the circumstances of both remain murky. But a new and dangerous era in non-state-sponsored terrorism clearly has begun, and no one is adequately prepared to counter it.

Houthi fighters hold their weapons on January 3, 2017.

(AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

Analysis & Opinions - Real Clear Politics

America Wins if Houthi Rebels Lose in Yemen

| July 03, 2018

The deadly civil war in Yemen has reached a climax after three ugly years. No one can know for sure, but it looks like the coalition led by Saudi Arabia is on the verge of a major victory that could push the Iranian-backed rebels into an enduring cease-fire.

The legitimate Yemeni government, backed by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, is poised to retake control of the vital port of Hodeidah, Yemen’s fourth-largest city and its principal port on the Red Sea. Yemen depends on imports to survive and Hodeidah is the port of entry for most outside goods. International aid groups worry a long-term siege there could disrupt the already-limited flow of medicine and food into the country. But the pain is worth the gain – especially for U.S. interests – because of Hodeidah’s strategic importance.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin

Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik

Analysis & Opinions - Real Clear Politics

Counterterrorism in a Time of Great Power Rivalry

| Oct. 02, 2017

Since 11 September 2001 the United States has been able to drive the global counterterrorism agenda as it saw necessary. Those days are over. The global environment has permanently shifted. The open rivalry with Moscow and growing competition with China are going to increase the potential costs on U.S. counterterrorism activity and outright restrain it in others.

President Donald J. Trump addresses the nation on the South Asia strategy during a press conference at Conmy Hall on Fort Myer, Va., Aug. 21, 2017. (DoD photo by Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith)

DoD photo/Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith

Analysis & Opinions - Just Security

Trump's War-More Risk Than Reward for US Military Involvement in Afghanistan

| Aug. 22, 2017

It is ironic that when President Trump finally made his first major foreign policy decision, he ran with the advice of his “cooler heads” — the Generals he admires — over his own instincts to cut U.S. losses and get out of this jungle. In extending U.S. involvement in Afghanistan for the narrower purpose of battling the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, ISIS and associated groups, every U.S. soldier killed and wounded in Afghanistan from this day forward becomes in effect a casualty of the scourge of terrorism the president is determined to thwart.

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

The Meaning of Russia's Campaign in Syria

    Author:
  • Stephen R. Covington
| December 9, 2015

Stephen Covington explains the strategic and tactical reasons for Russia’s deployment to Syria and helps the reader see the world through the eyes of President Putin and his advisors. Together with his earlier paper, “Putin’s Choice for Russia,” published with the Belfer Center in August 2015, this paper provides the reader with the strategic threads that run through contemporary Russian geopolitics. His insights into Russian strategic thinking are based on years of study and practical experience with the Russian military and, his opinion matters as a person who advises NATO’s senior military leaders on Alliance security anddefense matters.

(From Foreword by BG Kevin Ryan (U.S. Army retired), Director, Defense and Intelligence Projects)