Middle East & North Africa

8 Items

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Analysis & Opinions - The Oregonian

The Islamic State has made a big mistake

| July 7, 2016

In the global revulsion at the recent terror attacks in four Muslim countries, the United States and its allies have a new opportunity to build a unified command against the Islamic State and other extremists. FDP Senior Fellow David Ignatius examines the diplomatic relationships needed to create an effective counterterrorism strategy.

Prince Mohammed Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia

Wikimedia Commons

Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

A 30-Year-Old Saudi Prince Could Jump-Start The Kingdom - Or Drive It Off A Cliff

| June 28, 2016

The tensions unsettling the Saudi royal family became clear in September, when Joseph Westphal, the U.S. ambassador to Riyadh, flew to Jiddah to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, nominally the heir to the throne. But when he arrived, he was told that the deputy crown prince, a brash 30-year-old named Mohammed bin Salman, wanted to see him urgently. Senior Fellow, David Ignatius, discusses Mohammed bin Salman opportunity to transform Saudi Arabia.

President Barack Obama delivers his Middle East speech at the State Department in Washington,  May 19, 2011.

AP Photo

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

The End of the American Era

| November-December 2011

"...[T]he biggest challenge the United States faces today is not a looming great-power rival; it is the triple whammy of accumulated debt, eroding infrastructure and a sluggish economy. The only way to have the world's most capable military forces both now and into the future is to have the world's most advanced economy, and that means having better schools, the best universities, a scientific establishment that is second to none, and a national infrastructure that enhances productivity and dazzles those who visit from abroad. These things all cost money, of course, but they would do far more to safeguard our long-term security than spending a lot of blood and treasure determining who should run Afghanistan, Kosovo, South Sudan, Libya, Yemen or any number of other strategic backwaters."

Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Chairman Mike Mullen addresses service members in Mosul, Iraq, Aug. 1, 2011. Mullen said Iraq's indecision on asking U.S. troops to stay beyond the end of the year is jeopardizing a smooth withdrawal.

AP Photo

Analysis & Opinions - The New York Times

The Right Way to Trim

| August 4, 2011

"At the height of the cold war, President Dwight D. Eisenhower decided against direct military intervention on the side of the French in Vietnam in 1954 because he was convinced that it was more important to preserve the strength of the American economy. Today, such a strategy would avoid involvement of ground forces in major wars in Asia or in other poor countries."

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

The Security Curve and the Structure of International Politics: A Neorealist Synthesis

    Author:
  • Davide Fiammenghi
| Spring 2011

Realist scholars have long debated the question of how much power states need to feel secure. Offensive realists claim that states should constantly seek to increase their power. Defensive realists argue that accumulating too much power can be self-defeating. Proponents of hegemonic stability theory contend that the accumulation of capabilities in one state can exert a stabilizing effect on the system. The three schools describe different points along the power con­tinuum. When a state is weak, accumulating power increases its security. This is approximately the situation described by offensive realists. A state that con­tinues to accumulate capabilities will eventually triggers a balancing reaction that puts its security at risk. This scenario accords with defensive realist as­sumptions. Finally, when the state becomes too powerful to balance, its oppo­nents bandwagon with it, and the state’s security begins to increase again. This is the situation described by hegemonic stability theory. These three stages delineate a modified parabolic relationship between power and secu­rity. As a state moves along the power continuum, its security increases up to a point, then decreases, and finally increases again. This modified parabolic re­lationship allows scholars to synthesize previous realist theories into a single framework.

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

Belfer Center Newsletter Summer 2010

| Summer 2010

The Summer 2010 issue of the Belfer Center newsletter features recent and upcoming activities, research, and analysis by members of the Center community on critical global issues. This issue highlights the Belfer Center's involvement with the Nuclear Security Summit, which was organized by Center alumni Gary Samore and Laura Holgate.

Closing Time: Assessing the Iranian Threat to the Strait of Hormuz

AP photo

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Closing Time: Assessing the Iranian Threat to the Strait of Hormuz

    Author:
  • Caitlin Talmadge
| Summer 2008

How might Iran retaliate in the aftermath of a limited Israeli or U.S. strike? The most economically devastating of Iran's potential responses would be closure of the Strait of Hormuz. According to open-source order of battle data, as well as relevant analogies from military history and GIS maps, Iran does possess significant littoral warfare capabilities, including mines, antiship cruise missiles, and land-based air defense. If Iran were able to properly link these capabilities, it could halt or impede traffic in the Strait of Hormuz for a month or more. U.S. attempts to reopen the waterway likely would escalate rapidly into sustained, large-scale air and naval operations during which Iran could impose significant economic and military costs on the United States — even if Iranian operations were not successful in truly closing the strait. The aftermath of limited strikes on Iran would be complicated and costly, suggesting needed changes in U.S. force posture and energy policy.