Middle East & North Africa

33 Items

A satellite view of Djibouti, showing the U.S. Navy’s Camp Lemonnier (bottom) and the People’s Liberation Army Support Base (top).

2020 Google Earth / Maxar Technologies, used with permission.

Paper

Cooperation, Competition, or Both? Options for U.S. Land Forces vis-à-vis Chinese Interests in Africa

| June 2020

This paper responds to a topic from the Army War College’s Key Strategic Issues List, 2018-2020: Evaluate the ramifications of China’s and/or Russia’s interests in Africa for U.S. land forces and suggest options, both to compete and to cooperate, to further U.S. interests.

While U.S. land forces may benefit from competition or cooperation with Chinese elements in Africa, I judge that they possess limited agency to compete or cooperate in the context of these definitions. Therefore, I will take a whole-of-government approach to furthering U.S. interests in Africa vis-à-vis China.

A large refugee camp on the Syrian side of the border with Turkey, near the town of Atma, in Syria’s Idlib province, April 19, 2020.

AP Photo/Ghaith Alsayed

Paper

Syria Redux: Preventing the Spread of Violent Extremism Through Weaponized Populations and Mobile Safehavens

| May 2020

The resurgence of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the next evolution of violent extremist ideology will undoubtedly flow from this region. Regional and global actors have protracted the conflict and stymied the peace process. This paper is not an exposé on the plight of Syrian refugees nor is a plea to rebuild Syria. Instead, this paper discusses the national security threat components of weaponized populations and mobile safe havens used by violent extremist organizations and offers policy recommendations to support a long-term strategy to reduce violence in the region, contain these new threats, and set conditions for reconciliation and peace.

Fans react as they watch the “Greatest Royal Rumble” event in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Friday, April 27, 2018. A previous WWE event held in 2014 was for men only, but Friday night’s event included both women and children in attendance. AP Photo/Amr Nabil

AP Photo/Amr Nabil

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

Profile of a Prince: Promise and Peril in Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030

| April 2019

This report, based on three prolonged trips to the Kingdom over the past year, the most recent in January 2019, will take a deep look at Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who dominates every aspect of foreign and domestic policy, to try to answer what lies behind his Mona Lisa smile. It will also examine the Kingdom’s social progress, its economic stagnation and its growing political repression. Readers will have to evaluate for themselves whether the social progress he has offered Saudis in general—and women in particular—offset his autocratic tactics at home and abroad.

(MENARA)

(MENARA)

Paper

The Implications of the Syrian War For New Regional Orders

| Sep. 12, 2018

This paper argues that the impact of the eight-year war in Syria will reverberate across the region for years to come, and explores, in particular, four noteworthy legacies. First, it examines the series of interventions in Syria by regional and foreign powers (including Russia, Turkey, Iran, the United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) that reconfigured the role of such powers across the region. Second, it reveals the emergence of two opposing alliances in the region, each comprising Arab states, regional Arab and non-Arab powers, global powers and local nonstate actors. These or similar alliances may well reappear in other Middle Eastern conflicts. Third, it analyses the striking number and variety of foreign forces that either directly fought in Syria or indirectly supported warring factions. Since 2012, these forces have included at least twenty states and major non-state players, alongside hundreds of smaller tribal, Islamist and secular rebel and pro-Assad groups. Finally, the paper suggests that the international community’s weak response to the untold war crimes on both sides, and its apparent de facto acceptance of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s incumbency, portend continuing regional authoritarian and violent political systems for the foreseeable future.

Los Alamos National Laboratory, National Security Science, July 2015

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Discussion Paper - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

When Did (and Didn’t) States Proliferate?

| June 2017

In this Project on Managing the Atom Discussion Paper, Philipp C. Bleek chronicles nuclear weapons proliferation choices throughout the nuclear age. Since the late 1930s and early 1940s, some thirty-one countries are known to have at least explored the possibility of establishing a nuclear weapons program. Seventeen of those countries launched weapons programs, and ten acquired deliverable nuclear weapons.

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)

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

Disrupting the Chessboard

| October 2015

Various narratives explaining Russia’s recent decision haveemerged which portray Russia alternatively as attempting tore-establish its role as a world empire or as a power-balancerprotecting its interests in the Middle East. This publicationaims to present different scholarly perspectives and viewpointson Russian objectives in Syria and the implications it holds forworld politics. It does so by gathering the opinions of severalexperts with different backgrounds and analytic viewpointsfrom across the world.

teaser image

Report

The Energy Implications of a Nuclear Deal between the P5+1 and Iran

| July 14, 2015

On June 23 and 24, twenty five experts met at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government under the auspices of the Geopolitics of Energy Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. The group, which included experts from academia, the financial sector, government, and the energy industry, spent an evening and the following full day discussing and debating the possible energy implications of a nuclear deal between the P5+1 and Iran.

Report - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

Fresh Ideas for the Future: Symposium on the NPT

| April 26, 2015

The abstracts in this booklet summarise the research presented at an academic symposium convened on the sidelines of the 2015 NPT Review Conference. As we write this, journalists and seasoned experts in the nuclear policy field have been speculating about the particularly difficult challenges facing the Review Conference this year. To address those challenges, we would urge all concerned to consider the ideas and analyses presented at this symposium. Experts would be hard-pressed to find a better collection of fresh ideas and approaches for assessing and strengthening the NPT.

Paper

Nuclear Disarmament: The Legacy of the Trilateral Initiative

| March 23, 2015

In 1996, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United States and the Russian Federation entered into a cooperative effort – the Trilateral Initiative – aimed at investigating the feasibility and requirements for a verification system under which the IAEA could accept and monitor nuclear warheads or nuclear warhead components pursuant to the NPT Article VI commitments of both States. Although the Initiative ended in 2002, the Model Verification Agreement produced could still serve as the basis for bilateral or multilateral agreements between the IAEA and nuclear-weapon States.

In this paper, Thomas E. Shea and Laura Rockwood examine the potential role for international verification of fissile material in relation to nuclear disarmament, what was accomplished under the Trilateral Initiative and, more importantly, what should be done now to preserve its legacy and take concrete steps towards such verification.