Middle East & North Africa

307 Items

teaser image

Magazine Article - Economist

Digital Dominance: A new global ranking of cyber-power throws up some surprises

China has the world’s largest army. Russia wields the most tanks. America owns the fanciest satellites. But who has the most cyber-power? A new National Cyber Power Index by the Belfer Centre at Harvard University ranks 30 countries on their level of ambition and capability. Offensive cyber-power—the ability to do harm in or through computer networks—is one measure. But so too are the strength of a country’s defences, the sophistication of its cyber-security industry and its ability to spread and counter propaganda.

teaser image

Newspaper Article

Chinese cyber power is neck-and-neck with US, Harvard research finds

| Sep. 08, 2020

As conventional wisdom goes, experts tend to rank the U.S ahead of China, U.K.IranNorth KoreaRussia, in terms of how strong it is when it comes to cyberspace. But a new study from Harvard University’s Belfer Center shows that China has closed the gap on the U.S. in three key categories: surveillance, cyber defense, and its efforts to build up its commercial cyber sector.

“A lot of people, Americans in particular, will think that the U.S., the U.K., France, Israel are more advanced than China when it comes to cyber power,” Eric Rosenbach, the Co-Director of Harvard’s Belfer Center, told CyberScoop. “Our study shows it’s just not the case and that China is very sophisticated and almost at a peer level with the U.S.”

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.

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Analysis & Opinions - The New York Times

State Dept. Investigator Fired by Trump Had Examined Weapons Sales to Saudis and Emiratis

| May 18, 2020

The State Department inspector general fired by President Trump on Friday was in the final stages of an investigation into whether the administration had unlawfully declared an “emergency” last year to allow the resumption of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for their air war in Yemen.

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.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, listens to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during their meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, Thursday, May 17, 2018.

Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

Russia’s Scavenger Diplomacy Is in Full Effect in the Middle East

| May 08, 2020

While most of the world has been on lockdown from the novel coronavirus, the wars and political machinations of the Middle East have continued. Amid this turmoil, Russia has been making steady progress in what State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus described as its “malign engagement” in the region.

President Donald Trump, joined by from left, Gen. David Berger, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, and Gen. Joseph M. Martin, pauses as he speaks to media during a briefing with senior military leaders in the Cabinet Room at the White House in Washington, Monday, Oct. 7, 2019.

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Paradoxes of Professionalism: Rethinking Civil-Military Relations in the United States

    Author:
  • Risa Brooks
| Spring 2020

The U.S. military’s prevailing norms of military professionalism are poorly suited to meet today’s civil-military challenges. They undermine the military’s nonpartisan and apolitical ethos, weaken civilian leaders' control of military activity, and undercut the country’s strategic effectiveness in armed conflict.

Joseph Nye

Martha Stewart

Audio - Harvard Magazine

How Do Past Presidents Rank in Foreign Policy?

| Mar. 02, 2020

How do presidents incorporate morality into decisions involving the national interest? Moral considerations explain why Truman, who authorized the use of nuclear weapons in Japan during World War II, later refused General MacArthur's request to use them in China during the Korean War. What is contextual intelligence, and how does it explain why Bush 41 is ranked first in foreign policy, but Bush 43 is found wanting? Is it possible for a president to lie in the service of the public interest? In this episode, Professor Joseph S. Nye considers these questions as he explores the role of morality in presidential decision-making from FDR to Trump.

teaser image

Shining a Light on Cybersecurity Policy in the Middle East

Feb. 14, 2020

Despite the growing profile of cyber hacks, leaks, and resulting diplomatic crises in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, conversations about policy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) rarely address cybersecurity concerns. During the 2018-2019 academic year, a research collaboration between MEI and the Cyber Project at the Belfer Center looked to shift the dialogue.