Middle East & North Africa

362 Items

Acting Secretary of Defense Mark Esper arrives in Washington, D.C. to prepare for an upcoming trip to Europe to talk with the United States' NATO allies, June 24, 2019.

Andrew Harnik (AP)

Analysis & Opinions - The Boston Globe

War with Iran Will Cost More Than the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars

    Authors:
  • Rosella Cappella Zielinski
  • Neta C. Crawford
| June 24, 2019

Like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, war with Iran would entail vast economic, budgetary, and environmental costs, argues Linda J. Bilmes. And this is to say nothing of the potential human costs—so why, then, is the United States slipping closer and closer to making the same mistakes it did 16 years ago?

Saudi Arabia’s Moment in the Sun

AP/Donna Fenn Heintzen

Analysis & Opinions - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Saudi Arabia’s Moment in the Sun

| May 07, 2019

As part of a high profile tour of China in February, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) has overseen a range of multi-billion dollar pledges and MOUs with Beijing. This partly reflects Riyadh’s desire to diversify sources for investments and technology following the mass withdrawal of major Western business leaders from the Future Investment Initiative in October 2018, after the murder of Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Embassy in Istanbul. Yet cooperation with China on renewable energy, if successful, would realize a significant first step towards Saudi Arabia’s lofty ambitions for solar and wind power.

Soldiers marching with national flags in parade

AP Photo/Ron Edmonds

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Buying Allies: Payment Practices in Multilateral Military Coalition-Building

    Author:
  • Marina E. Henke
| Spring 2019

Many states have been paid to join multilateral military coalitions. These payments are largely covered by “pivotal states”—those that care the most about an operation’s success—and take the form of deployment subsidies and political side deals to attract critical contributors to the mission.

A traditional Iranian bazaar in the city of Kashan

Wikicommons

Analysis & Opinions - The Hill

Can Iran Weather the Trump Storm?

| May 03, 2019

In the past 10 years, oil exports have averaged about $67 billion in Iran. Last year, they dropped by two-thirds, and they are expected to drop below $30 billion this year.  There are reasons to believe that, with appropriate policies, the country can live with this level of oil exports, albeit at a reduced standard of living, and even do itself some good in the long run by reducing its dependence on oil.

Iran has been there before. In 2012, when President Obama ratcheted up U.S. sanctions against Iran, oil exports dropped by 27.5 percent, and GDP fell by 6.2 percent. In 2015, sanctions and the collapse of oil prices further reduced oil exports to $32 billion, a decade-long low, and GDP declined by 1.6 percent. If Iran’s leadership is to successfully resist U.S. demands, it must do more than find ways to evade sanctions. A lot depends on its ability to adopt a plan that reduces the economy’s dependence on oil, while distributing the burden of restructuring equitably across social groups.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani

Wikicommons

Analysis & Opinions

The Unimportance Of New Oil Sanctions

| Apr. 25, 2019

For the Islamic Republic, resistance to Washington has become a cultural norm, and it considers independence (esteghlal) as the main achievement of the 1979 revolution.  According to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Iran would have to meet 12 conditions before the United States will renegotiate the nuclear deal and consider removing its sanctions. These conditions, which are nothing short of surrender on Iran’s part, are either set to force Iran out of the nuclear deal and therefore trigger the return of UN sanctions, or they are a thinly veiled call for regime change.

Iran Oil Sanctions: A Rare Case Where Transactional Diplomacy Should Work

AP/Hasan Jamali

Analysis & Opinions - Bloomberg Opinion

Iran Oil Sanctions: A Rare Case Where Transactional Diplomacy Should Work

| Apr. 22, 2019

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s most recent announcement on Iran policy has raised some eyebrows. He indicated on Monday morning that the Trump administration will not renew waivers to importers of Iranian crude and that other suppliers (meaning Saudi Arabia) have agreed to increase production in to ensure the global oil market remains well-supplied. Skeptics question whether — after last summer’s debacle — there is sufficient trust between Washington and Riyadh for this arrangement to work. What skeptics may not have digested is that, while timing remains a problem, this is a classic win-win situation. It is a near-perfect example of the very limited universe of occasions when transactional diplomacy could actually work.

Windfall, by Meghan O'Sullivan

Simon & Schuster

Analysis & Opinions - LinkedIn

Energy Abundance and the Environment: An Interview with Meghan L. O’Sullivan, Part 2

    Author:
  • Scott Nyquist
| Apr. 03, 2019

The subtitle tells the story. In the early 2000s, many pundits and politicians talked up “peak oil”, “energy scarcity,” and all that. In a geological heartbeat later—about a decade—the world had entered an era of “energy abundance,” largely due to innovations that allowed producers to crack into shale formations to release massive new sources of oil and gas. The United States has gone furthest and fastest in fracking and is setting records for oil and gas production. For the US, says O’Sullivan, this has been an economic, strategic, and environmental game-changer. For the rest of the world, the effects are more differentiated but hardly less profound.