Middle East & North Africa

159 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.

Sovereign Venture Capitalism: At a Crossroad

StockSnap/Pixabay

Analysis & Opinions - The Economist

Sovereign Venture Capitalism: At a Crossroad

| Oct. 03, 2018

What the Iron Man-like character is claiming for his futuristic automotive company is not unheard of. On a systemic basis, mammoth institutional investment—especially from sovereign wealth funds (SWFs)—is flowing into start-ups and technology-oriented publicly traded companies. In this case, Saudi billions would help Mr Musk escape the pressures of being publicly listed. SWFs have invested large sums into high-growth start-ups promising innovation and financial returns. In fact, just this month, Saudi’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) announced a US$1bn investment in Tesla’s rival, Lucid, and a US$2bn stake in Tesla. The rise in SWF balance sheets and activity is having ramifications on global efforts to be more Silicon Valley-like, and on Silicon Valley itself.

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.

Memorial to Iranian Murdered scientists of Iran's Nuclear program.

Wikimedia CC

Magazine Article - TLS (Times Literary Supplement)

Take Out the Driver

| June 05, 2018

Calder Walton reviews Rise and Kill First by Ronen Bergman. He writes that the book not only sheds light on Israel's intelligence services, but also has wider significance: how and why a state uses extra-judicial killing—and the consequences of doing so.

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Journal Article - H-Diplo

H-Diplo Article Review No. 750—'Missing Revolution: The American Intelligence Failure in Iraq, 1958'

    Author:
  • Salim Yaqub
| Mar. 15, 2018

"Jeffrey Karam is to be commended for writing such a richly researched and cogently reasoned article, one that invites invigorating reexamination, by historians and political scientists alike, of a pivotal moment in modern Middle Eastern history."

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Journal Article - H-Diplo

H-Diplo Roundtable XIX, 18 on America's Dream Palace: Middle East Expertise and the Rise of the National Security State

| Jan. 15, 2018

International Security Program Postdoctoral Fellow Jeffrey G. Karam reviewed America’s Dream Palace: Middle East Expertise and the Rise of the National Security State by Osamah F. Khalil.

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

In Memoriam: Chuck Cogan, Longtime International Security Program Associate

| Jan. 03, 2018

Dr. Charles G. "Chuck" Cogan, an International Security Program associate since 2006, died peacefully in his sleep on December 14, 2017 at his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was a frequent participant over the years in ISP seminars and other Center events, contributing his insights and anecdotes from his long career as a Central Intelligence Agency officer and his subsequent career as a historian.