Middle East & North Africa

204 Items

A U.S. Trident II missile launches (Wikimedia Commons).

Wikimedia Commons

Analysis & Opinions - War on the Rocks

Can This New Approach to Nuclear Disarmament Work?

| Jan. 23, 2019

An estimated 14,485 nuclear weapons exist on earth today — most are far more powerful than those that twisted railway ties, leveled buildings, and crushed, poisoned, and burned human beings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The majority of these weapons belong to the United States and Russia. For some in the U.S. government, including Chris Ford, assistant secretary at the State Department’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, this number represents significant disarmament progress since Cold War highs of over 70,000 nuclear weapons. They argue the current security environment means that further reductions are not possible at this time. In contrast, for many disarmament advocates and officials from non-nuclear weapons states, this number is still far too high. They are now clamoring to ban all nuclear weapons. Because of this divide, according to Ford, we currently face a “disarmament crisis.”

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.

In this picture released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stands as air force commanders salute during their meeting in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. Iran's supreme leader said Tuesday that "newcomer" President Donald Trump had shown the "real face" of the United States, after the American leader accused Iran of being ungrateful for sanctions relief approved by the Obama administration and vowed a tougher stance. Verses from the

Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP

Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

Trump should look before he leaps on Iran

| Feb. 08, 2017

By putting Iran "on notice” for its aggressive behavior, President Trump has taken aim at a country that’s opposed by many U.S. allies. Iran is a convenient enemy for Trump. Israel and the Gulf Arab states share the administration’s antipathy toward Iran, and the regime’s hard-liners gave Trump a pretext with a ballistic missile test last weekend that arguably violated a U.N. Security Council resolution. But he has begun this confrontation without much preparation or strategic planning, continuing the haphazard pattern of his first two weeks in office.

Rouhani

Russia President

Blog Post - Iran Matters

A Possible Trump Administration’s Iran Policy: Constraints and Options

    Author:
  • Ephraim Kam
| Jan. 20, 2017

A key foreign affairs issue for the Trump administration will be its policy on Iran, as was the case also for the Obama administration. But we have no idea what approach it will take, an uncertainty amplified by the fact that Trump has no experience whatsoever in foreign policy, and no idea whose input he will accept in shaping it. It’s not as if we have no information about his attitude – during the election campaign, Trump made his intention on Iran very clear – but, as with other topics, it is unclear how he will act when once he is forced to translate his intentions into action and realizes that reality is far more complicated than he imagined.

A model of the Capitol Building is displayed on a giant planning map during a media tour highlighting inaugural preparations Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016, at the DC Armory in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

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

A Conservative’s Prescriptive Policy Checklist: U.S. Foreign Policies in the Next Four Years to Shape a New World Order

| Jan. 09, 2017

Based on the rigorous definition of vital U.S. national interests, this essay proposes a prescriptive checklist of U.S. policy steps that would strengthen the domestic base of American external actions; reinforce the U.S. alliance systems in Asia and Europe; meet the Chinese and Russian challenges, while improving the quality of diplomatic exchanges with Beijing and Moscow; reshape U.S. trade policy; gradually pivot from the Middle East to Asia (but not from Europe); maintain the nuclear agreement with Iran; and confront international terrorism more aggressively, but with minimal U.S. boots on the ground in ungoverned areas and without nation building.

How Trump Can Strengthen US Leverage Against Iran

Gage Skidmore

Analysis & Opinions - The Diplomat

How Trump Can Strengthen US Leverage Against Iran

| November 30, 2016

Before trashing the Iran deal — the agreement inked last fall, which limits Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief — the incoming Trump administration should consider how a policy of soft economic engagement with Tehran could provide Washington with strategic leverage and increased bargaining power in a post-Iran deal world.

Throughout his campaign, now President-elect Trump attacked the Iran deal, claiming that “it will go down in history as one of the worst deals ever negotiated.” The future of the deal now seems to be far less certain, as Trump fills key positions with outspoken critics of the agreement. Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS), Trump’s recent pick for CIA director, is well-known for his hardline stance on the deal, recently noting that it should be “rolled back.”

Jens Stoltenberg speaks to students at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Bennett Craig

Speech

The Three Ages of NATO: An Evolving Alliance

| Sep. 23, 2016

Jens Stoltenberg,NATO Secretary General, discussed the future of the NATO alliance during this speech, given at the Harvard Kennedy School on September 23, 2016. He described the alliance as a responsive organization, capable of adapting to changes in the international security landscape but committed to the continuity of its founding values. In particular, he emphasized the necessity of maintaining a policy of absolute solidarity among member states, especially  in light of the exacerbating civil war in Syria and Russia’s aggressive stance toward countries to the East of NATO member state borders.

Is Iran Getting a Pass at the Financial Action Task Force?

Flickr

Analysis & Opinions - Iran Matters

Is Iran Getting a Pass at the Financial Action Task Force?

| August 1, 2016

In June, the Financial Action Task Force, which is an inter-governmental body responsible for setting global anti-money laundering standards, issued its quarterly public statement on high-risk and non-cooperative jurisdictions. Somewhat surprisingly, FATF suspended its call for member states to employ countermeasures against Iran for a period of twelve months. Since 2008, FATF has called for states to apply enhanced due diligence and counter-measures against Iran in order to “protect the international financial system from the on-going and substantial money laundering and terrorist financing risks” emanating from Iran.

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton played a crucial role in the Iran nuclear deal--an issue that has disappeared from the election stage.

Marc Nozell

Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

The Omani ‘back channel’ to Iran and the secrecy surrounding the nuclear deal

| June 7, 2016

One of the mysteries of Campaign 2016 is why the Iran nuclear deal has vanished as an issue. But a new book reveals some startling details about how the diplomacy with Tehran began in secret, long before reformers took power there, and the crucial role played by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

The diplomatic narrative is laid out in “Alter Egos,” by New York Times White House correspondent Mark Landler. He’s the first to disclose the full extent of the Omani “back channel” to Iran that opened in 2009 through a colorful fixer named Salem ben Nasser al-Ismaily.