South Asia

15 Items

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual news conference in Moscow

AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko

Journal Article - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

How the Next Nuclear Arms Race Will Be Different from the Last One

| 2019

All the world's nuclear-armed states (except for North Korea) have begun modernizing and upgrading their arsenals, leading many observers to predict that the world is entering a new nuclear arms race. While that outcome is not yet inevitable, it is likely, and if it happens, the new nuclear arms race will be different and more dangerous than the one we remember. More nuclear-armed countries in total, and three competing great powers rather than two, will make the competition more complex. Meanwhile, new non-nuclear weapon technologies — such as ballistic missile defense, anti-satellite weapons, and precision-strike missile technology — will make nuclear deterrence relationships that were once somewhat stable less so.

A Royal Air Force Reaper RPAS (Remotely Piloted Air System) at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan.

Sergeant Ross Tilly (RAF)

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Separating Fact from Fiction in the Debate over Drone Proliferation

Claims that drones will soon remake warfare or international politics are unwarranted. Although almost a dozen states now possess armed drones, and more are racing to acquire them, they will not play a decisive role in interstate conflicts. Drones will rarely be “winning weapons,” because they are vulnerable to air defenses. States will, however, continue to use drones against terrorists and domestic opponents.

Gas centrifuges for uranium enrichment recovered en route to Libya in 2003.

U.S. Department of Energy

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

The Nonproliferation Emperor Has No Clothes: The Gas Centrifuge, Supply-Side Controls, and the Future of Nuclear Proliferation

| Spring 2014

Policymakers have long focused on preventing nuclear weapons proliferation by controlling technology. Even developing countries, however, may now possess the technical ability to create nuclear weapons. The history of gas centrifuge development in twenty countries supports this perspective. To reduce the demand for nuclear weapons, policymakers will have look toward the cultural, normative, and political organization of the world.

Mujahedeen rebels, holy warriors, are shown as they rest high in the mountains in the Kunar province area in Afghanistan in May 1980.

AP Photo

Policy Brief - Quarterly Journal: International Security

The Foreign Fighter Phenomenon: Islam and Transnational Militancy

| February 2011

"...[F]oreign fighter mobilizations empower transnational terrorist groups such as al-Qaida, because war volunteering is the principal stepping-stone for individual involvement in more extreme forms of militancy. For example, when Muslims in the West radicalize, they usually do not plot attacks in their home countries right away, but travel to a war zone such as Iraq or Afghanistan first. A majority of al-Qaida operatives began their militant careers as war volunteers, and most transnational jihadi groups today are by-products of foreign fighter mobilizations."

An unidentified Mujahideen rebel stands on guard on high ground over looking the rocky mountainous while on patrol in the area of Kunar Province near the Pakistan border, Feb., 1980, Afghanistan.

AP Photo

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

The Rise of Muslim Foreign Fighters: Islam and the Globalization of Jihad

| Winter 2010/11

Why has transnational war volunteering increased so dramatically in the Muslim world since 1980? Standard explanations, which emphasize U.S.-Saudi support for the 1980s Afghan mujahideen, the growth of Islamism, or the spread of Wahhabism are insufficient. The increase in transnational war volunteering is better explained as the product of a pan-Islamic identity movement that grew strong in the 1970s Arab world from elite competition among exiled Islamists in international Islamic organizations and Muslim regimes.

A supporter of Pakistan Muslim League-N party arranges an oil lamp at the model of Chaghi Mountain, the site of Pakistan’s nuclear test, in connection with the celebrations of its 10th anniversary, May 27, 2008 in Islamabad, Pakistan.

AP Photo

Journal Article - Daedalus

The Minimum Deterrent & Beyond

| Fall 2009

"...[A] primary goal in the next decades must be to remove this risk of near global self-destruction by drastically reducing nuclear forces to a level where this outcome is not possible, but where a deterrent value is preserved — in other words, to a level of minimum deterrence. This conception was widely discussed in the early years of the nuclear era, but it drowned in the Cold War flood of weaponry. No matter how remote the risk of civilization collapse may seem now — despite its being so vivid only a few decades ago — the elimination of this risk, for this century and centuries to come, must be a primary driver for radical reductions in nuclear weapons."

Thomas Hegghammer, a joint ISP/RIIA research fellow, discusses the origins of global jihad at an ISP brownbag seminar.

Belfer Center

Policy Brief

The Origins of Global Jihad: Explaining the Arab Mobilization to 1980s Afghanistan

| January 22, 2009

The Arab involvement in Afghanistan was the result of two main factors: the entrepreneurship of the Palestinian preacher Abdallah Azzam, and the rise of a "soft pan-Islamism" promoted since the mid-1970s by non-violent international Islamic organizations such as the Muslim World League.

This policy memo is based on Thomas Hegghammer's ISP brownbag seminar presentation.

Closing Time: Assessing the Iranian Threat to the Strait of Hormuz

AP photo

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Closing Time: Assessing the Iranian Threat to the Strait of Hormuz

Summer 2008

How might Iran retaliate in the aftermath of a limited Israeli or U.S. strike? The most economically devastating of Iran's potential responses would be closure of the Strait of Hormuz. According to open-source order of battle data, as well as relevant analogies from military history and GIS maps, Iran does possess significant littoral warfare capabilities, including mines, antiship cruise missiles, and land-based air defense. If Iran were able to properly link these capabilities, it could halt or impede traffic in the Strait of Hormuz for a month or more. U.S. attempts to reopen the waterway likely would escalate rapidly into sustained, large-scale air and naval operations during which Iran could impose significant economic and military costs on the United States — even if Iranian operations were not successful in truly closing the strait. The aftermath of limited strikes on Iran would be complicated and costly, suggesting needed changes in U.S. force posture and energy policy.