WMD Articles

Syrian Chemical Weapons Destruction Proceeding Slowly

By Eric Auner
, on , Trend Lines

One of the Obama administration’s biggest foreign policy gambles, the agreement to rid Syria of its chemical weapons in the midst of that country’s civil war, is behind schedule but still making progress. Despite tensions over Ukraine and the outcome of the Syrian civil war itself, the United States, Russia and others appear to be maintaining cooperation on the issue. more

Hungary Risks Putinization, Isolation After Orban Re-Election

By Andrew MacDowall
, on , Briefing

“The outcome of the elections is an obvious, unambiguous mandate for us to continue what we have begun.” So said Hungary’s populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban after his Fidesz party trounced the left-liberal opposition in an April poll that also saw the vote share of the far right top 20 percent. The continuation might entail more of Orban’s centralizing and nationalist policies, as well a tilt toward Russia. more

Despite Rift, U.S. and Russia Seek to Keep Arms Control On Track

By Eric Auner
, on , Trend Lines

Even as the United States works with allies to isolate Russia diplomatically and deter further Russian aggression, the Obama administration hopes to maintain business as usual in efforts to restrain threats from nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Russian cooperation is a prerequisite for almost any meaningful progress in tackling nuclear and WMD proliferation in Iran and elsewhere. more

Global Insights: Global Nuclear Security Agenda at Pivot Point

By Richard Weitz
, on , Column

President Barack Obama’s whirlwind visit to Europe began yesterday against the looming shadow of the Ukraine crisis. While Obama will seek to rally Western resistance to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and affirm the administration’s strong commitment to European security, the trip was initially scheduled to coincide with the third Nuclear Security Summit, which focuses on preventing nuclear terrorism. more

India Expands Strategic Trade in East Asia to Balance China

By Saurav Jha
, on , Briefing

India’s recent expansion of civil nuclear cooperation in Asia, alongside its interest in marketing surface-to-surface missiles in the region, clearly signals a shift in India’s policy. China’s latest wave of nuclear exceptionalism toward Pakistan seems to be pushing India to abandon its traditional self-imposed limits on trade in strategic technology in order to secure its own geoeconomic interests. more

Nuclear Diplomacy with Iran Moves Forward Despite Worries

By Eric Auner
, on , Trend Lines

Three months after the P5+1 and Iran reached an interim agreement to limit Iranian nuclear capabilities, the negotiating parties announced last week that they had agreed on a framework for negotiation of a final comprehensive agreement. Announcing the framework agreement, U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman said that these negotiations, set to begin in March, would be “very tough.” more

Global Insights: Russia-NATO Naval Operation Would Boost Syria Chemical Weapons Plan

By Richard Weitz
, on , Column

That Russia and NATO are developing plans to conduct a joint maritime show of force to reaffirm their commitment to the Syrian chemical weapons elimination process is a good development. The mission would be largely symbolic, but the symbolism would be potent. The joint operation could re-energize the stalled elimination process in Syria and provide a basis for renewed Russian-NATO cooperation in other areas. more

World Citizen: As U.S. Ties Flag, Saudi Arabia Plays Pakistan Nuclear Card

By Frida Ghitis
, on , Column

In the past few months, as the prospects have emerged for an agreement between Iran and U.S.-led world powers on Iran’s nuclear program, Saudi Arabia and nuclear-armed Pakistan have made high-profile moves to strengthen their links in what is most likely not a mere coincidence of timing. The developments recall repeated warnings from the Saudis that if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, Saudi Arabia will, too. more

Responsible for Verifying Iran Nuclear Deal, IAEA Lacks Reliable Support

By Jessica C. Varnum
, on , Briefing

Last week’s session of the IAEA board of governors, convened primarily to secure emergency funding for enhanced safeguards activities in Iran, provided a reminder of both the IAEA’s importance and its precarious finances. The international community chronically fails to provide the IAEA with enough resources to fulfill its central role in nuclear nonproliferation and security, and the stakes could not be higher. more

Global Insights: Russia, NATO and the Goldilocks Zone

By Richard Weitz
, on , Column

Despite areas of limited cooperation, such as in Afghanistan and counterterrorism efforts, the Russia-NATO relationship is on balance distinctly negative. Although complementary interests can in some cases bridge the gaps that exist, in many instances they are too large to paper over. But the question remains, do the problems in the NATO-Russia relationship—and, more generally speaking, Russia itself—matter? more

U.S. Faces Challenges Securing Nuclear Arsenal While Pushing for Elimination

By Eric Auner
, on , Trend Lines

In 2009, President Barack Obama proclaimed that he would make the “peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons” a key administration foreign policy goal. But recent lapses and scandals involving nuclear weapons personnel have forced the administration to confront the commitment made in the same speech to “maintain a safe, secure and effective” arsenal for as long as nuclear weapons exist. more

Global Insights: As Interim Nuclear Deal With Iran Takes Effect, Uncertainty Remains

By Richard Weitz
, on , Column

The implementation agreement for the interim nuclear deal reached between Iran and the P5+1 in November entered into effect yesterday. Although the text of the implementation deal remains confidential, the White House released a summary that, while answering some important questions, still leaves uncertain whether the deal will achieve its main purpose of transitioning to a more comprehensive agreement. more

The Realist Prism: For Iran, Nukes No Longer Key to Deterring U.S.

By Nikolas Gvosdev
, on , Column

After years of deadlocked negotiations and inflexibility, Iran has recently become much more accommodating about making concessions regarding its nuclear program. This newfound willingness is not entirely the result of personnel changes in the form of new President Hassan Rouhani. Shifts in the international environment are also partly responsible for the apparent decision by Iran’s leaders to change tack. more

While Ratifications Languish, Nontreaty Cooperation on Nuclear Issues Bears Fruit for U.S.

By Eric Auner
, on , Trend Lines

With the Obama administration moving toward its sixth year, the traditional nuclear arms control process—which has for the past several decades been driven in large part by a series of bilateral and multilateral treaties—appears to be lagging as nuclear threats and fears shift and as the U.S. political scene remains gridlocked. The administration is seeking alternatives. more

No Peace to Keep: U.N. Peacekeeping's Year of Living Dangerously

By Richard Gowan
, on , Feature

For traditionalists at the U.N., efforts in 2013 to launch a peacekeeping mission for Syria seemed indicative of a new willingness to take risks with peacekeepers’ lives. These critics fear that trends toward aggressive "peacekeeping" have already shaped U.N. planning for current missions in Africa. The resulting debate over the risks and rules of peacekeeping has ground on throughout the year. What if anything has the U.N. learned? And is there still a chance that U.N. peacekeepers could be called upon to return to Syria? more

Iran’s Diplomatic Offensive Divides Gulf States

By Theodore Karasik
, on , Briefing

The interim nuclear agreement signed with Iran appears to be causing a geopolitical earthquake among the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. On one side are GCC states that see the potential for resolving decades-long disputes involving maritime issues, boundaries and trade. On the other are those that do not trust Iran and eye Tehran's new stature as a result of the interim agreement with alarm. more

Special Report: Iran Comes in From the Cold

By The Editors
, on , Report

The interim deal between Iran and the U.S.-led coalition of world powers has opened the possibility of Iran’s return as a regional power with normalized diplomatic and economic relations. This WPR special report examines the implications of Iran’s return to the club of nations. more

India-Israel Ties Complicated by Iran Opening, Shifting Defense Priorities

By Saurav Jha
, on , Briefing

In recent years India and Israel agreed to compartmentalize their divergences over Iran’s nuclear program, as U.S. pressure on Iran left India’s ties with the latter stunted. Now, with Western pressure on Tehran beginning to ease, the level of India’s dealings with Iran could become a matter of concern for Israel. It remains to be seen if increased India-Iran ties impact Israeli-Indian defense cooperation. more