Not even two weeks after being appointed as the new head of Saudi Arabia’s foreign intelligence agency, Prince Bandar bin Sultan is again in the news, this time because of unconfirmed rumors that he has been assassinated. Bandar, who served as the Saudi ambassador to the United States from 1983 to 2005, largely disappeared from the world stage since being recalled from that post. His return to the spotlight through his promotion this month is seen as part of a shift toward a more hawkish Saudi Arabian foreign policy as the kingdom faces major challenges in the region, including but […]

Turkey’s defense procurements to date have focused heavily on defensive systems aimed at the former Soviet Union and offensive systems designed to attack the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Backed by the safety and security offered by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s collective security guarantee, as well as between 60 and 70 American tactical nuclear weapons stationed on Turkish soil, Ankara revamped its national security strategy in October 2010. In a sharp departure from the past, Ankara announced that it was removing old foes Iran, Iraq, Greece and Russia from the list of countries considered to be a threat and embarking […]

As Syria’s crisis descends into an increasingly bloody civil war, emerging fault lines have been reinforced both within the country and across the region. Once a close partner to the Syrian government, neighboring Turkey has now become a wary adversary. Meanwhile, bitter divisions at the U.N. Security Council have all but paralyzed the international community. And even if an intervention were to be approved, it would face serious obstacles. This World Politics Review special report examines Syria’s downward spiral. Below are links to each article in this special report, which subscribers can read in full. Not a subscriber?Try our subscription […]

Earlier this month, Abu Dhabi officially green-lighted construction of its first nuclear power plant, under the stewardship of the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), at the Braka site located just west of the Emirati capital. The historic construction marks the first nuclear power plant on the Arabian Peninsula and highlights how the oil-flush region has been forced to recalibrate its energy strategy in light of soaring demand for electricity. The move also acts as a soft hedge against the potential weaponization of Iran’s nuclear program, which is a primary security concern for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and its neighbors […]

With his grip over Syria apparently loosening, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has abandoned the border area between Syria and Turkey, allowing Kurdish militants to take control of several towns in northern Syria. The development heightens the possibility of involvement by Iraqi Kurds as well as by Turkey, introducing new tensions to the Syrian conflict. “Syria is fragmenting, and for the first time in recent history Kurds are taking matters into their own hands,” said Hugh Pope, Turkey and Cyprus project director for the International Crisis Group. Pope explained that it is still unclear whether Syrian Kurds will unite to push […]

Last week, after the United Nations Security Council again deadlocked on the Syrian issue, calls were heard for Western and Middle Eastern powers to pursue a Kosovo-style intervention that would bypass the council altogether to bring about regime change in Damascus. At the beginning of this week, a spokesman for the Syrian Foreign Ministry, Jihad Makdissi, declared that while the Syrian government would never unleash its previously unconfirmed stockpiles of chemical weapons to suppress the rebellion, it might use them in the event that “Syria faces external aggression.” Just as Syria’s downing of a Turkish RF-4E reconnaissance aircraft in late-June […]

The recent national elections in Libya have drawn attention to the country’s postconflict transition. But overshadowed by the international community’s ongoing failure to contain the crisis in Syria, the positive international role in Libya has gone largely overlooked. The success of Libya’s elections for a National Congress is in part due to the deep engagement of the international community, led by the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL). Bucking the trend of many recent postwar interventions, however, this assistance has not come in the form of a large-scale operation. As such, it may present a new model for postconflict […]

Since the wave of uprisings started rolling across the Middle East some 19 months ago, Israel has looked like the relatively quiet eye of a giant, fast-moving storm. The region’s raging winds of revolution have not battered Israel’s territory with great intensity, but as they whip furiously from one country to another, they are transforming the landscape, demolishing long-standing structures, igniting fires and creating a new level of anxious uncertainty. Israel rightly sees itself as a strong country, but one facing numerous enemies and a growing list of threats. That perception could have major implications. Israel continues to possess on […]

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Bhamdoun is a summer resort east of Beirut, which is usually popular with Saudi, Kuwaiti, Qatari and Emirati tourists in search of relaxation and the cool mountain air. But this summer, it is serving as a refuge for middle and upper class Syrian families. World News Videos by NewsLook

Prior to the disruptions that have swept the Middle East and North Africa since 2011, Algeria had achieved a comfortable balance between its internal and external strategic priorities. Now it faces the challenge of repositioning itself both within a region in flux and in relation to its main international alliances with France, the U.S. and — as its main supplier of arms — Russia. On the plus side, Algeria has weathered the storms of regional change well since early 2011, even if this has come at the expense of looking increasingly out of sync with the rapidity and depth of […]

In the traumatic months after the attacks of Sept. 11, the United States struggled to understand the new world it faced and to redirect its security strategy away from “rogue states” relying on conventional military power to the shadowy and ambiguous terrorist threat. Some components of the new strategy, such as augmented homeland security and increased assistance to partner states, were obvious and fell easily into place. How to use U.S. military power in an offensive way against terrorism was not so clear. The initial reaction of the Bush administration reflected the old saw that when all one has is […]

On Sept. 30, 2011, Anwar al-Awlaki was riding in a convoy in northern Yemen’s al-Jawf province with several other suspected members of the terrorist group al-Qaida. Awlaki, a Yemeni cleric, had long been on a so-called kill list of terrorist leaders targeted by the U.S. government for elimination. On that day, two Predator drones operating in the skies above fired seven Hellfire missiles, killing Awlaki and, among others, a colleague named Samir Khan. In itself, the killing was simply another skirmish in the 10-year U.S.-led war on terror, which since Sept. 11, 2001, has stretched from Afghanistan, Pakistan and the […]

Recent fears surrounding the possible use of chemical weapons stockpiles by regime diehards in Libya and Syria, or their seizure by regional terrorists, underscore the continued danger of chemical weapons proliferation and the need to take stronger measures to oppose it. The use of a significant quantity of a chemical agent in a concentrated area can not only be extremely deadly. Because the effects of exposure to chemical agents occur rapidly and are usually extremely virulent, chemical weapons are also effective tools of psychological warfare. Moreover, under certain conditions, even a minor chemical weapons attack could cause widespread panic, leading […]

After key security aides of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were killed in a bombing attack last week, media coverage became saturated with pronouncements of Assad’s “imminent” fall and reports of contingency planning for the collapse of his regime. Trend Lines spoke with Andrew J. Tabler, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and Jeffrey White, a defense fellow at WINEP, about the risks, the opportunities and the unknowns of a post-Assad Syria. According to White, the strategic opportunities include “detaching Syria from Iran’s list of allies, getting Syria out of the terrorism business and breaking Syria’s […]

Thanks to the Obama administration’s aggressive use of classified leaks to the press, we are encouraged to believe that President Barack Obama has engineered a revolutionary shift in both America’s geopolitical priorities and our military means of pursuing those ends. As re-election sales jobs go, it presses lukewarm-button issues, but it does so ably. But since foreign policy has never been the president’s focus, we should in turn recognize these maneuvers for what they truly are: an accommodation with inescapable domestic realities, one that at best postpones and at worst sabotages America’s needed geostrategic adjustment to a world co-managed with […]

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius visited Algeria recently to discuss bilateral relations and the security situation in Mali. In an email interview, Laurence Aïda Ammour, a research fellow at the Bordeaux Institute for Political Science and a consultant in international security and defense at GéopoliSudconsultance, discussed French-Algerian relations. WPR: How have relations between France and Algeria evolved over the past decade in terms of trade and diplomatic ties? Laurence Aïda Ammour: Bilateral relations between France and Algeria have always gone through cycles of crisis. They also depend on personal ties between the leaders of both countries. In 2003, French President […]

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