Middle East Security Initiative

  • Here’s What Happened During the Saudi Crown Prince’s International Debut

    Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to the United States, following on the heels of his trips to the United Kingdom and Egypt, marks his debut on the international stage as the king-in-waiting of a country he could rule for decades.

    In the United Kingdom and now in the United States, the crown prince, popularly known as MbS, has capitalized on an opportunity to try and reassure international investors that Saudi Arabia is a safe place for business in the wake of anti-corruption crackdown in November 2017 that created unease among international investors.

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  • A Renewed Foresight in Middle Eastern Diplomacy: India’s Role at the Table

    Recent aviation agreements connecting Saudi Arabia, India, and Israel signal potential openness toward improving relations in light of growing geopolitical and security concerns.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on March 7 that Saudi Arabia granted permission to Air India to use Saudi airspace for direct flights from Delhi to Tel Aviv, affirming allegations leaked in Israeli press in February. Direct flights from Delhi to Tel Aviv over Saudi airspace will begin March 22. Thus far, Saudi officials have remained mum.

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  • The War in Yemen: No End in Sight

    US President Donald J. Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman’s shared animosity toward Iran is apparently getting in the way of ending the war in Yemen that has claimed the lives of thousands of civilians and put millions more on the brink of starvation.

    While Yemen was very much on the agenda when Trump met the crown prince at the White House in Washington on March 20, there was scarce mention following their meeting of any productive effort to end the war in that country.

    “I just don’t see between these two men in charge that they’re going to be able to do the right thing [in Yemen,] which is to put diplomacy first,” said Nabeel Khoury, a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.

    “Saudi Arabia and the United States, the two big powers that can actually make things happen in Yemen, are looking past Yemen,” he added.

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  • Saudi Crown Prince Comes to Washington: 5 Things to Watch

    Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) will arrive in Washington on March 19 for a visit to the United States that includes stops in New York, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, and Houston. 

    In Washington, the crown prince will meet US President Donald J. Trump at the White House on March 20. He will also meet members of Trump’s Cabinet, members of the US Congress, and private sector representatives.

    US-Saudi relations, which had become strained under former US President Barack Obama, have warmed under Trump.

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  • Envisioning Reform: The Social Impact of Saudi Arabia’s Transformation Agenda

    On Wednesday, February 28, the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security’s Middle East Security Initiative hosted a discussion on Saudi Arabia’s reform agenda with HRH Princess Reema bint Bandar Al-Saud, vice-president for planning and development of the Saudi General Sports Authority. The conversation focused on Saudi Vision 2030 and socioeconomic transformation underway in the Kingdom. Ambassador Frederic C. Hof, director of the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council, introduced the discussion and Bina Hussein, associate director of the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center, moderated the conversation.

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  • Daniels in The Hills: Saudi Corruption Crackdown an Inkblot Test for Experts


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  • Iran in Iraq

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    Geographic proximity and shared religion, specifically Shia Islam, give Iran deep influence in Iraq, as shown in a new Atlantic Council issue brief entitled  “Iran in Iraq,” by American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Kenneth M. Pollack. Despite advantages in geography and demography, Pollack argues that Iranian influence in Iraq is not insurmountable. The United States should therefore seek to implement policies that strengthen Iraq's government and unify its people in order to keep Iran at bay. 

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  • Partners or Competitors? The Future of the Iran-Russia Power Tandem in the Middle East

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    Ambassador John Herbst, director of the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, writes in a new issue brief entitled "Partners or Competitors? The Future of the Iran-Russia Power Tandem in the Middle East" that Russia and Iran are currently drawn into partnership over common regional interests and anti-American policies and sentiments despite centuries of historical rivalry. While their strategic partnership might not survive long-term shifts in either country’s politics, it remains inimical to US interests in the short-term.

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  • Iran's Bottom Line in Afghanistan

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    Due to proximity and historical ties, no other country is as well placed as Iran to play a dominant role in Afghan society, as Middle East Institute senior fellow Alex Vatanka shows in his new paper, "Iran's Bottom Line in Afghanistan."

     

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  • Tehran Stands Atop the Syria-Iran Alliance

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    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has managed to hold onto power through the civil war and has the determined support of Iran to thank for his position. In “Tehran Stands Atop the Syria-Iran Alliance,” author Danielle Pletka examines ties between Syria and Iran, the power relationship that has emerged, and the legacy it leaves for the next Syrian ruler.

     

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