William F. Wechsler

  • After Russian Air Defense Deal, Can Ankara and Washington Repair Their Relationship?

    The delivery of a Russian air defense system to Turkey has jeopardized the defense relationship between the United States and one of its most important NATO and regional allies.

    The first components of the Russian-built S-400 air defense system arrived in Ankara on July 12, according to the Turkish ministry of defense, beginning the fulfillment of an agreement Turkey signed with Russia in December 2017.


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  • William Wechsler quoted in the News of Bahrain: Security Threats Reviewed


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  • Can the United States and China Cooperate in the Middle East?

    While the United States and China grapple over trade, intellectual property rights, technology transfer, and geopolitical tensions in East Asia, open competition has not yet extended to the Middle East, a region where Washington remains a major player and Beijing has rapidly expanded its influence.

    “The story has not been written yet on the Middle East,” William Wechsler, director of the Atlantic Council’s Middle East programs, said on June 6. “There are a number of places where the United States’ and China’s interests align. And there are a number of places where the United States’ and China’s interests do not.”


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  • Event Recap: Can the United States and China Cooperate in the Middle East?

    This recap originally appeared in The New AtlanticistWatch the video.

    While the United States and China grapple over trade, intellectual property rights, technology transfer, and geopolitical tensions in East Asia, open competition has not yet extended to the Middle East, a region where Washington remains a major player and Beijing has rapidly expanded its influence.


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  • Senior Pentagon Official Warns of Moscow’s Ambitions in the Middle East

    Russia’s support for Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria is just the beginning of Moscow’s designs on the wider Middle East, Kathryn Wheelbarger, acting US assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, warned on May 30.

    “Syria is a prime example of Moscow’s efforts to influence world events for its own advantage and prestige in a manner that contributes nothing but additional instability to the region and beyond,” Wheelbarger said in remarks at the Atlantic Council in Washington. In addition to rebuffing US efforts to support the political opposition to Assad, Russia’s actions in Syria provided Moscow an “opportunity to reestablish its great power status in the region, assert its pragmatic brand of security cooperation and assistance, demonstrate and improve its military capabilities, and expand its access to hold NATO’s southern flank at risk,” she explained.


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  • Event Recap: Senior Pentagon Official Warns of Moscow’s Ambitions in the Middle East

    This recap originally appeared in The New Atlanticist. Watch the video

    Russia’s support for Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria is just the beginning of Moscow’s designs on the wider Middle East, Kathryn Wheelbarger, acting US assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, warned on May 30.


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  • Attacks on Saudi Oil Stations Raise Tensions in Volatile Gulf

    Drones purportedly flown by Houthi rebels in Yemen attacked Saudi oil pumping stations on May 14, creating a new flash point in a region already on edge over rising tensions between the United States and Iran.

    A Houthi military official claimed the group launched multiple attacks against “vital Saudi installations” using drones to deliver bombs. The Houthis have been fighting the Saudi-backed government in Yemen since 2015.


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  • Iran Withdraws From Certain Aspects of the Nuclear Agreement

    A year after the United States withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and six months after it re-imposed sanctions, Iran has said it would reduce its compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement in sixty days unless the remaining parties take concrete steps to continue trade with Iran. The decision was announced by President Hassan Rouhani in a televised speech on May 8. Rouhani said, “We felt that the nuclear deal needs a surgery and the painkiller pills of the last year have been ineffective … This surgery is for saving the deal, not destroying it.”

    The Iranian president warned that Europe has sixty days to prevent US sanctions from impacting Iran’s banking and oil sectors. The news was formally relayed to the remaining signatories of JCPOA: Britain,...

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  • Roundtable with Ouidad Bouchamaoui

    On Wednesday, April 10, the Atlantic Council’s Middle East Programs hosted a discussion with Nobel Laureate Ouidad Bouchamaoui for a roundtable discussion on Ms. Bouchamaoui’s experience during the Tunisian revolution, current affairs, and hopes for Tunisia’s future. The discussion, moderated by Atlantic Council Executive Vice President Damon Wilson, touched on how Libya’s conflict can potentially affect Tunisia’s security, the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections, and the role Ms. Bouchamaoui believes Tunisia should play in the region moving forward.


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  • United States Designates Iran's IRGC a Foreign Terrorist Organization

    The Trump administration on April 8 designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist organization—the first time a country’s military has received such a status.

    US President Donald Trump said in a statement that the designation “sends a clear message to Tehran that its support for terrorism has serious consequences.” The statement added that the Trump administration “will continue to increase financial pressure and raise the costs on the Iranian regime for its support of terrorist activity until it abandons its malign and outlaw behavior.”

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