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  • Author: Robert M. Shelala II
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The waterways of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA region) are among the most important in the world. They facilitate the export of large volumes of oil and natural gas from the region, while also bridging traders in the Eastern and Western worlds through the Red Sea and Suez Canal. While political tensions in the region have at times played out in these waterways since the mid-20th century, their vulnerability has been exasperated in recent years by the failure of bordering governments to promote internal stability, the lack of adequate maritime security capabilities of nearby states, and the potential naval threats posed by the government of Iran.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, International Security, Military Strategy, Maritime Commerce
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Over the years since the formation of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Southern Gulf states and the US have developed a de facto strategic partnership based on a common need to deter and defend against any threat from Iran, deal with regional instability in countries like Iraq and Yemen, counter the threat of terrorism and extremism, and deal with the other threats to the flow of Gulf petroleum exports.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Defense Policy, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Yemen, Arabia, North America
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Far too much of the analysis of Iran's search for nuclear weapons treats it in terms of arms control or focuses on the potential threat to Israel. In reality, Iran's mix of asymmetric warfare, conventional warfare, and conventionally armed missile forces have critical weaknesses that make Iran anything but the hegemon of the Gulf. Iran's public focus on Israel also disguises the reality that its primary strategic focus is to deter and intimidate its Gulf neighbors and the United States – not Israel. It has made major progress in creating naval forces for asymmetric warfare and developing naval missiles, but it has very limited air-sea and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (IS) capabilities. It lacks modern conventional land, air, air defense and sea power, has fallen far behind the Arab Gulf states in modern aircraft and ships, and its land forces are filled with obsolete and mediocre weapons that lack maneuver capability and sustainability outside Iran. Iran needs nuclear weapons to offset these facts.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Bryan Gold, Chloe Coughlin-Schulte
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: US and Iranian strategic competition is heavily drive by four key factors–the success or failure of sanctions, the im0pact of that competition on the flow of Gulf energy exports, the success or failure of efforts to limit Iran's nuclear options and the broader prospect for arms control, and the prospects for accommodation of regime change. In recent years, the key variable has been ways in which sanctions on Iran have changed US and Iranian competition since the fall of 2011, and helped lead to a tentative set of Iranian agreements with the UN's P5+1--the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, namely United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, and France, plus Germany--in November 2013.
  • Topic: Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Economics, Oil, Regime Change, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, United Kingdom, Iran, Middle East, France, Germany
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Sam Khazai, Daniel Dewit
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The last active US combat forces left Iraq in August 2010, marking the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the beginning of Operation New Dawn. Some 49,000 advisory troops, four advisor assistance brigades, and a limited number of special operations forces (SOF) remained to train, advise, and assist Iraq's security forces after that date, including the military, intelligence, and police. Until the end, these US troops continued to serve a number of other important security functions: carrying out kinetic operations against Iranian-backed and other militant groups; providing training to the ISF; taking part in joint patrols along the borders of the Kurdish provinces and helping integrate ISF and Kurdish forces; and acting as a deterrent to Iraq's neighbors–in particular Iran.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Bryan Gold
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No single aspect of US and Iranian military competition is potentially more dangerous than the missile and nuclear dimensions, and the possibility Iran will deploy long-range, nuclear-armed missiles.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Alexander Wilner
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The most threatening form of US and Iranian competition takes place in the military and security arena. The areas where this competition now gets primary attention are the nuclear and missile arena, and Iranian threats to “close the Gulf.” US and Iranian tensions over Iran's nuclear program have grown steadily over the years. They now threaten to reach the crisis point as Iran produces highly enriched uranium and develops all of the technology necessary to produce nuclear weapons, and as US, European, and UN sanctions become steadily stronger.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Oil, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Iran, Middle East, United Nations
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Khalid R. Al-Rodhan
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: There is no way to know what strategy Iran will choose in the future, or how the international community will respond. Iran's possible efforts to acquire nuclear weapons are an ongoing test of the entire process of arms control and the ability limit nuclear proliferation. At the same time, they raise critical issues about how Iran might use such weapons and the security of the Gulf region -- an area with more than 60% of the world's proven conventional oil reserves and some 37% of its gas.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Khalid R. Al-Rodhan
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: There is no simple or reliable way to characterize Iran's ability to acquire weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them. Iran is clearly attempting to acquire long-range ballistic missiles and cruise missiles, but it has never indicated that such weapons would have chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) warheads. Iran has never properly declared its holdings of chemical weapons, and the status of its biological weapons programs is unknown.
  • Topic: Security, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Despite the June 2000 summit meeting and meetings between high level U.S. and North Korean officials on the one hand, and economic turmoil and continued food shortages on the other, we believe North Korea remains committed to maintaining strong military forces. These forces continue to be deployed close to the border with South Korea in an offensively oriented posture, and North Korea's NBC and missile programs likely remain key components of its overall security strategy. The most likely large- scale regional war scenario over the near term, which would involve the United States, would be on the Korean peninsula. In recent years, North Korea has continued to pose a complex security challenge to the United States and its allies. Prior to the 1994 Agreed Framework, North Korea is believed to have produced and diverted sufficient plutonium for at least one, and possibly two, nuclear weapons. In addition, although North Korea froze the production of plutonium in 1994, there are concerns that North Korea is continuing with some elements of a nuclear weapons program. North Korea also possesses stockpiles of chemical weapons, which could be used in the event of renewed hostilities on the peninsula. Research and development into biological agents and toxins suggest North Korea may have a biological weapons capability. North Korea has hundreds of ballistic missiles available for use against targets on the peninsula, some of which are capable of reaching tar-gets in Japan. Its missile capabilities are increasing at a steady pace, and it has progressed to producing medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs). North Korea also has continued development of even longer-range missiles that would be able to threaten areas well beyond the region, including portions of the continental United States. As a result of U.S. diplomatic efforts, however, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has maintained a moratorium on launches of long-range missiles for over one year.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Korea