The below article from National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations Distinguished International Affairs Fellow Dr. Nawaf Obaid was published by The Telegraph on June 29, 2015. In addition to his position at the National Council, Dr. Obaid is a Visiting Fellow and Associate Instructor at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs as well as a Senior Fellow at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies. The views expressed are his own.
Saudi Arabia is preparing itself in case Iran develops nuclear weapons
By Dr. Nawaf Obaid
June 29, 2015
(The Telegraph) As the June 30 deadline approaches for the P5+1 – a group of nations including the US, Russia and China – and Iran to complete a nuclear agreement, all signs seem to be pointing to the fact that Britain alongside the US and France seem to be caving in on some of their long-standing central demands. Foremost among these is that Iran must be transparent about the “possible military dimensions” (PMDs) of its nuclear program.
This means that the ultimate agreement could leave open the potential for Iran to weaponize its nuclear program and acquire and then possibly deploy a nuclear weapon. Such a scenario represents a state of extreme danger to multiple nations, but few more so than Saudi Arabia, which has long been Iran’s primary opponent in the Middle East power balance.
Saudi Arabia has for past several years been laying the groundwork for a civil nuclear program with no PMDs. However, there is a strong possibility that the Kingdom might begin to engage in contingency planning for a defensive nuclear program with PMDs. This planning represents an emerging Saudi nuclear defence doctrine.
On June 29, 2015, the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations and the U.S.-GCC Corporate Cooperation Committee hosted a public affairs briefing on “Yemen in Crisis: What Next?” in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC.
Featured specialists included Dr. Noel Brehony, Chair, Menas Associates, Former Chair, British Yemeni Society, and Author, Yemen Divided: The Story of a Failed State in South Arabia; Ms. Sama’a Al-Hamdani, Analyst and Writer, Yemeniaty, and former Assistant Political Officer, Embassy of the Republic of Yemen in Washington, DC; and Mr. Peter Salisbury, Journalist and Analyst, the Financial Times, The Economist, Vice News, and other publications, and former Consultant, Chatham House Yemen Forum. Dr. John Duke Anthony, Founding President and CEO, National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, and Member, U.S. Department of State Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy and Subcommittee on Sanctions, served as moderator and facilitator.
A video recording and a podcast of the program are available below. The podcast can also be found in iTunes along with recordings of other National Council programs: http://bit.ly/itunes-ncusar.
The below Op Ed from National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations Distinguished International Affairs Fellow Dr. Nawaf Obaid was published by CNN on June 20, 2015. It responds to a June 11, 2015 Op Ed by Fareed Zakaria published in The Washington Post, “Why Saudi Arabia can’t get a nuclear weapon.” In an effort to shed light on what Saudi Arabia might do in the event Iran were to produce a nuclear weapon, Zakaria alleged, among other things, that Saudi Arabian “incompetence” would prevent it from acquiring the necessary technology to do likewise. Dr. Obaid rebuts this view. In addition to his position at the National Council, Dr. Obaid is a Visiting Fellow and Associate Instructor at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs as well as a Senior Fellow at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies. The views expressed are his own.
Actually, Saudi Arabia could get a nuclear weapon
By Dr. Nawaf Obaid
June 20, 2015
(CNN) Now that the Obama administration has largely given up its resistance to Iran’s development of some kind of nuclear program, the Middle East is poised to see a change in the balance of power. As the Saudi Ambassador to the United Kingdom recently stated, should Iran acquire a nuclear weapon, “all options” could be on the table when it comes to the Saudi response. That could include an indigenous nuclear program. And although some commentators remain skeptical about the Kingdom’s ability to produce nuclear weapons, I would argue that it actually has the will and the ability to do so.
NATIONAL COUNCIL ON U.S.-ARAB RELATIONS EARNS CONTRIBUTION FROM ESSAM AND DALAL OBAID FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATIONAL EFFORTS
Washington, DC, USA & Geneva, Switzerland: The Washington, DC-based National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations (National Council) is pleased to announce it has been awarded a grant from the Essam and Dalal Obaid Foundation (EDOF) in support of the Council’s educational programs, projects, events, activities, and publications. EDOF, based in Geneva, Switzerland, seeks to make a difference in improving lives everywhere by fostering peace and dialogue among people. The unrestricted contribution will further the Council’s work to enhance American awareness, knowledge, and understanding of the Arab countries, the Mideast, and the Islamic world.
EDOF CEO Dr. Nawaf Obaid noted that, “We are delighted to support the educational mission of the National Council. The Council’s multifaceted efforts to promote Arab-U.S. relations are vital to building bridges of friendship, collaboration, and understanding.”
The National Council’s vision is a special relationship between the United States and its Arab partners, friends, and allies that rests on as solid and enduring a foundation as possible. The Council’s means for pursuing its vision encompass but are not limited to programs for Arab-U.S. leadership development, people-to-people exchanges, lectures, publications, an annual policymakers conference, and the participation of American students, faculty, armed forces officers, and other private and public sector foreign affairs practitioners in Arab world study experiences. As a public service, the Council also serves as an information clearinghouse and participant in national, state, and local grassroots outreach to media, public policy research institutes, and select community, civic, educational, business, and professional associations.
Dr. John Duke Anthony, Founding President and CEO of the National Council, remarked that, “The Council is proud to count EDOF among its supporters. The Foundation’s contribution will help the Council maintain and expand our U.S.-Arab relations leadership development and bridge-building educational efforts.”
About the Essam and Dalal Obaid Foundation: Founded in 2014 and based in Geneva, Switzerland, the Essam and Dalal Obaid Foundation is a global non-profit organization with a two-fold mission: medical work and social work. In terms of its medical work, the foundation supports medical research and care. In terms of social work, it supports the efforts of state and non-state entities in fostering peace and dialogue among people. More information about EDOF can be found at edof.org.
About the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations: Founded in 1983 and based in Washington, DC, USA, the Council is an American non-profit, non-governmental, educational organization dedicated to improving American knowledge and understanding of the Arab world, and to helping place and sustain the relationship on the firmest foundation and most mutually beneficial basis possible. Information about the Council’s programs, projects, events, activities, and publications can be found at ncusar.org.
The Carolinas Committee on U.S.-Arab Relations (CCUSAR), with Dr. Joe P. Dunn serving as Director, is an affiliate of the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations. Dr. Dunn is an alumni of the Malone Fellowship in Arab and Islamic Studies Program, the coordinator of the Southeast Model Arab League, and the faculty advisor heading the Converse College Model Arab League program. CCUSAR recently published its Spring 2015 “NEWSLINES” newsletter featuring:
- Dr. Dunn’s reflections on modernization and development in Qatar based on his fall 2014 visit through the National Council’s Model Arab League Qatar Exchange Fellowship.
- A travelogue and commentary from Dr. Thomas Doleys of Kennesaw State University, who also participated in the Council’s 2014 Model Arab League study visit to Qatar, about the delegation’s experiences.
- Thoughts from Converse College student Gabriella Chamberland about her experiences as a photographer during the Council’s 2014 Model Arab League study visit to Qatar.
- An article focusing on “Women in Saudi Arabia” by Converse College student Lauren Ziegler drawn from her experiences on a Council Model Arab League study visit to Saudi Arabia.
- Recaps from the 2015 Southeast and National MALs where Converse College won top delegation awards.
- Reviews of three books on the Islamic State group.
The full issue of CCUSAR’s Spring 2015 NEWSLINES is available for download through the link immediate below.
DOWNLOAD “CCUSAR NEWSLINES (Spring 2015)” (.pdf file)
NATIONAL COUNCIL ON U.S.-ARAB RELATIONS WELCOMES DR. NAWAF OBAID AS DISTINGUISHED INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS FELLOW AND MEMBER OF ITS INTERNATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Obaid Joins Collective of National Council Scholars and Advisors Contributing Analysis as well as Guiding U.S.-Arab Relations Educational Programs
Washington, DC: The National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations [ncusar.org], founded in 1983, is pleased to announce that Dr. Nawaf Obaid has been named a Distinguished International Affairs Fellow and also a member of the Council’s International Advisory Committee. While the Council’s International Advisory Committee does not formally govern the organization, its members make suggestions, recommendations, assist with the Council’s development objectives, and provide strategic support to the Council’s board of directors together with its president and chief executive officer.
In announcing the appointments, National Council Founding President and CEO Dr. John Duke Anthony said, “We are delighted to welcome Dr. Obaid to these two important positions within the Council. His insightful scholarship on Saudi Arabia’s strategic and geopolitical challenges and opportunities is vital to understanding the kingdom’s growing role in regional and world affairs. Dr. Obaid will be a valuable resource and advisor as we work to strengthen and expand the Council’s U.S.-Arab relations leadership development and bridge-building educational efforts.”
On May 22, 2015, Dr. Obaid delivered a presentation titled “Saudi Arabia Ascendant” at a National Council Congressional and public affairs briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The event, held in the Rayburn House Office Building, focused on “Leadership Changes in Saudi Arabia: What Implications for the Kingdom, the Region, and the U.S.?” Slides from Dr. Obaid’s presentation are available on the Council’s website: ncusar.org.
Dr. Obaid has been a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs since September 2012. He is also an Associate Instructor for the Harvard Study Group on the Rehabilitation of the Syrian Refugees and for the Winter Field Study Course in the Middle East. Additionally, Dr. Obaid is a Lecturer at the London Academy of Diplomacy at Stirling University and a Senior Fellow at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies. Further, he serves as the CEO of the Essam and Dalal Obaid Foundation.
From 2004 to 2007, Dr. Obaid was Special Advisor for Strategic Communications to HRH Prince Turki Al Faisal, while Prince Turki served as the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United Kingdom & Ireland, and then to the United States. From 2007 to 2011, Dr. Obaid worked with the Saudi Royal Court. Most recently, he served as Special Counselor to Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf, Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United Kingdom from 2011 to 2014.
About the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations: Founded in 1983 and based in Washington, DC, the National Council is an American non-profit, non-governmental, educational organization dedicated to improving American knowledge and understanding of the Arab world. Information about the Council’s program, projects, events, and activities can be found at ncusar.org.
On May 22, 2015, the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations and the U.S.-GCC Corporate Cooperation Committee hosted a public affairs briefing on “Leadership Changes in Saudi Arabia: What Implications for the Kingdom, the Region, and the U.S.?” in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC.
The featured specialist and presenter was Dr. Nawaf Obaid, Visiting Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University; Lecturer, London Academy of Diplomacy, Stirling University; and Senior Fellow, King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies. Dr. Obaid delivered a presentation titled “Saudi Arabia Ascendant.” National Council Founding President & CEO Dr. John Duke Anthony served as moderator and facilitator.
A podcast of the program and Dr. Obaid’s slide presentation are available below. The podcast can also be found in iTunes along with recordings of other National Council programs: http://bit.ly/itunes-ncusar.