Troubled Waters: A Snapshot of Security Challenges in the Mediterranean Region

Troubled Waters: A Snapshot of Security Challenges in the Mediterranean Region. RAND Corporation. James Black et al. January 25, 2017.

The US, EU and NATO continue to maintain a significant military presence in and around the Mediterranean, but military capabilities must be nested within a whole-of-government, international approach. The challenges in this region demand unprecedented levels of civil-military and intergovernmental cooperation. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 35 pages, 1.04 MB].

For Now, Putin Struts on the World Stage

For Now, Putin Struts on the World Stage. YaleGlobal. Thomas Graham. September 19, 2013.

The crisis over the use of chemical weapons in Syria has offered an opportunity for a diplomatic initiative that Russian President Vladimir Putin has grasped with both hands. The result, writes Thomas Graham, has been to bring Russia center stage in Middle East diplomacy. For years, Putin has criticized the U.S. for its hegemonic designs and violating sovereignty of states in the name of humanitarian intervention, but has received scant support. Russia hopes that the planned elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons will open the path to a negotiated settlement, strengthening its position in the Middle East. While his success is not assured, Putin’s decisive and deft diplomacy has brought Russia back to the world stage. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Syria’s Chemical Weapons: Issues for Congress

Syria’s Chemical Weapons: Issues for Congress. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congree. Mary Beth D. Nikitin et al. September 12, 2013.

Syria has produced, stored, and weaponized chemical agents, but it remains dependent on foreign suppliers for chemical precursors. The regime of President Bashar al Asad possesses stocks of nerve (sarin, VX) and blister (mustard gas) agents, possibly weaponized into bombs, shells, and missiles. The government also has associated production facilities. Chemical weapons and their agents can deteriorate depending on age and quality; little is known from open sources about the current condition of the stockpile. Syria continues to attempt to procure new supplies of chemical weapons precursors, which are dual-use, through front companies in third countries. Most countries that have had chemical weapons arsenals in the past have destroyed, or are in the process of destroying, these weapons under the Chemical Weapons Convention. The U.S. intelligence community cites Iran, North Korea, and Syria as having active chemical weapons programs. The use or loss of control of chemical weapons stocks in Syria could have unpredictable consequences for the Syrian population and neighboring countries, as well as U.S. allies and forces in the region.

[PDF format, 29 pages, 353.13 KB]