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Nawaf Obaid

Nawaf Obaid

Visiting Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Contact:
Email: nawafobaid@aol.com

 

Experience

Nawaf Obaid is a visiting fellow at the Belfer Center for 2013-2014.

Currently, he is a counselor to both Prince Mohammad bin Nawaf, Saudi ambassador to the United Kingdom, and Prince Turki Al Faisal, who served as Saudi ambassador to the United States and was the longtime director of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence service. 

From 2004 to 2007, he was was Special Advisor for National Security Affairs to Prince Turki Al Faisal while Prince Turki was the Saudi Ambassador to the United Kingdom & Ireland, and then the United States. He has been a research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), and the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh.

He is a graduate of Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and has a Masters in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. He began his doctoral work at MIT's Political Science Department and is currently completing work on his Doctorate of Philosophy in War Studies at London University (King’s College).

 

 

By Date

2013

(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

December 30, 2013

"Saudi Arabia's Gulf Union project includes military dimension"

Op-Ed, Al-Monitor

By Nawaf Obaid, Visiting Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

The inherent underpinning of Saudi Arabia’s emerging foreign policy doctrine is based on a clear and studied strategic posture that promotes economic stability and political security to counter and neutralize the upheavals that are tearing the Muslim and Arab worlds apart. This new proactive approach to international and regional affairs was clearly seen by the recent announcement of Nizar Obaid Madani, Saudi Arabia’s minister of state for foreign affairs, of the planned creation of the Gulf Union out of what is now known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). This is the first and most important of the pillars on which the kingdom will base its new approach to the international scene to consolidate its central standing in the Middle East and beyond.

 

 

November 22, 2013

Nawaf Obaid on "A New Assertive Saudi Arabia"

News

By Nawaf Obaid, Visiting Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Nawaf Obaid spoke at the European Council on Foreign Relations on November 22, 2013 about "A New Assertive Saudi Arabia."

To hear Obaid's comments during the ECFR event, click here.

 

 

U.S. Department of State

November 22, 2013

What West gets wrong about Saudi Arabia

Op-Ed, CNN.com

By Nawaf Obaid, Visiting Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Recent discussion in the wake of Saudi Arabia's refusal to accept a nonpermanent seat on the U.N. Security Council has prompted bewilderment – and renewed questions about the Kingdom’s foreign policy. Yet accusations of irresponsibility are inaccurate and misleading. Indeed, despite the criticisms leveled by commentators including Fareed Zakaria on these very pages, the fundamentals of Saudi foreign policy have not changed in decades, and are based on consistent and clear foundations.

 

 

Associated Press

October 24, 2013

"Saudi Arabia Gets Tough on Foreign Policy"

Op-Ed, Washington Post

By Nawaf Obaid, Visiting Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Last week, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry announced that the kingdom would not join the U.N. Security Council until the council “reformed so it can effectively and practically perform its duties and discharge its responsibilities in maintaining international security and peace.” Although this decision stemmed from Saudi frustration over the council’s failure to end the civil war in Syria and to act on the issue of Palestinian statehood, there is more to the rejection. Saudi Arabia opting out of a temporary position in an international forum is a sign of things to come as the kingdom pursues a new, and assertive, foreign policy.

 

 

(AP Photo/Oli Scarff, Pool)

October 17, 2013

"Saudi Arabia Shifts to More Activist Foreign Policy Doctrine"

Op-Ed, Al-Monitor

By Nawaf Obaid, Visiting Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

RIYADH — Something quite significant, yet little reported, occurred at the annual UN General Assembly in September. The Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, had been scheduled to address the assembly on Oct. 7, but on short notice he announced that he would not be delivering his country's message. The reasons were clearly the kingdom's shock at the weak global response to the enormous tragedy unfolding in Syria, due to a dysfunctional and inept UN Security Council, as well as the continued inattention to the issue of Palestinian statehood.

 

 

(AP Photo)

September 16, 2013

"Syria Tragedy A Turning Point for West"

Op-Ed, CNN.com

By Nawaf Obaid, Visiting Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Jamal Khashoggi

While the U.S. media spends countless hours discussing the vagaries of American non-involvement in Syria, little is being said about the conflict's ramifications for the stability, borders and realpolitik of the Middle East – or the changing role of outside nations in the region's affairs. Yet there are massive, historic and intensely important implications that we need to understand. Indeed, the Syrian civil war is but a catalyst for numerous shifts taking place in the regional and global power structure.

 

 

(AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

September 8, 2013

"The Arab D-Day"

Op-Ed, New York Times

By Nawaf Obaid, Visiting Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Jamal Khashoggi

Most Arab states are intricately engaged with, deeply repulsed by, or historically linked to the events in Syria; as a bloc, they possess the military, diplomatic and financial might necessary to carry out and complete the task; and no group of nations can lend more legitimacy to an armed intervention. Many Arabs across the Middle East and North Africa believe that their governments must now assume the solemn mantle of collective leadership for the sake of the Syrian people.

Given the overwhelming evidence of the Assad regime’s extreme, unrelenting brutality, a peaceful transition appears highly unlikely. Force must be used.

 

 

April 25, 2013

"The Collapsing Arab State"

Op-Ed, Project Syndicate

By Nawaf Obaid, Visiting Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

The so-called Arab Spring generated a wave of hope among those fighting or advocating for democratization of the Arab world’s authoritarian regimes. Now, following leadership changes in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen, and with a brutal civil war raging in Syria and increasingly fraught conditions in Bahrain, Sudan, Jordan, and Iraq, there is much talk of a major shift – and hope for improvement – in the nature and prospects of the Arab state.

 

 

AP Images

March 2013

"The Long Hot Arab Summer"

Paper

By Nawaf Obaid, Visiting Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

"The so-called Arab Spring has ushered in a great deal of hope that a number of Arab states might begin to develop and engender more socially responsive, economically prosperous and politically progressive indigenous conditions," writes Nawaf Obaid.

"Unfortunately, in the nine Arab nations I analyze here -Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, Sudan, Jordan and Iraq - this does not seem to be the case. Indeed, one might say that some or all of these nations are far worse off than they were before their social upheavals."

 

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