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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 Science and International Affairs since September 2012. He is also 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. He is also 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.

Currently, he serves as the CEO of the Essam and Dalal Obaid Foundation (EDOF).

From 2004 to 2007, he was Special Advisor for Strategic Communications to Prince Turki Al Faisal, while Prince Turki was the Saudi Ambassador to the United Kingdom & Ireland, and then the United States. And from 2007 to 2011, he worked with the Saudi Royal Court. Most recently, he served as the Special Counselor to Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf, Saudi ambassador to the United Kingdom from 2011 to 2014.

He has been a Research Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) and the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS).

He has a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service and has a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. He began his doctoral coursework at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Political Science Department and completed a Master & Doctorate in War Studies from the Department of War Studies at King's College, London University.

 

 

By Date

 

2015

DoD

Monday, June 29, 2015

"Saudi Arabia is preparing itself in case Iran develops nuclear weapons"

Op-Ed, The Telegraph

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

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.

 

 

Pixabay

June 23, 2015

"A Saudi Nuclear Weapon?"

Op-Ed, CNN.com

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

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.

 

 

May 5, 2015

"Saudi Arabia is emerging as the new Arab superpower"

Op-Ed, The Telegraph

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

In the past month Saudi Arabia has put together a coalition of 12 countries and launched a massive military campaign, dubbed Decisive Storm, to counter the advances of the Houthi rebels in Yemen and roll back their attempted takeover of the country.

 

 

March 26, 2015

A new generation of Saudi leaders - and a new foreign policy

Op-Ed, Washington Post

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

Just two months after the passing of King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia’s extensive intervention in Yemen on Thursday should serve notice to the world that a major generational shift underway in the kingdom is sure to have far-reaching geopolitical ramifications.

 

2014

December 17, 2014

"Why Opec is increasingly irrelevant"

Op-Ed, Financial Times

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

When the Saudis, the leaders of Opec, decided at the cartel’s recent meeting in Vienna to maintain their oil production levels, it sent a strong message to the world: the market, not Opec, should decide oil prices. As a result, oil prices dropped, falling below $60 per barrel this week.

 

 

(AP Photo)

December 2, 2014

"Determinants of a New Saudi Oil Policy"

Op-Ed, Reuters

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

After OPEC's announcement last week that it would not be cutting production, oil prices fell dramatically. Given the significant global oversupply due to the U.S. shale oil boom and decreased demand in China and Europe, this decision marks an historical moment in which OPEC relinquishes its supply-based approach to price manipulation and embraces a market-based approach. Wisely, the organization has shown that it is aware it can no longer dictate oil prices by attempting to control the market.

As the leader of OPEC, Saudi Arabia is the engineer of this new approach. Indeed, at the OPEC summit the kingdom blocked calls from OPEC and non-OPEC producers, such as Russia, Venezuela, Mexico and Iran, who were urging production cuts in the hopes of raising prices in order to stabilize their oil revenues. It is important to understand why Saudi Arabia is so staunchly advocating this new market-based approach.

 

 

AP

October 2, 2014

"A Saudi view on the Islamic State"

Op-Ed, European Council on Foreign Relations

By Nawaf Obaid, Visiting Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Saud Al-Sarhan

As the threat posed by the Islamic State (IS) grows greater and ever more sinister, Saudi Arabia stands at the front line of the battle against these extremists. Saudi Arabia is adamant that it has unique knowledge, expertise, and legitimacy to effectively lead the effort to defeat IS. The country’s guardianship of the two holy mosques in Mecca and Medina underpins Saudi credibility in pushing back against the misguided interpretation of the Islamic faith that IS is now propagating in the heart of the Arab world.

 

 

September 8, 2014

"The Saudis Can Crush ISIS"

Op-Ed, The New York Times

By Nawaf Obaid, Visiting Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Saud Al-Sarhan

As ISIS continues to grow, many commentators have been pointing to Saudi Arabia as the source of the group, and most assume that the United States is the only force that can stop it. Both of these assertions are incorrect.

Saudi Arabia is not the source of ISIS, it’s the group’s primary target.

 

 

June 23, 2014

"Why Saudi Arabia Needs a New Defense Doctrine"

Op-Ed, CNN.com

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

It’s hard to overstate the implications of the unfolding violence in Iraq for the prospects of stability in the Arab world. As tribal and Baathist opponents of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s regime have joined with the jihadis of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria to seize major Sunni urban centers such as Mosul, the Iraqi army has simply melted away, consistently failing to offer even nominal resistance.

 

 

June 3, 2014

Saudi Arabia Shifts to More Assertive Defense Strategy

Op-Ed, Al-Monitor

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

In the wake of the so-called Arab Spring of 2011, the political landscape has shifted dramatically in the Middle East and the wider Arab world. Many Arab countries — primarily Syria, Libya and Yemen — continue to face civil war, social unrest and governmental disarray. Even Egypt, Tunisia and Bahrain still continue to face civil disobedience by organized groups using terror to achieve their objectives. Directly in the midst of this turmoil sits Saudi Arabia, internally immune to such chaos, yet facing a long and developing list of regional issues as it takes up the security mantle of responsibility for an Arab world that is staring into the abyss of war and destruction.

 
Events Calendar

We host a busy schedule of events throughout the fall, winter and spring. Past guests include: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former Vice President Al Gore, and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.