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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 a Senior Lecturer at the London Academy of Diplomacy at Stirling University, a Distinguished International Affairs Fellow at the National Council on U.S. Arab Relations 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 2015.

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

 

2016

Simsa; Flickr

January 25, 2016

"The truth about the Saudi executions"

Op-Ed, Al-Monitor

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

Saudi Arabia's execution of 47 accused terrorists on Jan. 2 drew extensive condemnation in the United States. Further, because four of the men executed were Shiites, including in particular Shiite religious leader Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, Saudi Arabia's embassy in Tehran and consulate general in Mashhad were stormed the same day and set ablaze by rioting Iranian Basij and others.

 

2015

Pixabay

December 22, 2015

"Why Saudis formed anti-terror coalition"

Op-Ed, CNN.com

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

Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi deputy crown prince and minister of defense, announced last week the formation of a kingdom-led, 34-state Islamic coalition to combat terrorism.

The statement from Riyadh cited "a duty to protect the Islamic nation from the evils of all terrorist groups and organizations, whatever their sect and name, which wreak death and corruption on earth and aim to terrorize the innocent." The major allied partners in the group include Pakistan, Nigeria, Turkey, Egypt, Malaysia and most of the Gulf Cooperation Council states.

 

 

Muhaidib

December 22, 2015

"Only Saudi Arabia can defeat Isis"

Op-Ed, The Guardian

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

As the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino show, Islamic State has achieved a global reach. No longer satisfied with terrorising large swaths of the Middle East, it is inspiring, recruiting, training and supplying terrorists to carry out murderous acts around the world.

 

 

commons.wikimedia.org

November 19, 2015

"Iran’s Syrian Power Grab and Saudi Arabia"

Op-Ed, Project Syndicate

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

RIYADH – Inviting Iran to the next round of talks on the Syria crisis in Vienna, Austria – an invitation that was reiterated last week – has far-reaching implications. In fact, Iran’s current government is attempting to overthrow a balance of power that has endured for some 1,400 years – and Saudi Arabia, as the cradle of the Muslim world, will not allow it.

 

 

October 5, 2015

"Opinion: Bashar al-Assad is Syria's problem, not its solution"

Op-Ed, CNN.com

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

"Arab states, led by Saudi Arabia, made clear during the U.N. General Assembly meeting this week that they will not cooperate with an emerging Russian military alliance geared toward defeating ISIS (which calls itself the Islamic State) and bolstering the Assad regime in Syria.

The recent Russian military moves -- far from leading to the defeat of the militant group -- have increased the risk that the Syrian conflict and the fight against ISIS will escalate into a full-blown proxy war."

 

 

September 6, 2015

"What will US-Saudi summit mean for Iranian policy in the Middle East?"

Op-Ed, Al-Monitor

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

In his first visit to the United States since assuming the throne, Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud met with US President Barack Obama to discuss various regional issues, foremost among them Iran’s destabilizing regional activities and the aftermath of the recent nuclear deal. The Saudi monarch was assured that the agreement prevents Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon through a robust inspections regime, and that there is a provision for a snapback of sanctions should the agreement be violated. But more broadly, the outcome of the meeting highlights and emphasizes Saudi Arabia’s continued efforts to counter and negate Iran’s influence in certain Arab countries.

 

 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

"The liberation of south Yemen proves Saudi Arabia's power is growing"

Op-Ed, The Telegraph

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

A recent string of successes by Saudi Arabia’s military against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen marks an important turning point in the development of the Kingdom’s emerging defense doctrine. Ever since the Obama administration embarked on ​its​ disastrous policy of rapprochement with Iran, Saudi Arabia has been working to establish a new defense posture whereby it can use its own military assets – not those of traditional allies like the US, UK or France - to defend its interests. Thus, when Iran attempted to overthrow the democratically elected government in Yemen, a key ally of Riyadh, Saudi-led forces were deployed.

 

 

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.

 
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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.