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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 the CEO of the Essam & Dalal Obaid Foundation (EDOF) and a Senior Fellow at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies.

Currently, he is the Special Counselor to Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf, the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

From 2004 to 2007, he 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) and the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS).

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 of Government. He began his doctoral coursework at MIT's Political Science Department and completed an MPhil & DPhil at the Department of War Studies at King's College, London University.

 

 

By Date

 

2014

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, 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.

 

 

May 27, 2014

A Saudi Arabian Defense Doctrine

Paper

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

Far from being a fragile state, Saudi Arabia has in recent years consolidated its place as Arab leader, regional stabilizer, and critical bulwark against terrorism and a nuclear Iran. The Kingdom’s growing security responsibilities require rapid and substantial military investments. In this paper, Nawaf Obaid, visiting fellow at the Belfer Center, outlines a comprehensive Saudi Arabian Defense Doctrine and explains why the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is likely to double down on defense and national security capabilities in the next five years.

 

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.

 

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