July 1, 2015 – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Vienna, Austria.


Definitive Guide to the Iran Deal

August 3, 2015

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is one of the most consequential documents Congress will review.

Does it really block Iran's pathway to nuclear weapons? Does it help the United States better detect and deter future illegal Iranian nuclear activity? What are its strengths and weaknesses?

To help officials and policy makers answer these and related questions, the Belfer Center has published a balanced, independent assessment.

READ: “The Iran Nuclear Deal: A Definitive Guide” ›





August 2015

"Do States Delegate Shameful Violence to Militias? Patterns of Sexual Violence in Recent Armed Conflicts"

Journal of Conflict Resolution, issue 5, volume 59

By Dara Kay Cohen, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School and Ragnhild Nordas, Former Research Fellow, Initiative on Religion in International Affairs/International Security Program, 2008–2010

Existing research maintains that governments delegate extreme, gratuitous, or excessively brutal violence to militias. However, analyzing all militias in armed conflicts from 1989 to 2009, we find that this argument does not account for the observed patterns of sexual violence, a form of violence that should be especially likely to be delegated by governments. Instead, we find that states commit sexual violence as a complement to—rather than a substitute for—violence perpetrated by militias.



August 3, 2015

Paul Staniland, Former International Security Program Fellow, Wins Peter Katzenstein Book Prize

Former International Security Program Research Fellow Paul Staniland has been selected as the third annual winner of the Peter Katzenstein Book Prize for Outstanding First Book in International Relations, Comparative Politics, or Political Economy for Networks of Rebellion: Explaining Insurgent Cohesion and Collapse (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2014).



July 27, 2015

"The Iran Deal and a New US Strategy for the Middle East"

Just Security

By Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

With most commentary being focused on analyzing the technical requirement of the US and west’s agreement with Iran to curb its nuclear program, it’s also crucial to take on early the broader ramifications of the deal on Middle East stability. These observations are framed by four quotations from an op-ed piece published by Henry Kissinger and George Schultz in the Wall Street Journal in April 2015.

I believe the wise statesmen’s advice can help guide the formulation of US strategic objectives that should be pursued following the nuclear deal with Iran. Kissinger and Schultz suggest four over-arching tasks to take on as first order of business in tying broader US policy initiatives into the agreement.



July 30, 2015

"Militant Proliferation and the Consequences of Fragmentation"

Political Violence @ a Glance

By Evan Perkoski, Research Fellow, International Security Program

"Early in the civil war there were significant cases of peer fragmentation producing dozens of new organizations that shared similar goals. This included organizations like the Al-Qassas Army, the Revolutionary Army, Jaysh al-Islam, and many others....Instead of supporting many of these organizations, providing weapons and training to a wide range of moderates, the United States should have chosen to back a single peer to create unity since parity might actually increase outbidding behavior as groups seek to gain an advantage."



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<em>International Security</em>

The spring 2015 issue of the quarterly journal International Security
is now available!

  1. The Iran Nuclear Deal: A Definitive Guide
  2. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action
  3. Time for a U.S.-China Grand Bargain

"The closer we get to the end game, the more incentive he has to stretch it out."

Gary Samore, on the delayed disarmament process in Syria

The Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International affairs has been ranked the world's top University Affiliated Think Tank for 2014.

The annual ranking were issued by University of Pennsylvania’s Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program. More Info ›