• IISS Voices

    Annabel Corser: Eliminating chemical weapons

    27 January 2015.  By Annabel Corser, Editorial Assistant The OPCW-UN Joint Mission in Syria drew to a close on 30 September 2014 and, as of October, 98.7% of Syrian chemical material has been destroyed. For Peter Sawczak (who heads the Government Relations and Political Affairs Branch of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) these successes are the latest indicators of the OPCW’s effectiveness and the value of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)...

  • Politics and Strategy

    Mark Fitzpatrick: Rouhani is keen to strike a nuclear deal

    06 January 2015.  Given the strength of hardliners in Iran and the red lines that have been laid down by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, I have been pessimistic about the prospects for a negotiated settlement to the nuclear crisis. In a good start to the new year, however, President Hassan Rouhani has threatened to go over their heads by putting the matter directly to the Iranian people. In an astonishing speech at...

  • Expert Commentary

    IISS in the Press

    05 January 2015.  After rapid advances, Isis may have staying power The Guardian, 26 December If 2014 can be described as the year of the Islamic State, it is a fair bet that the jihadi group Barack Obama has pledged to ‘degrade and ultimately destroy’ will continue to dominate headlines from the Middle East in 2015. Past investments and current oil interests mean the US has been prioritising Iraq over Syria. The dysfunctional Iraqi army, humiliated...

  • Strategic Comments

    Major exercise tests CTBT verification regime

    17 December 2014. 

    Held in Jordan in November, Integrated Field Exercise 2014 was a chance to test the efficacy of the verification regime that will support the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty when it comes into force.

  • Adelphi Books

    Chapter Two: Nuclear-weapons design and testing

    05 December 2014. 

    China’s emphasis on the development of a small number of large-yield thermonuclear weapons reflects the strategic rationale outlined by the head of China’s nuclear-weapons programme, Nie Rongzhen, in 1961.

  • Adelphi Books

    Chapter Three: China’s fissile-material production

    05 December 2014. 

    The availability of fissile material was from the outset a major factor shaping the pace and scope of Chinese nuclear-weapons deployments.

  • Strategic Comments

    North Korea: growing threat despite charm offensive

    25 November 2014. 

    North Korea poses an array of security threats to its neighbours and the wider world, and these threats continue to grow. But for a short period this autumn, North Korea appeared to be making efforts on nearly every front to improve its image.

  • Politics and Strategy

    Mark Fitzpatrick: I expect no Iran nuclear deal. I hope I’m wrong

    20 November 2014.  I do not expect that the talks in Vienna on the Iranian nuclear issue will produce a comprehensive agreement, at least not by the 24 November deadline. But I hope I am wrong about this. A deal that verifiably blocks all of Iran’s potential paths to a nuclear weapon – which is the only deal that the Western nations will accept ­– and that allows Iran to resume unfettered international...

  • Politics and Strategy

    Mark Fitzpatrick: Testing nuclear-test-ban treaty preparations

    17 November 2014.  Standing on a rocky hill on the banks of the Dead Sea, I heard a small thud, meant to simulate the tiny aftershocks of a nuclear test explosion. I was there on 15 November to observe one day of the largest-ever field exercise carried out by the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO). When the CTBT will come into effect is anybody’s guess. In the 18 years since...

  • IISS Voices

    Matthew Cottee: The 2016 Nuclear Security Summit – a bridge too far for Obama?

    12 November 2014.  By Matthew Cottee, Research Analyst, Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Programme In a serious setback to Barack Obama’s presidential legacy, last week Russia announced that it will boycott the final Nuclear Security Summit (NSS), an international gathering of world leaders convened to discuss how to prevent the threat of nuclear terrorism. The fourth iteration of the event, to be held in the United States in 2016, was apparently requested by Obama personally, despite...

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