What to Do about Russia’s Rising Profile in the Middle East

November 29, 2016 - 9:30 am

Atlantic Council, 1030 15th Street NW
Washington, DC

What to Do about Russia’s Rising Profile in the Middle East

A conversation with:
Anna Borshchevskaya
Ira Weiner Fellow
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Thomas Cunningham
Deputy Director, Global Energy Center
Atlantic Council

Alireza Nader
Senior International Policy Analyst

Aaron Stein
Senior Fellow, Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East
Atlantic Council

Introduced and Moderated by:
Barbara Slavin
Acting Director, Future of Iran Initiative
Atlantic Council

Russia’s dramatic intervention in the Syrian civil war, expanding military relationship with Iran and overtures to long-time U.S. partners such as Egypt and Turkey present a new challenge to American leadership in a vital and conflict-ridden part of the world.

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Atlantic Council
1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor (West Tower Elevator) 

Washington, DC 

This event is open to press and on the record.


Anna Borshchevskaya is the Ira Weiner Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, focusing on Russia's policy toward the Middle East.  In addition, she is a fellow at the European Foundation for Democracy and was previously with the Peterson Institute for International Economics and the Atlantic Council. A former analyst for a U.S. military contractor in Afghanistan, she has also served as communications director at the American Islamic Congress. Her analysis is published widely in journals such as The New Criterion, Turkish Policy Quarterly, and the Middle East Quarterly, and she also conducts translation and analysis for the U.S. Army's Foreign Military Studies Office and its flagship publication, Operational Environment Watch, and writes a foreign affairs column for Forbes. She is the author of a recent monograph, Russia in the Middle East: Motives, Consequences, Prospects. 


Thomas Cunningham is deputy director of the Global Energy Center at the Atlantic Council. He joined the council following a thirteen-year career at the US Department of State, where he most recently served as energy diplomacy team lead for Europe at the Bureau of Energy Resources (August 2013 to May 2016). In that role he advised the special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs and other senior US government officials on the intersection of energy and foreign policy in Europe and had lead department responsibility for organizing meetings of the US-EU Energy Council. He has also served in the Bureaus of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, European and Eurasian Affairs, Economic and Business Affairs, and Diplomatic Security and worked on climate and energy legislation in the US Senate as a Brookings Legislative Fellow in 2009.  


Alireza Nader is a senior international policy analyst at the RAND Corporation. His research has focused on Iran's political dynamics, elite decision-making, and Iranian foreign policy. His commentaries and articles have appeared in a variety of publications and he is widely cited by the U.S. and international media. He is the author of The Days After a Deal With Iran: Continuity and Change in Iranian Foreign Policy. He’s currently working on a paper on potential challenges to the nuclear agreement from within Iran. 


Aaron Stein is a resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. His research interests include US-Turkey relations, Turkish foreign policy, the Syrian conflict, nonproliferation, and the Iranian nuclear program. He was previously a doctoral fellow at the Geneva Center for Security Policy, an associate fellow for the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), and a researcher with the Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM). He also worked as a consultant for the International Crisis Group in Istanbul and has published articles and reports on Turkey's nuclear capabilities and Turkish elections.