Our inspiration

The Atlantic Council’s work on social, economic and human development issues in the Middle East honors the legacy of Rafik Hariri and his life’s mission to unlock the human and economic potential of the Arab world.

The Atlantic Council’s work on Middle East security honors the legacy of Brent Scowcroft and his tireless efforts to build a new security architecture for the region.

Countries & Sub-regions in Focus

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Our blogs feature thoughtful reflections and opinions on current events in the Middle East & North Africa.

Our reports feature policy-relevant analysis that focuses on transatlantic priorities while centering the concerns of citizens in the Middle East.

Leadership

Upcoming Events

We convene the most important stakeholders on issues of primary concern to the transatlantic community when it comes the Middle East and North Africa, from senior US and Middle East government officials to civil society activists and budding entrepreneurs.

Thu, Jan 28, 2021

The complexities of unraveling US sanctions and returning to the JCPOA

Online Event A new paper written by Brian O’Toole, discusses the complexities of sanctions relief in particular and the prospects for US diplomacy with Iran under the Biden administration.

12:00pm Arms Control Economic Sanctions Economy & Business Iran

Thu, Feb 4, 2021

Exploring innovative measures to map and mitigate illicit weapon transfers

Online Event A discussion of illicit conventional weapon flows and mechanisms to combat them, using lessons drawn from a new analysis of the materiel procurement network of militants operating in Bahrain.

12:00pm Iran Middle East Security & Defense Weapons Trafficking

Past events

Fri, Jan 8, 2021

Kazakhstan’s repatriation of foreign fighters and their families

Online Event As one of the main sources of foreign fighters for the conflict in Syria and Iraq, Central Asia now faces the security and humanitarian challenge of repatriating foreign fighters and their families. What was behind Kazakhstan’s decision to repatriate its citizens, and what can other countries learn from Kazakhstan’s progress?

9:00am Central Asia Conflict Human Rights International Norms

Mon, Dec 21, 2020

Global litigation strategies to close the accountability gap on human rights violators in Iran

Gissou Nia and a panel of litigators—Haydee Dijkstal, Amanda Ghahremani, Scott Gilmore—discussed the tools through which the perpetrators of gross human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) can be held accountable in the United States, Europe, and Canada.

Event Recaps by Lucy Grathwohl

Human Rights Middle East

Tue, Nov 17, 2020

A conversation with Careem Co-Founder and CEO Mudassir Sheikha

Online Event A conversation with Careem Co-Founder and CEO Mudassir Sheikha about entrepreneurship in the Middle East.

7:30am Economy & Business Entrepreneurship Middle East Technology & Innovation

Sign up to receive invitations to public events on issues related to the Middle East and North Africa.



Experts

Content

Mon, Jan 25, 2021

Iran’s hardliners think Biden might hurt their June presidential election strategy

Hardliners had hoped that Donald Trump’s re-election would help them to oust the reformist and moderate candidates in June’s presidential election. Now hardliners are concerned that the new US administration will destroy their plans.

IranSource by Saeid Jafari

Iran Middle East

Mon, Jan 25, 2021

Region’s economies will benefit from Gulf-Qatar deal

The embargo had a significant negative impact on Qatar’s economy first and foremost, but it also had indirect consequences across the Gulf, and these were ultimately in part responsible for the decision to bring the dispute to a close.

MENASource by Tim Fox

Middle East The Gulf

Thu, Jan 21, 2021

What MENA leaders should expect from the Biden administration

MENA governments should pay careful attention to shifting priorities and policy agendas if they aim to maintain or improve relations with Washington.

MENASource by David Mack

Middle East

Wed, Jan 20, 2021

Fragmentation and perceived bias: The shortcomings of US policy towards tribes in Syria

The fragmentation and divisions that plague the Arab tribal population in northeastern Syria played a major role in the US’s decision not to rely primarily on tribal auxiliaries in its fight against ISIS.

MENASource by Haian Dukhan and Ammar Alhamad

Middle East Syria

Tue, Jan 19, 2021

Does Russia really want a US return to the Iran deal?

The Kremlin has also backed European efforts to save the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action since the US’s unilateral withdrawal from the deal in 2018. Below the surface, however, Russia’s views may be more complicated and ambivalent.

IranSource by Arman Mahmoudian and Giorgio Cafiero

Iran Middle East

Tue, Jan 19, 2021

It’s a mumz world

In Season 1, Episode 2 of empowerME Conversations podcast, host Amjad Ahmad interviews Mumzworld Founder and CEO Mona Ataya about what it takes to be an entrepreneur, how the Middle East’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is radically changing, her company’s biggest policy pain points, and the future of customer personalization to the power of one.  Key Takeaways 0:00 Intro0:41 […]

empowerME Conversations by Atlantic Council

Economy & Business Middle East

Tue, Jan 19, 2021

Lipner quoted in the New York Times on Biden’s US-Israel policy

In the News

Democratic Transitions Israel

Fri, Jan 15, 2021

Why immunity for MBS should be off the table

American laws that allow for rogue royal princes like MBS to be held accountable for gross human rights violations, such as extrajudicial killing and torture, protect Americans and American values.

MENASource by Michael Eisner and Jack Steele

Middle East The Gulf

Thu, Jan 14, 2021

Rejoining the Iran nuclear deal: Not so easy

President-elect Joe Biden takes office on January 20, 2021, facing a litany of daunting foreign policy issues, from another massive cyber hack by Russian intelligence to alienated allies in Europe and beyond to a regime in Pyongyang that continues to proliferate weapons of mass destruction unchecked. But perhaps the stickiest—and most immediate—crisis the Biden administration […]

Issue Brief by Brian O’Toole

Economic Sanctions Economy & Business

Thu, Jan 14, 2021

Advice to Iran as a new administration takes over the White House

The end of the Donald Trump era and the beginning of the Joe Biden one offer Iran and its neighbors the best opportunity they have had in years to ease conflict and tension and boost prosperity.

IranSource by Barbara Slavin

Iran Middle East

Events

Thu, Jan 28, 2021

The complexities of unraveling US sanctions and returning to the JCPOA

Online Event A new paper written by Brian O'Toole, discusses the complexities of sanctions relief in particular and the prospects for US diplomacy with Iran under the Biden administration.

12:00pm Arms Control Economic Sanctions Economy & Business Iran

Thu, Feb 4, 2021

Exploring innovative measures to map and mitigate illicit weapon transfers

Online Event A discussion of illicit conventional weapon flows and mechanisms to combat them, using lessons drawn from a new analysis of the materiel procurement network of militants operating in Bahrain.

12:00pm Iran Middle East Security & Defense Weapons Trafficking

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