Middle East Programs

Through our Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative, the Atlantic Council works with allies and partners in Europe and the wider Middle East to protect US interests, build peace and security, and unlock the human potential of the region.

Meet our blogs

All commentary & analysis


Jan 21, 2022

The Biden administration’s Syria policy sets a path towards disengagement. Here’s why it’s problematic.

By Abdulrahman al-Masri, Reem Salahi

It appears that the Joe Biden administration isn’t only deprioritizing Syria due to a cramped foreign policy agenda, but more clearly pronouncing a lack of strategic interest and an official approach of disengagement.

Middle East Politics & Diplomacy


Jan 20, 2022

Under Ebrahim Raisi, Iran and Turkey may be entering a new phase of bilateral ties

By Hossein Aghaie Joobani

While Iran and Turkey may have too many geopolitical differences, both are expected to maintain their compartmentalization strategy so that divergences of interests at the regional level do not irreparably harm the core of bilateral relations.

Europe & Eurasia Iran


Jan 18, 2022

Is the GCC ready to embrace sustainable finance?

By Dominik Treeck, Mustafa Domanic, and Hendrik Wittrock

To avoid falling behind on their grand economic growth ambitions, Gulf Cooperation Council countries should act decisively by putting sustainable finance policies at the top of their agendas.

Economy & Business Energy & Environment

New Atlanticist

Jan 14, 2022

Germany has sentenced a Syrian colonel to life for crimes against humanity. Will others face the same fate?

Now that Anwar Raslan is behind bars, activists are hoping his conviction paves the way for other bad actors of the Syrian regime to be prosecuted.

Conflict International Norms


Jan 14, 2022

Where is the United States? Military basing and energy are the real prizes in Libya.

By Matthew Zais

It wasn’t a surprise to many that Libya’s long-awaited elections were postponed. As the elections approached, fundamental rules over presidential powers, who was allowed to be a candidate, and election enforcement mechanisms remained unclear.

Elections Libya


Jan 11, 2022

Who’s on Iran’s current nuclear negotiating team? Some have controversial pasts.

By Mehrzad Boroujerdi

As nuclear talks in Vienna continue their halting progress, a look at the backgrounds of the key members of the Iranian negotiating team may help explain why it has been so difficult to revive the 2015 JCPOA.

Iran Middle East


Jan 7, 2022

I’m the former foreign minister of Yemen. My country is starving and needs the international community’s help.

By Khaled H. Alyemany

The situation in Yemen cannot be permitted to continue on its current trajectory. The international community must act immediately to remedy its issues and change the country’s course from disaster to diplomacy.

Conflict Middle East


Jan 4, 2022

There’s talk of a military option against Iran. Here’s why it’s unlikely.

By Abbas Qaidari

Could Iran’s program be contained by a military attack? And what would be the consequences in terms of collateral damage and regional instability?

Iran Middle East

New Atlanticist

Dec 23, 2021

A multipolar world requires more adaptive US security thinking

By R. Clarke Cooper

Washington must carefully foster its partnerships and spark a level of defense innovation to keep itself and its partners truly secure.

Defense Industry Defense Policy

Event Recap

Dec 22, 2021

Libya’s long road to elections: ‘Unity cannot be a byproduct of a broken system’

By Yaseen Rashed

On December 17, the Atlantic Council’s North Africa Initiative held a panel discussion on “Libya: The long road to elections” on the democratic process in Libya, analyzing shortcomings and failures that threaten to derail the set election timeline.

Elections Libya