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

IranSource

Nov 23, 2022

Drone sales to Russia spark a debate in Iran

By Javad Heiran-Nia

The revelation that Iran has sold drones to Russia that the latter is now using to attack Ukraine has touched off a debate about whether this growing closeness to Russia is in Iran’s national interest.

Europe & Eurasia Iran

MENASource

Nov 22, 2022

The Sudanese Bar Association drafted a transitional constitution. How can it be improved?

By Nasredeen Abdulbari and Mutasim Ali

The initiative demonstrates the importance of professional institutions and trade unions in bringing political organizations together and restoring the democratic transformation process. However, there are key issues that require further discussion and inclusion in the draft constitution.

Africa East Africa

IranSource

Nov 22, 2022

Iranians are knocking clerics’ turbans off. This isn’t an anti-religion act but an indirect tool for accountability.

By Shadi Sadr

This viral trend of #Turban_Throwing is not an attack against Islam as a religion and faith, but rather a stand against a regime that has used religious practices as a cover to commit unimaginable violence.

Iran Middle East

China-MENA Podcast

Nov 22, 2022

China-Israel Relations

By Atlantic Council

Assaf Orion joins us to discuss the complex Sino-Israeli relationship, Israel’s perspective on China’s Belt and Road Initiative, the Chinese-operated port of Haifa in Northern Israel, China’s meddling in Israeli domestic affairs and its role in the Israel-Palestine question, and Israel’s perspective on China’s grand strategy on MENA.

China East Asia

IranSource

Nov 18, 2022

Iran’s export of drones to Russia will lead to more proliferation and threaten US partners

By Seth J. Frantzman

Russia’s increasing use of Iranian drones in the war in Ukraine has spotlighted the danger that Iran’s drones pose globally and regionally.

Defense Technologies Europe & Eurasia

MENASource

Nov 16, 2022

The UAE just received twenty drones from Turkey. What’s the backstory?

By Ali Bakir

On September 21, Turkey reportedly delivered twenty of its Bayraktars to the UAE. A senior Turkish official confirmed that his country had delivered some drones and that Abu Dhabi was indeed seeking more.

Europe & Eurasia Middle East

MENASource

Nov 15, 2022

A moment of opportunity: Can the UN’s new special representative for Libya break the country’s cycle of devolution?

By Emadeddin Badi

After two months into the job, Abdoulaye Bathily may be quickly realizing that Libya’s war never abated, and that it is now simply fought by other means in the halls of the United Nations and corridors of foreign capitals.

Libya Middle East

MENASource

Nov 14, 2022

How a former al-Qaeda affiliate became an existential threat and a wake-up call for the Syrian opposition

By Ömer Özkizilcik

The entry and forced withdrawal of Afrin city by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) shook local dynamics and may ultimately serve as a wake-up call for the Syrian opposition.

Middle East Politics & Diplomacy

MENASource

Nov 10, 2022

How OPEC+ oil cuts accelerate China’s push for multipolarity in the Middle East

By Ahmed Aboudouh

The OPEC+ decision to cut oil production creates momentum and encourages China to accelerate the exploitation of the multipolar moment rising in the Middle East.

China East Asia

IranSource

Nov 10, 2022

The Hamid Noury conviction in Stockholm—a win for People’s Tribunals?

By Marilena Stegbauer

The former Iranian official’s conviction sends a powerful message: although the mills of justice may grind slowly, nobody can remain beyond the reach of justice forever.

Human Rights Iran