About the center

The Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East examines the barriers preventing many people in the region from reaching their fullest potential. Our work also highlights success stories of individuals and institutions who overcame significant challenges in pursuit of social, economic, and political progress. Inspired by these examples, we delineate practical and implementable policy recommendations that policymakers in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East can implement to unleash the region’s economic and human potential.

Featured commentary & analysis

Featured in-depth research & reports



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.

Past events

Tue, Jun 9, 2020

A conversation with Iraq’s former foreign minister Dr. Mohamed Ali Alhakim

ONLINE EVENT — A discussion with Iraq’s most recent former Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Mohamed Ali Alhakim moderated by Atlantic Council Iraq Initiative Director Dr. Abbas Kadhim.


Wed, May 27, 2020

Drone attacks against critical infrastructure in the Middle East

ONLINE EVENT – The use of drones as weapons in the Middle East and North Africa has grown rapidly in recent years, especially as non-state actors from the Houthis in Yemen to militants in Syria seek to level the playing field. Often powered by widely available commercial technology, these systems present a real and present security challenge.


Thu, May 14, 2020

A conversation with Iraq’s former Electricity Minister H.E. Luay Al-Khatteeb

ONLINE EVENT – An online discussion with Iraq’s former Electricity Minister H.E. Dr. Luay Al-Khatteeb.


Wed, May 13, 2020

Counting the cost – avoiding another war between Israel and Hezbollah

ONLINE EVENT – Even as Lebanon and Israel grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, neither the Israeli military nor Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah are allowing the disease to distract from their long-running enmity. The Middle East Programs launches a new report, “Counting the Cost – Avoiding Another War between Israel and Hezbollah,” with an event featuring co-authors Nicholas Blanford and Brig. Gen. (Res.) Assaf Orion discussing these issues, the report’s findings, and recommendations for policymakers.


Thu, Apr 30, 2020

The future of Idlib and Syrian IDPs

ONLINE EVENT – US Special Representative for Syria Engagement and Special Envoy to the Global Coalition To Defeat ISIS Ambassador James F. Jeffrey and Turkish Presidential Spokesperson Ambassador İbrahim Kalın join the Atlantic Council IN TURKEY and Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East to discuss the future of Idlib and Syrian IDPs. The webinar will take place at 5:00 p.m. Turkey time / 10:00 am EDT.


Wed, Apr 29, 2020

What’s next for US-Iraq relations?

ONLINE EVENT – Nonresident Senior Fellow Dr. C. Anthony Pfaff discusses his new report that analyzes the current challenges in US-Iraq relations and presents policy recommendations.


Thu, Apr 9, 2020

Coronavirus and the Gulf economies

ONLINE EVENT – Discussion on how the Gulf states should respond to the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.


Thu, Mar 26, 2020

The Russian-Saudi oil war: $15 per barrel?

With increasing uncertainty about just how deep of a wound the novel coronavirus will inflict on the global economy, what will be the effect of a Russian-Saudi oil war?


Wed, Jan 15, 2020

Reflections on 25 years of US policy in the Middle East

The past three decades have seen massive US military and diplomatic engagements in the Middle East and events that will continue to shape the world for years to come. What are the lessons learned, and how is the United States positioned to meet its goals?

11:30am Washington DC

Mon, Dec 9, 2019

Emirates Mars Mission and the UAE Science and Technology Vision

On December 9, the Atlantic Council hosted H.E. Sarah Al Amiri, UAE Minister of State for Advanced Sciences, and Omar Sharaf, Project Manager for the Emirates Mars Mission, for a discussion of the UAE Science and Technology Vision and the latest developments in the Emirates Mars Mission.

9:00am Washington DC



Wed, Jul 29, 2020

Lipner in Haaretz: Baseless hatred? The assault on the Wexner Foundation as a case study

In the News

Hebrew Israel

Tue, Jul 28, 2020

Blanford quoted in Forbes on Israel and Hezbollah tension

In the News

Israel Middle East

Wed, Jul 22, 2020

Warrick in Newsweek: Homeland Security’s mission is to defend America, not a partisan agenda

In the News

Middle East Politics & Diplomacy

Mon, Jul 20, 2020

Badi quoted in the Washington Post on the Libya conflict

In the News

Libya Middle East

Sat, Jul 18, 2020

Qaddour quoted in Haaretz on UN humanitarian aid in Syria

In the News

Human Rights Middle East

Tue, Jul 14, 2020

COVID-19 could set back Mideast economies for years

The coronavirus pandemic is causing widespread suffering throughout the Middle East, but its long-term impact on the region’s economy and its vulnerable populations will be felt for years to come.

New Atlanticist by Larry Luxner

Coronavirus Middle East
An elevated view of Saudi Arabia

Wed, Jun 17, 2020

Assessing Saudi Vision 2030: A 2020 review

Executive summary When global oil prices collapsed in summer 2014, Saudi Arabia confronted one of the most daunting economic challenges of its modern history. Upon ascending to the throne the following year, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and his son Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud (now the crown prince) responded by developing an ambitious […]

In-Depth Research & Reports by Stephen Grand, Katherine Wolff

Economy & Business Energy Transitions

Mon, Mar 30, 2020

The coronavirus crisis highlights the unique challenges of North African countries

It is important to monitor the evolution of the coronavirus pandemic, its effects on each North Africa system, and the debate between government elites and masses to better understand the situation in these countries and the long-term implications of the health crisis.

MENASource by Karim Mezran, Alessia Melcangi, Emily Burchfield, and Zineb Riboua

Coronavirus Libya

Mon, Mar 23, 2020

Amid US uncertainty in Syria, Kurdish YPG eyes bolstering ties with Russia

The YPG leadership is said to be reassessing the strategic importance of its ties with what is an increasingly unreliable Washington, and is looking to further diversify its portfolio of international partners, with an eye toward strengthening ties with Russia.

MENASource by Matthew Ayton

Middle East Politics & Diplomacy

Mon, Mar 9, 2020

Pseudo diplomacy in Syria

For nine years the West has chosen, in the context of Syria, to deny real power to its diplomats and its diplomacy.

MENASource by Frederic C. Hof

Middle East Politics & Diplomacy