Crisis in the Gulf

The United States’ assassination of top Iranian military official Qasem Soleimani has further escalated tensions in the Gulf following a year of provocations—including drone attacks, ship seizures, and attacks and protests in Iraq—that threaten to destabilize the region and trigger wider conflict. Read the latest Atlantic Council work on the developing crisis in the Gulf and wider US-Iranian tensions.

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Featured commentary & analysis

Featured in-depth research & reports


Past events

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?

ONLINE EVENT – 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?


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



Tue, Mar 31, 2020

Gulf partners could give Iran and the US a way out of their collision course

With interests on both sides of the conflict and much to lose if it worsens, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is the one organization that could be a hero here, kickstarting a chain reaction that arrives at de-escalation without any party losing face.

New Atlanticist by Kirsten Fontenrose

Conflict Iran

Thu, Mar 26, 2020

US strategy in Iraq and the coronavirus plot twist

Tehran is betting that the world is too consumed with managing a pandemic to hold them accountable—and that the US administration is unwilling to stay the course in Iraq because it is too gun shy in an election year and too financially strapped by the coming burden of US unemployment. The implications of a global pandemic make that a risky bet.

New Atlanticist by Kirsten Fontenrose

Conflict Coronavirus

Fri, Mar 20, 2020

Amid COVID-19, Iraq remains US-Iran battleground

Americans have been killed once again during attacks on Iraqi bases, and a series of strikes have been made by US forces and Iranian proxies within Iraq, with no immediate sign that the hostilities will abate anytime soon. Iran is trying to force a US withdrawal, and the United States is trying to protect its interests and reinforce its red lines. Caught in the middle once again, Iraq is simultaneously confronting a security crisis, a health emergency, and an economic free fall—all without the benefit of a functioning government in Baghdad.

New Atlanticist by Atlantic Council

Conflict Coronavirus

Mon, Mar 16, 2020

What the coronavirus emergency means for the US-Iran conflict

While the world is focused on the spread of a pandemic, the conflict between Iran and the United States is heating up. Without the laser-focused media attention of early January to temper the actions of both sides, we can expect to see riskier behavior and less concern for collateral damage.

New Atlanticist by Kirsten Fontenrose

Conflict Coronavirus

Mon, Mar 2, 2020

Factbox: The Syrian regime’s push in Idlib province

This factbox aims to shed light on the latest developments, the humanitarian consequences, and the key actors involved.

MENASource by Kyle Thetford

Conflict Middle East

Fri, Jan 31, 2020

Fontenrose joins VOA (Farsi) to talk about the deployment of additional US troops and aircraft to the Gulf

In the News by Atlantic Council

Farsi Middle East

Tue, Jan 28, 2020

Fontenrose joins BBC Newsnight to discuss President Trump’s Middle East plan

In the News by Atlantic Council

Middle East Politics & Diplomacy

Fri, Jan 10, 2020

US reportedly targets another top Iranian military figure, Abdul Reza Shahlai

US forces tried to target Shahlai, a senior Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps–Qods Force leader currently located in Yemen.

New Atlanticist by Thomas S. Warrick


Wed, Jan 8, 2020

Atlantic Council press call: What will follow the US strike on Major General Soleimani?

This development will influence US engagement with Iran and partners in the region and its knock-on effects may very well manifest in the cyber domain. What type of de-escalatory engagement should we expect between the US and Iran following the assassination of Soleimani? What types of responses, both kinetic and cyber, can we expect from Iran, a country in need of appearing powerful to its allies and adversaries?

Press and members call by Atlantic Council

Cybersecurity Iran

Wed, Jan 8, 2020

De-escalation still possible after Iran’s missile retaliation

Iran avoided a central US red line, and "therefore, the Trump administration will have the opportunity to test Iranian claims that they truly do not seek any further escalation," Will Wechsler says.

New Atlanticist by Atlantic Council

Conflict Iran