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

Experts

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.

Past events

Mon, Jun 10, 2019

The Middle East’s economic outlook

On June 10, the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East convened a conversation on the economic challenges facing the region.

12:00pm

Wed, May 22, 2019

Ambassador Duclos discusses the influence of Russia and Iran in Syria

Russia and Iran are allies in Syria not out of mutual sympathy, but for pragmatic reasons. Iranian leaders were instrumental in convincing Vladimir Putin to send his air force to Syria to support Bashar al-Assad in September 2015, and the two countries cooperate within Syria to this day. However, various episodes highlight the limits of what looks like an alliance of convenience.

12:00pm

Wed, Jun 5, 2019

China’s changing role in the Middle East

On June 5, the Rafik Hariri Centerfor the Middle East convened a public event on opportunities for US-China cooperation and risks for US-China confrontation in the Middle East. National Security Council Senior Director for the Middle East Dr. Victoria Coates gave a keynote address outlining the Trump Administration’s views on this subject. This was followed by a […]

12:00pm

Wed, Mar 27, 2019

Environmental security in the Middle East

The Middle East region faces a laundry list of challenges, from civil strife and poor governance to regional rivalries and economic stagnation. Exacerbating these challenges are growing threats from environmental degradation, water shortages and climate change. As temperatures and populations rise, water resources become even more limited. Climate change is expected to make some areas […]

12:00pm

Mon, Dec 17, 2018

The Future of US Policy in Syria

As the conflict in Syria confronts the United States with crucial policy decisions, the Atlantic Council released two reports: “Rethinking Stabilization in Eastern Syria: Toward a Human Security Framework,” authored by Dr. Steven Heydemann for the Atlantic Council’s Rebuilding Syria Initiative, and “Breaking Ghouta,” produced by the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab.  The Atlantic Council […]

1:00pm

Content

Fri, Aug 9, 2019

Iran’s Nationality Law Bill highlights challenges for legislative reform

A long-awaited bill that would allow the children of Iranian women married to foreign spouses to obtain citizenship for the first time hangs in the balance. Iran’s elected executive and legislative branches have advanced this bill, which would change the lives of thousands of Iranians.

IranSource by Tara Sepehri Far

Iran

Wed, Aug 7, 2019

Why Germany resoundingly rejected joining a US-led mission against Iran

On July 31, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas announced Germany’s refusal to join a US-led military mission to safeguard the international shipping lanes in the Strait of Hormuz from Iranian aggression and criticized what he called America’s “maximum tension” approach.

IranSource by Gert Hilgers

European Union Germany

Mon, Aug 5, 2019

The evolution of Syrian revolutionary art

Perhaps, it is unsurprising then, that political posters and street art became so ubiquitous in the Syrian Revolution. The regimes of the Middle East knew the political potential for art. For this reason, it has always been closely monitored.

SyriaSource by Natasha Hall

Syria

Mon, Aug 5, 2019

Blood money decision advances women’s rights in Iran

In early June, Iran’s Supreme Court upheld a law deciding that blood money—compensation paid to relatives for the death or injury of a family member—would be equal between men and women and no longer would a woman’s compensation be worth half of a man's.

IranSource by Tahereh Hadian-Jazy

Iran

Thu, Aug 1, 2019

Sanctioning Iran’s top diplomat increases chance for US-Iran war

Running out of targets for sanctions, the Trump administration has now put Iran’s chief diplomat on its list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons.

IranSource by Barbara Slavin

Iran

Thu, Aug 1, 2019

Why is the US clashing with the Dutch over Syria?

As the women’s national soccer teams battled it out for the World Cup title in early July, another clash was taking place in the political realm between the Americans and the Dutch over the latter’s military contribution in Syria.

SyriaSource by Grace Wermenbol

Syria

Thu, Aug 1, 2019

Syrians at the Turkish border: humiliation, torture, and death

Yet the journey is fraught with danger that doesn’t end at the border. If anything, the border itself is the most dangerous part of the journey with Turkish border guards known as “Jandarma,” who frequently capture, beat, and steal from Syrian refugees only to send them back into Syria.

SyriaSource by Tesbih Habbal

Syria

Thu, Aug 1, 2019

Slavin in Axios on US sanctions on Iran

In the News by Atlantic Council

Economic Sanctions Iran

Wed, Jul 31, 2019

Duclos quoted in Le Monde on US-Iran tensions

In the News by Atlantic Council

Economic Sanctions French

Wed, Jul 31, 2019

The IRGC should be held accountable for rights abuses

Up until recently, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) was an organization relatively unknown to the American public. However, with the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran threatening to boil over into actual military confrontation, and the IRGC’s announcements of downing an American drone and seizing oil tankers, the increasing references to this group in the mainstream news and on social media may soon make it a household name.

IranSource by Gissou Nia

Human Rights Iran

Events

Tue, Oct 1, 2019

The Struggle for Inclusive Citizenship in Arab Countries

Please join us for a preview of the forthcoming 2019 Arab Human Development Report along with some preliminary survey results, conducted in twelve Arab countries, followed by a panel discussion.

2:00pm Washington DC