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

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

Thu, Nov 21, 2019

Roundtable with KRG Head of Foreign Relations Department Safeen Dizayee

The Atlantic Council’s Iraq Initiative hosted a private discussion with the Kurdistan Regional Government’s top diplomat to discuss recent events in Iraq.

10:00am Washington DC

Fri, Nov 1, 2019

Iraq’s political and energy outlook

On November 1, the Atlantic Council’s Iraq Initiative and Global Energy Center hosted an event on what’s next for Iraq amidst historic protests.

9:00am Washington DC

Wed, Oct 16, 2019

Iranian Public Opinion Under US Sanctions

The panel discussion on the public opinion data gathered in Iran by the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland, over the past six months. The panel took a closer look at Iranian attitudes to a broad set of issues, including Iran’s regional influence, Iranian relations with the West, and the Iranian nuclear deal.

10:00am Washington DC

Tue, Oct 8, 2019

New strategic visions and power competition in the Middle East

Experts including General Joseph Votel and Assistant Secretary David Schenker discuss new strategic visions and power competition in the Middle East.

9:00am Washington DC

Tue, Oct 1, 2019

The struggle for inclusive citizenship in Arab countries

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

2:00pm Washington DC

Fri, Sep 13, 2019

Hezbollah and Iran’s Illicit Financial Networks

Topics of discussion included Hezbollah’s global network of financiers and the Trump Administration’s maximum pressure campaign against Iran.

1:00pm Washington DC

Tue, Sep 10, 2019

A conversation with Iraqi Ambassador Fareed Yasseen

The Atlantic Council’s Iraq Initiative hosted a conversation with Iraqi Ambassador Fareed Yasseen.


Tue, Aug 6, 2019

Public Event with Iraqi MP Sarkawt Shamsulddin

On August 6, the Atlantic Council Iraq Initiative hosted Iraqi Council of Representatives Member Sarkawt Shamsulddin for a public event. In 2018, Shamsulddin became the youngest member of the Iraqi parliament, securing the top position of the New Generation Movement in Sulaymaniyah Province. He is now one of the leaders of The Future parliamentary bloc […]

Event Recap



2009 Iranian Protests

Tue, Feb 11, 2020

Iranian digital influence efforts: Guerrilla broadcasting for the twenty-first century

This brief begins with a discussion of the modern Iranian state’s approach to information and information control. It proceeds to a history of the Iranian Internet. Next, it examines the evolution of Iranian digital influence operations, followed by a discussion of the broader information conflict in which they take place. The brief concludes by considering the future nature and intent of Iran’s clandestine digital activities.

Report by Emerson T. Brooking, Suzanne Kianpour

Conflict Disinformation

Wed, Jan 15, 2020

El-Gamal in The Atlantic: ‘Muslim’ Is Not an Insult

In the News by Atlantic Council

Middle East Politics & Diplomacy

Wed, Jan 8, 2020

Iran’s missiles may have avoided the worst outcome

If there had been significant US casualties, the world would have awoken to the dawn of a regional war, because the Trump administration would have been compelled to attack the launch sites in Iran—and probably other targets in Iran, also. If the present news holds, the situation is slightly less dangerous, if still perilous.

New Atlanticist by Thomas S. Warrick

Conflict Geopolitics & Energy Security

Fri, Jan 3, 2020

Fontenrose quoted in VOA suggesting strikes will escalate as tensions with Iran rise

In the News by Atlantic Council

Conflict Iran

Sun, Dec 29, 2019

Experts react: United States retaliates against Iran-backed forces in Iraq and Syria

The United States launched a series of airstrikes against the Iranian-backed group Kata'ib Hezbollah in Iraq and Syria on December 29, 2019.

New Atlanticist by Atlantic Council

Conflict Iraq

Wed, Oct 30, 2019

Iran’s not the only country all over Iraq

Iraq joins China's Belt and Road Initiative, though few notice.

MENASource by Daniel J. Samet

China Iraq

Mon, Oct 28, 2019

El-Gamal joins France24 to discuss what’s next for Islamic State group after US raid

In the News by Atlantic Council

Middle East National Security

Mon, Oct 28, 2019

Wechsler quoted in Vox on Baghdadi raid

In the News by Atlantic Council

Conflict Middle East

Sun, Oct 27, 2019

Wechsler quoted in The Washington Post on ISIS and US policy

In the News by Atlantic Council

Middle East National Security

Thu, Oct 24, 2019

Itani quoted in the Petroleum Economist on oil and trouble in the Gulf

In the News by Atlantic Council

Energy & Environment Geopolitics & Energy Security