All in-depth research & reports

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

Mon, Feb 3, 2020

Professionalizing the Iraqi Army: US engagement after the Islamic State

In this paper published by the US Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, Atlantic Council Nonresident Senior Fellow Dr. C. Anthony Pfaff analyzes US-Iraq security cooperation.

External by C. Anthony Pfaff

Tue, Oct 8, 2019

The MENA region: A great power competition

The idea of a ‘Russian resurgence’ in the Middle East set against a perceived American withdrawal has captured the attention of policymakers and scholars alike, warranting further examination.

Report by Karim Mezran and Arturo Varvelli

Middle East Politics & Diplomacy

Tue, Sep 24, 2019

The United States in Syria: Why it still matters

The objective of the United States in Syria must be a full political transition from criminal, terrorist rule by family and entourage to a consensual, legitimate system featuring rule of law. Its achievement would, barring unanticipated regime collapse, take years of patient, focused, and disciplined effort.

Issue Brief by Frederic C. Hof

Politics & Diplomacy Resilience & Society

Tue, Aug 13, 2019

The future of northeast Syria

Executive Summary The future of northeast Syria is unsettled after eight years of civil war and the US intervention to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). It also faces the various divergent interests of powerful external actors, including Russia and Turkey. In mid-April 2019, the Atlantic Council, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, and the Foreign Policy […]

Report by Aaron Stein and Emily Burchfield

Resilience & Society Rule of Law
Iranian Weapons Materiel on Display at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling

Tue, Jul 30, 2019

Avenues for conflict in the Gulf: A matrix game simulation

Iran faces increasing pressure domestically and internationally, while simultaneously perceiving a historic opportunity to reshape regional dynamics through multiple regional conflicts. This convergence creates conditions that could lead to a strategic shock, and which warrant serious consideration.

Issue Brief by John Watts

Conflict Crisis Management

Mon, Jul 15, 2019

After Sistani and Khamenei: looming successions will shape the Middle East

As Iraq’s Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani and Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei age, the international community of Shia Muslims faces a looming void in religious and political leadership.

Issue Brief by Abbas Kadhim and Barbara Slavin

Arabic Farsi

Fri, Jun 28, 2019

Beyond control: Iran and its opponents locked in a lopsided confrontation

While facing sobering external challenges, Iran has not lost sight of its domestic and expatriate political opposition.

Issue Brief by Borzou Daragahi

Iran

Mon, Jun 17, 2019

Russia and Iran in Syria—A random partnership or an enduring alliance?

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, their various differences highlight the limits of what looks like an alliance of convenience.

Issue Brief by Ambassador Michel Duclos

Iran Russia

Wed, Jun 5, 2019

China’s changing role in the Middle East

A quiet shift in geopolitics has been taking place, with East Asia and the Middle East drawing closer together. Energy trade explains part of this, as Japan, South Korea, and China are consistently among the largest export markets for Middle East oil and gas. In the case of China, the relationships have moved beyond economic […]

Report by Jonathan Fulton

China Middle East