All in-depth research & reports

Thu, May 30, 2019

When the friend of my friends is not my friend

Russia is once again a major player in the Middle East. Moscow has notably backed the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while it has a growing footprint in Iran, Turkey, and the Gulf. Russia’s return to the region has posed significant challenges for transatlantic policymaking in this era of renewed great-power competition. This new […]

Issue Brief by Mark N. Katz

Middle East Russia

Mon, Nov 5, 2018

How Iran will cope with US sanctions

As a second and more punishing wave of US sanctions hits Iran, the Islamic Republic is dusting off an old playbook for circumventing such penalties and maintaining a crucial level of oil exports and other trade. A new issue brief by Holly Dagres and Barbara Slavin—How Iran Will Cope with US Sanctions—discusses the myriad techniques […]

Issue Brief by Holly Dagres, Barbara Slavin

Economic Sanctions Iran
The 13th Battalion of the Golani Brigade during a drill held in the Golan Heights in northern Israel. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Thu, Sep 27, 2018

The evolving Iranian strategy in Syria: A looming conflict with Israel

Iran began its military involvement in Syria in 2011, at the outbreak of the civil war. Tehran’s immediate objective was to defeat the Syrian opposition militarily to save Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The maintenance of the Shia-Alawi-dominated regime in Damascus was key to the Islamic Republic’s long-term regional strategy, the creation of a contiguous Shia […]

Issue Brief by Nader Uskowi

Iran Security & Defense

Wed, Jul 18, 2018

Beyond security: Stabilization, governance, and socioeconomic challenges in Iraq

As unrest over the Iraqi government’s failure to provide essential services grips southern Iraq, the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East is offering insight and analysis beyond the headlines. In a new issue brief, Beyond Security: Stabilization, Governance, and Socioeconomic Challenges in Iraq, Dr. Harith Hasan explores the ways in which economic and social […]

Issue Brief by Dr. Harith Hasan

Economy & Business Iraq

Tue, Jun 26, 2018

Environmental and wildlife degradation in Iran

Environmental degradation has become a major issue in Iran. It is a source of economic hardship, ill health, social disruption, and recent political protests. Climate change has been a factor in this deterioration but so has mismanagement of the country’s once ample natural resources. Our latest issue brief, Environmental and Wildlife Degradation in Iran, authored […]

Issue Brief by David Laylin

Energy & Environment Iran

Mon, May 7, 2018

The United States-Lebanese armed forces partnership: Challenges, risks, and rewards

Over the past year, many have questioned the extent to which the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) are an arm of the Lebanese state or beholden to Hezbollah. Pointing to the LAF’s complicated relationship with Hezbollah, congressional and other voices in the United States have criticized US security assistance to Lebanon and threatened to withhold assistance. […]

Issue Brief by Nicholas Blanford

Iran Middle East

Wed, Apr 18, 2018

The new Turkey: Making sense of Turkish decision-making

This new issue brief by Atlantic Council Senior Fellow Dr. Aaron Stein explores the challenges facing the United States and Europe as Turkish politicians use foreign policy as a tool for populist political gain. To better understand the relationship between Turkish policy-making and public opinion, the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center worked with Metropoll, a […]

Issue Brief by Aaron Stein

NATO Politics & Diplomacy

Fri, Apr 6, 2018

Iran’s Sunnis resist extremism, but for how long?

A predominantly Shia nation, the Islamic Republic of Iran has a substantial Sunni population that receives little attention compared to the country’s other minorities. Last year’s attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in the capital Tehran have raised fears that disgruntled Iranian Sunnis, who have until now largely escaped extremist influences, […]

Issue Brief by Scheherezade Faramarzi

Extremism Iran

Mon, Dec 4, 2017

Iran in Iraq

Geographic proximity and shared religion, specifically Shia Islam, give Iran deep influence in Iraq, as shown in a new Atlantic Council issue brief entitled  Iran in Iraq, by American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Kenneth M. Pollack. Despite advantages in geography and demography, Pollack argues that Iranian influence in Iraq is not insurmountable. The United States should […]

Issue Brief by Kenneth M. Pollack

Iran Iraq

Mon, Nov 20, 2017

Partners or competitors? The future of the Iran-Russia power tandem in the Middle East

Ambassador John Herbst, director of the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, writes in a new issue brief entitled Partners or Competitors? The Future of the Iran-Russia Power Tandem in the Middle East that Russia and Iran are currently drawn into partnership over common regional interests and anti-American policies and sentiments despite centuries of historical […]

Issue Brief by John Herbst

Iran Politics & Diplomacy