Crisis in the Gulf

Tehran’s decision to stop compliance with the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the United States “maximum pressure” campaign to isolate Iran and force it to the negotiating table for a new deal have sent tensions spiraling in the Gulf. Throughout 2019, drone attacks and ship seizures in the Strait of Hormuz have threatened to destabilize the region and trigger wider conflict. Read all the latest Atlantic Council work on the crisis in the Gulf and wider US-Iranian tensions.

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Past events

Princess Reema speaks to Atlantic Council Audience

Wed, Feb 28, 2018

Envisioning Reform: The Social Impact of Saudi Arabia’s Transformation Agenda

On Wednesday, February 28, the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security’s Middle East Security Initiative hosted a discussion on Saudi Arabia’s reform agenda with HRH Princess Reema bint Bandar Al-Saud, vice-president for planning and development of the Saudi General Sports Authority. The conversation focused on Saudi Vision 2030 and socioeconomic transformation underway in the Kingdom. […]

Event Recap by Alexander Werman

Saudi Arabia

Wed, Apr 19, 2017

Energy Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Middle East

On Wednesday, April 19, the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security and the Global Energy Center co-hosted a conversation on energy innovation and entrepreneurship in the Middle East featuring Dr. Julia Nesheiwat, presidential deputy envoy for hostage affairs at the US Department of State; HE Majid Al-Suwaidi, consul general of the United Arab Emirates in […]

Event Recap by Maxwell Petersen

Thu, Oct 27, 2016

Tackling Root Causes of Conflict in the Middle East

On Thursday, October 27, 2016, the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security hosted Sweden’s State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Annika Söder for a conference on US-European cooperation in the Middle East. Söder delivered keynote remarks, in which she emphasized that the Middle East is undergoing a period of rapid transition and instability, threatened by a […]

Event Recap by Tyler M. Nocita

Europe & Eurasia Middle East


Fri, Nov 15, 2019

A crisis of commitment in the Middle East. But whose?

While US actions are causing confusion about Washington's commitment, regional actions are also calling into question the region’s commitment to its relationship with the United States and to its own stability.

New Atlanticist by Kirsten Fontenrose

Middle East Politics & Diplomacy

Mon, Oct 28, 2019

Fontenrose quoted in The Washington Examiner on party concerns over Baghdadi raid

In the News by Atlantic Council

Middle East National Security

Tue, Sep 24, 2019

Rouhani’s plan a reason to be hopeful?

Rouhani's proposal for peace will be rejected as outlandish, but it is a sign that Tehran may recognize that its attack on Abqaiq was an overstep.

New Atlanticist by Kirsten Fontenrose

Conflict Iran

Tue, Sep 17, 2019

Talks in Riyadh on Iran: What happens next?

Trump is more than likely hoping that Saudi officials agree to economic pressure on Iran, but oppose an all-out war.

New Atlanticist by Kirsten Fontenrose

Iran Saudi Arabia

Tue, Sep 17, 2019

Fontenrose joins BBC to discuss recent attacks on Saudi

In the News by Atlantic Council

Iran Middle East

Mon, Sep 16, 2019

Can global energy markets withstand the attack on Saudi oil?

Atlantic Council experts react to the September 14 attacks on Saudi oil facilities and what it means for global energy markets and the wider region.

New Atlanticist by David A. Wemer

Geopolitics & Energy Security Iran

Sat, Sep 14, 2019

After Houthi drone attack, everyone should take a deep breath

The ten-drone attack on Aramco’s Abqaiq facility in Saudi Arabia on September 14 is a sign that the Houthis suffer from false confidence. Snubbing talks and launching attacks is not a way to garner sympathy from the United States or the international community.

New Atlanticist by Kirsten Fontenrose

Geopolitics & Energy Security Saudi Arabia
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

Sat, Jul 20, 2019

Daragahi quoted in the Washington Examiner on the risk of conflict with Iran

In the News by Atlantic Council

Economic Sanctions Iran

Fri, Jul 19, 2019

Tehran seizes British ships as Gulf pressures intensify

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) announced that it seized a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz on July 19, and a second British-owned tanker was boarded before being released, in the latest escalation over control of one of the world’s most vital energy trade waterways.

New Atlanticist by David A. Wemer

Iran United Kingdom