Crisis in the Gulf

The United States’ assassination of top Iranian military official Qasem Soleimani has further escalated tensions in the Gulf following a year of provocations—including drone attacks, ship seizures, and attacks and protests in Iraq—that threaten to destabilize the region and trigger wider conflict. Read the latest Atlantic Council work on the developing crisis in the Gulf and wider US-Iranian tensions.

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Past events

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

Mon, Jul 29, 2019

Avenues for managing the escalating crisis in the Gulf

On July 30, the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security and the Arabia Foundation held a discussion unpacking the recent pattern of escalation with Iran in the Gulf, the US and regional policy response, and what comes next.


Thu, May 30, 2019

Russia’s resurgence in the Middle East: How does US policy meet the challenge?

Atlantic Council Middle East Programs Director William Wechsler gave introductory remarks before the keynote address by Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Kathryn Wheelbarger.




Mon, Jan 6, 2020

By killing Soleimani, the United States destroyed its relationship with Iraq

The Iraqi parliament vote to remove US troops confirms that if Iraqis are cornered and forced to choose between the United States and Iran, they will find it safer to choose Iran.

MENASource by Abbas Kadhim

Iran Iraq

Mon, Jan 6, 2020

Twenty-eight years ago Hezbollah’s leader was assassinated, and Israel paid a price

Soleimani's death brings to mind memories of an earlier aerial assassination in south Lebanon during February 1992. The aftermath of that deadly attack twenty-eight years ago may provide pointers for what might unfold in the wake of Soleimani’s violent death—and possibly remind us of the risk of unintended consequences.

IranSource by Nicholas Blanford

Iran Middle East

Sun, Jan 5, 2020

Iraqi parliament calls for troop withdrawal: What next for the United States?

"If this vote tells us anything," Abbas Kadhim says, "it confirms that if Iraqis are cornered and forced to choose between the United States and Iran, they will find it safer to choose Iran."

New Atlanticist by Atlantic Council

Conflict Iran

Sat, Jan 4, 2020

Russia reacts to the killing of Soleimani

Moscow, not surprisingly, has reacted negatively to Washington’s announcement that Iranian Quds Brigade Commander, General Qasem Soleimani, was killed in Baghdad in a US drone attack.

MENASource by Mark N. Katz

Iran Middle East

Fri, Jan 3, 2020

Questions and certainties in the killing of Qasem Soleimani

Just as certainly, the United States’ failing Iran policy has not made Iran militarily weaker or reined in its actions. But it has alienated and frightened US friends in Europe and Asia, who gaped with the same shock at the assassination of Soleimani as the crowd watching King Joffrey order the beheading of Eddard Stark on Game of Thrones.

New Atlanticist by Borzou Daragahi

Conflict Iran

Fri, Jan 3, 2020

Repercussions for Europe after the US targeted attack on Soleimani

Soleimani's killing came as a kind of strategic surprise in Europe. The general assumption was that the Americans could have had many other opportunities to launch an operation against their arch-enemy in the region.

MENASource by Michel Duclos

Conflict Europe & Eurasia
Iran protests Soleimani killing

Fri, Jan 3, 2020

The assassination of Qasem Soleimani: Likely consequences

There is no doubt that Qasem Soleimani was a ruthless leader, however, his death does not eliminate the threat of terrorism and could lead to a spiral of actions and reactions.

MENASource by Nabeel Khoury

Conflict Iran

Fri, Jan 3, 2020

Fontenrose quoted in The Guardian warning of semi-unpredictable strikes from Iran

In the News by Atlantic Council

Conflict Iran

Fri, Jan 3, 2020

Iraq’s parliament may be about to do President Trump a big fat favor

The biggest favor the Iraqi Parliament can do for US President Donald J. Trump right now is to vote to evict the United States from Iraq. The US president has been clear on his preference for drawing down the US presence in the region rather than beefing it up. Right now, he is asking his advisers why the United States should stay in Iraq, where the two stated missions are to train the Iraqi Security Forces and conduct counterterrorism operations.

New Atlanticist by Kirsten Fontenrose

Conflict Iran

Fri, Jan 3, 2020

Soleimani killing threatens to break open US-Iranian conflict

The assassination of a top Iranian military official in Iraq on January 2 is the most dramatic step yet in the ongoing escalation between the United States and Iran in the Middle East.

New Atlanticist by David A. Wemer

Conflict Iran