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Middle East and the Gulf

Middle East and the Gulf

With a local office, the IISS has long been involved in the Middle East, attracting leading global policy-makers to its summits on regional security. IISS-Middle East works closely with other offices on research into Iran's nuclear programme, the Arab Spring and other topics.

Expert: Sir John Jenkins

Sir John Jenkins

Executive Director, IISS-Middle East

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Jordan's pragmatism and current challenges

Jordan faces refugee pressure and the threat of jihadist infiltration from Syria, as well as a weak economy. Amman will have to strike a delicate balance between security cooperation with the United States against the Islamic State and cooperation with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arab states against the Assad regime to ensure it gleans maximum strategic rent.


  • Events

    The IISS Manama Dialogue 2016

    09 December 2016. 

    12th Regional Security Summit
    Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa, Manama
    9-11 December 2016

  • Expert Commentary

    War on the Rocks: "Assad or we burn the country"

    24 August 2016.  By Emile Hokayem, Senior Fellow for Middle East Security Prior to the uprising that ignited in Syria in 2011, whenever I discussed politics with my urbanite Syrian interlocutors, they would often tell me: "You, the Lebanese, you are violent, corrupt, sectarian, with no sense of a nation or a state." (I also noted that Iraqis would endure similar lecturing). Frankly, they were largely right, but their real point lay somewhere else. The...

  • IISS Voices

    Jonathan Stevenson: ISIS's bad week

    18 August 2016.  In light of ISIS's recent setbacks, the group’s strategic decline in the broader Middle East is more a trend than an aberration, argues Jonathan Stevenson.

  • Expert Commentary

    Democracy and Security: How the CT Community Failed to Anticipate the Islamic State

    29 July 2016.  By Nelly Lahoud, Senior Fellow for Political Islamism, IISS–Middle East This article is a critique of the dominant approach within the counter-terrorism (CT) community that failed to analyze IS’s trajectory as a distinct group since at least 2006. We argue that two factors account for this failure. The first concerns the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), the law that was enacted in the wake of the 9/11 attacks...

  • Strategic Comments

    Jordan’s pragmatism and current challenges

    15 June 2016. 

    Historically, Jordan has handled the challenges of being located in a contested region with effective pragmatism. It now faces refugee pressure and the threat of jihadist infiltration from Syria, as well as a weak economy. Amman will have to strike a delicate balance between security cooperation with the United States against the Islamic State and cooperation with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arab states against the Assad regime to ensure it gleans maximum strategic rent.

  • Events

    Egypt's Islamist Insurgency: Dynamics and the Security Response

    07 June 2016. 

    Discussion Meeting
    Mokhtar Awad, Research Fellow, Program on Extremism at George Washington University
    Arundel House, London
    Tuesday 7 June 2016, 12.30–1.30PM BST

  • Events

    The Jihadis' Cyber Capacity and Aspiration

    15 May 2016. 

    Discussion Meeting
    Dr Aaron Brantly, Cyber Fellow, Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
    IISS–Middle East, Manama
    Sunday 15 May 2016, 5–6.30pm AST

  • Events

    The Evolution of Jihadism

    20 April 2016. 

    Discussion Meeting
    Dr Nelly Lahoud, Senior Fellow for Political Islamism, IISS–Middle East
    Arundel House, London
    Wednesday 20 April 2016, 5.30-6.30PM BST

  • Events

    The Islamic State's Aspirations and its Reality

    19 April 2016. 

    Corporate Breakfast
    Dr Nelly Lahoud, Senior Fellow for Political Islamism, IISS–Middle East
    Arundel House, London
    Tuesday 19 April 2016, 8-9AM BST

  • Strategic Comments

    The tenuous diplomacy of the Syrian conflict

    12 April 2016. 

    International diplomacy with respect to the Syrian conflict has been episodic and generally ineffective. Greater engagement by the Syrian regime and the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 2254 in support of negotiations on Syria's political transition have improved prospects for a political solution. But the parties remain far apart on the role of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a political transition, and therefore still face a steep uphill climb.