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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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The battle for Mosul

Iraqi government and allied forces are poised to decisively retake Mosul from the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, within the next few months. But the presence of ISIS in Syria will still pose the risk of the group's resurgence in Iraq until the Iraq–Syria border is secure and ISIS has been denied control of Raqqa, its Syrian base and self-declared capital.

  • IISS Voices

    Qatar dispute exposes regional food-security failures

    21 August 2017.  Recent acts of solidarity by Turkey and Iran to help Qatar feed its population are important reminders of just how dependent regional states are on food imports. As Sara Fouad Almohamadi explains, the current Gulf dispute has exposed the shortcomings of national food-security policies.

  • Strategic Comments

    Iran under Rouhani: increasing constraint

    10 August 2017.  Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, though easily re-elected last May, faces a more confrontational United States, a more aggressive Saudi Arabia, and lower expectations of economic benefits from the nuclear deal than he did in his first term. These factors are emboldening hardliners in Iran's non-elected institutions, who are likely to constrain Rouhani's reformist agenda in both the domestic and international arenas.

  • Strategic Comments

    High noon for Libya’s Potemkin government

    02 August 2017.  Strongman Khalifa Haftar is challenging Libya's internationally recognised but weak Government of National Accord for effective control of the country. While France has brokered a ceasefire and a new peace initiative, Haftar has substantial outside support from Egypt and the UAE, and the eventual political dispensation will probably turn on further military developments.

  • Expert Commentary

    Qatar and the interconnection of regional crises

    29 July 2017.  The Qatar crisis is not simply a regional tiff, it is a fundamental disagreement about the direction the wider region should take. The West needs to see that actions in one country immediately affect others, says Sir John Jenkins.

  • Strategic Comments

    TLAMs in Syria

    12 April 2017. 

    The United States' Tomahawk cruise-missile strikes on the Syrian regime's Shayrat Air Base in retaliation for the regime's sarin attack are unlikely to advance peace in Syria. The regime and its main supporters, Russia and Iran, remain defiant, and the Trump administration appears inclined to frame the strikes as a relatively narrow deterrent against chemical weapons attacks and keep counter-terrorism its main priority in Syria for now.

  • Events

    Water, Security and Peace: Environmental Issues in Israeli-Palestinian Relations

    31 March 2017. 

    Discussion Meeting
    Ambassador Oded Eran, Senior Research Fellow, The Institute for National Security Studies (Israel)
    Gidon Bromberg, Israel Co-Director of EcoPeace Middle East
    Arundel House, London
    Friday 31 March 2017, 1–2pm BST

  • Events

    Whither Turkey? Constitutional Change and Growing External Pressures

    22 February 2017. 

    Discussion Meeting
    Gareth Jenkins, IISS Consulting Member and Freelance Analyst
    Arundel House, London
    Wednesday 22 February 2017, 11am–12pm GMT

  • Strategic Comments

    The future of US Syria policy

    17 February 2017. 

    Despite campaign rhetoric suggesting bold changes to US Syria policy, President Trump has few realistic military or political options for major departures from Obama's policy. US policy will probably change only at the margins.

  • Strategic Comments

    The percolating proxy war in Yemen

    02 February 2017. 

    Saudi Arabia and the UAE's military intervention against the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, hesitantly supported by the United States, is an opportune way for Riyadh and Abu Dhabi to roll back Iran in the region. But it is also taking a severe toll on Yemen's infrastructure and population that is likely to increase pressure for reinvigorated conflict resolution efforts.

  • IISS Voices

    India and the UAE: towards strategic cooperation

    23 January 2017.  India and the United Arab Emirates have recently embarked on an ambitious drive to upgrade their bilateral relations. But gains in its strategic and economic importance are likely to come at Pakistan’s expense, explain Emile Hokayem and Rahul Roy-Chaudhury. And India’s desire to avoid becoming entangled in the Middle East’s complex and bruising politics will act as a brake on the relationship.

Watch: Highlights of the IISS Manama Dialogue 2016


Adelphi Book

North Africa in Transition

This Adelphi examines how the politics, security and economies have changed in the four states of the Magrheb.