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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

  • Manama Voices

    Turbulence of 2016 lends greater urgency to IISS Manama Dialogue

    01 December 2016.  This year’s IISS Manama Dialogue takes place amid a set of political, economic, social and security challenges in and around the Middle East and North Africa of a global importance and urgency that we have not seen for decades. As Sir John Jenkins explains, the Dialogue provides a vital forum for some of the most powerful policymakers from the region and beyond to agree on ways to address such pressing...

  • Events

    Missile-Defence Cooperation in the Gulf

    01 December 2016. 

    Dossier launch
    Michael Elleman, Consulting Senior Fellow for Missile Defence, IISS
    Professor Toby Dodge, Consulting Senior Fellow for The Middle East, IISS; Director, Middle East Centre, London School of Economics
    Arundel House, London
    Thursday 1 December 2016, 5.30–6.30pm

  • Expert Commentary

    A multitude of rivals

    24 November 2016.  In this article for the New Statesman, IISS-Middle East Executive Director John Jenkins argues that unless Donald Trump is able to master geopolitical complexity, the situation in the Middle East will get far worse.

  • Events

    Missile-Defence Cooperation in The Gulf

    22 November 2016. 

    IISS Manama Dialogue Discourse Series
    Michael Elleman, Consulting Senior Fellow for Missile Defence, IISS
    Professor Toby Dodge, Consulting Senior Fellow for the Middle East, IISS; Director, Middle East Centre, London School of Economics
    IISS–Americas, Washington DC
    Tuesday 22 November 2016, 10–11AM EST

  • Events

    The Islamic State: Between Aspirations and Reality

    17 November 2016. 

    IISS Manama Dialogue Discourse Series
    Nelly Lahoud, Senior Fellow for Political Islamism, IISS–Middle East
    IISS–Americas, Washington DC
    Thursday 17 November 2016, 10–11AM EST

  • Strategic Comments

    The evolution of US–Israel relations

    26 October 2016. 

    The main source of change in Israel's current interests and objectives is its evolving relationship with the United States. During the eight years of the Obama administration, the two countries have clashed on a range of strategic issues, including the Iran nuclear deal and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The approach of Obama's probable successor – Hillary Clinton – is likely to involve more continuity than departure from his policies.

  • Strategic Dossiers

    Missile-defence cooperation in the Gulf

    25 October 2016. 

    This Dossier looks at Iran's missile capabilities, the efforts to counter the threat they pose by Gulf Arab states and the broader evolution of security structures in the region. It is a valuable resource for all those seeking to understand the 'security complex' that encompasses all states in the Gulf.

  • Strategic Comments

    The United States’ Syria quandary

    12 October 2016. 

    Following the collapse of the latest ceasefire, the Obama administration faces increasing pressure from interventionists for more robust military action against the Assad regime. But the United States' military options are problematic. The administration's Syria policy will probably not change substantially before he leaves office in January, though Hillary Clinton – his likely successor – has indicated that she would lean farther forward, in particular by imposing no-fly zones.

  • Strategic Comments

    Libya’s faltering new government

    21 September 2016. 

    The new UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) has based itself in Tripoli. But the GNA has failed to muster an effective nationwide military capability and is rivalled for national authority by the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HOR), which controls the Libyan National Army, Libya's most cohesive armed organisation, as well as Libya's oil ports. Although GNA-linked forces have decimated the Islamic State in and around Sirte, the new government's unsteady hold on Tripoli is vulnerable to HOR challenge.

Adelphi Book

North Africa in Transition

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