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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

    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.

  • IISS Voices

    The Islamic Republic after Rafsanjani

    12 January 2017.  As a force for pragmatism over ideology, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani’s absence from Iranian politics is likely to be keenly felt by the country’s moderate voices. As Clément Therme explains, the demise of the former president and key architect of the Islamic Republic throws debates about Iran’s future into sharp relief.

  • Expert Commentary

    How Syria Defeated the Sunni Powers

    03 January 2017.  Breakthroughs for Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin have presented supporters of the Syrian uprising with difficult choices. Emile Hokayem, senior fellow for Middle East security, asks how three nations will respond.

  • Manama Voices

    The new Russian–Iranian entente in the Middle East

    22 December 2016.  Western commentators have portrayed a growing partnership between Russia and Iran as the main threat to Western security in the Middle East. Here, Clément Therme explains why the relationship is important for the future of the region, but points out that it is in fact based on pragmatism. The two sides are most united in what they do not want, rather than by a shared ideological vision.

  • Manama Voices

    Video: Sir John Jenkins looks back on the IISS Manama Dialogue 2016

    12 December 2016.  Sir John Jenkins, Executive Director of IISS-Middle East, looks back on the Middle East's premier defence security summit, the IISS Manama Dialogue 2016.

  • Manama Voices

    No cats, but same old traps

    11 December 2016.  Recent aircraft losses by the Russian navy have provided a salutary reminder of the demanding nature of fixed-wing aircraft operations at sea. Here, Douglas Barrie explains what operational insights can be gleaned from the incidents.

  • Manama Voices

    Video: Highlights from Day 2 of the IISS Manama Dialogue

    11 December 2016.  Ashton Carter, US Secretary of Defense, spoke in the opening Plenary Session on the Saturday of the 12th IISS Manama Dialogue. Watch the highlights from the second day of the Middle East's premier defence diplomacy summit.

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