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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.


  • 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.

  • Manama Voices

    Video: Ursula von der Leyen, German Defence Minister

    11 December 2016.  Ursula von der Leyen, Germany's Federal Minister of Defence, talks about combating extremism in the Middle East and beyond.

  • Manama Voices

    The neglected Israeli–Palestinian conflict

    11 December 2016.  A series of high-profile events in the Middle East, from the Arab Spring to the rise of the Islamic State, have pulled the world’s gaze away from the Israeli­­–Palestinian conflict. Elisabeth Marteu argues that because its resolution is not anyone’s priority, this open wound in the Middle East is taking a turn for the worse.

  • Manama Voices

    Video: Highlights from Day 1 of the IISS Manama Dialogue 2016

    10 December 2016.  The UK Foreign Secretary, the Right Honourable Boris Johnson MP, delivered the Keynote Speech on the opening night of the 12th IISS Manama Dialogue. Here are all the highlights from the first day of the Middle East's premier defence diplomacy summit.

  • Manama Voices

    Video: The Iran nuclear deal

    10 December 2016.  Mark Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of IISS–Americas, discusses the Iran nuclear deal at this years IISS Manama Dialogue. He notes that although President-elect Donald Trump has spoken harshly about the deal, he will be smart enough not to rip it up first – he'll put pressure on Iran, and then see how it responds.

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