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Gulf Security

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With geopolitical tensions in the region simmering throughout 2015, the program examines traditional and non-traditional security issues impacting the Gulf states and their neighbors, with an emphasis on the regional politics of Iran, Iraq, and the Arabian peninsula. Key areas of research and analysis include Iran’s nuclear activities and emergence as a regional power, Iraq’s ongoing reintegration into the region’s economic and political architecture, and the security roles of key regional organizations, such as the Gulf Cooperation Council. 


Ellen Laipson and Geneive Abdo join Emile Hokayem and Michael Connell in a roundtable discussion on the Gulf.

In a roundtable discussion on the Gulf, Geneive Abdo and Ellen Laipson are joined by Emile Hokayem, Senior Fellow for Middle East Security at the IISS, and Michael Connell, Senior Research Scientist and Director of the Iranian Studies Program at Center for Naval Analyses.


Gulf Security Analysis

Abdullah’s Real Legacy: Saudi Arabia’s Days of Quiet Change, January 26, 2015
Ellen Laipson

The UAE and Egypt’s new frontier in Libya, September 3, 2014
Ellen Laipson

Saudi Arabia vs Iran and the role of the USA, December 16, 2013
Jean-Francois Seznec, Stimson Trustee

Talking about Reform in Bahrain, April 10, 2013
Geneive Abdo

A Faint Ray of Hope at the End of a Long Tunnel in Bahrain, April 1, 2013
Jean-Francois Seznec, Stimson Trustee

OPEC is not Dead, March 31, 2013
Jean-Francois Seznec, Stimson Trustee 

Stop the Shadow War Talk, August 9, 2012
By Ellen Laipson, in Foreign Policy

Finding New Options on Iran, March 22, 2012
By Barry Blechman, for Ploughshares Fund

A Moment of Opportunity for Engaging Iran?, March 21, 2012
By Barry Blechman and Ellen Laipson, in Al Monitor

Engaging Iran in the Aftermath of IAEA Report, November 8, 2011
By Barry Blechman

Bahrain’s Closed Doors, January 24, 2013
Genieve Abdo 

Audio | Iran: Threats and Sanctions, January 5, 2012
With Ellen Laipson, on the Diane Rehm Show

Prince Nayef’s Rise and Saudi Arabia’s Step Backward, November 4, 2011
By Ellen Laipson, in Foreign Affairs

The US Should Wield a Stiletto on Iran, Not a Club, October 13, 2011
By Barry Blechman

US Troops to Leave Iraq: What Happens Now?, October 24, 2011
With Ellen Laipson, on NPR’s “On Point”

Bahrain’s Political Crisis: A New Chapter for Iraqi Foreign Policy, September 8, 2011
By Shwan Azeez

Are the Iranian Sanctions Working?, August 25, 2011
By Dan Harper

A Generational Divide in Iranian Leadership, August 11, 2011
By Andrew Noble

The Security Agenda for a Changing Middle East, July 29, 2011
By Ellen Laipson

More Gulf Security Analysis…

Gulf Security Events

Roundtable Discussion on Changing Dynamics In The Gulf: GCC, Iran, US, July 2, 2014

Roundtable Discussion on Conflict Resolution, Resource Management, and U.S. Engagement, March 17, 2011

Engagement, Coercion, and Iran’s Nuclear Challenge: Report of a Joint Study Group, November 16, 2010

The Future of US-Iraq Relations, Monday, May 17, 2010

More Gulf Security Events

Gulf Security Publications

Engaging Iran on Afghanistan, March 2012

This report examines the importance of engaging Iran as one of the key neighbors of Afghanistan during the period of withdrawal of international forces through 2014. It looks at the US-Afghanistan-Iran triangle from the perspective of two distinct policy priorities: how to engage Afghanistan’s neighbors constructively to maximize the chances for stability in that country after foreign troops withdraw, and how to create possibilities for US-Iran interaction on issues where there is at least some common or shared interest. …read more>>


Iran in Perspective: Holding Iran to Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Technology, March 2012

The United States and Iran have been at loggerheads since the birth of the Islamic Republic, 33 years ago, but the two nations have never seemed as close to a major military conflict as they have since the beginning of 2012. As we write, concerns of the US and many other nations that Iran’s nuclear program, claimed by Tehran to be solely for peaceful purposes, is, in fact, intended to produce nuclear weapons, seem to be coming to a boil. …read more>>



Engagement, Coercion, and Iran’s Nuclear Challenge, November 16, 2010

A group of distinguished scholars and policy analysts convened under the direction of the Stimson Center and the United States Institute of Peace has concluded that the administration must rebalance its dual-track approach to be effective in future relations with Iran. Seeking to chart a more promising course, the study group argues for a policy of “strategic engagement.”…read more>>




Reading Iran, chapter in the Iran Primer (USIP), October 2010

Ellen Laipson contributes, “Reading Iran,” a chapter in the “The Iran Primer,” a joint product of the United States Institute of Peace and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars…read more>>





Report on the Workshop: Nuclear Dangers, Nuclear Realities, August 30, 2010

In the future, 2009 and 2010 may emerge as a decisive time in the evolution of international nuclear policies.  The global demand for energy security has led to renewed interest in safe and clean nuclear energy, and has raised issues about global standards and regulation of the nuclear energy industry.  At the same time, international efforts have accelerated to envision a world free of nuclear weapons and to prevent the spread of nuclear materials and technology, particularly to terrorists. In short, the present moment holds promise and danger for the nuclear future. This report summarizes the discussion of a workshop held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in mid-April 2010, which examined the intersection of these two nuclear trends…read more>>

The Future of US-Iraq Relations, April 2010

An important transition is underway in the official relationship between the United States and Iraq. Since late 2008, relations have been governed by two agreements: one related to the planned withdrawal of US forces from Iraq by 2011, and one that sets a strategic framework for the future of US-Iraq relations and for broad cooperation in fields including education, health, environment, and trade. This report examines the recent trends in US-Iraq relations  …read More »

More Gulf Security Publications

Gulf Security News

Ellen Laipson appears on Alhurrah TV on May 31, 2012, to discuss situations in Egypt and Iran. Click here to watch the episode.

Ellen Laipson analyzes Supreme Leader Khamenei’s effect on the talks between Iran and P5+1 for Reuters on April 13, 2012. Click here to read the article.

Ellen Laipson was quoted in Christian Science Monitor’s report on India expanding trade with Iran on March 29, 2012. Click here to read the article.

The Stimson Center project, Iran and America: A Dialogue about Disability, held in partnership with BlueLaw International LLP, the Harvard Law School Project on Disability, and Iranian partner organizations, is now available in Farsi. Click here for more information.

More Gulf Security News

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