Middle East Program
The CSIS Middle East Program focuses most of its research on the drivers of social and political change in the region. To the greatest degree possible, we seek to be "opportunity driven" rather than "threat driven," seeking out opportunities for positive change rather than merely reacting to crises. Our current work addresses topics including political, social, and economic change in North Africa, Asian strategies toward the Middle East, shifting dynamics in the Gulf, and challenges related to radicalism and insurgencies. At the same time, the Middle East Program pays special attention to regional trends, key states, and non-state actors.
We publish a monthly newsletter, Middle East Notes and Comment, that analyzes current events, regular analysis papers, and in both the academic and popular press. We host roundtables and conferences and appear on leading national and international news outlets.
Gulf States’ Policies on Syria
When the Syrian uprising broke out in 2011, most Gulf countries took the unprecedented step of openly calling for the overthrow of the Assad regime. But as the conflict drew on, these countries’ interests and calculations changed. The international community’s inaction and fears of increasing instability in the region precipitated a split in Gulf countries’ policies. Some are trying to increase their involvement in the conflict to spur the United States into action, while others are quietly stepping back and toning down their opposition to Bashar al-Assad.