The Crown Center for Middle East Studies is committed to conducting balanced and dispassionate research of the modern Middle East that meets the highest academic standards.

The Center seeks to help make decision- and opinion-makers better informed about the region. The scope of the Center’s research includes the 22 members of the Arab League as well as Turkey, Iran, and Israel. The Crown Center’s approach is multi-disciplinary in its study of the politics, economics, history, security, sociology, and anthropology of the region’s states and societies. 

Upcoming Events

January 22, 2020

A Brown Bag Seminar with Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, an Emirati columnist and researcher on social, political and cultural affairs in the Arab Gulf States. Sultan is also the founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation, an independent initiative established in 2010 to contribute to the intellectual development of the art scene in the Arab region by building a prominent and publicly accessible art collection in the United Arab Emirates.

Recent News and Publications

January 17, 2020

Crown Conversations (Summary) — The Crown Center for Middle East Studies is pleased to announce the inauguration of a new publication series titled Crown Conversations. Drawing on the wealth of regional expertise at the Crown Center, this series will focus on recent developments in the Middle East with two goals: to draw attention to aspects of ongoing events that are overlooked in the U.S. news media and to provide insights into the wider regional and global implications of the news. Our first Crown Conversation, "Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon after Soleimani," was organized and edited by Naghmeh Sohrabi and David Siddhartha Patel and features Maryam Alemzadeh, David Siddhartha Patel, and Kelly Stedem. It focuses on the targeted killing of Iranian General Qasim Soleimani and others by a U.S. drone strike in Iraq on January 3, 2020 and its short- and medium-term effects on domestic politics in Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon.

December 20, 2019

From the Director's Desk (Summary) — North Korea and Iran have posed the toughest challenges to recent U.S. efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. Using basically the same tools, the U.S. has failed to stop North Korea from acquiring them but succeeded—at least so far—in stopping Iran. In a speech to the National War College in December, Crown Family Director Gary Samore discussed and contrasted the two cases, focusing on the motivations of the regimes to acquire nuclear weapons, the vulnerability of each economy to international pressures, and U.S. non-proliferation objectives and options. He analyzes what President Trump’s shift to top-down personal diplomacy with North Korea and a "maximum pressure" campaign on Iran have accomplished to date and options going forward.

Middle East Brief 132 (Summary) — Over the past 15 years and under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey dramatically expanded its diplomatic and economic relations with Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Despite this, Turkey supported Qatar in June 2017 when Saudi Arabia and the UAE led an economic blockade on their neighbor. Soon after, in October 2018, Turkish diplomatic relations with Saudi soured further after the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul. Many analysts expected that these diplomatic crises would have severe economic reverberations and harm the Turkish economy.

Middle East Brief 131 (Summary) — Tunisian women have gained many new legal rights since the overthrow of President Ben Ali in January 2011, including the right to marry non-Muslims, mandated parity with men in elected bodies, and a comprehensive law against all forms of gender-based violence. This expansion of women's rights surprised many Tunisians who thought that the country's existing "pro-women" policies, often described as the most progressive in the Arab world, would be rolled back after the revolution, particularly as the Islamic party, Ennahda, was gaining political and electoral power.

Middle East Brief 130 (Summary) — The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) plays a prominent role in carrying out the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy agenda. Noting this, the Trump administration has targeted the IRGC as part of its maximum pressure policy on Iran, recently announcing that the U.S. will designate it as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. In this Brief, Maryam Alemzadeh describes the inherently informal nature of the IRGC and the notable degree of freedom that it possesses to embark on actions that go against centrally devised policies.