Persian Gulf Region

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The Persian Gulf region—which includes Iran, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Iraq—contains an estimated 50 percent of the world's oil reserves and thus plays a strategic geopolitical role. RAND has a strong presence in and focus on the region, with an office in Doha, focusing primarily on domestic and regional issues such as education and development and on assisting U.S. and allied military forces in the region.

  • Report

    Exploration of Early COVID-19 Responses in Select Middle East Nations

    Prior to the pandemic, many countries in the Middle East struggled with health care capacity and access. COVID-19 placed significant additional strain on health care delivery in the region. What common challenges did Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, and Tunisia face in their pandemic responses?

    Mar 24, 2022

  • Report

    Reimagining U.S. Strategy in the Middle East

    Long-standing U.S. policies in the Middle East that rely on defeating threats and keeping partners on “our side” have fallen short. What if the U.S. approach shifted from focusing on the threat of the day to a positive vision of a region supported by increased diplomatic and economic investments?

    Feb 23, 2021

Explore Persian Gulf Region

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Implementing Safe Areas: Lessons from History

    While safe areas are intuitively attractive, their effectiveness depends on the resources and resolve of the implementing forces, rules of engagement, and geography.

    Feb 26, 2024

  • An aircraft takes off to join the U.S.-led coalition to conduct air strikes against military targets in Yemen, aimed at the Iran-backed Houthi militia that has been targeting international shipping in the Red Sea, from an undisclosed location, in this handout picture released on January 12, 2024, photo by U.S. Central Command via X/Handout via Reuters

    Commentary

    Yes to Striking Iranian-Backed Militants

    Strikes against state-backed militias like the Houthis degrade these groups' military capabilities. But such strikes will almost certainly not deter the group from launching additional attacks. They could, however, take key capabilities and leaders off the battlefield, challenging Iran and the militias it backs to field the same quantity and quality of attacks in the future.

    Feb 26, 2024

  • After the Colonial Pipeline was shut down by hackers, consumers began panic buying gas, leading to empty pumps, Falls Church, Virginia, May 12, 2021, photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    Commentary

    Threats to America's Critical Infrastructure Are Now a Terrifying Reality

    U.S. critical infrastructure has been under attack for the past two decades, with little in the way of meaningful response. What can policymakers and the public do to better address these threats?

    Feb 12, 2024

  • Armed men on the beach with the Galaxy Leader, seized by Yemen's Houthis in November, anchored off the coast of al-Salif, Yemen, December 5, 2023, photo by Khaled Abdullah/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Search for a High Seas Solution

    While Western military action against the Houthis has increased, the Red Sea crisis is sailing through opaque waters. Short-term military action might help with the immediate crisis, but shipping routes will remain vulnerable unless the world recognizes its exposure to threats and cooperates to defend them.

    Jan 17, 2024

  • Newly recruited Houthi fighters participate in a ceremony at the end of their training in Sanaa, Yemen, January 11, 2024, photo by Khaled Abdullah/Reuters

    Commentary

    What's Behind the Surge in Attacks by Yemen's Houthis

    What can Washington do now to avoid repeating its past mistakes in Yemen and deal with the threat posed by the Houthis?

    Jan 11, 2024

  • Abdullah Bin Sharaf Alghamdi, President of Saudi Data and Al Authority, speaks during the Global Al Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 21, 2020, photo by Ahmed Yosri/Reuters

    Commentary

    From Soccer to AI, Saudi Arabia Spends to Win

    The Saudis have set their sights on becoming leaders at the cutting edge of technology development in everything from biotechnology to semiconductors and artificial intelligence. And they appear to be prepared to pay top dollar to do it. This complicates U.S. critical technology strategy.

    Dec 29, 2023

  • Newly recruited fighters who joined a Houthi military force intended to be sent to the Gaza Strip march during a parade in Sanaa, Yemen, December 2, 2023, photo by Khaled Abdullah/Reuters

    Commentary

    A Precarious Moment for Yemen's Truce

    The truce in Yemen is imperfect, but it is the only barrier currently preventing the country from sliding back into widespread war. A comprehensive negotiation process is the most viable option for peace in Yemen in the near term, and the only barrier to the humanitarian devastation that a full-scale resumption of the war in Yemen would surely bring.

    Dec 13, 2023

  • The coast of Alexandria, Egypt, photo by Natalia Pavlova/Adobe Stock

    Research Brief

    What Climate-Related Conflict Could Mean for U.S. Central Command

    Climate change will hit the Middle East and Central Asia especially hard, with effects on both personal well-being and regional stability. It will likely create increased demand for stabilization operations, non-combatant evacuation operations, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

    Nov 29, 2023

  • Travelers are rescued from a flash flood in the Judean desert

    Report

    Mischief, Malevolence, or Indifference? How Competitors and Adversaries Could Exploit Climate-Related Conflict in the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility

    This report presents an analysis of how U.S. competitors and adversaries — China, Russia, and Iran — could attempt to exploit climate-related conflict in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility in future decades.

    Nov 29, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Nuclear Deterrence, Russia and Iran, Deepfakes: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how much is “enough” for U.S. nuclear forces, the budding Russia-Iran partnership, the challenge of detecting deepfakes, and more.

    Oct 6, 2023

  • Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu meets with Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Mohammad-Reza Ashtiani in Tehran, Iran, September 20, 2023, photo by West Asia News Agency via Reuters

    Commentary

    The Drivers of and Outlook for Russian-Iranian Cooperation

    Russia and Iran's recent cooperation regarding Ukraine has raised concerns that the once wary partners might be moving toward a more comprehensive, strategic alliance. Such a prospect could have significant consequences for the United States' ability to safeguard its interests in the Middle East.

    Oct 4, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    The Four-Day School Week, AI and Social Media Manipulation, School Safety: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the costs and benefits of a four-day school week, how artificial intelligence is bringing a new era of social media manipulation, the effects of placing police officers in schools, and more.

    Sep 8, 2023

  • A colorful silhouette of an aircraft is superimposed on maps of Russia and Iran, images by Belterz/Getty Images, Kevin Smart/Getty Images, and KeithBinns/Getty Images

    Report

    Deterring Russia and Iran

    How can the United States effectively and efficiently deter Russia and Iran without crowding out investments in other military missions, including competition with China in the Indo-Pacific?

    Aug 17, 2023

  • Smoke rises in Omdurman during clashes between the Paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and the army as seen from Khartoum North, Sudan, April 15, 2023, photo by Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters

    Commentary

    Fighting in Sudan Is Creating a Rift Among U.S. Security Partners

    While the national security community often focuses on strategic competition between the United States and its near-peer adversaries, the conflict in Sudan is a good reminder that regional powers are also engaged in competition for influence and resources.

    Jul 20, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    NATO Summit, Russia's Failures in Ukraine, Vietnam Bans 'Barbie': RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the NATO summit in Vilnius, Russia’s repeated missteps in Ukraine, why America's superintendents are so stressed, and more.

    Jul 14, 2023

  • Members of the Houthi movement stand by as a plane carrying the U.N. Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg arrives at the Sanaa International Airport, in Sanaa, Yemen June 8, 2022, photo by Khaled Abdullah/Reuters

    Commentary

    Yemen's Year-Long Truce Creates Opportunities for Durable Peace

    The truce in Yemen does not represent a comprehensive peace, but it does offer a path to ending the civil war for good. Going forward, an inclusive political process—one that includes all parts of Yemeni society, including women, civil society groups, and youth—will be critical.

    Jul 10, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    20 Years After the Iraq War, China-Russia Ties, Correctional Education: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on reflecting on the Iraq War, the pandemic and prison education, North Korea’s latest threats, and more.

    Mar 24, 2023

  • U.S. Marines take cover from Iraqi fire as British artillery rounds explode behind them during the early stage of the push into southern Iraq, March 21, 2003, photo by Desmond Boylan/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Ripples of War Are Only Beginning to Spread. Is America Ready?

    There are now more than 1.9 million U.S. veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 50,000 were physically injured and around 15 percent have experienced PTSD. Perhaps all were exposed to burn pits and other toxins. What are the long-term impacts of the wars on those who fought them?

    Mar 23, 2023

  • A statue of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein remains in front of a destroyed communication center in Baghdad, Iraq, March 28, 2003, photo by Reuters Photographer/Reuters

    Q&A

    Twenty Years After the Iraq War, a Q&A with RAND Experts

    On the 20th anniversary of the war in Iraq, RAND experts discussed what the war means for the people of Iraq and the veterans who fought there, what lessons the U.S. military learned (or did not learn), and what effect it has had on the balance of power in the Middle East and the global reputation of the United States.

    Mar 21, 2023

  • Report

    Report

    Proxy Warfare in Strategic Competition: Overarching Findings and Recommendations

    This report synthesizes the findings and recommendations from two companion reports on intrastate proxy wars: civil wars in which at least one local warring party receives material support from an external state.

    Mar 9, 2023