Persian Gulf Region

Featured

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.

  • Medical staff members in an intensive care unit assist a patient suffering from COVID-19, Amman, Jordan March 23, 2021, photo by Muath Freij/Reuters

    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

  • A view from space of the Middle East, West Asia, and East Europe at night, photo by wael alreweie/Getty Images

    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

  • Map showing Syria and surrounding region

    Commentary

    How Real Is the ISIS Threat?

    In less than two years, ISIS's black flag has flown in a dozen countries outside of Syria and Iraq. And terrorist attacks have been carried out in its name in the West, including in America. But how serious is the threat that ISIS's brand of jihad will spread on a global scale?

    Mar 18, 2016

  • Report

    Report

    Building the Future: Summary of Four Studies to Develop the Private Sector, Education, Health Care, and Data for Decisionmaking for the Kurdistan Region — Iraq

    This report summarizes four studies intended to help the Kurdistan Regional Government expand access to good education and health care, increase private-sector development, and design a data-collection system to support high-priority policies.

    Mar 17, 2016

  • One of the members of the military protecting a demonstration against candidates for a national unity government proposed by U.N. envoy for Libya Bernardino Leon, in Benghazi, Libya, October 23, 2015

    Commentary

    Democracy in the Arab World: Still a Mirage

    From the indignant graffiti scrawled on walls across Tunis to the war-torn neighborhoods of Damascus and Tripoli, the region and the world's hopes of establishing peace and democracy have largely faded.

    Mar 17, 2016

  • U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement on Iran at the White House, January 17, 2016

    Commentary

    The Iran Deal Is Working: What Now?

    U.S. policy will likely continue to balance the tensions between containing and deterring Iran with regional allies, while testing areas where engagement with Iran might either be unavoidable (as in Syria) or desirable (such as in counternarcotics cooperation or efforts to stabilize Afghanistan).

    Mar 9, 2016

  • An Islamic State flag is seen in this picture, taken February 18, 2016

    Commentary

    The Islamic State's Money Problems

    ISIS now faces considerable money problems. But despite the success of the coalition's counter-terrorist finance measures, it's too early to dismiss ISIS financially.

    Mar 5, 2016

  • Chess pieces on a board

    Report

    Countering Adversaries Without Going to War

    How can the United States coerce unfriendly states without going to war? The three potentially most cost-effective options are financial sanctions, support for nonviolent political opposition, and offensive cyber operations.

    Mar 3, 2016

  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attend a news conference with Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann in Tehran, February 27, 2016

    Blog

    After the Iran Nuclear Deal: Challenges and Opportunities

    A series of panel discussions at RAND today drew a range of opinions on the Iran nuclear deal and its aftermath, but also general agreement that despite some improvement, the agreement has not halted Iran's provocative behavior in the region.

    Mar 3, 2016

  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani waves next to a portrait of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at the Interior Ministry in Tehran, December 21, 2015

    Commentary

    Rouhani and Khamenei Are Both Winners in Iran's Elections

    Iran's recent elections are being heralded as major wins for Iran's long-struggling “moderates.” But the conservative political establishment is also a winner, despite its reported losses in parliament and the Assembly of Experts.

    Mar 2, 2016

  • Report

    Report

    Initiatives to Improve Quality of Education in the Kurdistan Region — Iraq: Administration, School Monitoring, Private School Policies, and Teacher Training

    RAND supported the Kurdistan Regional Government in its aims to restructure its Ministry of Education, develop plans for a school quality assurance system, review support of private schools, and assess the content and quality of in-service training.

    Feb 26, 2016

  • Iranian women take part in a reformist campaign for the upcoming parliamentary elections in Tehran February 20, 2016

    Commentary

    New Era with Iran? Not So Fast

    On the whole, ties between the United States and Iran are improving, but to think that a new era in Iran or in U.S.-Iran relations has arrived is a stretch. The U.S. has achieved an important diplomatic breakthrough with Iran, but it still faces the same regime it has since 1979.

    Feb 23, 2016

  • Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrives at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, June 24, 2015

    Commentary

    The Next Generation of Leaders in the Gulf

    The face of leadership in the Gulf is getting younger. There are reasons not to assume that the Gulf's young leaders will gravitate to democratization. But their rise does provide an opportunity for a much-needed update to U.S. strategy in the region.

    Feb 15, 2016

  • Announcement

    Announcement

    Australian Foreign Minister and International Policy Experts Discuss Middle East Challenges During Meeting at RAND

    The RAND Corporation and the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney convened a distinguished group of Australian and American experts to discuss the challenges ahead in Middle East policy for both countries.

    Jan 29, 2016

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivers a statement that sanctions will be lifted on Iran after the IAEA verified that Iran has met all conditions under the nuclear deal, January 16, 2016

    Commentary

    Iran, Terrorism, and Nonproliferation After the Nuclear Deal

    As Iran re-enters global markets, the Obama administration needs a strategy that accounts for the nuclear deal's potentially adverse implications for U.S. counterterrorism policy as well as its advantages for nonproliferation policy.

    Jan 28, 2016

  • A protester holding a picture of Shi'ite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, who was executed in Saudi Arabia, walks past a picture of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during a rally in Tehran January 8, 2016

    Commentary

    Saudi-Iranian Tensions

    The U.S.-Iran nuclear accord has induced a sense of abandonment in Riyadh. The Saudis may fear that Washington might one day replace its alliance with Saudi Arabia with a new partnership with Iran; or perhaps more realistically, that it might come to depend less on Riyadh given improving ties with Iran.

    Jan 22, 2016

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif after the IAEA verified that Iran has met all conditions under the nuclear deal, January 16, 2016

    Commentary

    Iran Nuclear Deal Is Working, but Challenges Persist

    The nuclear agreement with Iran made sanctions relief contingent on Iran's first having verifiably undertaken steps to dismantle its nuclear program. It has completed these tasks, and it is now the United States' turn to implement its obligations under the deal.

    Jan 19, 2016

  • Afghan carpet salesmen fold a carpet after showing it to customers at a shop in Kabul

    Report

    Lessons from the Task Force for Business and Stability Operations in Afghanistan

    Economic development is likely to remain a key component of U.S. contingency operations. Assessing the activities of the Task Force for Business and Stability Operations in Afghanistan offers insights for similar projects in the future.

    Jan 12, 2016

  • A man stands on a buring military vehicle

    Report

    Operation IRAQI FREEDOM: Decisive War, Elusive Peace

    Summarizes a classified five-volume report on the planning and execution of operations in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM through June 2004. Recommends changes to Army plans, operational concepts, doctrine, and Title 10 functions.

    Jan 4, 2016

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Contractors on the Battlefield: When and How?: Using the US Military's Risk Management Framework to Learn from the Balkans Support Contract

    This study provides insight into the role and value of contractors and challenges facing the government as it seeks to best integrate the skills and capabilities it needs; these skills are increasingly principally resident in the private sector.

    Dec 29, 2015

  • A row of Iranian flags in front of the Tehran skyline

    Commentary

    Iran: A Rising Cyber Power?

    Iran is a country with revisionist tendencies that has accumulated enemies. This has impelled it to develop techniques to keep them at bay. Cyber, in some circumstances, is a particularly cost-effective way of doing so.

    Dec 16, 2015

  • Soldiers from 7th Special Forces Group Airborne are suspended by a CH-47 Chinook helicopter during a training event Eglin Air Force Base, February 5, 2013

    Commentary

    ISIS vs Special Ops

    However critical to the fight against ISIS, using special operations forces for raids represents only half of the needed military adjustment. The other half is the effort to build indigenous forces capable of taking and holding territory in Iraq and Syria.

    Dec 8, 2015