Defense Rapid Reaction

The threat of armed drones

 

As unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology becomes ever cheaper and more accessible, the threat of armed and GPS-guided drones is becoming a serious problem for U.S. forces in theater. In the past few months, Iranian-backed Iraqi militias have used small drones armed with explosives to attack Iraqi military bases housing U.S. forces several times, and the threat posed by such UAVs is only likely to grow in the months and years to come. Experts from MEI's Defense & Security Program weigh in with their thoughts on how the U.S. should respond to this emerging threat, as part of the new Defense Rapid Reaction series.

 

Read the reactions

Marking 75 Years of Excellence


This year marks the Middle East Institute’s 75th anniversary. As a leading American organization focused on the Middle East, MEI is leveraging its history and legacy by launching MEI@75, a three-year campaign to deepen and expand our work towards building the US-Middle East relationship.

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In this Moonless Black Night: Syrian Art After the Uprising

Curated by Maymanah Farhat | March 8 - July 16, 2021


In this Moonless Black Night: Syrian Art After the Uprising marks the 10-year anniversary of the Syrian Revolution by showcasing leading Syrian contemporary artists whose work explores the conflict, trauma and hope of the past decade through the  experiences of ordinary Syrians.

Curated by New York-based writer and researcher, Maymanah Farhat, the exhibition’s 14 featured artists reflect on the widescale destruction of the country and the plight of its displaced through painting, multimedia, photography, video and installation. In the process, their work helps shape our understanding of the conflict, from the peaceful start of the revolution to the resulting humanitarian crisis.

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Photo: "Ayman & Ghina Unpacked Refugee Baggage (2017)" (courtesy of Mohamad Hafez)

Expanding Knowledge, Narrowing Divides


MEI fosters greater understanding of the Middle East through non-partisan policy analysis, educational services, and promotion of regional arts and culture.

 

Policy Center

A source for non-partisan expert analysis seeking solutions to the region’s most challenging issues

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Education Center

Classes, academic resources, and professional development services to foster regional understanding

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Arts & Culture Center

D.C.’s only gallery dedicated to contemporary and modern art from the Middle East

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Upcoming Events

Attend free, public events at our D.C. headquarters or tune in to our live webcasts
 

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Discover how you can become a part of the MEI community.

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MEI Art Gallery Now Open for Timed Visits

The MEI Art Gallery is now accepting in-person appointments to view its current exhibition. Please note that we are limiting occupancy to no more than four visitors in the Gallery at a time.

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Oman Library Now Open By Appointment


Please call or email the librarian to set up a time to visit, research, or browse our ongoing book sale. Also keep an eye out for new acquisitions to the catalog and the publication of online resource guides.

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Leading Regional Expertise


MEI’s scholars draw on deep ties and decades of experience working in the region to build better understanding of Middle East policy.

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Research Programs


Led by renowned scholars and regional experts, MEI's policy research programs produce original analysis, convene roundtables and public events, and work to advance understanding of the complexities of regional policy.

Afghanistan and Pakistan Studies

MEI’s Afghanistan and Pakistan studies center aims to advance a balanced and realistic understanding of the politics, economy, society and foreign policy of these two countries. It works with scholars to produce original research, sponsors lectures, produces opinion pieces, and provides expert analysis with the goal of promoting knowledge about Afghanistan and Pakistan among the American public and within policy making circles.

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Arabian Peninsula Affairs

MEI’s Arabian Peninsula Affairs program aims to enhance U.S. understanding of the major issues and opportunities in front of the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council who are key political, security, and economic partners for the United States. It is a hub for analysis of developments within the GCC and the broader region, including Iran, Yemen, and the Gulf and Red Sea littorals.

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Climate Change, Environment, and Human Security

MEI's Climate Change, Environment and Human Security Program examines the issues of human security, environmental health, and sustainability, as well as the challenges and opportunities that climate change presents to people living in the Middle East and North Africa. Land, water, food, energy, and climate security are key nexus issues studied within this program.

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Conflict Resolution and Track II Dialogues

Establishing spaces for current and former officials and experts to engage in problem-solving dialogues in which they discuss emerging political and security trends in the region, resolution of conflicts, and broader issues related to regional security.

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Countering Terrorism & Extremism

MEI's Countering Terrorism and Extremism program seeks to generate a more locally-rooted understanding of the threats and challenges of today and tomorrow - grasping where they come from and why they come about, and most importantly, how to more effectively and sustainably defeat them.

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Cyber Program

MEI's Cyber Program studies the intersection of technology, security and governance in the Middle East, with a particular focus on international security, foreign relations, privacy, and human security. The Initiative seeks to establish a greater understanding of cybersecurity issues among Middle East experts, and to examine how the cyber domain will impact the future of the region.

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Defense and Security

MEI's Defense and Security program provides rigorous and multidisciplinary analysis of the current and emerging defense and security challenges and opportunities facing the United States and its regional partners. It also works to create a unique, credible, and independent platform for defense and security stakeholders from both the United States and the region to more closely interact, exchange views, and share experiences regarding various matters of national security.

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Egypt Program

MEI's Egypt Program looks at the country's security, economic and political developments. It seeks to examine Egypt’s domestic developments and regional role through research, private roundtables and public events.

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Frontier Europe Initiative

MEI’s Frontier Europe Initiative explores interactions between Middle East countries and their Frontier Europe neighbors – the parts of Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus which form a frontier between Western Europe, Russia and the Middle East. The program examines the growing energy, trade, security and political relationships with the aim of developing greater understanding of the interplay between these strategically important regions.

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Iran Program

MEI’s Iran project provides analysis of Iran’s policies and actions at home and abroad through research, articles, papers, and public and private events.

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Lebanon Program

The past 18 months have been grueling for Lebanon. Humanitarian, financial, and socio-economic crises have converged. Domestic political gridlocks are intensifying, and porous regional disturbances are at their peak. In such critical times, MEI’s dedicated Lebanon program seeks to inform and advance the conversation on Lebanon in the United States and globally. The program particularly focuses on investigating and promoting viable paths forward for Lebanon as it battles through one of the darkest periods in its 100-year modern history.

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Middle East - Asia Project (MAP)

MAP explores the multidimensional relations between the Middle East and Asia through scholarly analysis of cross-regional economic, political, security, and social/cultural interactions and their implications. It seeks to foster collaborative research on these issues through building an online community of experts and forging institutional partnerships.

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Palestine and Palestinian-Israeli Affairs

The Program on Palestine and Palestinian-Israeli Affairs examines the future of Palestinian politics and the Palestinian national movement as well as the prospects for a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the role of the conflict in the stability of the broader Middle East.

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Strategic Foresight Initiative

MEI's Strategic Foresight Initiative examines key drivers and dynamics at work in the region, thinks strategically, creatively and rigorously about various scenarios, risks and opportunities, and uses methodologically sound approaches to help decision-makers chart a course forward.

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Syria Program

MEI’s Syria Program seeks to provide insightful and grounded research and analysis on all things Syria in order to better inform a wide range of audiences and to help sustain and shape a more meaningful policy-oriented discussion. Drawing on the expertise of over a dozen renowned scholars, the Syria Program covers all aspects of Syria and its ongoing crises - from political, economic, legal, social, ethnic and religious dynamics, to conflict, insurgency and terrorism and the country’s history and possible futures.

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Turkish Studies

Established in 2009, MEI’s Turkish Studies program seeks to highlight and analyze political, economic, and social developments in Turkey through scholarly research and public events. It organizes an annual conference featuring leading experts and policy practitioners from Turkey, the United States, and the EU.

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What We Do

We seek to promote knowledge of the Middle East in America and strengthen understanding of the United States by the peoples and governments of the region. We believe pursuit of this goal is integral to building a world of peace and stability, in which the people of our two regions value our shared humanity.


1

Our experts shape diplomatic, legislative, and public discourse through publications, private briefings, testimony, and media.

2

We provide education and resources to the next generation of global leaders.

3

Our Center for Arts & Culture promotes a more integrated understanding of the Middle East, forging people-to-people connections and creating a destination for exploring the role of the arts in the region.

4

We elevate voices from the region in international conversation.

5

Our international conflict resolution dialogues bring together civil society and political leaders to achieve impact through cooperation both in and outside of the region.