Michael Stephens

Michael Stephens is a research fellow for Middle East studies and head of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in Qatar.


The GCC will ride out the storm

The GCC will come back together after the storm, bruised and battered but not broken.


Saudi Arabia and Iran and how we got here

It is US retrenchment from the region that has been the cause of regional competition in the first place.


This is a big moment for Saudi Arabia

As with all things in Saudi Arabia, change happens slowly and at its own pace.

Middle East

Best of friends? A new chapter in Saudi-US relations

If the US is not willing to play a hegemonic role in the region, then Riyadh will have to step in.

War & Conflict

The ugly threat of an ISIL with chemical weapons

The use of chemical munitions is becoming the norm in Syria and Iraq.

War & Conflict

The YPG: America's new best friend?

The YPG may seem to be good allies on paper, but if Syria's central regions are alienated it may cause more trouble.


Change in the name of stability for Saudi Arabia

The wily king appears to have understood that to keep things the same, sometimes you have to make changes.

War & Conflict

Yemen is a defining moment for King Salman

Saudi Arabia may balk at an Iran-backed actor gaining legitimacy through talks but it has little choice in the long run.

War & Conflict

A big rethink: Security in the GCC

Money and expensive toys don't buy regional stability.


Saudi Arabia after King Abdullah

Can Saudi Arabia manage the turbulent changes in the region without its king?


The US and Iraqi Kurds: Good will hunting?

Iraqi Kurds seethe as US tells them to put aside independence dreams - for now.


Iraq elections unlikely to bridge sectarian divide

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is accused of marginalising Sunni and Kurdish voices ahead of April 30 vote.