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Dina Esfandiary

Senior Advisor, Middle East and North Africa

Crisis Group Role

Dina Esfandiary advises Crisis Group’s Middle East and North Africa Program on research, analysis, policy prescription and advocacy.

Professional Background

Previously, Dina was a Fellow in the Middle East department of The Century Foundation (TCF),  and an International Security Program Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Dina also worked at the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ (CSIS) Middle East Program, the War Studies Department at King’s College London, and in the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament programme of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London. Dina has published widely, including in Foreign Affairs, the Atlantic, The Guardian, the Washington Post, International Affairs, the National Interest, Arms Control Today, and The Washington Quarterly. She holds a Ph.D in the War Studies department at King’s College London and Masters Degrees from King’s College London and the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva. 

Areas of Expertise

  • Persian Gulf security and foreign relations
  • Relations between states and non-proliferation in the Middle East

Select Publications

  • Triple-Axis: Iran’s Relations with Russia and China, I.B Taurus (2018)
  • Living on the Edge: Iran and the Practice of Nuclear Hedging, Palgrave Macmillan (2016)

In The News

29 Apr 2022
There’s a real frustration among Gulf Arab states with the way the West is dealing with this conflict [in Ukraine] versus how it has with other conflicts in the region. The National

Dina Esfandiary

Senior Advisor, Middle East and North Africa
7 Mar 2022
I think there has also been a realization among these energy producers (Middle East oil producers), that they are not as important now as when the world was highly dependent on them. DW

Dina Esfandiary

Senior Advisor, Middle East and North Africa
14 Dec 2021
The fact that Saudi Arabia and the UAE are becoming more willing to engage the Iranians will bring them closer to the other countries in the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council]. Al Jazeera

Dina Esfandiary

Senior Advisor, Middle East and North Africa
5 Sep 2021
The US and other Western countries welcome Qatari mediation because of their [own] limited interactions with the Taliban [in Afghanistan]. France 24

Dina Esfandiary

Senior Advisor, Middle East and North Africa
7 Apr 2021
The Supreme Leader may yet decide that it would be wiser to wait until a new administration is in place in Iran before pursuing talks with the US Vox

Dina Esfandiary

Senior Advisor, Middle East and North Africa
27 Mar 2021
I think [the new Iran-China deal] will make Europe and the U.S. a little more nervous because it looks like Iran may have a way out of economic strangulation. The Wall Street Journal

Dina Esfandiary

Senior Advisor, Middle East and North Africa

Latest Updates

The Impact of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine in the Middle East and North Africa

Spikes in prices of grain and fuel, with uncertain political reverberations, are the Ukraine war’s primary effect to date on Middle Eastern and North African countries. But diplomatic and military developments are important, too, as Crisis Group experts explain in this look around the region.

Also available in العربية

The Ukraine War: A Global Crisis?

The overwhelming support for a UN resolution condemning Russia’s invasion shows that countries around the world see it as attacking global norms. Yet policymakers also view the crisis in terms of their own national interest. Crisis Group experts assess the war from thirteen vantage points.

Also available in Español

The Anxiety Effect: How 9/11 and Its Aftermath Changed Gulf Arab States’ Relations with the U.S.

Post-9/11 events have shaken Riyadh’s and Abu Dhabi’s faith in the durability of Washington’s support. As part of our series, The Legacy of 9/11 and the “War on Terror”, Dina Esfandiary says U.S.-Gulf ties will likely not regain the strength they had twenty years ago.