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Heiko Wimmen

Project Director, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon
Beirut, Lebanon

Crisis Group Role

Heiko Wimmen oversees Crisis Group's Iraq/Syria/Lebanon project. Prior to joining Crisis Group, he was an associate researcher at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin. He has also published with the Carnegie Middle East Center and MERIP, and recently oversaw an edited academic volume on Elite Change and New Social Mobilization in the Arab World.

Heiko, who is German, has lived in the region since 1994, mostly in Beirut where he currently resides.

Areas of Expertise

  • Domestic politics of Lebanon, Syrian civil war, post-war Iraq
  • Sectarianism and identity politics in the Middle East
  • Divided societies
  • Social movements and political activism
  • Civil society in post-conflict institution building
  • EU policies towards the Arab world

Professional Background

  • Fellow and research associate with German Institute for International and Security Affairs 2009-2015
  • Project manager and deputy director of the Beirut Office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, 2004-2009
  • Professional fellow of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), 2002-2004
  • Independent Journalist and Broadcast Producer in Beirut, 1996-2002


  • German
  • English 
  • Arabic
  • French

In The News

17 Aug 2019
The longer Damascus is excluded from certain areas of the country, the more facts are being created on the ground. Damascus has a lot of work to do in that respect, it could take a long time. The Arab Weekly

Heiko Wimmen

Project Director, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon
21 Dec 2018
[U.S. withdrawal from Syria] basically means you throw the Kurds under the bus. The only thing the Kurds can do is throw themselves into the arms of the regime. TIME

Heiko Wimmen

Project Director, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon
1 Mar 2018
Turkey has tried to drive wedges into [Hei’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS)]  because they see [the group] as very problematic. Al Jazeera

Heiko Wimmen

Project Director, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon
31 Jan 2018
Saying that Afrin will be returned to its rightful owners will leave many people wondering if they can return after the fighting [between Turkey and Kurdish forces in northern Syria] is over. AFP

Heiko Wimmen

Project Director, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon
26 Nov 2017
Hezbollah thrives on its position of being a state within a state, an alternative provider for all kinds of things [when Lebanon's political institutions are weakened]. The Washington Post

Heiko Wimmen

Project Director, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon
11 Nov 2017
[It is not] plausible to assume [Lebanese Prime Minister] Hariri’s resignation would compel Hezbollah to change its ways. No government can be formed without its consent. The Guardian

Heiko Wimmen

Project Director, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon

Latest Updates

In Lebanon’s Elections, More of the Same is Mostly Good News

Lebanon’s elections yielded few surprises, says Crisis Group’s Lebanon, Syria and Iraq Project Director Heiko Wimmen in this Q&A. Hizbollah is slightly stronger and its main rival weaker. But the polls do represent a return to normalcy.

A Huthi Missile, a Saudi Purge and a Lebanese Resignation Shake the Middle East

Volatility is rising across the Middle East as local, regional and international conflicts increasingly intertwine and amplify each other. Four Crisis Group analysts give a 360-degree view of the new risks of overlapping conflicts that involve Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Lebanon and Israel.

The U.S. joins the Turkey-PKK fight in northern Syria

Directly arming one mainly Kurdish faction in Syria makes U.S. partly responsible for the fate of Syria’s Kurds. Given Ankara’s bitter opposition to the group, Washington should push its Kurdish partner to focus on regional autonomy in Syria, not its insurgency in Turkey.

Originally published in Middle East Eye