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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

12 Aug 2021
For a large part of the population [in Lebanon], electricity will become a luxury. Driving your car will become a luxury, too. Transportation will become a luxury. CNN

Heiko Wimmen

Project Director, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon
22 Aug 2020
Turkey is also one of the candidates to rebuild Beirut harbour. There is also a section within Lebanese society – amongst Sunni Muslims – who have some sympathy for Turkey’s neo-Ottoman project. Cyprus Mail

Heiko Wimmen

Project Director, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon
13 Aug 2020
The Lebanese state has been hollowed out by decades of corruption and patronage, and this has undermined due process and any sense of accountability. Voice of America

Heiko Wimmen

Project Director, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon
6 Jun 2020
With the US Caesar Act coming into force, doing business with Syria will become even more difficult and risky. Arab News

Heiko Wimmen

Project Director, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon
25 Sep 2019
The world apparently has long since tired of the war, and resigned itself to frozen conflict, with a nationwide cease-fire as the best possible scenario. Associated Press

Heiko Wimmen

Project Director, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon
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

Latest Updates

Lebanon is Falling Apart

In this episode of Hold Your Fire! Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh talk with Crisis Group expert Heiko Wimmen about Lebanon’s unprecedented economic meltdown and the threat it poses to the country’s politics, society and stability.

Syria: How to prevent Israel-Iran shadow war spinning out of control

As Israeli strikes on Iran-linked targets in Syria continue, there is always a risk that occasional spikes of violence could escalate into a broader confrontation.

Originally published in Middle East Eye

Pulling Lebanon Back from the Precipice

After months of mass protests, a new Lebanese government may take office soon. Yet it must make reforms that strike at the very vested interests that appointed it. Outsiders should give the cabinet a chance to succeed but plan for emergency aid if it fails.

Lebanon’s Revolt

Austerity measures have triggered countrywide unrest in Lebanon. In this Q&A, Crisis Group expert Heiko Wimmen says the prime minister’s emergency measures may be too little, too late. Most protesters appear bent on the government’s resignation if not the political system‘s complete overhaul.

Hezbollah and Israel: Deterrence at the Edge of Destruction

After 13 years of maintaining the status quo, Israel and Hezbollah are now negotiating new rules of engagement.

Originally published in Middle East Eye