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Joost Hiltermann

Program Director, Middle East and North Africa
Brussels

Crisis Group Role

As MENA Program Director, Joost leads the organisation’s research, analysis, policy prescription and advocacy in and about the region. Previously, he was Crisis Group’s Chief Operating Officer (2013-2014), in which capacity he was responsible for the oversight and management of the organisation’s programs and operations around the world. Prior to that, he was Crisis Group's Deputy Program Director for the Middle East and North Africa (2007-2012) and Project Director for the Middle East (2002-2007), helping to manage a team of analysts deployed throughout the region.
 

Areas of Expertise

  • Iraq: political transition, constitutional process, the situation of the Kurds, Kirkuk and other disputed territories, oil, relations with neighbouring states
  • Bahrain
  • Yemen
  • Jordan
  • Israel-Palestine
  • Middle East region: security threats, authoritarianism and democratisation, political Islam, sectarianism

Professional Background

  • Chief Operating Officer, International Crisis Group (2013-2014)
  • Deputy Program Director, Middle East and North Africa, International Crisis Group (2007-2012)
  • Project Director, Middle East, International Crisis Group (2002-2007)
  • Executive Director, Arms Division of Human Rights Watch (1994-2002)
  • Director of Iraq Documents Project, HRW (1992-1994)
  • Research Coordinator, Al-Haq (Ramallah) (1988-1990)
  • Database Coordinator, Al-Haq (Ramallah) (1985-1988)
  • PhD, Sociology, University of California, Santa Cruz (1988); MA, International Relations, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (1980)
  • He has written for The New York Review of Books, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Financial Times, The National Interest, Middle East Report, and other publications

Affiliations

  • Board Member, Center for Civilians in Conflict (previously known as CIVIC)
  • Advisory Board Member, Arab Regional Office of Open Society Foundations
  • Research Affiliate, MIT Center for International Studies
  • Consultant/Advisor, Dialogue Advisory Group


Frequent interviews with major media outlets, including BBC, CNN, The New York Times, Financial Times

  • Two books: A Poisonous Affair: America, Iraq, and the Gassing of Halabja (Cambridge, 2007), and Behind the Intifada: Labor and Women’s Movements in the Occupied Territories (Princeton, 1991)

Languages

  • English
  • Dutch
  • Arabic
  • French

In The News

10 Aug 2017
There is a risk that the Arabs, the Turkmen and the Shia will protest [against a referendum on Kurdish independence] and that Baghdad, backed by Iran, will send in militias or security forces. The Economist

Joost Hiltermann

Program Director, Middle East and North Africa
1 Jun 2017
Iraq, which is in charge on paper, does not want to give away a single piece of land [to the Kurdistan Regional Government]. Foreign Policy

Joost Hiltermann

Program Director, Middle East and North Africa
21 May 2017
The shift in the Trump administration's approach reflects an assessment that the primary threat posed by surviving ISIS fighters derives from those who came from Europe. Deutsche Welle

Joost Hiltermann

Program Director, Middle East and North Africa
21 Apr 2017
[The West has] thrown values by the wayside, but also not been able to act in [their] own interests, because [they] let things [in Syria] go too long. The New York Times

Joost Hiltermann

Program Director, Middle East and North Africa
20 Apr 2017
Iran's strategy in Iraq is a policy of divide and rule. Kurdish society is very divided at the moment and Iran has a chance to exploit those divisions. Al-Monitor

Joost Hiltermann

Program Director, Middle East and North Africa
13 Apr 2017
[The problem was that] there is no clear alternative to [Syria's President] Assad if you want to preserve the regime, which Russia is set on. The New Yorker

Joost Hiltermann

Program Director, Middle East and North Africa

Latest Updates

Qatar Punched Above Its Weight. Now It’s Paying the Price.

Doha has become a casualty of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates’ fights with Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood. But don’t expect a war.

Originally published in The New York Times

Also available in العربية

Reconciling Iraq's Hard Realities

In a Berlin speech to German and Dutch officers, diplomats and civilians, Crisis Group's Middle East and North Africa Program Director Joost Hiltermann argues that any attempt to help Iraqis piece their country back together again needs to take into account local realities, the grander geopolitical picture, and especially regional powers Turkey and Iran.

How All Sides of Yemen’s War Are Weaponising Hunger and Creating a Famine

With the world's largest hunger crisis, Yemen sits precariously on the brink of famine. Avoiding it will require all warring parties to desist from weaponising Yemen's increasingly fragile economy and return to the negotiating table.

Originally published in World Politics Review