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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

9 Dec 2017
[French President Macron] sees the dangers of being absent from the world stage, and sees [the absence of a strategy and U.S. diplomacy] as a way of raising the profile of France. The New York Times

Joost Hiltermann

Program Director, Middle East and North Africa
8 Dec 2017
The [Yemeni Houthis'] reach in the population is limited, and over time that will play into their opponents’ hands. But that won’t happen anytime soon, so it looks like the conflict will worsen. Reuters

Joost Hiltermann

Program Director, Middle East and North Africa
8 Dec 2017
If the Saudis and the Emirates want to have any chance of defeating the [Yemeni] Houthis, they will have to bring the anti-Houthi forces together under one umbrella. WikiTribune

Joost Hiltermann

Program Director, Middle East and North Africa
6 Dec 2017
[Yemen's Houthis] know they are fighters, not administrators. They are strong militarily, but otherwise they have no real means of governing. This is going to be the new challenge for [them]. Al Jazeera

Joost Hiltermann

Program Director, Middle East and North Africa
5 Dec 2017
[The death of Yemen's President Saleh] will only aggravate fragmentation and conflict by adding layers of revenge. Expect more fighting. Terrible for civilians in Sanaa and the north, who will bear the brunt. The Washington Post

Joost Hiltermann

Program Director, Middle East and North Africa
5 Dec 2017
It’s going to take time for [Yemen's] anti-Houthi forces to regroup and form a cohesive bloc. There could be a succession struggle. Financial Times

Joost Hiltermann

Program Director, Middle East and North Africa

Latest Updates

A Likely Story

Originally published in The New York Review of Books

Also available in العربية

The Kurds Are Right Back Where They Started

For decades, Washington has been content to indulge Kurdish dreams of independence. Why was Erbil willing to play along?

Originally published in The Atlantic

Also available in العربية

What Did the Kurds Get Out of the Referendum?

The “yes” vote in the 25 September 2017 referendum will not deliver independence for Iraqi Kurds. Rather, it is designed merely to remind Iraqi leaders in Baghdad that it is the Kurds’ strong wish to split off from a country from which they have always felt alien.

Originally published in The Atlantic

Also available in العربية