Ideas. Action. Impact. The Washington Institute for Near East Policy The Washington Institute: Improving the Quality of U.S. Middle East Policy

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Michael Eisenstadt

Kahn Fellow
Director, Military & Security Studies Program

Tel: 202-230-9550 (media inquiries only) 202-452-0650 (all other inquiries)
[email protected]

Michael Eisenstadt is the Kahn Fellow and director of The Washington Institute's Military and Security Studies Program.

Areas of Expertise

Iran, Iraq, Israel, Persian Gulf States , Military and Security

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Current Research

Iran's nuclear program and its implications; Iran's regional influence; Iranian strategic culture; the military campaign against the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria; undermining Islamic State's appeal; the role of the military instrument and the utility of force in U.S. policy; grey zone/irregular/hybrid conflict; and the Arab-Israeli military balance.

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Michael Eisenstadt is the Kahn Fellow and director of The Washington Institute's Military and Security Studies Program. A specialist in Persian Gulf and Arab-Israeli security affairs, he has published widely on irregular and conventional warfare, and nuclear weapons proliferation in the Middle East.

Prior to joining the Institute in 1989, Mr. Eisenstadt worked as a military analyst with the U.S. government.

Mr. Eisenstadt served for twenty-six years as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve before retiring in 2010. His military service included active-duty stints in Iraq with the United States Forces-Iraq headquarters (2010) and the Human Terrain System Assessment Team (2008); in Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan with the U.S. Security Coordinator (USSC) for Israel and the Palestinian Authority (2008-2009); at U.S. Central Command headquarters and on the Joint Staff during Operation Enduring Freedom and the planning for Operation Iraqi Freedom (2001-2002); and in Turkey and Iraq during Operation Provide Comfort (1991).

He has also served in a civilian capacity on the Multinational Force-Iraq/U.S. Embassy Baghdad Joint Campaign Plan Assessment Team (2009) and as a consultant or advisor to the congressionally mandated Iraq Study Group (2006), the Multinational Corps-Iraq Information Operations Task Force (2005-2006), and the State Department's Future of Iraq defense policy working group (2002-2003). In 1992, he took a leave of absence from the Institute to work on the U.S. Air Force Gulf War Air Power Survey.

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Mr. Eisenstadt earned an MA in Arab Studies from Georgetown University and has traveled widely in the Middle East. He speaks Arabic and Hebrew, and reads French.

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Languages Spoken / Read

  • Arabic
  • French
  • Hebrew

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Defeating ISIS:

November 4, 2014

Policy Notes

Iran's Influence in Iraq:

April 26, 2011

Policy Focus

Deterring an Iranian Nuclear Breakout

May 20, 2015

Research Notes

Between Not-In and All-In:

May 16, 2014

Policy Notes

Beyond Worst-Case Analysis:

June 1, 2012

Policy Notes

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Most Recent Analysis

The Iran Deal Pullout: How Will Tehran Respond?

November 1, 2018

The Great Middle Eastern War of 2019

August 20, 2018

Iran After the JCPOA Withdrawal (Part 2): Shaping Tehran’s Response

July 17, 2018

Iran After the JCPOA Withdrawal (Part 1): Lessons from Past Pressure Campaigns

July 16, 2018

Toward a New U.S. Policy in Syria

Ground Zero for Countering Iran and Deterring an Islamic State Revival

July 10, 2018

Has the Assad Regime 'Won' Syria's Civil War?

May 15, 2018

Military Strikes on Syria: Critical Considerations

April 10, 2018

Strengthen the Nuclear Deal and Counter Iran's Destabilizing Activities

February 16, 2018

Crossing Redlines: Escalation Dynamics in Syria

February 13, 2018

Regional Pushback, Nuclear Rollback:

A Comprehensive Strategy for an Iran in Turmoil

January 11, 2018

See all analysis by this author