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Michael Eisenstadt

David Kahn and Douglas 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 David Kahn and Douglas 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 David Kahn and Douglas 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

Operating in the ‘Gray Zone’ to Counter Iran

September 18, 2019

Past U.S.-Iran Confrontations Hold Lessons for Current Crisis

June 27, 2019

The Ends of Iran: Next Steps for Tehran and Its Neighbors

May 30, 2019

Rumors of War: Responding to Iranian Pushback in the Gulf

May 17, 2019

How Might Tehran Respond to IRGC Designation?

April 8, 2019

A Turkish ‘Safe Zone’ in Syria: Prospects and Policy Implications

March 1, 2019

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

See all analysis by this author