Middle East Studies



Middle East Studies at the Krulak Center (MES) serves as the Marine Corps’ center of expertise on the broader Middle East including South and Central Asia, parts of North and Sub-Saharan Africa, the Black Sea region, regions in the Muslim majority world with historical ties to the Middle East, and the Eastern Mediterranean.  Founded in 2007 as an open-source professional military education (PME) resource on Iran for Marine Corps University (MCU) and fleet commanders, MES has expanded to align with evolving Marine Corps needs and requirements including examining Chinese and Russian policies and activities in these regions.  The central goal of MES is to deepen the Marine Corps’ understanding of these critical regions through professional military education and predeployment preparation as well as through MES faculty’s teaching and research, events, in-house publications, including the bi-monthly MES Insights, and outreach to sister PME institutions, other U.S. government agencies, U.S. military services and service institutions, nongovernmental organizations, international military partners, and academia more broadly.  Middle East Studies (MES) accomplishes this mission by:

  1. Analyzing and assessing current events, regional trends, U.S. foreign policy decisions and strategies, and the cultural and historical complexities and interconnectivity of these regions;
  2. Conducting and publishing academic research;
  3. Developing curriculum and delivering classes, supporting student papers and masters theses, and offering lectures and discussions to MCU schools and other U.S. Armed Forces professional military education institutions and onboard U.S. naval vessels; 
  4. Hosting lectures and seminars on board MCU;
  5. Providing lectures and discussions to other U.S. government agencies, foreign governments and militaries, including NATO schools, and academia;
  6. Representing the MCU at seminars and professional forums related to MES’s areas of responsibility by participation and professional engagement;
  7. Building relationships and networks with sister service PME institutions and the broader academic, intergovernmental, and international communities of knowledge and practice in Middle Eastern studies;
  8. Developing and maintaining the academic expertise to ensure the Marine Corps has a flexible, proactive asset as the needs and requirements of the Corps in the region evolve; and
  9. Hosting and mentoring MCU international fellows, external interns, and Marines assigned to MES.

MES Events & Outreach 

MES Research Talk by Dr. S. M. Ali, "Options for Human-Centric U.S.-China Collaboration in Pakistan."

BruteCast, "Special Update on Iran" (Nov 2022)

MES Research Talk by Dr. David Malet, "What to Expect When You're a Foreign Fighter in Ukraine."

MES Lecture by VADM Pascal Ausseur (France, ret.), "Rising Tensions in the Mediterranean." 

MES Research Talk by Dr. Jason Warner, "The Islamic State's Expansion in Africa."

MES Research Talk by Dr. Stig Jarle Hansen, "Phoenix Rising: U.S. Strategic Competition in the Red Sea Zone & Horn of Africa with China and Russia." 

BruteCast interview by MES Director Dr. Amin Tarzi with Ukrainian journalist and author Nataliya Gumenyuk (March 2022)

BruteCast interview by MES Director Dr. Amin Tarzi with Ukrainian researcher on security and defense policies and technology Anna Bulakh (March 2022)

MES Lecture by Dr. Dimitrios Triantaphyllou, "The Eastern Mediterranean in the Crosshairs

MES Director Dr. Amin Tarzi presented on a panel, "Afghanistan: Refugees, Relocations & Resettlements," at the International Stability Operations Association's (ISOA) Middle East Conference, 18-20 January 2022.  Dr. Tarzi was also one of the conference's keynote speakers

Dr. Christopher Anzalone presented a paper, "Islamizing Rebel Governance in Somalia: Al-Shabaab's Proto-State," at the 2021 Middle East Studies Association Conference. Click to read it.

Panel Event: "The U.S. in Afghanistan: Looking Back to Look Forward" with MajGen Julian D. Alford, Ambassador P. Michael McKinley, and Dr. Carter Malkasian; November 22.

Dr. Christopher Anzalone presented a guest lecture, "The Art of the Martyr and the Mujahid: Aesthetics & Narratives in Contemporary Jihadi Visual Culture," on November 17 at Duke University. 

The Art of the Martyr and the Mujahid: Aesthetics & Narratives in
Contemporary Jihadi Visual Culture


Dr. Amin Tarzi presented and participated in the "Emotions and Strategy Workshop" organized by MIT and held in Israel, November 6-8, 2021.

Dr. Amin Tarzi participated in a roundtable event, "Turkish and Iranian Response to Refugees from Afghanistan," hosted by Ottoman and Turkish Studies at New York University on October 21. Here

MES Research Talk with Yun Sun (China Program Director, Stimson Center): "China's Afghanistan Strategy Post-U.S. Withdrawal" 

Middle East Studies Research Talk - Ms. Yun Sun, “China’s Afghanistan
Strategy Post-U.S. Withdrawal”


Special BruteCast podcast episode on Islamic State-Khurasan/Khorasan Province (IS-KP; ISIS-K) with Dr. Amin Tarzi.  Access the episode here.

Dr. Amin Tarzi participated in a panel event, "Afghanistan, US Ends 20 Year Stay and Taliban Takeover" in August 2021 with The Scholars' Circle.  Access the recording of the event here.

Dr. Christopher Anzalone participated in a panel, "Cyber Dimensions of Violent Extremism in Africa," organized by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies at National Defense University, held on May 19.

Cyber Dimensions of Violent Extremism in Africa

AY21 MES Lecture Series: "The Routinization of Islamic State's Global Enterprise"

"Routinization of Islamic State's Global Enterprise"


MES Director Dr. Amin Tarzi presented on a panel, "Countering Violent Extremism in Fragile States," at the EMEA Regional Security and Stability Operations Conference, 6-8 April 2021, organized by the International Stability Operations Association (ISOA).