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 

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.

On May 19, Middle East Studies (MES) Research Assistant Professor Christopher Anzalone participated on a panel organized by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies at National Defense University, "Cyber Dimensions of Violent Extremism in Africa," with over 170 attendees from 45 countries. The panel's presentations and discussion focused on how the spread of digital technology, remote weapons, and drones is affecting the operations of violent extremist groups across Africa as well as the potential for a major cyberattack by an African extremist group. Watch it HERE.

AY21 MES Lecture Series: "The Routinization of Islamic State's Global Enterprise"
Dr. Craig Whiteside
20 May 2021, 1400-1530 EDT
Virtual Lecture: Register to attend at: https://innovatedefense.net/the-landing/customObject/viewCustomObject/12547748cca0

AY20 MES Lecture Series: "Revisionist Actors and the International Order: A Changing Middle East"
"The Geopolitical Implications of China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative"
Ambassador Karl Eikenberry
31 October 2019, 1400-1530
Warner Hall, Marine Corps University

AY20 MES Lecture Series: "Revisionist Actors and the International Order: A Changing Middle East"
"Iran's ‘Active Resistance’ vs. the United States’ ‘Maximum Pressure’: How will it end?"
Panel Discussion
Tuesday, 5 November 2019, 0900-1200
Breckinridge Auditorium, Marine Corps University








MES Publications

MES Insights Vol. 12, I. 5 (October 2021)
In this issue: 
"Specters of the Past, Prospects for the Future? Russian Engagement in the Horn of Africa" by Dr. Stig Jarle Hansen

MES Insights Vol. 12, I. 4 (August 2021)
In this issue: 
"Dangers of Afghanistan Obliviousness in U.S. Professional Military Education" by Dr. Amin Tarzi

MES Insights Vol. 12, I. 3 (June 2021)  
In this issue:
"Dragon Rising? Evaluating Chinese Power in the Horn of Africa"
by Dr. Stig Jarle Hansen

MES Insights Vol.12, I.2 (April 2021)
In this issue:
"Israeli-Emirati Relations and the Iranian Challenge"
by Dr. Ehud Eilam


MES Insights Vol.12, I.1 (February 2021)
In this issue:
"Projecting Power: Proto-State-Building by Sunni Islamist Rebel Groups."
by Christopher Anzalone