Michael Stephens was the Research Fellow for Middle East Studies. He joined RUSI’s London office in September 2010, first in the Nuclear Security Programme before moving to International Security Studies, where he served until March 2020.
From March to June 2017 Michael was seconded into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, serving as the Senior Research Analyst for Syria and Lebanon.
As Head of RUSI’s Leadership Centre Michael has worked across the Middle East and North Africa region for many years focusing on capacity building and training programmes for governments and business clients.
Michael’s research has focused on Iraqi Kurdistan, and the Kurdish regions of Syria, their social composition and responses to the threat from the Islamic State; Arab Shia identity across the Middle East and its relationship with Iran, which included co-authoring a Whitehall report focusing on regional responses to Iran’s nuclear programme (2014). He is also a specialist in Gulf security, particularly the politics of Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
His forthcoming book co-written with Dr Christopher Phillips entitled “What next for Britain in the Middle East? Security, Trade and Foreign Policy after Brexit”, focuses on British policy to the Middle East following Britain’s exit from the European Union in January 2020.
As a frequent commentator on Middle East affairs, his writing has appeared in many news outlets and he is also a regular broadcast commentator. Michael also regularly advises the Crown Prosecution Service on issues relating to national security, and counter terrorism.
Michael studied at King’s College London and undertook three years of post-graduate research in the Middle East. He is proficient in both Arabic and Hebrew.