August 14, 2012, 3:30 pm - October 8, 2019, 11:23 am


SAIS, Bernstein-Offit Building, Room 500
1717 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20036 (Map)

The Middle East Institute is proud to present its new MEI Scholar Insight.  Entitled "Prospects for U.S.-Iran Relations on the Nuclear Issue in the Year Ahead," this publication draws upon the broad expertise of 20 Middle East Institute scholars and outside guest experts to examine three scenarios for Iran: diplomacy, containment, and military action.  Over two roundtable sessions, participants analyzed U.S. policy, Iranian policy, Israel's role in regard to the scenarios, reactions to prospective scenarios by the GCC states, Russia, and the other members of the P5+1, and the energy markets. The resulting report is a composite of MEI Scholar analysis on the above issues and seeks to capture points of substantial agreement as well as of divergence.  Please join us for the launch of this MEI featured publication and a discussion with principal authors Allen Keiswetter and Roby Barrett and contributors Geneive Abdo and Melissa Mahle.  You can read the full paper in advance of the event here.


Allen Keiswetter, a retired senior Foreign Service officer, is a scholar at the Middle East Institute, senior consultant at C&O Resources, and an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland. He has taught courses on Islam and on the Middle East at the National War College and the National Defense Intelligence College. He served as the senior adviser on the Middle East to the U.S. Delegation to the General Assembly. In his 36 years at the Department of State, he was deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, director of Arabian Peninsula Affairs in the Near East Bureau, and director of the Office of Intelligence Liaison in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. He also served as NATO deputy assistant secretary general for Political Affairs in Brussels. While director of regional affairs in the Near East Bureau, he chaired the Middle East Peace Process Multilateral Working Group on Water Resources. Previously, he held posts as political counselor in the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Sana'a, Yemen. He also served at the U.S. embassies in Tunis, Khartoum, Baghdad, and Beirut.

Dr. Roby Barrett is the president of a consulting form specializing in defense and security technology applications and systems including nuclear issues, police-border security, command and control, and weapons acquisition issues. He is a former Foreign Service officer and a graduate of the Foreign Service Institute's intensive 2-year Arab Language and Middle East Area Studies program as well as the Counterterrorism Tactics and Special Operations University and the Air Force Special Operations School. He was an Eisenhower-Roberts fellow of the Eisenhower Institute in Washington D.C, a Rotary International fellow at the Russian and East European Institute at the University of Munich, a Scottish Rite Research fellow at Oxford University. Dr. Barrett supported numerous military units including the 5th Special Forces Group, 101st Airborne both in the U.S. and Iraq, Naval Special Warfare Command both in the U.S. and the Arabian Gulf, 4th Psychological Warfare Group, and 19th Special Forces Group.

Geneive Abdo is the director of the Iran Program at the Middle East Institute. Her current research focuses on contemporary Iran and political Islam. She is the creator and editor of the newly-launched website: She was formerly the Liaison Officer for the Alliance of Civilizations, a U.N. initiative under Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Before joining the United Nations, Abdo was a foreign correspondent. From 1998-2001, Abdo was the Iran correspondent for the British newspaper the Guardian and a regular contributor to The Economist and the International Herald Tribune. Abdo is the author of No God But God: Egypt and the Triumph of Islam (Oxford University Press, 2000). Her latest book on Muslims in America, Mecca and Main Street: Muslim Life in America After 9/11, was published in September 2006 by Oxford University Press. This book explains the changing identity among American Muslims as they struggle to keep true to their faith while deciding to what degree they will integrate into American society. From 2001-2002, Abdo was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. That year, she also received a prestigious John Simon Guggenheim fellowship. Abdo has also received research grants from the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the United States Institute of Peace.

Melissa Mahle is a senior associate at C&O Resources.  She has 16 years' experience in the intelligence community, with career assignments in the Middle East and North Africa with the Central Intelligence Agency in operations.  Her areas of expertise include Arab political, security, and terrorism issues. Mahle is a specialist on the Middle East peace process and Islamic extremism. She has participated in senior level security cooperation development initiatives and has had extensive interaction with policymakers and intelligence officials in the Middle East region.


Daniel Serwer is a scholar at the Middle East Institute and a senior research professor of conflict management as well as a senior fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Formerly vice president for Centers of Peacebuilding Innovation at the United States Institute of Peace, he led teams there working on rule of law, religion, economics, media, technology, security sector governance and gender. He was also vice president for Peace and Stability Operations at USIP, where he led its peacebuilding work in Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan and the Balkans.