About Us


Vizier Consulting, LLC provides strategic guidance on Middle East and South Asian political and security issues. Our research products harness structured analytic techniques and cutting-edge, open source tradecraft to produce analysis that is accurate, clear, and textured. We offer a range of services, including custom political risk analysis, curriculum development, expert training, and strategic communications guidance.

Our Research Methodology

Good tradecraft separates quality analysis from the poor. It reduces the likelihood of error and results in a product that intellectually empowers the customer.

Analytical mistakes can be costly. An incorrect assessment of security risk could put your personnel in harm’s way. A misunderstanding of changing legal or regulatory dynamics could jeopardize your investments. And conforming to the negative consensus could blind you to opportunities your competitors might exploit first.

The hallmarks of our work: structured analytic techniques, quality sourcing, clear writing, and open communication with the client. The end result: analysis that provides warning of threats and alerts the customer to potential opportunities.

Leveraging Open Source Data

Good data is increasingly free, but distinguishing signals from noise and fact from fiction requires expertise.

From public databases to social media, open source data is increasingly ubiquitous and often unstructured. Making sense of it requires the right methodology or tradecraft.

Good analytic tradecraft — paired often with open source or proprietary software — enables one to assess the reliability of sources, distinguish the signals from the noise, and separate valid information from disinformation. All of our products utilize industry-standard structured analytic techniques, such as key assumptions and quality of information checks.



Arif Rafiq is president of Vizier Consulting, LLC, a political risk advisory company focused on the Middle East and South Asia, and editor of the explanatory news website Globely News.

He is also a non-resident scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC.

Rafiq’s research interests include economic connectivity, great power competition, political reform, religious extremism, and terrorism in South Asia. He is the author of studies on the China-Pakistan Economic CorridorSunni-Shia sectarian violence in Pakistan, and Pakistan’s polycrisis.

Rafiq has written for numerous publications, including Foreign AffairsForeign Policy, the Los Angeles TimesPOLITICO MagazineThe New York Times, and The New Republic.  He is regularly quoted by major news outlets, including the Financial Times and The New York Times. And he has appeared on broadcast outlets such as Al Jazeera English, the BBC World Service, and WNYC radio.

Previously, Rafiq worked for the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and leading public relations firms Burson-Marsteller and Ruder Finn. From 2011-13, he was listed by Foreign Policy as one of the top 100 foreign affairs commentators on Twitter. Rafiq received an MA in Arab Studies from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.