Research background and interests

I am a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Doha and specialise in the modern history of the Middle East and consult on regional and local trends in politics, energy and security, with a particular focus on Iraq (including the Kurdistan Region), Turkey, Iran and Libya. My PhD at the LSE focused on social movements and sub-national identities, with a particular emphasis on Iraq’s Shia community and the religious establishment in Najaf. I am currently working on the war on ISIS and focus on Western foreign policy, violent non-state actors and sectarian conflict. My research analyses intrastate conflict and looks at how violent non-state actors interact with the state and civilian populations. I have conducted interviews with political and clerical figures in the Arab and Islamic world, military officials, militias and ISIS prisoners detained in Iraq.

Prior to my PhD,  I worked on and specialised in the law of armed conflict and the use of force. Alongside my research interests, I work on inter-faith dialogue in the UK and am an Ambassador for Cancer Research UK. I have worked with the Next Century Foundation on conflict resolution and institution building in the Middle East. I led election monitoring teams in Iraq between 2009-2014 (involving travel to Baghdad, Najaf, Karbala, Babil, Kirkuk, Mosul & the Kurdistan Region) and lead fact-finding missions to Libya (during the 2011 uprising), Turkey, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon. I have presented my work at Princeton University, at the Brookings Institution in Doha, the Wilson Center, Hudson Institute, Overseas Development Institute and the Royal Institute for International Affairs (Chatham House) and have provided expert evidence to the UK government.

I have published in peer-reviewed journals and have contributed to two edited volumes, one on the legacy of the Iraq war and the other on the Libyan uprising. I have written more than 100 articles for various print and online media, including the New York Times, the WSJ, Guardian, Foreign Affairs, BBC News, CNN, the Daily Telegraph and Foreign Policy magazine. I have commented for BBC News, Sky News, Al-Jazeera English and Channel 4 News.


ranj [dot] alaaldin [at] gmail [dot] com

ralaaldin [at] brookings [dot] edu


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