Omar Ashour
Associate Professor, Head of  Program

Dr Omar Ashour is an Associate Professor of Security Studies in the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies. He is the Founding Director of the Critical Security Studies Graduate Program (MCSS) and the director of the Strategic Studies Unit in the Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies. He obtained his doctorate degree in Political Science (Armed Conflict and International Security Studies) from McGill University in Canada and his BSc and MA in Political Science (International Relations) from the American University in Cairo. Professor Ashour is specialised in asymmetric warfare, insurgency and counterinsurgency, Islamist movements and ideologies, democratization (with focus on security sector reform and civil-military relations), security, terrorism, and strategic military studies. His published works covered the Arab World, the Post-Soviet Caucasus and Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Western and Southern Europe. His scholarly publications appeared in Foreign AffairsTerrorism and Political ViolenceInternational AffairsStudies in Conflict and TerrorismMiddle East Journal, Canadian Journal of Political Science, Journal of Conflict Studies, and others academic journals. He is the author of The De-Radicalization of Jihadists: Transforming Armed Islamist Movements (Routledge, 2009) and How ISIS Fights: Military Tactics in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Egypt (Edinburgh University Press/Oxford University Press, forthcoming in 2020). Professor Ashour previously taught at University of Exeter (UK) for ten years (2008-2018) and at McGill University (Canada) for two years (2006-2008). He served as a senior consultant for the United Nations on security sector reform, counter-terrorism, and de- radicalization issues (2009-2013; 2015). He co-authored the United Nations' Economic and Social Commission for West Asia's (UN-ESCWA) document on security sector reform during the transitional periods of the "Arab Spring." It was the first UN document on that subject-matter in the Arab-majority world and was described by the ESCWA as: "Extremely important in tailoring realistic and context-driven security sector reform recommendations… [it serves] to increase the debate among security sector practitioners in the region and press upon Arab governments the need for reform." Professor Ashour served as a Research Fellow at the Brookings Institution (2010-2015) and as an Associate Fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) in London (2015-2016). He is a regular contributor to media outlets including Al-Araby TV, BBCCBC, CNNal-Jazeera Englishal-Jazeera ArabicSky News, and others. In the recent few years, Professor Ashour authored over one hundred op-eds in the Washington PostForeign PolicyThe GuardianGlobe and Mailal-Jazeera.netCNN.comProject SyndicateThe Independent and other outlets on political and security and military developments in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and other regions. 


PhD (McGill), MA (AUC), BSc (AUC)


Arabic, English, French, and Russian. 

Research Interests: 

asymmetric warfare, insurgency and counterinsurgency, Islamist movements and ideologies, democratization (with focus on security sector reform and civil-military relations), security, terrorism, and strategic military studies.

Teaching interests: 

  1. Security and Strategic Studies

  2. Insurgencies and Asymmetric Warfare

  3. Civil-Military Relations

  4. Security Sector Reform

  5. Civil Wars

  6. Terrorism Studies

  7. Islamist movements

  8. Politics of Middle East and North Africa

  9. British Politics

Comparative Insurgencies in Latin American and the Caribbean

Taught courses: 

Selected Taught Courses in University of Exeter (UK), McGill University (Canada), Bogazici University (Turkey), and University of Barcelona (Spain):

  1. Islamism and Politics in North Africa.

  2. Insurgencies and Counter-Insurgencies in the Middle East: Strategies, Tactics and Political Ramifications.

  3. Armed Islamist Movements: Jihadism and Beyond

  4. Politics and Economy of the Contemporary Middle East

  1. Security and Strategy in History and Theory

  2. International Relations of the Middle East

  3. Armed Movements and Insurgencies in the Mediterranean

  4. Islamists, the Military, and the "Arab Spring."

  5. Comparative Politics of Developing Areas: An Introduction

International Politics: State Behaviour

Books (Refereed)


  1. How ISIS Fights: Military Strategies and Tactics in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Egypt. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press/Oxford University Press, forthcoming in 2020.

                       كيف يقاتل تنظيم الدولة (داعش): التكتيكات العسكرية في العراق وسوريا وليبيا ومصر. (يصدر من داري نشر جامعتي ادنبره وأوكسفورد، والمركز العربي للأبحاث ودراسة السياسات، ٢٠٢٠).


  1. The De-Radicalization of Jihadists: Transforming Armed Islamist Movements. New York, London: Routledge, 2009.


Edited Books (Refereed)


  1. From Bullets to Ballots: Comparative Transformations from Armed to Unarmed Political Activism in the Middle East, Europe and South America. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press/Oxford University Press, forthcoming in 2020.

من السلاح إلى السلام: التحولات من العمل المسلح إلى العمل السياسي السلمي في العالم العربي وأوروبا وأفريقيا وأمريكا اللاتينية. (يصدر من داري نشر جامعتي ادنبره وأوكسفورد، والمركز العربي للأبحاث ودراسة السياسات، ٢٠٢٠).


Articles (Refereed)


  1. "Sinai's Insurgency: Implications of Enhanced Guerrilla Warfare and Urban Terrorism." Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Vol. 42, no. 6 (June 2019): 541-558.


2.      "كيف تقاتل ولاية سيناء؟ تحليل سياسي-عسكري للأزمة السيناوية." سياسات عربية. عدد ٣٣ (تموز/يوليو ٢٠١٨): ص ٧-٢١.


  1. "Why does the Islamic State Endure and Expand?" International Affairs. Vol. 15, no. 52 (December 2015): 1-18.


  1. "Sinai's Stubborn Insurgency: Why Egypt Can't Win?" Foreign Affairs. Vol 94, no. 6 (November/December 2015).


  1. "Collusion to Collision: Islamist-Military Relations in Egypt." Brookings Papers no. 14 (March 2015): 1-50.


  1. "From Bad Cop to Good Cop? The Challenge of Security Sector Reform in Egypt." Brookings-Stanford Papers Series no. 3, (November 2012): 1-23.


  1. "Libyan Islamists Unpacked: Rise, Transformation, and Future." Brookings Papers no. 6 (May 2012): 1-22.


  1. "Libya and the Global Transformations of Armed Islamist Movements." Terrorism and Political Violence. Vol. 23, no. 3 (July 2011): 377-397. 


  1. "Online De-Radicalization? Countering Violent Extremist Narratives: Message, Messenger and Media Strategy." Perspectives on Terrorism vol. 4, no. 6 (Fall 2010).


  1. "Islamist De-Radicalization in Algeria: Successes and Failures." Middle East Journal, Policy Paper no. 21 (November 2008): 1-14.  


  1. "Lions Tamed? An Inquiry into the Causes of De-Radicalization of the Egyptian Islamic Group." Middle East Journal vol. 61, no. 4 (Autumn 2007): 596 - 625.


  1. "Islamists, Soldiers, and Conditional Democrats: Comparing the Behaviours of Islamists and the Military in Algeria and Turkey." (Co-authored with Emre Ünlucayakli). Journal of Conflict Studies vol. 26 no. 2 (Winter 2006): 104 -132.


  1. "Oil, Security and Internal Politics: The Causes of the Russo-Chechen Wars." Studies in Conflict and Terrorism vol. 27, no. 2 (March – April 2004): 127 – 143.


Book Chapters (Refereed)


  1. "Bullets Beat Ballots: Civil-Military Relations and the Arab-Majority Uprisings." Revisiting the Arab Uprisings, edited by Stéphane Lacroix and Jean-Pierre Filiu. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018: 45-71. 


  1. "Between ISIS and a Failed State: The Saga of Libyan Islamists." Rethinking Political Islam. Edited by Shadi Hamid and William McCants. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017: 101-119.


  1. "Security Sector Reform and Transitional Justice in Egypt." Transitional Justice in the Middle East. Edited by Chandra Lekha Sriram. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016: 234-253 (Co-authored with Sharif Mohyidin).


  1. "Egypt's Revolution and the Transformation of Armed Islamist Movements Towards Unarmed Activism." Civil Resistance and Conflict Transformation. Edited by Veronique Dudouet. London, New York: Routledge, 2015: 173-190.


  1. "The Dynamics of Security Sector Reform in Egypt." In Security Sector Reform and Democratization: A Comparative Perspective. Edited by Heiner Hanggi and Carolina Hernandez. Geneva: DCAF Publications, 2012: 1-24. 


  1. "The Transformation of the Islamic Salvation Army in Algeria." In Terrorist Rehabilitation and Counter-Radicalization. Edited by Lawrence Rubin, Rohan Gunaratna, and Jolene Jerard. New York, London: Routledge, 2011: p. 11-26.


  1. "Post-Jihadism and Ideological De-Radicalization." In Contextualizing Jihadi Ideologies. Edited by Zaheer Kazimi and Jeevan Doel. New York: Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.


  1. "Continuity and Change in Islamist Political Thought and Behavior." In The Changing Middle East. Edited by Bahget Korany. Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 2010: 139-167. 


  1. "Hamas and the Prospects of De-Radicalization." In Non-State Actors in Contemporary World Politics. Edited by Klejda Mulaj. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010. (word count: 9321). 


Policy Papers


  1. Ballots to Bullets: Patterns in Transformations from Armed to Unarmed Political Activism." Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies Papers (December 2018): 1-22.


  1. "The Rise of Armed Non-State Actors in the Middle East." Strategic Vision vol. 7, no. 40 (Autumn 2018): 27-39.


  1. "The Islamic State and Sinai Province: The Complex Networks of Insurgencies under Authoritarianisms." German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) Policy Papers. Berlin: DGAP Publications (August 2016): 1-20.


  1. "Taht al-'Azm al-Salb: Kayfa Yasmud wa Yuqatil Tanzim al-Dawla? (Under "Inherent Resolve:" How Does the Islamic State Survive and Fight?) al-Jazeera Centre for Studies. Doha: March 2016: 1-10.


  1. "Civil-Military Relations in the Arab-Majority World: The Impacts on Democratisation and Political Violence" Insight Turkey. Vol. 17, no. 4 (Fall 2015): 10-18.


  1. "Tahwulat al-Siyasa al-Kharijiyya al-Masriyya (Changes in Egyptian Foreign Policy). al-Jazeera Centre for Studies. Doha: November 2015: 1-7.


  1. "'Wilayat Sinai':' al-Su'ud al-'Askari wa al-'athar al-Siyasi (The "Sinai Province": The Military Rise and Political Impact). al-Jazeera Centre for Studies. Doha: July 2015: 1-8.


  1. "The Ballot Versus the Bullet: Radicalisation and De-Radicalisation in the Arab World." Policy Paper for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). New York, Beirut: United Nations Publications, 2015. (word count: 5209).  


  1. "Khalq al-'Ada'? Ma'alat al-Khiyar al-'amni fi Sinai' (Creating Enemies? The Outcomes of Security Policies in Sinai)." al-Jazeera Centre for Studies. Doha: January 2015: p. 1-8.


  1. "Security Sector Governance in Egypt: Civil-Military Relations in Focus." Conference Policy Report for Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of the Armed Forces (DCAF). Geneva: DCAF Publication, 2014. (word count: 4454).


  1. "Ballots versus Bullets: The Crisis of Civil-Military Relations in Egypt." Al-Jazeera Centre for Studies. Doha: September 2013: p. 1-8.


  1. "An Overview of the Arab Security Sector amidst Political Transitions: Reflections on Legacies, Functions and Perceptions." United Nations' Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (UN-ESCWA). New York: United Nations Publications, July 2013 (Co-authored with Youssef Chaitani and Vito Intini): 1-44.


  1. "Libya ma ba'd al-Qaddafi: al-Sinariohat al-Muhtamala (Post-Qaddafi Libya: Possible Scenarios)." Al-Siyasa al-Dawliya (International Politics). Cairo: al-Ahram Centre for Strategic Studies, July 2011. )word count: 2131).



Tel: +974 4354109

Mail Address

Omar Ashour

Doha Institute for Gradute Studies 

School of Social Sciences and Humanities 

P.O.Box: 200592 

Doha, Qatar