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Sarhang Hamasaeed is the director of Middle East Programs at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). He joined USIP in February 2011 and works on program management, organizational development, and monitoring and evaluation. His areas of focus include political and policy analysis, conflict analysis, dialogue processes, reconciliation and post-conflict stabilization, and ethnic and religious minorities. He writes, gives media interviews to international media, and is featured on events and briefings on Iraq, Syria, and the Middle East. He provided analysis to NPR, Voice of America, Al-Jazeera America, Fox News Al-Hurra TV, Radio Sawa, Kurdistan TV, Kurdsat TV, Rudaw, Al-Iraqiya TV, NRT TV, Skynews Arabia, the Washington Times, PBS, and CCTV. He is a member on the Task Force on the Future of Iraq, and was member of the Rebuilding Societies Working Group under the Middle East Strategy Taskforce, both initiatives by the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. He regularly gives a lecture at the Foreign Service Institute on ISIL and Challenges to Governance in Iraq.

Hamasaeed has more than 15 years of strategy, management, and monitoring and evaluation experience in governmental, nongovernmental, private sector, and media organizations.

As a deputy director general at the Council of Ministers of the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq (2008-2009), Hamasaeed managed strategic government modernization initiatives through information technology with the goal of helping improve governance and service delivery. As a program manager for the Research Triangle Institute International (2003-2004), he managed civic engagement and local democratic governance programs in Iraq. Hamasaeed has worked as a planning and relations manager at Kurdistan Save the Children (1997-2002). Hamasaeed has also worked for the Los Angeles Times and other international media organizations.

He holds a Master’s degree in International Development Policy from Duke University (2007) and is a Fulbright alumnus.

Publications By Sarhang

Beneath the Saudi-Iran Proxy War in Yemen, Part 2

Beneath the Saudi-Iran Proxy War in Yemen, Part 2

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

By: Sarhang Hamasaeed

The strategic clash between Saudi Arabia and Iran in Yemen masks multiple layers of conflict underneath that have deepened—and in some ways altered—the country’s fractures in local politics, society and security. The chaos has devastated Yemen, one of the world’s poorest countries, and has the potential to burst beyond the nation’s borders and further destabilize an already troubled region. It also allows the likes of the Islamic State (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to thrive.

Violent Extremism; Global Policy; Fragility and Resilience

Beneath the Saudi-Iran Proxy War in Yemen, Part 1

Beneath the Saudi-Iran Proxy War in Yemen, Part 1

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

By: Sarhang Hamasaeed

Looking at the maneuvers by Iran and the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen from afar, the battlefield looks a lot like a black-and-white contest for regional power. But as the U.S. considers escalating its role in the conflict—and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis visits Riyadh this week—it is essential to understand how local realities can get lost in a proxy war.

Global Policy; Violent Extremism; Fragility and Resilience

How U.S. Strikes in Syria Could Complicate War on ISIS

How U.S. Strikes in Syria Could Complicate War on ISIS

Friday, April 7, 2017

By: Sarhang Hamasaeed

Defeating ISIS was the singular goal of the Trump administration in Syria until the Assad regime provoked U.S. missile strikes with its use of sarin gas. The broadening of U.S. objectives, and extending military action in the country to include a direct hit on Syrian forces, could now complicate the fight against the Islamic State to a dangerous degree.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Violent Extremism

Iraq: Islamic Militants, Breakup and Other Tough Questions on Twitter

Iraq: Islamic Militants, Breakup and Other Tough Questions on Twitter

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

By: Steven Ruder; Dr. Elie Abouaoun; Khitam Al-Khaykanee; Manal Omar; Raya Barazanji; Sarhang Hamasaeed

Will Iraq’s current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki defy efforts to replace him? Will it break apart into several separate states? Should its neighbors do more to challenge the militants rampaging across the border with Syria? And are we giving this group legitimacy by acceeding every time their leaders change the organization's name -- "Islamic State" or their earlier moniker, "The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria"?

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Violent Extremism; Justice, Security & Rule of Law

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