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

Iraq’s Democratic Imperative: Getting Provincial Elections Right

Iraq’s Democratic Imperative: Getting Provincial Elections Right

Monday, August 5, 2019

By: Sarhang Hamasaeed; Adam Gallagher

Iraq’s landmark 2018 national elections—the first since the military defeat of ISIS—presented an opportunity for a much-needed course correction for the country’s sclerotic political process. Unfortunately, that opportunity was not seized properly. The vote was marred by claims of widespread fraud, low voter turnout, a delayed results announcement and a protracted government formation process.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance; Electoral Violence

Sarhang Hamasaeed on the Challenges Facing Iraq’s New Government

Sarhang Hamasaeed on the Challenges Facing Iraq’s New Government

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

By: Sarhang Hamasaeed

USIP’s Sarhang Hamasaeed says, “Iraq is at its best state in the last five years. The country is recovering from an existential fight with ISIS … and the Kurds are now back in Iraq’s politics and more involved.” Yet, many Iraqis remain disenchanted with the country’s political leaders and are skeptical of the government’s ability to deliver services, security, and jobs.

Type: Podcast

Democracy & Governance

Iran Looks to Shore up its Influence in Iraq

Iran Looks to Shore up its Influence in Iraq

Thursday, March 14, 2019

By: Sarhang Hamasaeed

This week, Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, made his first official trip to Baghdad. Following a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, the two leaders announced agreements to expand trade, establish a rail link between the two countries, and remove travel restrictions. Rouhani also had a high-profile meeting with Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the most revered religious authority in Iraq. USIP’s Sarhang Hamasaeed examines the implications for the complicated Iran-Iraq relationship.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

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