Sarhang Hamasaeed is the director of Middle East Programs at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington, DC. He joined USIP in February 2011 and served in different positions before becoming director in 2016. His areas of focus include political and conflict analysis, dialogue processes, reconciliation and post-conflict stabilization, ethnic and religious minorities, and organizational development.   

Hamasaeed is a regular lecturer at the Foreign Service Institute on the subjects of ISIS and challenges to governance in Iraq and is featured in events and briefings on Iraq, Syria, Yemen and the Middle East. He provides analysis and gives interviews to international media. He was a member on the Task Force on the Future of Iraq and the Rebuilding Societies Working Group, both initiatives by the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. 

Hamasaeed has more than 15 years of strategy, management, and monitoring and evaluation experience in governmental, nongovernmental, private sector, and media organizations. His prior positions include deputy director general at the Council of Ministers of the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq (2008-2009), where he managed strategic government modernization initiatives through information technology with the goal of helping improve governance and service delivery; program manager for the Research Triangle Institute International (2003-2004), where he managed civic engagement and local democratic governance programs in Iraq; planning and relations manager at Kurdistan Save the Children (1997-2002); and correspondent 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

A New Test for Iraq’s Democracy and Stability

A New Test for Iraq’s Democracy and Stability

Monday, March 7, 2022

By: Knox Thames;  Sarhang Hamasaeed

The sudden crisis around Russia threatens democratic norms and energy markets worldwide, only heightening the urgency of stabilizing Iraq, the world’s fifth-largest oil producer. Yet five months after Iraq’s elections, held in response to massive protests against ineffective governance, political factions remain dangerously deadlocked in efforts to form a new government. Shaping a more stable, peaceful Iraq—and responding to the 2019-2020 grassroots demands for democratic, accountable governance—will require a fuller inclusion of Iraq’s ethnic and religious minorities. Yet the prospects remain unclear. Iraq’s minority communities are watching carefully, as their future depends on it. 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

Sarhang Hamasaeed on Iraq’s Elections

Sarhang Hamasaeed on Iraq’s Elections

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

By: Sarhang Hamasaeed

“All the energy of the country is focused on October 10” as Iraq prepares for crucial parliamentary elections, says USIP’s Sarhang Hamasaeed. “We’ll see if it will produce a government and a parliament that [is] closer to what the people expect … and restore some of the faith of the voters in the process.”

Type: Podcast

Democracy & Governance

Beyond Security: The Quest for a Sustained, Strategic U.S.-Iraq Partnership

Beyond Security: The Quest for a Sustained, Strategic U.S.-Iraq Partnership

Thursday, July 29, 2021

By: Sarhang Hamasaeed

On Monday, President Joe Biden received Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi at the Oval Office to strengthen bilateral relations and discuss matters of mutual interest, key among them being the future of U.S. troops in Iraq. Despite widespread thinking that Iraq and the Middle East do not rank high in the mix of the Biden administration’s priorities, there have been clear signals that Iraq remains important enough to the United States and that Kadhimi and his government are partners that the United States can work with and should support. While most of the media attention focused on the announcement of the change in U.S. force posture in Iraq, the key takeaway from this week’s meeting is that the United States and Iraq seek to maintain their strategic partnership — and build on it.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global PolicyFragility & Resilience

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