Yezid Sayigh

Senior Associate
Middle East Center
Sayigh is a senior associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, where his work focuses on the Syrian crisis, the political role of Arab armies, security sector transformation in Arab transitions, the reinvention of authoritarianism, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and peace process.


PhD, War Studies, King’s College London 
BSc, Chemistry, American University of Beirut 


Arabic; English; French

Contact Information


Yezid Sayigh is a senior associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, where his work focuses on the Syrian crisis, the political role of Arab armies, security sector transformation in Arab transitions, the reinvention of authoritarianism, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and peace process.

Previously, Sayigh was professor of Middle East studies at King’s College London. From 1994–2003, he served as assistant director of studies at the Centre of International Studies, Cambridge. From 1998–2003, he headed the Middle East program of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. Sayigh was also an adviser and negotiator in the Palestinian delegation to the peace talks with Israel from 1991–1994. Since 1999, he has provided policy and technical consultancy on the permanent-status peace talks and on Palestinian reform.

Sayigh is the author of numerous publications, including most recently Crumbling States: Security Sector Reform in Libya and Yemen (June 2015), Missed Opportunity: The Politics of Police Reform in Egypt and Tunisia (March 2015); Militaries, Civilians and the Crisis of the Arab state (December 2014); The Syrian Opposition’s Leadership Problem (April 2013); Above the State: The Officers’ Republic in Egypt (August 2012); “We serve the people”: Hamas policing in Gaza (2011); and Policing the People, Building the State: Authoritarian transformation in the West Bank and Gaza (2011).

  • Op-Ed Al-Hayat August 20, 2015 عربي
    Syria’s Fog of Diplomacy

    Key external powers involved in the Syrian conflict seem to be engaged in little more than positioning and public relations. Although the prospect of ending Syria’s tragedy is tantalizing, it remains unlikely.

  • Op-Ed Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs August 13, 2015
    Adapting to a “Normal” Iran: An Unfamiliar Challenge for the Arab States

    There is a broad consensus among Arab leaders and commentators that the Iran nuclear agreement will have far-reaching geostrategic effects on their countries.

  • Op-Ed Al-Hayat July 30, 2015 عربي
    No Turkish Safe Zone in Syria

    The intensification of Turkish military action against the self-proclaimed Islamic State and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party does not translate into establishing a safe zone in Syria.

  • Op-Ed Al-Hayat June 25, 2015 عربي
    Redrawing the Lines in Syria’s Shatterbelt

    Any changes to the map of Syria’s conflict in the rest of 2015 will almost certainly occur in its “shatterbelt:” those areas caught between the regime, armed opposition, and self-proclaimed Islamic State.

  • Paper June 18, 2015 عربي
    Crumbling States: Security Sector Reform in Libya and Yemen

    Libya and Yemen will not reemerge as sovereign states without resolving fundamental struggles over the purpose and form of their security sectors.

  • Syria in Crisis June 9, 2015 عربي
    The War Over Syria's Gas Fields

    Over the last year the Islamic State gained control of a substantial portion of Syria's energy resources and infrastructure, providing leverage over the regime and depriving it of much needed revenue.

  • Syria in Crisis June 4, 2015
    After Palmyra: Military and Economic Targets of the Islamic State

    With the recent capture of the city of Palmyra, the Islamic State has reasserted its anti-Assad credentials and put another tremendous economic strain on the Syrian government.

  • Op-Ed Al-Hayat May 29, 2015 عربي
    Coming Challenges for Syria’s Rebels

    If Syrian rebels are to make political headway with wider social constituencies, they will have to demonstrate a far higher level of military coordination, political skills, and administrative capacity.

  • Op-Ed Al-Hayat April 30, 2015 عربي
    Where Next in Syria?

    The Syrian regime looks increasingly brittle. This has major implications for what might follow a nuclear deal with Iran, and indeed for what may follow if a deal is not reached.

  • Op-Ed Al-Hayat April 2, 2015 عربي
    What Does the Joint List Offer Palestinians?

    The Joint List’s approach to engagement offers Palestinians a model for political action. But it also highlights the contradictions and tensions inherent to Palestinian approaches over the past 22 years.

  • Al Jazeera English November 6, 2014
    U.S-led Air Raids Target Syria Rebel Groups

    U.S.-led air raids have struck Syrian rebels not linked to the Islamic State, expanding the coalitions raids for the second time to other groups fighting in Syria, including Ahrar al-Sham and the Nusra Front.

  • ABC’s Lateline September 24, 2014
    Strikes May Produce Surge in IS Recruitment

    Airstrikes targeting the Islamic State, as well as regional involvement with the United States, could produce an extra surge of recruits and provide more momentum and grist to the jihadist group.

  • Press TV August 2, 2014
    Kurdish Statehood: An Israeli Wish

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for the creation of an independent Kurdish state. But why has Israel expressed support for Kurdish independence?

  • France 24 July 24, 2014
    Israel-Gaza Conflict: The Elusive Search for a Ceasefire

    Israel and Hamas have found themselves sucked into a conflict that neither side really wanted and that outside powers seem reluctant or unable to stop.

  • ABC NewsRadio May 29, 2014
    Syrian Refugees Start Voting in the Presidential Election

    Thousands have flooded the voting booths for the Syrian presidential elections in places like Lebanon and Jordan.

  • openSecurity July 2, 2013
    Syria: No Military Victory, No Political Solution?

    The Friends of Syria have played what may be their last card. What difference will it make on the ground?

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