Lina Khatib

Middle East Center
Khatib is director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut. Previously, she was the co-founding head of the Program on Arab Reform and Democracy at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law.


PhD, MA, University of Leicester
BA, American University of Beirut


Arabic; English

Contact Information


Lina Khatib is director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut. Previously, she was the co-founding head of the Program on Arab Reform and Democracy at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. Her research interests include the international relations of the Middle East, Islamist groups, political transitions, and foreign policy. She has also published widely on public diplomacy, political communication, and political participation in the Middle East. 

Khatib has published seven books, including Image Politics in the Middle East: The Role of the Visual in Political Struggle (I. B. Tauris, 2013), Taking to the Streets: The Transformation of Arab Activism (co-edited with Ellen Lust, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014), and The Hizbullah Phenomenon: Politics and Communication (co-authored with Dina Matar and Atef Alshaer, Hurst/Oxford University Press, 2014). Her published journal articles include “Qatar’s Foreign Policy: The Limits of Pragmatism,” “Public Diplomacy 2.0,” and “Hizbullah’s Political Strategy.” 

Since 2008, Khatib has been a founding co-editor of the Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication and a research associate at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. From 2010 to 2012, she was a nonresident research fellow at the University of Southern California’s Center on Public Diplomacy. She lectured at the University of London from 2003 to 2010. 

Prior to joining the academic field, Khatib worked in broadcast journalism in Lebanon.

  • Op-Ed Al-Hayat May 13, 2015 عربي
    Sectarianism Is Not Part of the Solution for Syria

    Syria, after Assad, will need a governing model that guarantees equitable political inclusion for all citizens regardless of their sectarian affiliation.

  • Op-Ed L'Orient-Le Jour May 4, 2015 Français
    Carnegie Style? Youth, Rigor, and Openness

    The Carnegie Middle East Center celebrates its tenth year anniversary.

  • Op-Ed Tony Blair Faith Foundation April 17, 2015
    Lebanon: Situation Report

    Lebanon was founded with a multisectarian identity. However, internal challenges and external threats have led to an increasingly fragile sectarian landscape.

  • Op-Ed CNN April 15, 2015 عربي
    How ISIS Capitalizes on Horrors of Blackwater and Abu Ghraib

    The self-proclaimed Islamic State is using past Western transgressions in Iraq to justify its brutality.

  • Op-Ed Al-Hayat April 15, 2015 عربي
    Pragmatic Politics in Yarmouk

    To many, there appears to be no logic in the course of events in Yarmouk. The fact is that, in the ongoing conflict in Syria, it is the reality on the battlefield rather than theoretical reasoning that is imposing itself.

  • Op-Ed CNN April 7, 2015 عربي
    Why Yarmouk’s Takeover by ISIS Is Good News for Assad

    While the fall of Idlib is a clear loss for the regime of embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the takeover of Yarmouk by the self-proclaimed Islamic State is a regime-blessed tactic, if not necessarily a successful one.

  • Op-Ed Syria Deeply April 7, 2015
    The Rise of Jabhat al-Nusra

    Nusra aims to strengthen its footprint and widen its influence in the northern Syria and present itself as the primary force fighting the Assad regime on the ground.

  • Op-Ed Al-Hayat April 1, 2015 عربي
    Saudi Arabia’s Comeback Via Yemen

    The dramatic turn of events in Yemen with “Operation Decisive Storm” is more than a battle against the Houthis. It is about the Saudi comeback in regional politics in the Middle East.

  • Op-Ed Independent March 29, 2015
    Riyadh Is Setting Itself Up As Region’s Policeman

    Saudi Arabia is saying that Gulf security is the Arab region’s security and, from now on, Arab states should look to Riyadh for direction to deal with the region’s political and security challenges.

  • Op-Ed CNN Opinion March 27, 2015 عربي
    Was the Middle East Better Off With Its Dictators?

    Although many lament that the Arab Spring has turned into an Arab Winter, the conflicts emerging across the Middle East are largely the result of the political, economic, and social ills of dictatorships.

  • Oxford University Press August 15, 2014
    The Hizbullah Phenomenon: Politics and Communication

    Hizbullah uses its image, language, and its charismatic leader, Hassan Nasrallah, to legitimize its political aims and ideology and appeal to different target groups.

  • Johns Hopkins University Press April 16, 2014
    Taking to the Streets: The Transformation of Arab Activism

    A critical look at the dynamics of activism in the Arab world since the Arab uprisings of 2011 and the interplay between the domestic and regional contexts in different Arab countries.

  • CNN April 10, 2015
    Yarmouk Under Siege

    The self-proclaimed Islamic State’s takeover of the Yarmouk refugee camp is good for Bashar al-Assad.

  • KPFK Background Briefing with Ian Masters March 29, 2015
    A Hidden Motive Behind Saudi Intervention in Yemen

    Saudi Arabia is using the war against the Houthis to consolidate Saudi influence and control over Yemen, including the Port of Aden.

  • Vice News Emphasis Added March 26, 2015
    The Media and the Islamic State

    The self-proclaimed Islamic State uses media propaganda to compensate for military losses. The media must not become a platform for the group to promote its messages, as it seeks to assert power and influence.

  • CBC Radio The Current March 18, 2015
    ISIS Struggles With Infighting, Defections

    Signs of genuine disunity inside the ISIS ranks would be something new, and a potentially important development for the countries locked in battle with the group.

  • KQED Radio February 9, 2015
    ISIS Claims American Hostage Killed in Airstrikes

    The Islamic State says that a female American hostage in Syria has been killed during a Jordanian airstrike.

  • Radio New Zealand International Nine To Noon February 5, 2015
    What’s the Future of Jordan’s Involvement in IS Fight?

    Jordan is currently calling for intensified strikes against the Islamic State in response to the execution of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh.

  • Background Briefing with Ian Masters January 25, 2015
    An Analysis of the Saudi Succession

    The succession in Saudi Arabia comes at a time when Saudi foreign policy seems to be collapsing all around the Kingdom.

  • CBC As It Happens January 23, 2015
    King Abdullah Obit

    The King of Saudi Arabia died at age 90. He is replaced by his half-brother, who faces a time of crisis in the Kingdom and the region.

  • BBC World Service Newshour January 5, 2015
    Syrians Face Lebanon Visas

    The Lebanese government—reacting four years too late—should have had a policy on the Syrian crisis from the start of the conflict to ensure the livelihoods of the Syrian refugees and their host communities.

  • NPR’s Morning Edition October 3, 2014
    Could ISIS Threats Cause Israel to Partner With Arab Nations?

    Arab states, especially after the Gaza crisis of the summer, are viewing Israel more skeptically when it comes to the peace process.

  • May 14, 2015 Rabat عربي
    Youth Marginalization and Radicalization in North Africa

    Five years after the outbreak of the Arab Spring, the uprisings have failed to fulfill the people’s aspirations for democracy, freedom, and social justice.

  • April 29, 2015 Beirut عربي
    Political Transformations in the Middle East and North Africa

    In celebration of the Carnegie Middle East Center’s tenth anniversary, Carnegie-affiliated scholars and regional policymakers will discuss and evaluate political transformations in the Middle East and North Africa.

  • March 19, 2015 عربي
    Youth Radicalization and Security

    Youth radicalization has become a global concern, as scores of young Europeans flock from the continent to join the ranks of extremist groups like the Islamic State.

  • March 18, 2015 Beirut عربي
    Amr Hamzawy on the Plight of the Arab Nation-state

    The Carnegie Middle East Center welcomed Amr Hamzawy and Hazem al-Amin to examine the challenges facing democracy, development, and security in Egypt and the Levant region during the last four years.

  • February 26, 2015 Tunis عربي Français
    Cross-border Security Threats and Responses

    Modern jihadist organizations have taken advantage of continued instability to make themselves into territorialized organizations which frequently cross established state borders, such as the Islamic State.

  • February 18, 2015 Beirut عربي
    The Ethics of Media Reporting on Terror

    Jihadist organizations like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State use propaganda tools to intimidate, control, and recruit. The mainstream media is forced to evaluate its own ethics and standards in fear of spreading the radicals’ messages.

  • November 3, 2014 Washington, DC
    From Hizbullah to the Islamic State

    From humble beginnings in the 1980s, Hizbullah’s political clout and public perception have trended upward, thanks to a communications strategy that has adapted to changes in the local and regional environment.

  • September 24, 2014 Beirut عربي
    A Strategy for Fighting the Islamic State

    Following the U.S. announcement of a strategy against the Islamic State, the Carnegie Middle East Center held a talk to analyze the direction of American foreign policy and the creation of an international coalition to tackle the Syrian-Iraqi crisis.

  • July 17, 2014 Beirut عربي
    What Next for Kurdistan and Iraq?

    As most of Iraq threatens to collapse under the weight of sectarian violence, Kurdistan in northern Iraq stands in sharp contrast. Will Kurdistan seize this opportunity to declare its independence?

  • June 5, 2014 Beirut عربي
    The Syrian Presidential Elections: A Non-Turning Point

    On June 3, the Syrian people cast their votes for a new president amidst an ongoing civil war. How will the election results impact the prospects for a political solution?

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