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.

  • Paper June 29, 2015 Full Text
    The Islamic State’s Strategy: Lasting and Expanding

    Gaps in the international coalition’s approach as well as deep sectarian divisions in Iraq and the shifting strategies of the Syrian regime and its allies are allowing the Islamic State to continue to exist and expand.

  • Op-Ed Turkish Policy Quarterly June 5, 2015 عربي
    Hezbollah’s Ascent and Descent

    Hezbollah is Lebanon’s strongest political party. However, its military intervention in the Syrian conflict has put it at a crossroads.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Radio New Zealand National June 29, 2015
    Three Seperate Islamic State Attacks

    As long as the Syrian conflict drags on, the self-proclaimed Islamic State will remain a reality and attract more sympathizers around the world.

  • Al Jazeera Inside Story June 27, 2015
    How Is ISIL Expanding?

    A year after declaring a “caliphate,” self-proclaimed Islamic State fighters are claiming attacks in Kuwait and Tunisia.

  • NPR All Things Considered June 9, 2015
    No Winner In Sight As Forces Fighting in Syria Weaken

    The Syrian regime sees the self-proclaimed Islamic State as a useful tool to eradicate the moderate opposition.

  • 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.

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