Bilal Y. Saab

Bilal Y. Saab is a political-military analyst on the Middle East and U.S. policy toward the region. He specializes in the Levant and the Persian Gulf, and focuses on security cooperation between the United States and its regional partners, and national-security and defense processes in partner countries. Currently, Saab is senior fellow and director of the Defense and Security Program at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C. He is a member with the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and a recipient of the International Affairs Fellowship (2018-2019) with CFR.

Saab has fluency in both written and spoken Arabic and French, and experience living in the Middle East for more than two decades. He has received various analytic and leadership awards throughout his career including the Thought Leadership Award from the Atlantic Council and the Abshire-Inamori Leadership Award from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

A prolific and widely published author in peer-reviewed academic and policy journals including The Washington Quarterly, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, American Interest, and The National Interest (for a list of publications and speaking engagements please consult his personal website:, he is often called upon to brief and testify before various executive and legislative agencies in the U.S. Government and other governments around the world. He regularly provides commentary to international media outlets including NPR, PBS, Reuters, Washington Post and New York Times.

BA, American University of Beirut; MLitt., University of St Andrews; MA, University of Maryland, College Park

Countries of Expertise
Bahrain, Iran, Lebanon, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Syria, UAE

Issues of Expertise
Arms Control; Defense; Insurgency; Regional Security; Strategy; Terrorism; US Middle East Policy

Arabic, French