Charles Lister is a senior fellow and Director of the Countering Terrorism and Extremism Program at the Middle East Institute. His work focuses primarily on the conflict in Syria, including as a member of the MEI-convened Syria Study Group; and on issues of terrorism and insurgency across the Levant. Prior to this, Lister was a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Qatar and a Senior Consultant to the multinationally-backed Syria Track II Dialogue Initiative, where he managed nearly three years of intensive face-to-face engagement with the leaderships of over 100 Syrian armed opposition groups.
Lister is a frequent source of briefings on the Syrian insurgency to political, military and intelligence leaderships in the United States and across Europe and the Middle East. He appears regularly on television media, including CNN, BBC and Al-Jazeera, and his articles have been widely published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, BBC, CNN, Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy, among others.
Lister has previously held positions at the Brookings Institution and as head of MENA at IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Center in London, UK.
Lister’s critically-acclaimed book, The Syrian Jihad: Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and the Evolution of an Insurgency, was published in February 2016 by Oxford University Press. He also published The Islamic State: A Brief Introduction (Brookings Press, 2015) and he is now working on a third book on Syria, commissioned by Oxford University Press.
1st Class MA Honours in International Relations, University of St. Andrews
Countries of Expertise
Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon
Issues of Expertise
Terrorism, Insurgency, al-Qa'ida, ISIS, Military & Defense