Biography

Bilal Y. Saab is a political-military analyst on the Middle East and US policy toward the region. He specializes in the Levant (primarily Lebanon and Syria) and the Persian Gulf (Iran and all six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council). Currently, he is senior fellow and director of the Defense and Security Program at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC. In 2014-2017, he was senior fellow and director of the Middle East Peace and Security Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, where he also created and chaired the Gulf Policy Working Group and led the Middle East Crisis Simulation Series. He is a term member with the Council on Foreign Relations.

A native of Lebanon, Saab has fluency in both written and spoken Arabic and French, and experience living in the Middle East for more than two decades. He is a recipient of the Thought Leadership Award from the Atlantic Council and the Abshire-Inamori Leadership Award from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Throughout his career, Saab has held research/analytic positions in the United States, the Middle East, and Europe at Brookings, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Center for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, Middle East Institute, and Lebanese Center for Policy Studies. A prolific and widely published author in peer-reviewed academic and policy journals (for a list of publications and speaking engagements please consult the publications page of this website), he is often called upon to brief various executive and legislative agencies in the U.S. Government and other governments around the world.

Saab holds an MA in international security policy from the University of Maryland, College Park; an MLitt in international security studies from the University of St Andrews in Scotland; and a BA with honors in political science and public administration from the American University of Beirut (AUB). He attended high school at the College Protestant Français (CPF) in Beirut and passed the French Baccalaureate (Le Bac) with distinction.