I am a legal scholar and political scientist specializing in empirical research on armed conflict, political violence, peace-building, transitional justice, migration, and policing. My research and teaching interests are in the areas of criminal law and procedure, property, national security, international, human rights, and comparative law informed by quantitative and qualitative data, field research, and work with United Nations humanitarian and development agencies in Iraq. I am the National Security Law Fellow at the Georgetown University Law Center currently on public service leave with the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq.
I hold a J.D. from Yale Law School (2016) and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale University (2019), where my dissertation examined the Islamic State’s governance of civilians in Iraq and Syria. I am professionally fluent in Arabic and have conducted field research in Iraq, Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, and Oman. My methods include door-to-door household and online surveys, experiments, interviews, and archival research to build original datasets based on newspapers and social media posts.
Alongside my academic research, I work with humanitarian and development organizations to support evidence-based programs that aim to strengthen rule of law, support peaceful reconciliation after conflict, and mitigate the root causes of political violence and extremism. Previously, I served as the lead researcher on Iraq and Syria for United Nations University, the research wing of the United Nations system, leading case studies on the recruitment of children by armed groups and prospects for transitional justice after the Islamic State. I have also conducted research with the International Organization for Migration on perceptions of police in Iraq and with the United Nations Development Programme on reintegration of displaced persons with family ties to the Islamic State. Closer to home, I have served as a pro bono expert witness for Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility (CLEAR), which provides legal representation to Muslim and other communities targeted by law enforcement on national security grounds. During law school, I worked for Human Rights Watch in Egypt conducting research on human trafficking in the Sinai Peninsula and the violent repression of Muslim Brotherhood supporters following the 2013 military coup.
My work has been published or is forthcoming in The Journal of Politics, The American Journal of Political Science (conditionally accepted), The Journal of Conflict Resolution, The Journal of Global Security Studies, World Development, The Harvard National Security Journal, The Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Foreign Affairs, and The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Law. My research has been funded by the U.S. Institute of Peace, Innovations for Poverty Action, the Folke Bernadotte Academy, United Nations University, The Program on Governance and Local Development, The American Political Science Association, and The Project on Middle East Political Science, among others.
Before entering academia, I was the Assistant Director of the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, a Junior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (Middle East Program), a Critical Language Scholar in Jordan, and a Fulbright Fellow in Oman. I hold a B.A. in Political Science with minors in Arabic and Anthropology from Swarthmore College.
Header photo: Ninewa, Iraq (March 2019)