Frederic Wehrey

Senior Associate
Middle East Program
Wehrey’s research focuses on political reform and security issues in the Arab Gulf states, Libya, and U.S. policy in the Middle East more broadly.


PhD, International Relations, St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford
MA, Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University


Arabic; English


Frederic Wehrey is a senior associate in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.  He focuses on Gulf political and security affairs, Libya, and U.S. policy in the Middle East.

His most recent Carnegie publications include U.S.-Arab Counterterrorism Cooperation in a Region Ripe for Extremism with Michele Dunne (2014), Ending Libya’s Civil War: Reconciling Politics, Rebuilding Security (2014), and A New U.S. Approach to Gulf Security (2014).

His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, the Atlantic, Washington Quarterly, Current History, Survival, Sada, the Journal of Democracy, Small Wars and Insurgencies, the Christian Science Monitor, Financial Times, and the Chicago Journal of International Law. He has been interviewed by major media outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, PBS NewsHour, NPR, BBC, and CNN. He routinely briefs U.S. and European government officials on Middle East affairs and has testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

He is the author of a book exploring Sunni-Shi’a identity politics in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait, entitled Sectarian Politics in the Gulf: From the Iraq War to the Arab Uprising (Columbia University Press, 2013), which was named one of 2014’s Best Books on the Middle East by Foreign Affairs magazine.

  • Op-Ed Atlantic February 9, 2015
    The Battle for Libya’s Oil

    Nearly three and a half years after Libyan rebels and a NATO air campaign overthrew Muammar al-Qaddafi, the cohesive political entity known as Libya doesn’t exist. There is no central government, but rather two competing claims on legitimacy and sovereignty.

  • Op-Ed Foreign Affairs February 2, 2015
    Libya’s War-Weary Make Peace?

    Misrata offers reasons for guarded optimism when it comes to Libya’s future as a unified state.

  • Syria in Crisis January 23, 2015 Русский
    After King Abdullah, Continuity

    Despite the speculations over the effects of Saudi succession, the kingdom’s foreign policies are likely to remain unchanged and have been remarkably consistent since the reign of King Fahad bin Abdul Aziz.

  • Syria in Crisis December 29, 2014
    The Middle East in 2015: What to Watch

    Carnegie scholars assess the Middle East in the year ahead, including potential game changers that could have a big impact for the future of the region.

  • Op-Ed Lawfare December 17, 2014
    Mosul on the Mediterranean? The Islamic State in Libya and U.S. Counterterrorism Dilemmas

    Like everything else in the country, the jihadist field in Libya is highly fragmented and hyper-localized. And the rise of the Islamic State has stirred significant debates within this fractured community about how to respond.

  • Year in Crisis December 10, 2014
    Photo Essay: Libya’s Path to Civil War

    An exclusive, on-the-ground look at Libya as it fractures.

  • Op-Ed Foreign Policy December 3, 2014 عربي
    Everyday Sectarianism: The Paradox of an Anti-Islamic State Ally

    Saudi Arabia has institutionalized sectarianism in virtually every aspect of political, social, and economic life.

  • Current History December 1, 2014
    The Saudi Thermidor

    Dissatisfied with Washington, Riyadh has undertaken an activist strategy for restoring regional order—but its forceful interventions abroad mask a deep domestic malaise.

  • Syria in Crisis November 7, 2014
    An Elusive Courtship: The Struggle for Iraq’s Sunni Arab Tribes

    In the war against the Islamic State, Iraq’s Sunni tribes are all the rage. They are the commanding high ground on the battlefield’s “human terrain.”

  • Op-Ed Wall Street Journal November 4, 2014
    Three Risks of U.S. Cooperation With Arab Allies Against Islamic State

    Washington needs to collaborate with its Arab allies to address the imminent threat from Islamic State. But it needs to do so while actively discouraging repression and pressing for policies in Arab states that meet the demands of the young generation that started the Arab Spring.

  • Columbia University Press December 17, 2013
    Sectarian Politics in the Gulf: From the Iraq War to the Arab Uprisings

    Although religious differences and regional influences play a role, the rise of sectarianism in the Gulf is ultimately rooted in longstanding problems of governance and elite manipulation of Sunni-Shia identities.

  • Carnegie Endowment for International Peace April 17, 2013
    Perilous Desert: Insecurity in the Sahara

    The Sahara suffers from a perfect storm of weaknesses. Foreign assistance that relies exclusively on counterterrorism will only exacerbate the problems.


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