Hashim, Ahmed S.

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Hashim, Ahmed S.


Education: University of Warwick, Coventry, England, B.A.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, M.A., Ph.D.


Office—Center for Naval Warfare Studies, U.S. Naval War College, 686 Cushing Rd., Newport, RI 02841.


International Institute for Strategic Studies, London, England, research associate, 1993-94; Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC, 1994-96; Center for Naval Analyses, Alexandria, VA, research analyst, 1996-2000; U.S. Naval War College, Newport, RI, associate professor of strategic studies, 2000—; Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government, lecturer in public policy. Served as advisor to U.S. military command in Iraq, 2003-05. Military service: Lt. colonel in U.S. Army; returned from service in Iraq in 2005.


(With Anthony H. Cordesman) Iran: Dilemmas of Dual Containment, Westview Press (Boulder, CO), 1997.

(With Anthony H. Cordesman) Iraq: Sanctions and Beyond, Westview Press (Boulder, CO), 1997.

Insurgency and Counter-insurgency in Iraq, Cornell University Press (Ithaca, NY), 2006.


A respected authority on Middle East security, Ahmed S. Hashim has written extensively on such subjects as asymmetric warfare, terrorism, and counterterrorism. In Iran: Dilemmas of Dual Containment and Iraq: Sanctions and Beyond, both written with Anthony Cordesman, the authors provide a comprehensive analysis of political, economic, and military conditions in Iran and Iraq and offer clear suggestions for U.S. policy toward these regimes. Published before the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003, the latter book, according to Middle East Policy contributor Woolf P. Gross, is a "tightly reasoned analysis of Baghdad's current status and immediate future capabilities."

Hashim, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, served three tours of Iraq from 2003 through 2005, advising the U.S. command there and conducting research on the insurgency. Critics observed that this background—along with Hashim's scholarly training and facility with local languages (he is fluent in Arabic and Farsi, as well as French and German)—gave Hashim's study Insurgency and Counter-insurgency in Iraq exceptional credibility. The book details the historical and cultural context in which the insurgency developed, the reasons motivating its fighters, the insurgents' operational and tactical methods, the role and effects of the U.S. counterinsurgency, and Iraq's likely future. As a writer for the Economist noted, Hashim's analysis is "grim." Hashim points out that U.S. forces, trained to fight straightforward battles, have a poor understanding of unquantifiable factors in the insurgency—that, for example, people fight not only to gain back jobs or territory but also to maintain honor and identity. Hashim further notes that U.S. policy toward Sunni Muslims in Iraq played a major role in fueling resistance to the occupation. As he explained to Joanne Myers in a discussion of the book aired by the Carnegie Council, the U.S. military felt that "the entire Sunni Arab community [had been] tainted by being part of the former regime structure." This hostility, he said, "contributed immensely to the rise and outbreak of a genuine Sunni-based insurgency [late in] 2003." Emphasizing the importance of a civil society in providing a stable base for democracy to take root, Hashim observed that "there is a total lack of security and stability in Iraqi society and just an oppressive fear among the population about the future of their country, and not just their country, but their own personal future." When asked about the country's prospects, he commented that "the Lebanese civil war was a blight on the Middle East, but if you think that was a blight on the Middle East, wait until a full-blown Iraqi civil war occurs, should we leave."

Critics praised Insurgency and Counter-insurgency in Iraq as an important work. "Hashim sees the war through the enemy's eyes," wrote John A. Nagl on H-Net: Humanities & Social Sciences Online. "It is a chilling and enlightening perspective that should be widely and carefully read." While Steven Metz, in a Middle East Journal review, argued that Hashim's view of the Sunnis' role was not entirely convincing, Metz nevertheless commended the book as an "important" study. Insurgency and Counter-insurgency in Iraq, wrote Jeffrey Record in Middle East Policy, "is the best book published to date on the Iraqi insurgency's ‘origins, motivations, and evolution and the U.S. policy an strategic and operational responses to it.’"



Economist, February 4, 2006, "What's Really Going On? The Iraqi Insurgency," p. 75.

Library Journal, June 15, 2006, John Russell, review of Insurgency and Counter-insurgency in Iraq, p. 87.

Middle East Journal, autumn, 2006, Steven Metz, review of Insurgency and Counter-insurgency in Iraq, p. 801.

Middle East Policy, May, 1997, Benedict F. FitzGerald, review of Iran: Dilemmas of Dual Containment, p. 201; May, 1997, Woolf P. Gross, review of Iraq: Sanctions and Beyond, p. 203; winter, 2006, Jeffrey Record, review of Insurgency and Counter-insurgency in Iraq, p. 156.


Carnegie Council,http://www.cceia.org/ (June 6, 2006), Ahmed S. Hashim, Joanne J. Myers, discussion of Insurgency and Counter-insurgency in Iraq.

H-Net: Humanities & Social Sciences Online,http://www.h-net.msu.edu/reviews (April, 2007), John A. Nagl, review of Insurgency and Counterinsurgency in Iraq.