Dr. Roby Barrett has over 40 years of government, business, and academic experience in intelligence, security, and special operations in the Middle East and Southwest Asia. He is also an expert on technology applications supporting those functions. A former Foreign Service Officer, he is a graduate of the Foreign Service Institute’s intensive two-year Arab Language and Middle East Area Studies program as well as the Counterterrorism Tactics and Special Operations courses.

A Senior Fellow with the Joint Special Operations University, Dr. Barrett is also a member of its Editorial Advisory Board. He was an Eisenhower-Roberts fellow of the Eisenhower Institute in Washington D.C., a Rotary International fellow at the Russian and East European Institute at the University of Munich, and a Scottish Rite Research fellow at Oxford University.

Dr. Barrett was a guest speaker at the Joint Canadian-American Intelligence Conference (2018) and at the Gulf Security Conference in Abu Dhabi (2017). He provides his expertise to multiple military and intelligence community organizations and forums including briefings on Iran, Oman, Yemen, and Iraq-Syria issues. In addition to participation in the SOCOM Conference on Yemen (2013), the Bahrain SOF Conference (2010), the opening of the King Abdullah Special Operations Training Center (Amman 2009), and Bahrain MOI Gulf Security Forum (2008), Dr. Barrett supported the intelligence community, and numerous military units including the 5th Special Forces Group, 101st Airborne both in the U.S. and Iraq, Naval Special Warfare Command both in the U.S. and the Arabian Gulf, 4th Psychological Warfare Group, and 19th Special Forces Group. He was a Senior fellow and the lead briefer for Gulf affairs and U.S. Foreign Policies at the USAF Special Operations School (2007–2012).

B.A. in History and Government at Texas A&M University - Commerce; M.A. in History and Government at Baylor University; M.A. in Government at Texas A&M University - Commerce; Ph.D. in Middle East and South Asian History at University of Texas at Austin.

Publication Highlights:

  • "The Gulf and the Struggle for Hegemony: Arabs, Iranians, and the West in Conflict", Middle East Institute [More Info]
  • "The Collapse of Iraq and Syria: The End of the Colonial Construct in the Greater Levant", Joint Special Operations University [PDF]
  • "Saudi Arabia: Modernity, Stability and the Twenty-First Century Monarchy," Joint Special Operations University [PDF]
  • "Intervention in Iraq, 1958-1959," The Middle East Institute [PDF]
  • "Iran: Illusion, Reality, and Interests," Joint Special Operations University [PDF]
  • "U.S. Policy and Iraq: Pragmatism and Progressive Ideals," NPEJ [PDF]
  • "Yemen: A Different Political Paradigm in Context," Joint Special Operations University [PDF]
  • "Oman: The Present in the Context of a Fractured Past," Joint Special Operations University [PDF]
  • "Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco: Change, Instability, and Continuity in the Maghreb" Joint Special Operations University [PDF]
  • The Greater Middle East and the Cold War: U.S. Foreign Policy under Eisenhower and Kennedy 1958–1963, I.B. Tauris 2007

Arabic, German

Countries of Expertise:
Arabian Gulf States, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Pakistan, India

Issues of Expertise:
Terrorism/Security Issues, Political Movements, Cultural/Tribal Issues, Regional Foreign Policy, Political/Military Affairs, Nuclear Issues

Contact Information

Email: rbarrett@mei.edu