Adham Saouli, Senior Lecturer


Adham Saouli received his PhD from the University of St Andrews in 2009. He has held a Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at the University College Dublin (2008 to 2009). He then moved to the University of Edinburgh where he was Lecturer of Politics and International Relations (2009 to 2014). He joined the University of St Andrews in 2014. Adham Saouli will be on leave in the period from September 2018 to August 2020.

Research areas

My research is in the fields of International Relations and Comparative Politics, with focus on the Middle East region. I am interested in the genesis and development of political actors, be they states, social movements, or individuals. I am fascinated by the political behaviour of actors within constraining social contexts, by the dilemmas they face as they struggle to realise their ideals, and the intended and sometimes tragic consequences of their behaviour.

Drawing on the intellectual tradition of Historical Sociology, my research forms a dialogue between theory and empirical analysis, which is usually based on fieldwork I carry in the Arab world and/or Arabic sources. I have published on state formation, social movements, political ideas, and the politics and international relations of the Middle East region. I examined several cases, including Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas. In my first book, The Arab State: Dilemmas of Late Formation (2012), examined the conditions that keep states intact in the region. My second, Hezbollah: Socialisation and its Tragic Ironies (2018), examines the genesis and development of Lebanon’s Hezbollah. My article, Performing the Egyptian Revolution: Origins of Collective Restraint (2015), explained the collective action of the Midan al-Tahrir demonstration. It was nominated for the Harrison Prize (2015).

My next major project will be on the genealogy and political impact of the Arabo-Islamic concept of Fitna (sedition, civil strife).



Edited Volumes
  • The Syrian Uprising: Regional and International Dimensions (Routledge, 2019). With Raymond Hinnebusch
  • Middle Power Politics in the Middle East: Aspirations and Limitations (Under Review).

Peer-reviewed articles

  • ‘Performing the Egyptian revolution: origins of collective restraint action in the Midan’, Political Studies. Vol.63, No.4, (2015), pp. 730-746. (Shortlisted for the Harrison Prize, 2015). PDF
  • ‘Back to the Future: The Arab Uprisings and state (re)formation in the Arab  World’, Democratization. Vol. 22, No.2 (2015), pp.315-334. ABSTRACT
  • ‘Intellectuals and Political Power in Social Movements: The Parallel Paths of Fadlallah and Hizbullah’, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol.41 No.1, (2014), pp. 97—116. ABSTRACT
  • ‘Syria’s Predicament: State (de-)formation and international rivalries’, Sharaka Research Paper. NR.10 November (2014), pp.1-15. PDF
  • 'Hizbullah, Hamas, and the Arab Uprisings: Structures, Threats, and Opportunities', Orient, Vol. 54, No. 2, (2013), pp. 37-44.
  • 'Hizbullah in the Civilising Process: anarchy, self-restraint and violence', Third World Quarterly, Vol. 32 No. 5 (2011) pp. 925-942. ABSTRACT
  • ‘Stability Under Late State Formation: The Case of Lebanon’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, Vol.19 No.4 (December, 2006) pp. 701-717. ABSTRACT
  • ‘Lebanon’s Hizbullah: The Quest for Survival’, World Affairs, Vol.166 No.2 (Fall 2003), pp. 71-80. ABSTRACT
  • ‘Arab Political Organisations within the Israeli State’, The Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies, Vol.26, No.2 (Summer 2001), pp.443-460. ABSTRACT

Book chapters

  • ‘Middle Power Politics in the Middle East: An Introduction’, in Adham Saouli (ed) Middle Power Politics in the Middle East: Aspirations and Limitations (Under Review).
  • ‘Middling or Meddling: Origins and Constraints of External Influence in the Middle East’ in Adham Saouli (ed) Middle Power Politics in the Middle East: Aspirations and Limitations (Under Review).
  • ‘Hizbullah’s Military Intervention in Syria’, in Raymond Hinnebusch and Adham Saouli (eds), The Syrian Uprising: Regional and International Dimensions. (Routledge, 2018).
  • ‘The Tragedy of Baathist state-building’, in Raymond Hinnebusch and Omar Imady (eds.), The Syrian Uprising 2011-14: roots and trajectories (Routledge, 2018).
  •  ‘Lebanon’s Salafis: opportunities and constraints in a divided society’, in Francesco Cavatorta and Fabio Merone (eds.), Salafism after the Arab Awakening: contending with people’s power (Oxford University Press and Hurst & Co. Publishers, 2016).
  • ‘Armed Political Movements in the Middle East’ in Erika Holmquist and John Rydqvist (eds.), MENA to 25: Middle East Security in a Ten-Year Perspective (2016).
  • ‘The Foreign Policies of Iraq and Lebanon’, in Raymond Hinnebusch and Anoushiravan Ehteshami (eds.) The Foreign Policies of Middle East States, 2nd edition (Boulder and London: Lynne Reinner Publisher, 2014), pp.105-132.
  • 'Lebanon' in The Middle East and North Africa, The Europa Regional Surveys of the World, Routledge, 2009-2016.

Book reviews

  • Patrick Cockburn (2015) The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the new Sunni Revolution, reviewed for Cambridge Review of International Affairs (September, 2015), pp. 498-500.
  • Gareth Stansfield (2007) Iraq, reviewed for Political Studies Review (May, 2008), pp. 253-4.
  • Jeremy Jones (2007) Negotiating Change: The New Politics of the Middle East, reviewed for Mediterranean Politics, Vol. 13, No. 1 (March 2008), 121–123.
  • Charles Tilly (2006) Regimes and Repertoires, reviewed for Political Studies Review (September, 2007), pp. 473-4.
  • Haitham A. Mouzahem (2001) The Israeli Labor Party: 1968-1999, reviewed for Middle East Affairs Journal, (Summer/Fall 2002), pp. 222-4.

Other publications

  • ‘Lebanon: contesting trash politics’, Blog. London School of Economics and Political Science.
  • 'Syria and the Battle for the Middle East', Political Studies Association Blog, (September 2013).
  • ‘The Iraqi Quagmire and the Post-Saddam Middle East: Reflections on Lebanon’, Tribune-Libanaise (March 2003).



  • Foreign Policy Analysis and International Security (IR1006) - contributor
  • Politics and State Formation in the Middle East (IR3301)
  • Political Order and Violence (IR4601) - Senior Honours
  • Political Order and Violence in the Middle East (IR5601) - postgraduate course
  • Research Methods in International Relations (IR5601) - contributor, PhD course

PhD supervision topics

Adham Saouli is interested in supervising PhD topics on:

  • state and nation building in the Middle East or the developing world
  • regime-society relations (including ‘Democratisation’) in the Middle East
  • international relations and foreign policy in the Middle East
  • armed political movements in the Middle East
  • Islamic political thought.