Samuel Helfont

Senior Fellow - Middle East Program

Research Areas:

Islam, Saddam Hussein, religion, Insurgencies in Iraq 

Samuel Helfont is a Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Middle East Program, and an Assistant Professor of Strategy and Policy in the Naval War College program at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He is the author of Iraq against the World: Saddam, America, and the Post-Cold War Order (Oxford University Press, 2023), and Compulsion in Religion: Saddam Hussein, Islam, and the Roots of Insurgencies in Iraq (Oxford University Press, 2018). His work has been published by Foreign AffairsThe International History ReviewThe Middle East JournalTexas National Security ReviewOrbisThe Washington PostThe New RepublicThe American Interest, and War on the Rocks, among other outlets. 

Helfont holds a PhD in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University. Prior to moving to Monterey, he completed a three-year post-doctoral lectureship at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to this academic background, Helfont served as an intelligence officer in the US Navy and Navy Reserve. An Iraq War veteran, he completed deployments both afloat and ashore in the Middle East. For more see: