Lieutenant Colonel Joel Rayburn

Biography: 

Lieutenant Colonel Joel Rayburn, a contributor to the Hoover Institution Working Group on Islamism and the International Order, is a senior military fellow at the National Defense University’s Institute for National Strategic Studies. A US Army intelligence officer with nineteen years of experience in intelligence and political-military affairs, he has specialized in strategic analyses of the Middle East for the past decade.  He has served in a variety of assignments and deployments in the Middle East and South Asia, with special emphasis on Iraq and Afghanistan.  Rayburn received his undergraduate degree in history and English literature from the US Military Academy in 1992 and a master’s degree in history from Texas A&M in 2002.  From 2002 to 2005 he was an assistant professor of history at the US Military Academy.

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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

The Coming Disintegration of Iraq

by Lieutenant Colonel Joel Rayburnvia The Washington Post
Friday, August 15, 2014

Nouri al-Maliki may have agreed to step down as prime minister of Iraq on Thursday, but the damage he has wrought will define his country for decades to come. The stunning collapse of the Iraqi state in its vast northern and western provinces may be Maliki’s most significant legacy. After nine decades as the capital of a unitary, centralized state, Baghdad no longer rules Kurdistan, nor Fallujah, nor Mosul, and might never rule them again.

Iraq after America: Strongmen, Sectarians, Resistance

Iraq after America: Strongmen, Sectarians, Resistance

by Lieutenant Colonel Joel Rayburnvia Hoover Press
Friday, August 1, 2014

More than a decade after the US-led invasion of Iraq, most studies of the Iraq conflict focus on the twin questions of whether the United States should have entered Iraq in 2003 and whether it  should have exited in 2011, but few have examined the new Iraqi state and society on its own merits.

Analysis and Commentary

The Coming War in the Middle East

by Lieutenant Colonel Joel Rayburnvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
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The Coming War in the Middle East

by Lieutenant Colonel Joel Rayburnvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Imagine a sectarian conflagration, fueled by Al Qaeda, raging across the Fertile Crescent.

Analysis and Commentary

Needed: A Political Strategy after the Deal Collapses

by Lieutenant Colonel Joel Rayburnvia Advancing a Free Society
Monday, April 16, 2012

Observers rightly say that the Afghanistan campaign will not result in a sustainable outcome without a political strategy to accompany the military operations NATO is conducting...

Needed: A Political Strategy after the Deal Collapses

by Lieutenant Colonel Joel Rayburnvia The Caravan
Monday, April 16, 2012

Observers rightly say that the Afghanistan campaign will not result in a sustainable outcome without a political strategy to accompany the military operations NATO is conducting.  In too many minds, however, formulating a political strategy has been equated to brokering a deal

"Blowback" - Iraq Comes To Syria

by Lieutenant Colonel Joel Rayburnvia The Caravan
Thursday, February 23, 2012

“Blowback” is the decades-old term coined by CIA officers to describe what happens when a covert operation produces forces that return to harm those who set it in motion.  The textbook example of “blowback” in living memory has been U.S.

In the News

Iraq After America

by Lieutenant Colonel Joel Rayburnvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Wednesday, January 25, 2012

2012 promises to be a stormy year for the beleaguered country...

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Iraq After America

by Lieutenant Colonel Joel Rayburnvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, January 25, 2012

2012 promises to be a stormy year for the beleaguered country.