Fouad Ajami


Fouad Ajami passed away on June 22, 2014.  He was the Herbert and Jane Dwight Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and the cochair of the Herbert and Jane Dwight Working Group on Islamism and the International Order. From 1980 to 2011 he was director of Middle East Studies at the Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of The Arab Predicament, The Vanished Imam: Musa al Sadr and the Shia of Lebanon, Beirut: City of Regrets, The Dream Palace of the Arabs, and The Foreigner's Gift: The Americans, the Arabs, and the Iraqis in Iraq. His most recent publication is In This Arab Time: The Pursuit of Deliverance (Hoover Institution Press, 2014). His writings also include some four hundred essays on Arab and Islamic politics, US foreign policy, and contemporary international history. Ajami has received numerous awards, including the Benjamin Franklin Award for public service (2011), the Eric Breindel Award for Excellence in Opinion Journalism (2011), the Bradley Prize (2006), the National Humanities Medal (2006), and the MacArthur Fellows Award (1982). His research has charted the road to 9/11, the Iraq war, and the US presence in the Arab-Islamic world.

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Recent Commentary

Policy BriefsFeatured

Fouad Ajami on Moderate Islam

by Fouad Ajamivia PolicyEd
Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Although some say that there is no moderate form of Islam, Fouad Ajami believed that the battle to wrest Islam away from extremism is not yet lost.

screenshot of book cover for Crosswinds: The Way of Saudi Arabia by Fouad Ajami

‘Crosswinds’ Review: Middle East Balancing Act

featuring Fouad Ajamivia The Wall Street Journal
Monday, October 19, 2020

[Subscription required] An exploration of the Saudi temper that has both the interpretative heft of scholarship and the anecdotal brilliance of literary travelogue.

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The Saudi Riddle

by Fouad Ajamivia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The Iraq war and the jihad in nearby Anbar and Baghdad were on the margins of Saudi life. Four or five years after 9/11, after the (usual) speculations about the troubles of the Saudi state, the ship had been steadied. There was that Arabian luck which had seen this realm through many a crisis, and it would come in the nick of time. In the summer of 2005, the ailing King Fahd, incapacitated for the full length of a decade and barely conscious of his surroundings, died and was succeeded by his half-brother Abdullah.


Crosswinds: The Way of Saudi Arabia

by Fouad Ajamivia Hoover Institution Press
Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Fouad Ajami presents a firsthand look at the political culture in Saudi Arabia and its conduct and influence in foreign lands from the early 1990s to around 2010.

In This Arab Time, by Ajami

In This Arab Time: The Pursuit of Deliverance

by Fouad Ajamivia Hoover Institution Press
Saturday, November 15, 2014

In this collection of bold and wide-ranging essays, Fouad Ajami offers his views on the Middle East, commenting on the state of affairs in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Egypt and more. He brings into focus the current struggles of the region through detailed historical standpoints and a highly personal perspective.

US Department of Defense/Jim Gordon

Axis of Folly

by Fouad Ajamivia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The president of the United States proved rash, the prime minister of Iraq, arrogant. Why Iraq is teetering.

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Chaos in the Fertile Crescent

by Fouad Ajamivia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Iran, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia have stepped into the vacuum left by the retreat and disinterest of the West. 

The Struggle in the Fertile Crescent

by Fouad Ajamivia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, July 9, 2014

One of the enduring mirages of the Mideast is the vision of a free, stable Iraq. The Sunni-Shia clash keeps it perennially out of reach.


The Struggle for Mastery in the Fertile Crescent

by Fouad Ajamivia Hoover Institution Press
Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Fouad Ajami analyzes the struggle for influence along the Fertile Crescent—the stretch of land that runs from Iran’s border with Iraq to the Mediterranean—among three of the regional powers that have stepped into the vacuum left by the West: Iran, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia.

Fouad Ajami on Uncommon Knowledge
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Peter Robinson Remembers Fouad Ajami

with Fouad Ajamivia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, June 27, 2014

In this special episode of Uncommon Knowledge, host Peter Robinson remembers Fouad Ajami, a Hoover senior fellow and renowned Middle East scholar, with excerpts from past interviews on Uncommon Knowledge covering US-Afghani relations, politics in Iran, and the need for reform in Islam.