In Memoriam: Angel Rabasa

Photo of Angel Rabasa
Adjunct Political Scientist
Washington Office


Ph.D. in history, Harvard University; Frank Knox Fellow at St. Antony's College, University of Oxford; B.A. in history, Harvard College

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Angel M. Rabasa passed away on September 25, 2016. He was a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation. He wrote extensively about extremism, terrorism, and insurgency. He was the lead author of The Lessons of Mumbai (2009); Radical Islam in East Africa (2009); The Rise of Political Islam in Turkey (2008); Ungoverned Territories: Understanding and Reducing Terrorism Risks (2007); Building Moderate Muslim Networks (2007); Beyond al-Qaeda, Part 1: The Global Jihadist Movement and Part 2: The Outer Rings of the Terrorist Universe (2006); and The Muslim World After 9/11 (2004). He completed the research on patterns of Islamist radicalization and terrorism in Europe, and worked on a project on deradicalization of Islamist extremists.

Other works include the International Institute for Strategic Studies Adelphi Paper No. 358, Political Islam in Southeast Asia: Moderates, Radicals, and Terrorists (2003); The Military and Democracy in Indonesia: Challenges, Politics, and Power (2002), with John Haseman; and Indonesia's Transformation and the Stability of Southeast Asia (2001), with Peter Chalk. Before joining RAND, Rabasa served in the U.S. Departments of State and Defense. He was a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the International Studies Association, and the American Foreign Service Association.

Rabasa earned a B.A. and Ph.D. in history from Harvard University and was a Knox Fellow at St. Antony's College, Oxford University.

Previous Positions

Political-military positions in the Departments of State and Defense

Recent Projects

  • Radicalization, counter-radicalization, and deradicalization
  • Political and ideological trends in the Muslim world
  • Terrorism and insurgency in Latin America, Europe, Southeast Asia, and Africa

Selected Publications

Angel Rabasa et al., Building Moderate Muslim Networks, RAND Corporation (MG-574), 2007

Angel Rabasa et al., Beyond al-Qaeda, Part 1: The Global Jihadist Movement, RAND Corporation (MG-429), 2006

Angel Rabasa et al., Beyond al-Qaeda, Part 2: The Outer Rings of the Terrorist Universe, RAND Corporation (MG-430), 2006

Angel Rabasa et al., The Muslim World After 9/11, RAND Corporation (MG-246), 2004

International Institute for Strategic Studies, "Political Islam in Southeast Asia," Adelphi Paper 358, 2003

Angel Rabasa and Peter Chalk, Colombian Labyrinth: The Synergy of Drugs and Insurgency and Its Implications for Regional Stability, RAND Corporation (MR-1339), 2001

Honors & Awards

  • Frank Knox Fellow, St. Antony's College, University of Oxford


Spanish; French; Italian; Greek

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: BBC; Christian Science Monitor; CNBC; CNN; Fox; Independent Television News (UK); NPR; PBS; Telegramme; United Press International; Voice of America

Commentary: Christian Science Monitor; CNN; International Herald Tribune; Los Angeles Times; San Diego Union-Tribune; USA Today; U.S. News & World Report; Wall Street Journal


  • A woman with a French flag with the words 'I am Charlie' reacts while paying tribute to the victims of a shooting at the offices of French weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, during a candlelight vigil at the Liberty Square in Taipei, January 9, 2015

    Why al Qaeda in Yemen Attacked Paris

    The bloodshed in the Paris offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was a startling reminder of al Qaeda's ambitions, capabilities, and ruthlessness. And whether or not the attack was planned as a marketing device to help al Qaeda emerge from the expanding shadow of the Islamic State, it may be having that effect.

    Jan 12, 2015 USA Today

  • destruction in Syria

    How to Arm Syria's Rebels

    What is required in Syria now is a program like the one the United States established in the mid-1990s to train and equip the armed forces of the Bosnian Federation, writes Angel Rabasa.

    May 23, 2013 U.S. News & World Report

  • Time to Arm Libyan Rebels: Here's How

    The long-term objective of a train-and-equip program for the Libyan revolutionary government would be to create a professional military force in a post-Qaddafi Libya that could support democratic institutions free of extremist elements, writes Angel Rabasa.

    Apr 13, 2011 Christian Science Monitor

  • Arm the Libyan Rebels to Fight Gadhafi

    What the United States did in Bosnia might hold the key for an effective response to the crisis in Libya, writes Angel Rabasa.

    Mar 24, 2011 CNN

  • Indonesia as a Test Case

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Mar 19, 2003 International Herald Tribune

  • Moderates Against Extremists

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Oct 31, 2002 International Herald Tribune

  • Stop Snubbing Indonesia's Military

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Aug 2, 2002 International Herald Tribune

  • Is Democracy Always Worth the Trouble?

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Apr 24, 2002 Los Angeles Times

  • Working Together: Megawati and the Terrorists

    Published commentary by RAND staff

    Mar 11, 2002 Asian Wall Street Journal

  • The Americas: Colombia's Rebels Talk Peace but Make More War

    Colombia's friends, primarily the U.S., should be prepared to provide sustained and adequate support to the Colombian armed forces, not just for drug eradication, as is the case with the current policy, but to restore the capacity of the Colombian state to defend itself against forces that seek to overthrow it.

    Jul 13, 2001 Wall Street Journal

  • Violence Unraveling the Fabric of Society

    Threats to democracy and stability in the Andean region of South America could confront the United States with its most serious security crisis in this hemisphere since the Central American wars of the 1980s.

    Jun 17, 2001 San Diego Union-Tribune