Jeffrey Martini

Photo of Jeffrey Martini
Senior Middle East Researcher
Washington Office

Education

M.A. in Arabic studies, Georgetown University; B.A. in economics, Middlebury College

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email media@rand.org.

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Overview

Jeffrey Martini is a senior Middle East researcher at the RAND Corporation, where he works on political and security issues in the Arab World. Martini also spent a year as the North Africa lead at the State Department's Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations. He has published on Arab Gulf security, Syria stabilization, civil-military relations in Egypt, and generational divides within the Muslim Brotherhood. Martini spent four years living in the Arab world, including three as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco and one in Cairo, Egypt, where he was a 2007–08 fellow in the CASA Arabic language program. He speaks, reads, and writes modern standard Arabic and speaks Moroccan and Egyptian colloquial. Martini received his M.A. in Arabic studies from Georgetown University and his B.A. in political science and economics from Middlebury College.

Research Focus

Recent Projects

  • The Outlook for Arab Gulf Cooperation
  • A Peace Plan for Syria
  • Muslim Brotherhood Youth: Generational Divides and Implications for U.S. Engagement
  • Commanding Democracy in Egypt: The Military's Attempt to Manage the Future

Selected Publications

Jeff Martini, "Cairo’s Candidate Shuffle," Foreign Affairs online edition, 2012

Jeff Martini, "The Military Wins Again," Foreign Affairs online edition, 2012

Jeff Martini and Julie Taylor, "Commanding Democracy in Egypt: The Military's Attempt to Manage the Future," Foreign Affairs, 90(5), 2011

Jeff Martini, "The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt: Old Age Fighting Time (book review of the Arabic language study)," Contemporary Arab Affairs, 2(2), 2009

Jeffrey Martini et al., The Outlook for Arab Gulf Cooperation, RAND Corporation (RR-1429), 2016

Jeffrey Martini et al., Syria as an Arena of Strategic Competition, RAND Corporation (RR-213), 2013

Jeffrey Martini and Stephen Worman, Voting Patterns in Post-Mubarak Egypt, RAND Corporation (RR-223), 2013

Jeffrey Martini et al., The Muslim Brotherhood, Its Youth, and Implications for U.S. Engagement, RAND Corporation (MG-1247), 2012

Honors & Awards

  • Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) fellowship, 2007–2008, American University in Cairo
  • Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) scholarship, 2006–2007, Georgetown University

Languages

Modern Standard Arabic (advanced proficiency: reading, writing, speaking); Egyptian Arabic (advanced proficiency: speaking); Moroccan Arabic (advanced proficiency: speaking)

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Al-Monitor; CNBC Online; CNN; Sirius XM Radio; Talk Media News; WWL-NO (CBS)

Commentary: Christian Science Monitor; Democracy Digest; Foreign Affairs; The National Interest; U.S. News & World Report; Washington Post

Commentary

  • International Diplomacy

    Implementing Arab Gulf Reconciliation

    As the Arab Gulf states prepare to engage with a new U.S. administration, their recent reconciliation announcement offers an opportunity to advance their interests as well as mutual interests with the United States. But the Gulf states' intent to end their feud will very likely not be sufficient unless the agreement is deepened through confidence-building measures and expanded by reaching a parallel understanding with Turkey.

    Jan 27, 2021

    RealClearDefense

  • Don't Overestimate the Power of Iraqi Protests

    As protests in Iraq grow, a “good news” narrative seems to be developing that they are a significant blow to Iranian influence. But the bigger story is not who is up and who is down between Washington and Tehran; it is that yet another Arab public has taken to the streets demanding change.

    Nov 14, 2019

    Foreign Policy

  • Peacekeeping and Stability Operations

    The Syrian Withdrawal: Where Things Stand

    Without an orderly process for its national security decisions, the Trump administration has defaulted to the worst option regarding Syria. The sudden withdrawal of U.S. forces has left an opening for Russia to exploit. It also left the Kurds, a U.S. partner, to fend off a Turkish assault.

    Oct 21, 2019

    Fox News

  • Peacekeeping and Stability Operations

    Indecision in Washington Compounded the Kurds' Dilemma

    Core qualities of statesmanship and statecraft have been notably lacking in charting the U.S. administration's Syria end game. This has compounded the unavoidable costs of withdrawal with charges of betrayal and a retreat under fire.

    Oct 18, 2019

    The Hill

  • Security Cooperation

    Time to Make a Deal on Syria

    U.S. leverage is much diminished by the Assad regime's recent gains but there are still opportunities for Washington and Russia to achieve a settlement that preserves some U.S. interests. These include maintaining the gains made against the Islamic State and constraining Iranian influence in Syria.

    Jul 10, 2018

    Foreign Policy

  • Syria

    Conditioning American Withdrawal from Syria

    U.S. forces will soon withdraw from Syria, and the U.S. State Department put a hold on further stabilization assistance to areas liberated from the Islamic State. The U.S. and its partners should offer stabilization and reconstruction help, particularly in regions where much of the damage was the result of American-supported military operations.

    Apr 9, 2018

    Al-Monitor

  • Syria

    How to Help Syrians — Without Helping Assad

    The U.S. and others have a major interest in ending the Syrian civil war, helping the millions of displaced Syrians, and preventing the re-emergence of the Islamic State. But they are naturally reluctant to assist rebuilding a country run by Assad and supported by Russia and Iran. What are their options?

    Nov 3, 2017

    The Washington Post

  • International Diplomacy

    Time for Quiet Diplomacy, Not Taking Sides

    Disputes within the Gulf Cooperation Council are inevitable given differing threat perceptions and political interests, but there is no reason for the U.S. to pursue policies that aggravate the differences and risk fueling greater instability. Instead, Washington could assure both sides that it will support any agreement they reach.

    Jun 7, 2017

    The National Interest

  • Syria

    (Withholding) Judgment of the U.S. Missile Strike on Syria

    Will the U.S. missile strike in Syria constrain the Assad regime from future chemical weapons use? Rather than pass judgment, analysts should establish the benchmarks by which they will assess this decision once the facts are in.

    Apr 19, 2017

    The National Interest

  • The Islamic State (Terrorist Organization)

    The Need for a Targeted Counter-ISIL Strategy

    Defeating ISIL is only possible if political conditions change in the Middle East, North and West Africa, and South Asia, and in ways that are exceedingly unlikely. The coalition should focus on reducing ISIL's ability to conduct attacks and on removing the underlying conditions that feed Sunni grievances.

    Feb 5, 2017

    U.S. News & World Report

  • Iran

    RAND Experts Q&A on the Iran Nuclear Deal, One Year Later

    Looking back on the past year, five RAND experts respond to a series of critical questions about the Iran nuclear deal, its implementation, and potential challenges ahead.

    Jul 12, 2016

  • The Next Generation of Leaders in the Gulf

    The face of leadership in the Persian Gulf is getting younger. There are reasons not to assume that the Gulf's young leaders will gravitate to democratization. But their rise does provide an opportunity for a much-needed update to U.S. strategy in the region.

    Feb 15, 2016

    Foreign Affairs

  • Syria

    A Realistic Peace Plan for Syria Needs to Begin with an Immediate Cease-Fire

    To reach peace in Syria, the International Syria Support Group should concentrate on securing an immediate cease-fire and arranging for its enforcement, followed by further negotiations on the shape of a reconstituted Syrian state.

    Dec 18, 2015

    Washington Post

  • Egypt

    Partisans Without Parties

    It is tempting to describe Egypt's parliamentary elections as history repeating itself. Yet today's Egypt is not Mubarak's Egypt. Rather, it is a state transitioning from single-party rule to a new system whose pecking order is still being hashed out.

    Oct 29, 2015

    Foreign Affairs

  • International Diplomacy

    Peace in the Middle East: America's New Post-Iran Deal Challenge

    It is no surprise that the final Iran nuclear deal was met with opposition in Israel and Saudi Arabia. For all the talk about whether or not this is a good deal, negotiating with Iran was the original sin from their perspective.

    Jul 20, 2015

    The National Interest

  • Iran

    The Iran Nuclear Deal: RAND Experts Answer Questions About the Days Ahead

    Diplomats have reached a nuclear agreement with Iran. Now, the United States faces important policy decisions that will help shape the days ahead and the relationship that emerges between Iran and the other parties involved.

    Jul 14, 2015

  • Egypt

    Seduced by a Strongman?

    It is not true that domestic politics can be quarantined from foreign policy. In fact, Egypt's domestic and foreign policies are becoming more entangled by the day. And that bleed-over should raise concerns.

    Apr 30, 2015

    Foreign Affairs

  • Egypt

    The Egyptian Regime's Achilles' Heel

    As the threat of the Muslim Brotherhood reclaiming power recedes, it will become difficult for the new authorities in Egypt to hold together a coalition that is built solely on its members' shared antipathy for the Islamist group.

    Feb 21, 2014

    Foreign Affairs

  • International Diplomacy

    Playing Good Cop, Bad Cop with Iran

    On the one hand, U.S. negotiators must convince their Iranian counterparts that the United States is serious about offering genuine sanctions relief in return for Tehran making concessions on its nuclear ambitions. On the other hand, the negotiating team must also assuage the concerns of allies and members of Congress.

    Nov 22, 2013

    U.S. News & World Report

  • Egypt

    Egyptian Liberals, Please Stand Up

    While Egypt really is in trouble, what is needed is not a U.S. signal in the form of an aid cut off or another European mediation effort, it is for Egyptian liberals to stand up and condition their participation in government on genuine national reconciliation.

    Aug 1, 2013

    U.S. News & World Report

  • Egypt

    Halting Aid to Egypt Over Military 'Coup' Would Hurt US Interests

    Critics advocate for acknowledging that what occurred in Egypt is a coup and shutting off the more than $1.5 billion that Egypt receives annually from the US government. But this position fails to appreciate the limits of the leverage Washington derives from its aid to Cairo and the potential consequences of halting it.

    Jul 11, 2013

    Christian Science Monitor

  • Egypt

    The Egyptian Military's Playbook

    The Egyptian military, still bruised from its last stint in power, is likely to proceed with caution this time around. If it does intervene, it will likely seek some acquiescence from the Islamists and will want to quickly form an inclusive caretaker government.

    Jul 2, 2013

    Foreign Affairs

  • Egypt

    Egypt's Self-Fulfilling Prophesy

    Rebel, or Tamarud, is a petition drive aimed at ousting President Morsi by collecting more signatures calling for his resignation than the number of votes he received in the 2012 elections. On June 30, the organizers will take to the streets in a rally that is likely to touch off clashes with security forces and Morsi's supporters.

    Jun 28, 2013

    The RAND Blog and GlobalSecurity.org

  • In Brief: Jeffrey Martini on Mapping Egyptian Politics

    In this video, RAND Middle East analyst Jeffrey Martini discusses what past electoral performance and the current political context say about the Islamists' strength in Egypt and what it means for the United States.

    Apr 8, 2013

  • Egypt

    Political Impasse in Egypt

    If there ever was a honeymoon in Egypt's post-Mubarak politics, it is long over. The two main ideological camps—Islamists and secular-liberals—have shown a willingness to cooperate only when brought together by a common foe, writes Jeffrey Martini.

    Dec 13, 2012

    The RAND Blog and GlobalSecurity.org

  • In Brief: Laurel E. Miller and Jeffrey Martini on Democratization in the Arab World

    In this two-minute video blog, RAND's Laurel Miller and Jeffery Martini discuss the challenges ahead for democracy after the Arab Spring as the countries in the Arab world rebuild, work to find a balance between civilian and military authorities, and include Islamist voices in the democratic process.

    Nov 13, 2012

  • Muslim Brotherhood Failing to Learn from Mistakes

    The Muslim Brotherhood is falling into the same trap of overreach exhibited by the Egyptian military when the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) held the reins of authority during the first 16 months of the transition, writes Jeffrey Martini.

    Oct 18, 2012

    The RAND Blog and GlobalSecurity.org

  • Religion and Civil Society

    Headscarves on Egyptian Newscasts Are a Victory for Tolerance

    Lifting the Egyptian ban on headscarves on TV newscasts can be seen as a positive development. It ends state discrimination against those who wish to show their faith outwardly.

    Sep 6, 2012

  • How Does Arab Spring Compare to Third Wave Transitions?

    The changes underway in the Arab world may lead to various possible destinations that differ both from their points of departure and from liberal democracy, write Laurel Miller and Jeffrey Martini.

    Aug 17, 2012

    Democracy Digest

  • Egypt

    Egypt's New President Has the Mandate—What about the Power?

    Mohamed Morsi's victory is a huge step in Egypt's political development, but his authorities were recently curtailed by the military and it is unclear how much power he will actually wield, writes Jeffrey Martini.

    Jun 25, 2012

    The RAND Blog

  • The Egyptian Military Wins Again

    The Muslim Brotherhood now faces a choice. It can seat Mursi and continue to legitimate a post-Mubarak transition that seems designed to advance the narrow interests of Egypt's officer corps. Or it can return to the streets with the aim of unseating the military council, writes Jeff Martini.

    Jun 22, 2012

    Foreign Affairs

  • Egypt

    Cairo's Candidate Shuffle

    Just as before the disqualifications, the fundamental decision voters face is about the scope and nature of the change Egypt will undergo in the coming years. And there are still candidates representing almost every position on that spectrum, writes Jeffrey Martini.

    Apr 19, 2012

    Foreign Affairs

  • Peacekeeping and Stability Operations

    Commanding Democracy in Egypt: The Military's Attempt to Manage the Future

    The SCAF's attempts to curtail dissent and the democratic process have fueled doubts about its true intentions. Will the military fulfill its promise to support democracy? Or will it seek to replace Mubarak's rule with its own or that of a friendly autocrat? write Jeffrey Martini and Julie Taylor.

    Aug 25, 2011

    Foreign Affairs, Sept/Oct 2011

Publications