Nathan Vest

Photo of Nathan Vest
Adjunct Research Assistant
Off Site Office


B.A. in Arabic, University of Texas; B.A. in history, University of Texas


Nathan Vest is an adjunct research assistant, previously based at RAND's Washington, DC office. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at Austin in Arabic Language & Literature and History. Vest has lived, worked, and studied in multiple countries in the Middle East, including Morocco, Jordan, and Lebanon. Professionally, he has worked primarily on regional security issues, focusing on Islamist and Salafi-jihadist organizations in Libya and Syria. Other research areas of interest include international deveopment; conflict resolution; non-state armed group financing, adaptations, and TTPs; social media propaganda and disinformation; CT and CVE efforts; and security cooperation and Middle East military modernization programs.


Arabic; French


  • Middle East

    Reevaluating U.S. Partnerships in the Middle East Under the Biden Administration

    U.S. partnerships in the Middle East are in particular need of modernization, and the Biden administration could seize the opportunity to reevaluate its relations with traditional partners. A good start could be to elevate regional stability as the United States' primary interest in the Middle East and to pursue this aim with tools that extend beyond military cooperation.

    Mar 17, 2021

    Democracy for the Arab World Now

  • Libya

    Is the Conflict in Libya a Preview of the Future of Warfare?

    The Libyan conflict, now entering its ninth year, could well be a testing ground for how wars will be fought in the future. External nation-states have long interfered in other countries' civil wars, so what is new, exactly, about what is happening in Libya?

    Jun 2, 2020

    Defense One

  • Libya

    Can Anything Stop the Flow of Advanced Weapons into Libya?

    Weapons proliferation has been a security concern for Libya and its neighbors since the revolution of 2011. If foreign arms transfers into Libya aren't reduced, the country's security situation will continue to deteriorate, giving militant groups a chance to increase their lethality and further destabilize the region.

    Dec 13, 2019

    Defense One

  • Libya

    Is an Escalation Imminent in Western Libya?

    The Libyan Civil War has largely been contained to pockets of violence. Prolonged battles decimated cities such as Benghazi, Derna, and Sirte, but the majority of the country has been spared large-scale destruction. However, that could change soon.

    Mar 27, 2019


  • Syria

    The Growing Risk of a New Middle East War

    Escalating clashes between Israeli and Iranian forces in Syria have demonstrably increased the risk of a new, large-scale regional conflict that would likely involve the U.S. military. Tehran's continued provocations and violations of Israel's stated red lines are fueling escalation with the potential to rapidly spin out of control.

    Aug 21, 2018

    United Press International

  • International Economic Relations

    Regime Appears Fragile as Iranians Turn Much of Their Ire Inward

    Economic hardship is fueling unrest in Iran. New sanctions stemming from the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal may exacerbate already difficult conditions. Now might be the time to exert maximum pressure on the regime in an effort to bring Tehran back to the negotiating table.

    May 21, 2018

    The Hill