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Jacob Olidort

Soref Fellow

Areas of Expertise

Arab and Islamic Politics, Democracy and Reform, Terrorism, Salafism, Islamism, Egypt, Jordan, Syria

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Jacob Olidort, a Soref Fellow with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, is currently on assignment at the U.S. Department of Defense, where he serves as special advisor on Middle East policy at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, focusing on Syria, the Arabian Peninsula, and regional issues. From 2015 to 2016, his work at the Institute covered jihadism, Salafism, and Islamic political movements.  He received his Ph.D. in Near Eastern studies from Princeton University, where his research focused on the intersection of Islamic law, theology, and modern politics. Dr. Olidort's publications include the Institute study Inside the Caliphate's Classroom: Textbooks, Guidance Literature and Indoctrination Methods of the Islamic State and The Politics of 'Quietist' Salafism (Brookings Institution, 2015). He regularly presents on jihadism to the U.S. government, including the Departments of State, Defense, and Homeland Security, and his commentary has appeared in the New York TimesWashington Post, and Foreign Affairs, among other outlets. A former Fulbright scholar (UAE), he taught at the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University, is a term member on the Council on Foreign Relations, and is a non-resident fellow at the Modern War Institute at West Point.

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  • Ph.D., M.A. Princeton University (Near Eastern Studies)
  • A.M. Harvard University (Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations)
  • B.A. Brandeis University (History, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies)

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Languages Spoken / Read

  • Arabic
  • French
  • Hebrew
  • Persian
  • Russian

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