Robert G. Rabil, Ph.D.
LLS Jupiter Distinguished Faculty Award 2010
LLS Distinguished Professor of Current Affairs 2012-2013
Robert G. Rabil, Ph.D., has a master’s degree in government from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Near Eastern and Judaic studies from Brandeis University. He served as Chief of Emergency of the Red Cross in Lebanon and was project manager of the U.S. State Department-funded Iraq Research and Documentation Project. He has written extensively on Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, U.S.-Arab Relations, reform in the Arab world, radical Islam and terrorism. He is a frequent speaker at major universities, including Harvard University. He delivers lectures and participates in seminars and forums sponsored by the U.S. government, including the U.S. Army and the National Intelligence Council. He is Professor of Political Science at FAU. Dr. Rabil was recently conferred with an honorary Ph.D. in humanities from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.News and Notes From Dr. Rabil
Salafism, Jews and Christians: Jihad in the Path of Allah?
Drawing on field research trips, personal interviews and Arabic primary sources, the talk examines the development of Salafism in relation to the dynamic between the movement's ideology and praxis. The lecture explores three schools of Salafism, quietest, activist, and Salafi-Jihadi, which are, more or less, in line with the transnational networks of Salafism whose roots go back to the theological and ideological development of Salafism in Saudi Arabia. The lecture sheds the misconception and confusion shrouding Salafism as a rising religious movement affecting the socio-political landscape in the Muslim world. More specifically, the talk scrutinizes Salafism's ideological and practical approach towards politics and in relation to Jews (and Israel), Christians, and atheists.
The talk is based on a groundbreaking study Salafism in Lebanon: From Apoliticism to Transnational Jihadism published by Georgetown University Press.
Book signing and a light reception to follow the lecture.
Zionism, American Jewry and American Foreign Policy: Crisis, Division, or Cooperation?
Since its inception as a vehicle of Jewish nationalism Zionism has wedded humanitarian, moral, cultural and religious attributes to its ideology and core mission. American supporters and adherents of Zionism, regardless of their political orientation, have supported Israel as the embodiment of the Zionist ideal, taming their bias or opposition to some of Zionism attributes. This support, however, has come recently under stress on account of a combination of factors ranging from concerns over United States and Israel's policies, to ideological and to generational change in the polity of American Jewry. Nothing reflects this condition more than the Obama administration's policy towards Iran's nuclear program and the responses it elicited from American Jewry. The lecture aims at understanding the different impulses underlying the polarization within the Jewish community in support of or opposition to the Obama Administration’s foreign policy in the Middle East.
U.S. National Security, Islamism and Globalized Conflicts
The Obama administration’s approach to foreign diplomacy involves promoting concerted regional and international efforts. Though, in principle, the administration has signaled a shift in its national interest towards Asia, Arab revolutions, counterrevolutions, Iran's nuclear program and rise of Islamism have paradoxically deepened U.S. national security concerns in the greater Middle East. This course investigates and discusses several United States national security issues affected no less by regional than international geostrategic considerations and transnational Islamist ambitions. Known for their complex and nuanced dynamics, these issues confound analysts and policymakers. he course will attempt to analyze these security in the context of their local and international dimensions, seeking to shed light on important matters often misconceived in foreign diplomacy.
Israel, Russia and the Middle East: Allies or Foes?
Russian foreign policy has puzzled Americans and Israelis alike. Russia’s unequivocal support of the Syrian Asad regime and Iran’s nuclear program has disquieted both Washington and Jerusalem. Scholars have attributed Russian behavior to injured pride, paranoia or Cold War mentality. Whatever may be the case, Israel’s concerns about Russian foreign policy are growing despite the fact that relations between the two countries have greatly warmed thanks in no small measure to Israel’s robust Russian Jewish community. Does Russia’s conceptual support of the Palestinian cause countermand its support for Israel? Does Russia’s national security interest in the Middle East militate against a strategic alliance with Israel? Or does Russia’s rivalry and resentment towards the West, especially the United States, affect Israeli-Russian relations? This lecture probes these aforementioned questions and examines whether or not the national priorities the United States, Israel and Russia in the Middle East overlap, exploring in the process their ramifications for the security of the Middle East in general and Israel in particular.
Critical Challenges of American National Security and Strategy
The Obama administration has been both pilloried and lauded for its approach to safeguard U.S. national security interests. Some describe the president as cerebral and cautious in his approach to international affairs, while others impugn him for beating a retreat in American foreign policy and resolve. However, little has been said about the implications of the drastic changes the world has undergone for the United States. The United States is wrestling with some of the hardest national security challenges in its history. From the Arab revolutions and intervention in the Arab world, to combating radical Islam, to checking Iran’s nuclear ambitions and coping with the power of China and assertiveness of Russia, the Obama administration has been deliberating strategies often discombobulated by partisan politics and internal differences among policymakers. Lost in these deliberations are sober and impartial analysis and examination of the complex and nuanced changes affecting the world on the local, regional and international levels. This eight part lecture series will examine critical challenges to U.S. national security in the context of their local and international dimensions, shedding light on important matters often misconceived in foreign diplomacy.