Prof. Ahram is associate professor in Virginia Tech's School of Public and International Affairs. He earned a Ph.D. in government and M.A. in Arab studies from Georgetown University. His first book, Proxy Warriors: The Rise and Fall of State Sponsored Militias, examines why governments cooperate with armed non-state actors, such as militias, vigilantes, and warlords. He has written in some of the leading academic journals, including Survival, Terrorism and Political Violence, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Journal of Strategic Studies, and International Journal of Middle East Studies. Additionally, he has appeared or been quoted in the BBC Radio, CBC Radio, the Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog. In 2016 he testified to the U.S. House Foreign Relations Committee about the Islamic State’s campaign of sexual violence.

Project Summary

Prof. Ahram’s book project focuses on separatist movements in the Arab world that have emerged since the 2011 uprisings. It explores how sovereign states first appeared in the region in the beginning of the twentieth century and the factors that have made them seem increasingly precarious in twenty first century. It then examines four movements that have sought to gain statehood in the region—the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Kurdish movement in Syria and Iraq, the southern Yemeni movement, and the eastern Libya (Cyrenaica) autonomists. The book discussing the roots of each of these movements and their aspiration for sovereignty intersects with US strategic interests and global security.

Major Publications

Proxy Warriors: The Rise and Fall of State Sponsored Militia (Stanford Univ. Press, 2011)

“Sexual Violence and the Making of ISIS,” Survival 57, no. 3 (2015): 57-78.

“The Decline and Fall of the Arab State,” co-author with Ellen Lust, Survival 58, no. 2 (2016): 7-34.