Nicholas Heras

Bacevich Fellow, Middle East Security Program

Research Areas

Mr. Nicholas A. Heras is the Bacevich Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), working in the Middle East Security Program. From 2013-2014, he served as a research associate at the National Defense University (NDU) where he worked on a project that studied the impact of the Syrian civil war on the greater Middle East region. Nicholas has extensive field experience in all regions of Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan, and has also conducted substantive research in Turkey. He is also an Associate Fellow at the Jamestown Foundation, a Washington, DC-based global research and analysis institute. His work for the Jamestown Foundation focuses on the analysis of complex conflicts and security issues in the greater Middle East and North Africa and Sahara/Sahel regions, with particular emphasis on timely, relevant, and actionable analysis on developments in the Syrian civil war. Nicholas is a regular contributor to the Jamestown Foundation’s Militant Leadership Monitor and Terrorism Monitor

He authored the monograph, Policy Focus #132, The Potential for an Assad Statelet in Syria, through the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP)’s Soref Fellowship program. His analysis of the potential for the Free Syrian Army to serve as a transitional security force in a post-Assad Syria was substantially quoted in the best-selling book, Syria: The Fall of the House of Assad(David W. Lesch, Yale University Press, 2012). Nicholas has also presented widely on the topic of the Syrian civil war and its impact on the greater Middle East region, including at the annual U.S. Naval War College, Center for Irregular Warfare and Armed Groups (USNWC-CIWAG) Symposium and to the U.S. Central Command (US CENTCOM) and U.S. Special Operations Command (US SOCOM); presented to the U.S. State Department’s Policy Planning Staff on ISIL’s state formation strategy in the context of the Syrian civil war; presented a lecture on ISIL’s state formation strategy in the context of the Syrian civil war to the U.S. SOCOM J3I; presented on the connection between the Syrian civil war and the expansion of trans-national jihadist networks to the U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island’s Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council; and presented on the topic of the impact of the Syrian civil war on Middle Eastern geo-politics at multiple Jamestown Foundation Annual Terrorism Conferences.

Nicholas was a National Security Education Program (NSEP) David L. Boren Fellow in Beirut, Lebanon from 2010-2011, where he conducted in-depth field research on the socio-politics of ethnic and sectarian conflict.

He has appeared on Fox News, Al-Jazeera English, Arise TV, Rudaw TV, and the nationally syndicated radio program “Background Briefing” to analyze developments in the Syrian civil war. Nicholas has also been quoted by several media outlets, including:, The Christian Science Monitor, Newsweek, USA Today, US News & World Report, Foreign Policy, The Washington Times, Canadian Broadcasting Company, Stars and Stripes, Commentary Magazine, Mashable, The International Business Times, Rudaw, and The National (UAE). His work on Middle Eastern security issues has been published in several outlets including Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, the West Point Counter-Terrorism Center (CTC) Sentinel, The National Interest, and Syria Comment.

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