Nicholas Heras

Fellow, Middle East Security Program

Research Areas

Nicholas A. Heras is a Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), working in the Middle East Security Program. He is also a Senior Analyst at the Jamestown Foundation, a Washington, DC-based global research and analysis institute. His work focuses on the analysis of complex conflicts and security issues in the greater Middle East and North Africa and trans-Sahara regions, with emphasis on timely, relevant, and actionable analysis on developments on the civil wars in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen.

From 2016-2017, Nicholas served as the tenth 1LT Andrew J. Bacevich, Jr., USA Fellow at CNAS. Prior to CNAS, from 2013-2014, Nicholas served as a research associate at the National Defense University (NDU) where he worked on a project for the U.S. Central Command J-5 that studied the impact of the Syrian and Iraqi conflicts on the greater Middle East region. He was also a Department of Defense 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. From 2008-2011, Nicholas was a Research Associate at the Center for Global Peace at the American University in Washington, D.C., where he managed research tasks for three U.S. State Department, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) funded grant projects that were implemented in Syria and Iraq. Nicholas has extensive field experience in all regions of Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan, and has also conducted substantive research in Turkey, and the Gulf.

He is the author of From the Bottom, Up: A Strategy for U.S. Military Support for Syria’s Armed Opposition, and the co-author of several reports including Combating the Islamic State: A Bottom-Up Approach and After the Comprehensive Plan of Action: A Game Plan for the United States. He has also authored or coauthored several articles in leading publications including The Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic, and The National Interest on the Syrian civil war and the counter-ISIS campaign. He has also authored or co-authored numerous reports and analytical articles on topics concerning the Syrian civil war, notably 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. Nicholas has presented widely on the topic of the Syrian civil war and its impact on the greater Middle East region, including analysis for the National Intelligence Council (NIC); National Security Council (NSC); the U.S. Central Command (US CENTCOM) and U.S. Special Operations Command (US SOCOM); the U.S. State Department’s Policy Planning Staff; and the U.S. Naval War College, Center for Irregular Warfare and Armed Groups (USNWC-CIWAG).

He is also a frequent commentator to the media on Middle East security issues. Nicholas has appeared on National Public Radio, Public Radio International, the BBC World Service, CBS Nightly News, Fox News, Al-Jazeera English, Al-Arabiyya, Arise TV, Rudaw TV, and the nationally syndicated radio program “Background Briefing” to analyze Middle East security issues. Nicholas has also been quoted by several media outlets, including: The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal,, The Associated Press, Agence France Presse, The Christian Science Monitor, Newsweek, USA Today, Voice of America, US News & World Report, Foreign Policy, Mother Jones, The Washington Times, Canadian Broadcasting Company, Stars and Stripes, Commentary Magazine, Mashable, The International Business Times, Rudaw, and The National (UAE). 

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