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Nawaf Obaid is a political scientist that works on intelligence and security issues. He specialises in the history of war and defence doctrines, with a particular emphasis on nuclear posturing.

He is currently a Co-Founder & CEO of the Lana Black Alpine Foundation.

From 2004 to 2007, he was Special Advisor for Strategic Communications to Prince Turki Al Faisal, while Prince Turki was the Saudi Ambassador to the United Kingdom and Ireland, and then the United States. From 2007 to 2011, he worked as a Consultant at the Saudi Royal Court, where he was seconded as a Special Advisor to the Saudi Media Minister from 2010 to 2011. He then served as the Special Counselor to Prince Mohammad bin Nawaf, the Saudi Ambassador to the United Kingdom from 2011 to 2015.

Dr Obaid was the Inaugural Visiting Fellow for the Intelligence and Defence Projects at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs from 2017 to 2018. He was also a former Visiting Fellow there from 2012 to 2017. He has been a Research Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), an Adjunct Fellow at Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and a Senior Fellow at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies.


  • BS, International Relations; Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, 1994–1996.
  • MPP, International Security & Political Economy; John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, 1996–1998.
  • PhD, Political Science (Security Studies); Department of Political Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2000–2001 (coursework completed).
  • MA, War Studies; Department of War Studies at King's College London, 2010–2011.
  • PhD, War Studies; Department of War Studies at King’s College London, 2011-2013.

Research Interests

  • Intelligence and Security Studies
  • Nuclear Weapons History and Doctrine
  • Cold War History
  • Middle East Studies
  • French Defence & Nuclear Doctrine
  • Saudi Arabian Defence Doctrine
  • Russian Defence & Nuclear Doctrine
  • Swiss Security & Defence Doctrine
  • Arab and Muslim World History