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Phebe Marr

Phebe Marr is currently a Senior Fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace where she is working on a project: envisioning an alternative future for Iraq. She has spent over 40 years as a scholar and analyst of southwest Asia and is a leading US specialist on Iraq, frequently consulted by government and non-government authorities. The revised edition of her book, The Modern History of Iraq, was published by Westview in 2004. Between 1998 and 1999 she was a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, DC. Until 1998, she was a Senior Fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University, a US government “think tank” responsible for undertaking long range studies on US security policy. She retired from the US government in 1997. Before joining INSS in 1985, she was Associate Professor of Middle East history at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (1975-1985) and California State University, Stanislaus (1970-1975), where, in addition to teaching, she developed graduate and undergraduate programs in Middle East and Asian Studies and established a university linkage program between the University of Tennessee and Yarmouk University in Jordan. As Chair of the Near East and North Africa program at the Foreign Service Institute (1963-1966) she directed the training of civilian personnel professionally involved in the Middle East, and as Research Analyst in the Government Relations Department of the Arabian American Oil Company (1960-1962), Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, she prepared policy oriented studies for management on political and industrial problems in the Arabian peninsula.


Dr. Marr was born and raised in New York. She received a BA in International Relations with honors from Barnard College (1953); an MA in Middle East Studies from Radcliffe Graduate School (1956), and a Ph.D. in History and Middle East Studies from Harvard University (1967). She was a Fellow of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard from 1968-1970.


Dr. Marr’s research has centered on problems of political and social development in the Middle East in general and the Gulf in particular. Dr. Marr has advised high level US officials, written op ed pieces in national journals, testified before US Senate and House Committees, and often appears on major network TV as a commentator on Gulf affairs.  She has written on domestic politics in Iran, Iraq, Egypt and the GCC; on the impact of the Iran-Iraq war and the Gulf war on US strategy and the political-military challenges facing the US in the post-Cold War Middle East. An Arabist, she has lived and worked in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon and traveled extensively in the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and East Asia.


Dr. Marr is on the editorial board of the Middle East Journal, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Middle East Institute.She is a board member on the Middle East Policy Council. She has spent much of the last three years in Qatar, where her husband has been on the faculty of the University of Qatar.



Who are these insurgents?
ASK THIS | March 21, 2005
A historian of Iraq writes that who they are, what they want, and what Iraqis think of them are crucial questions that must be answered before the insurgency can be put down -- and U.S. troops can come home.

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