Oubai Shahbandar

Fellow, International Security Program

Oubai Shahbandar is a fellow in New America's International Security program. He is a former defense intelligence officer and Department of Defense foreign affairs specialist with over a decade of experience. He has operated throughout multiple war zones in the middle east and south Asia and continues to travel extensively throughout the region. 

Shahbandar has an extensive and diverse background in developing military strategy and public policy. He served a one-year tour in Iraq from 2007 to 2008 during General Petraeus' surge as a strategic analyst supporting counterinsurgency operations and the U.S. military's outreach to the Sons of Iraq program. Shahbandar served as a senior civilian advisor to the Combined Forces Special Operations Command-Afghanistan in 2010-2011, working on the critical Village Stability Operations program.

In 2013, Shahbandar left government service and entered the private sector as a senior consultant to various executive level clients in the Middle East in the energy, strategic communications,  and aerospace and defense sectors. In 2014, he served as an advisor during the UN-hosted Syria peace talks in Geneva. 

He has made regular media appearances and published commentary in CNN, Wall Street Journal, Al Jazeera English, Al Arabiya, The Arab Weekly, Huffington Post, Foreign Policy, Defense One, the New York Times, Arab News, and The Daily Beast.

He is a graduate of Georgetown University's Security Studies program. 

All Work

Observations From the Manama Dialogue

Oubai Shahbandar wrote for TRT World about the highlights of a recent conference of the Middle East's military and diplomatic leaders.

Doha ‘losing fight for US public opinion’

Oubai Shahbandar was quoted in a Arab News article about Qatar's losing battle to win a favorable U.S. public opinion.

How did al Qaeda get to where it is in Syria today?

Oubai Shahbandar wrote for TRT World about the rise of al Qaeda in Syria

US Fires Warning Shots to Stop Iran Navy Vessel in Gulf

Oubai Shahbandar was quoted in an article by Arab News regarding the US firing warning shots to stop an Iranian Navy vessel.

Saudi Arabia Supports Kuwait's Measures Against Iran

Oubai Shahbandar was quoted in Arab News about the Saudi Arabia's support of Kuwait's measures against Iran

Saudi Arabia and Turkey Must Maintain Strategic Partnership

Oubai Shahbandar wrote an article for Arab News about the need for Saudi Arabia and Turkey to maintain their partnerships

Henry Jackson Society criticized for spurious Saudi report

Oubai Shahbandar was quoted in Arab News regarding the recent report on foreign-funded Islamic extremism by the Henry Jackson Society

Could Defense Cooperation with Saudi Arabia Be a Good Thing?

Coordinating with Saudi Arabia to confront mounting political threats could be a net benefit all around.

Assad Must Be Hit Again – and Again

Oubai Shahbandar wrote for TRT World about why the United States should continue launching missile strikes against the Assad regime.