Lawrence Rubin

Associate Professor

Member Of:
  • School of International Affairs
  • Center for International Strategy, Technology, and Policy
Office Location:
Habersham 149
Related Links:


Lawrence Rubin is an associate professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology, an associate fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a Templeton Fellow in national security at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, and a Fellow in the Project on Sectarianism and De-Sectarianism. His research interests include Middle East politics and international security with a specific focus on intra-regional relations, religion and politics, nuclear proliferation, and emerging technologies. He has conducted research in Morocco, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, the UAE, and Yemen.

During the 2017-2018 AY, Rubin served as a senior advisor in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy through a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellowship in nuclear security, sponsored by the Stanton Foundation. He worked in the Middle East and Countering WMD offices.

Rubin is the author and editor of three books, including The End of Strategic Stability? Nuclear Weapons and the Challenge of Regional Rivalries (Georgetown University Press, 2018) co-edited with Adam Stulberg, Islam in the Balance: Ideational Threats in Arab Politics (Stanford University Press, 2014) and Terrorist Rehabilitation and Counter-Radicalisation: New Approaches to Counter-terrorism (Routledge 2011) with Rohan Gunaratna and Jolene Jerard. He recently edited a special issue for Orbis titled, “Emerging Technology and National Security,” 64:4 (2020). His other work has been published in International Studies Review, Politics, Religion & Ideology, Democracy and Security, International Area Studies Review, Middle East Policy, Terrorism and Political Violence, Orbis, Contemporary Security Policy, Democracy and Security, Non-Proliferation Review, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Lawfare, the Brookings Institute, The National Interest, The Washington Quarterly, and The Washington Post. He served as the guest editor for a special volume in Orbis 64:4 (Fall 2020), “Emerging Technology and National Security.”

Rubin serves as a Co-Editor of the journal Terrorism and Political Violence. He was senior advisor for United States Institute of Peace’s Task Force on Extremism in Fragile States (2017-18) and he was a senior advisor for the Reagan Institute’s The Contest for Innovation: Strengthening America’s National Security Innovation Base in an Era of Strategic Competition (2019).

Prior to coming to Georgia Tech, Rubin was a Research Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs with the Dubai Initiative in Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government (2009-2010) and was lecturer on the Robert and Myra Kraft chair in Arab politics at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies, Brandeis University (2008-2009). Outside of Academia, he has held positions at the National Defense University’s Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies and the RAND Corporation.

Rubin received his PhD in Political Science from UCLA (2009) and earned degrees from University of Oxford, London School of Economics, and UC Berkeley.  His research has been supported by the Hollings Center for International Dialogue, the Institute of Global Cooperation and Conflict, the U.S. Department of Education, Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy, Project on Middle East Political Science, and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

Areas of
  • Middle East Politics


Research Fields:
  • Global Nuclear Security
  • Regional Security Challenges
  • Middle East
  • Energy
  • Weapons and Security
  • Middle-Eastern Studies
  • Religion and Politics
  • Terrorism


  • INTA-2260: Govt Pol Soc-Middle East
  • INTA-3103: Challenge of Terrorism
  • INTA-3260: Middle East Relations
  • INTA-4011: Technology& Military Org
  • INTA-4016: Strategy & Arms Control
  • INTA-4500: INTA Pro-Seminar
  • INTA-6103: International Security
  • INTA-8010: IAST Ph.D. Proseminar

Recent Publications

Journal Articles

  • Saddam Hussein’s role in the gassing of Halabja
    In: Non Proliferation Review [Peer Reviewed]
    Date: August 2021


    Iraq’s use of chemical weapons against Iraqi Kurdish civilians in 1987 and 1988 is among the most morally troubling events in the latter half of the twentieth century. Most of the questions surrounding the attack, including why, when, and how, have been addressed in path-breaking research by Joost Hiltermann and other researchers from Human Rights Watch. However, even as more records and internal documents from the period have come to light, one question remains unresolved: Did Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s leader, directly order the gassing of Iraqi Kurds? This study reassesses the Halabja attack of 1988—in particular, Saddam’s thinking and behavior relating to the attack—in light of the post-2003 evidence. It synthesizes insights from the Iraqi records at the Conflict Records Research Center and Stanford University; debriefings of Iraqi principals, which the authors obtained in response to Mandatory Declassification Review requests; recent memoirs of Iraqi and US officials; and other previously unexplored sources. Although these records provide no direct proof that Saddam Hussein issued an explicit order to gas Halabja, it is clear he created a command environment in which the indiscriminate gassing of Iraqi Kurds was considered permissible and even desirable.

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