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Sam Heller

Adviser, Non-state Armed Groups
Beirut, Lebanon

Crisis Group Role

Sam Heller is Crisis Group’s Adviser on Non-State Armed Groups, as part of the organisation's work on Jihad in Modern Conflict. He joined Crisis Group in February 2018 and is based in Beirut.

Areas of Expertise

  • Trends and thought in global jihadism
  • The Syrian conflict
     

Professional Background

Prior to joining Crisis Group, Sam was a fellow with The Century Foundation and a researcher and analyst focused on the Syrian conflict.

He holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science from Yale University and a master's degree in Arabic from the University of Maryland.

Languages

  • English
  • Arabic

Publications

He has written for publications including Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and War on the Rocks.

In The News

30 Mar 2020
If the United States is forced out of Iraq in an ugly, contentious fashion, it could poison the bilateral relationship. (Quoted with Maria Fantappie) War on the Rocks

Sam Heller

Adviser, Non-state Armed Groups
4 Jan 2020
[The assassination of Iranian General Suleimani] is precisely the sort of deus ex machina the organization [ISIS] needed, to give it room to operate and to allow it to break out of its current marginality. New York Times

Sam Heller

Adviser, Non-state Armed Groups
8 Oct 2019
L'EI constitue toujours une menace qui pourrait métastaser si les FDS voient leur attention et leurs ressources détournées [...] au profit d'une bataille défensive contre la Turquie. Le Nouvel Obs

Sam Heller

Adviser, Non-state Armed Groups
1 Sep 2019
This ceasefire [in Idlib] may just be an operational pause for Damascus and Moscow to consolidate their territorial gains and prepare for the next phase of their offensive. Al Jazeera

Sam Heller

Adviser, Non-state Armed Groups
20 Aug 2019
If the Russians have decided that they now care about the verbatim implementation of [the de-escalation] agreement then that is a big problem for Idlib and for Turkey. Financial Times

Sam Heller

Adviser, Non-state Armed Groups
30 Jul 2019
The main obstacle Damascus now faces is the complicating role of foreign forces in the areas still outside its control. Deutsche Welle

Sam Heller

Adviser, Non-state Armed Groups

Latest Updates

When Measuring ISIS’s “Resurgence”, Use the Right Standard

Memories of the Islamic State’s 2014-2015 “caliphate” peak in Iraq and Syria colour views of its present capacity, leading officials and observers either to exaggerate or understate its threat. In Iraq, the group does pose a danger. Gauging it properly is key to containing it.

Also available in العربية

Rightsizing the Transnational Jihadist Threat

The number of Salafi-jihadists in action around the world has risen markedly since 2001. But this is no homogenous army, and the key point is that most are fighting locally. Understanding how different jihadist groups operate in varying contexts is essential for an effective policy response.

Can the U.S. Respond to the Syria Chemical Weapons Attack without Risking Escalation?

After an apparent chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held Damascus suburb Saturday, the United States and its allies are considering retaliatory strikes against the Syrian government. In this Q&A, Crisis Group's Sam Heller lays out the Douma attack's impact and the repercussions of a possible new U.S.-led intervention. 

Also available in العربية