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Dr David Roberts

Position: Associate Fellow

Until 2013, David was Director of RUSI Qatar. David he completed a PhD at Durham University focusing on Qatar's security and international relations. David has lived, worked and studied throughout the Middle East including nine months in Qatar researching for his thesis. He has written several chapters for books on the Gulf, authored numerous editorials in various Middle Eastern newspapers, presented his work at international conferences, consulted with a variety of security and intelligence companies and been quoted by the Financial Times, Reuters and other prestigious newspapers and magazines.

David obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of St. Andrews in International Relations and a Masters degree in Diplomacy from Nottingham University. The Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World (CASAW) awarded David a fully-funded 4-5 year PhD in 2007. David is also currently the President of the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES) graduate section.


RUSI articles and analysis by this author

Sheikh hamad Emir of Qatar Qatar Emir Voluntarily Abdicates 25 Jun 2013
Hamad Bin Khalifah Al-Thani has abdicated as Emir of Qatar, a move which again underlines Qatar's atypical politics. The Emir leaves behind a huge legacy that has changed the character of his state. Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, the new Emir, has some big shoes to fill.

Kuwaiti Towers Kuwait's Self-Flagellation Continues 24 Apr 2013
Kuwaiti politics is at standstill, even though an opposition election boycott in December 2012 led to a pro-government Kuwaiti Parliament. The deadlock is set to continue outside parliament as support for Musallam Al Barrack, the leading opposition personality grows.

Qatar Flag Is Qatar Sponsoring Al-Qa'ida in Mali? 7 Feb 2013
There have been many reports circulating that Qatar is directly or indirectly supporting terrorist groups in Mali, having asserted its influence in the rest of North Africa. But there would be no logical reason for Qatar to be involved or gain in meddling in Mali's affairs.

Kuwaiti Towers Kuwait Enters an Uncertain and More Violent Era 25 Oct 2012
Kuwait’s opposition have announced they are boycotting upcoming Parliamentary elections after an Emiri decree changed the election law. This will worsen the political divide and escalate the violence of clashes.

Persian Gulf Summer 2012 tensions rise in the Gulf 2 Aug 2012
Never a tranquil region at the best of times, the Gulf is shaping up for a difficult and tense summer and autumn. A series of domestic issues have become regional concerns due at least partly to the unrest caused by the Arab Spring.

Bashar al-Assad poster Bloody days ahead as the Assad regime is decapitated 19 Jul 2012
A bomb attack killing close Assad officials now begs the question of when, not whether the Assad regime will fall from power. For now, the counterattacks by the regime indicates a worrying outlook for a post-Assad Syria.

Prince Nayef Saudi Succession after the Death of Crown Prince Nayef 19 Jun 2012
The death of Saudi Crown Prince Nayef and the quick installation of his full brother Salman in the role highlights once again that the country's leadership still rests with the first generation of Saudi rulers. This is done to manage a delicate status quo, putting off real questions of succession for the next generation of the House of Saud.

Persian Gulf foreign ministers July 2009 The Gulf Union that Never Was 18 May 2012
Some kind of a union between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain was believed to herald the beginning of a wider Gulf Union plan. But this idea failed before it even began. While there is a united front against Iran, smaller Gulf states do not want to lose their sovereignty and identity to a dominant Saudi Arabia.

Roberts_thumb Examining Qatari-Saudi Relations 27 Mar 2012
If Saudi Arabia really did exclude Qatar from recent discussions among Gulf states about Hizbullah, what impact will this have on Qatar's regional relationships and international role?

Syrian Flag ARGUMENTS AGAINST Military Intervention in Syria 8 Feb 2012
Something needs to be done to stop the Syrian Army killing ever increasing number of its citizens. But Syria is far more complex than Libya and simply sending arms and further internationalising the Syrian Civil War will only exacerbate the war and elongate suffering. A more viable solution is for Arab states to use their muscle as energy suppliers to slow down the Assad regime.

Taliban Why has the Taliban opened an office in Qatar? 4 Jan 2012
The Taliban’s establishment of an office in Doha suggests a progression towards the transition long sought after by the United States. The choice of Qatar further cements the Gulf state’s ambition to be a diplomatic powerhouse.

Roberts_Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia, Stability and the Arab Revolutions 23 Nov 2011
Saudi Arabia's response to the Arab Spring has ranged from apparent inertia to the financing and leadership of counter-revolution, but at all times the stability of the kingdom has been its primary objective.

kingabdullahthumb The Death of Crown Prince Sultan: What next for the House of Saud? 24 Oct 2011
The death of the long-serving Defence Minister ushers in a long-overdue process of succession. While there may be concerns over the role of the likely Crown Prince, Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, we should not expect a massive change in direction of Saudi policy in the region.

ahmedinejad abdullah thumb Has Iran Provided the Justification for War? 18 Oct 2011
Iran is accused of attempting to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the United States on American soil. It is the stuff of spy thrillers. If proved true, then both Saudi Arabia and the United States are well within their rights to declare war on Iran. Why would Iran embark on such an irrational action at a time of great internal and external vulnerability?

Kuwait Parliament infighting - photo: Kuwait-Raed Qutena Kuwait reaps the sectarian Gulf whirlwind 5 Jul 2011
Kuwait's Parliament is argumentative, obstreperous and stymied at the best of times. Now, with escalating Sunni-Shia tensions in the region, it is more paralysed than ever.

Gulf state leaders The GCC's anti-revolutionary expansion 19 May 2011
With its thirtieth anniversary in May, the Gulf Co-operation Council is proposing to expand by incorporating Morocco and Jordan. The unlikely inclusion is more a response and a challenge to the revolutionary impulses of the Arab Spring than it is towards regional coherence.

Qatar Libya Protest Arab Involvement in the Libyan Intervention 23 Mar 2011
Arab support for military action against Libya was initially strong, arguably stemming from a desire to change the focus of international and domestic attention. But as civilian casualties increase, the political calculus is changing - and Arab support is wavering.

Bahrain Thumb The endgame in Bahrain: Saudi and UAE troops enter Manama 16 Mar 2011
Saudi Arabia and the UAE have intervened in Bahrain to restore stability. Yet, there is a real sense of fear that in their haste to avoid allowing a precedent to be set and to prevent any potential Iranian interference, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi's actions may well precipitate these very outcomes.

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