Bruce Riedel

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Bruce Riedel
Born 1953 (age 64–65)
Queens,[1] New York, USA
Citizenship American
Alma mater Brown University
Harvard University
Royal College of Defence Studies
Occupation Academian, counter-terrorism expert, and author

Bruce O. Riedel (born 1953) is an American expert on U.S. security, South Asia, and counter-terrorism. He is currently a senior fellow in the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, and a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He also serves as a senior adviser at Albright Stonebridge Group.

Riedel, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) analyst and counter-terrorism expert, served in the Agency for 29 years until his retirement in 2006. He has advised four presidents on Middle East and South Asian issues in the White House on the staff of the National Security Council (NSC).

He is a contributor to several periodicals and an author of books examining topics related to his areas of expertise — counter-terrorism, Arab-Israeli relations, Persian Gulf security, and South Asia, especially India and Pakistan.


Youth and education

Riedel was born in 1953 in Queens, New York.[1] He was just a year old when his father — a political adviser at the United Nations — moved his family to Jerusalem and later to Beirut. After much travel, Riedel obtained a B.A. (1975, Brown University) in Middle East history and an MA (1977, Harvard) in Medieval Islamic history. From 2002 to 2003, he attended the Royal College of Defence Studies in London.[1]


CIA years : 1977 – 2006
In 1977, Riedel began a career as an analyst for the CIA, where he spent most of his professional life. After serving 29 years, he retired in 2006.[1]

During his tenure at the CIA he held several positions, including:

2006 – to present
Riedel is currently a senior fellow in the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, and a professor at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. He also serves as a senior adviser at Albright Stonebridge Group.[2][3]

Riedel was a policy adviser to the 2008 presidential campaign of Barack Obama.[4][5] In February 2009, Obama appointed him chair of a White House review committee formed to overhaul U.S. policy on Afghanistan and Pakistan.[6][7]

In 2011, he served as an expert advisor to the prosecution of al Qaeda terrorist Omar Farooq Abdulmutallab in Detroit.[2] In December 2011, Prime Minister David Cameron asked him to advise the UK’s National Security Council on Pakistan.[3]

In a February 2013 article published on the website of the Brookings Institution, Riedel discussed "false flag ops" in relation to Algerian counter-terrorism units. In his article "Algeria a Complex Ally in War Against al Qaeda", he described the Algerian counter-terrorism unit DRS and its methods: "(The) DRS is (…) known for its tactic of infiltrating terrorist groups, creating “false flag” terrorists and trying to control them.", Riedel writes. "Rumors have associated the DRS in the past with the Malian warlord Iyad Ag Ghali, head of Ansar al Dine AQIM’s ally in Mali, and even with Mukhtar Belmukhtar, the al-Qaeda terrorist who engineered the attack on the natural gas plant."

On 14 February 2012, in an article for American news website The Daily Beast, Riedel quoted former ISI chief, Gen. (retired) Ziauddin Khwaja, as saying that former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf "knew bin Laden was in Abbottabad".[8][9][10]



Riedel is a contributor to several journals and magazines; and an author of several books.[11]

  • Edmund S. Hawley; Bruce O. Riedel; James A. Urry (1976). Papers on Intelligence Activities. Brown University. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  • Bruce O. Riedel (1998). The Oslo Impasse: Where Do We Go from Here? : with Keynote Address by Bruce O. Riedel. Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  • Bruce Riedel (1975). Truman, American Diplomacy and a Middle Eastern Peace Settlement, 1949 - 1952. Brown University. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  • John Kiriakou; Michael Ruby; Bruce Riedel (27 February 2012). The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA's War on Terror. Skyhorse Publishing. ISBN 978-1-61608-628-2. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  • Kenneth M. Pollack; Daniel L. Byman; Akram Al-Turk; Pavel Baev; Michael S. Doran; Khaled Elgindy; Stephen R. Grand; Shadi Hamid; Bruce Jones; Suzanne Maloney; Jonathan D. Pollack; Bruce O. Riedel; Ruth Hanau Santini; Salman Shaikh; Ibrahim Sharqieh; Shibley Telhami; Sarah E. Yerkes (1 October 2011). The Arab Awakening: America and the Transformation of the Middle East. Brookings Institution Press. ISBN 978-0-8157-2227-4. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  • Amb. Ronald E. Neumann (Ret.) (31 October 2009). The Other War: Winning and Losing in Afghanistan. Potomac Books, Inc. ISBN 978-1-59797-427-1. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  • Which Path to Persia: Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran, (Brookings Institution Press, June 2009)
  • Al Qaeda Strikes Back, (Brookings Institution Press, May/June 2007)
  • Bruce Riedel (15 March 2010). The Search for Al Qaeda: Its Leadership, Ideology, and Future. Brookings Institution Press. ISBN 978-0-8157-0451-5. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  • Bruce Riedel (17 January 2012). Deadly Embrace: Pakistan, America, and the Future of the Global Jihad. Brookings Institution Press. ISBN 978-0-8157-2274-8. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  • Bruce O. Riedel (2013). Avoiding Armageddon: America, India, and Pakistan to the Brink and Back. Brookings Institution Press. ISBN 978-0-8157-2408-7. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  • Bruce Riedel (28 July 2014). What We Won: America's Secret War in Afghanistan, 1979–89. Brookings Institution Press. ISBN 978-0-8157-2585-5.
  • Bruce Riedel (6 November 2015). JFK's Forgotten Crisis: Tibet, the CIA, and Sino-Indian War. Brookings Institution Press. ISBN 978-0-8157-2699-9.
  • Bruce Riedel (21 November 2017). Kings and Presidents: Saudi Arabia and the United States since FDR. Brookings Institution Press. ISBN 978-0-8157-3137-5.


Avoiding Armageddon: America, India, and Pakistan to the Brink and Back

In the words of reviewer Francesca Silvestri, Bruce Riedel is the most qualified person to deliver a clear picture of American foreign policy in South Asia. Silvestri cites Riedel's extensive research and experience which help in making his book, Avoiding Armageddon: America, India, and Pakistan to the Brink and Back, "one of the most accurate and interesting analyses of the tangled relationship between Washington, New Delhi and Islamabad." Silvestri sees this book as of interest to scholars of South Asia and young students as well as researchers.[12] Roman Chestnov calls it a "comprehensible" and "concise" study of the relationship between India, Pakistan and the United States.[13]

Personal life

Riedel is married and lives in the US. His wife, whom he met at the CIA, continues to work at the agency as a Middle East analyst.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Behind Analyst’s Cool Demeanor, Deep Anxiety Over American Policy
  2. ^ a b -Bruce O. Riedel profile
  3. ^ a b Bruce Riedel Bio : Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Saban Center for Middle East Policy
  4. ^ Hirsh, Michael (2007-09-15). "The Talent Primary". Newsweek. Retrieved 2008-02-16.
  5. ^ Bumiller, Elisabeth (2008-07-18). "A Cast of 300 Advises Obama on Foreign Policy". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-18.
  6. ^ Obama team works to overhaul Afghanistan-Pakistan policy, The Los Angeles Times, 2009-02-11
  8. ^ Pakistan’s Musharraf Has Been Accused of Knowing Osama bin Laden’s Hideout by Bruce Riedel Feb 14, 2012
  9. ^ Musharraf ‘knew Bin Laden was in Abbottabad’: Former ISI chief
  10. ^ Did Musharraf know bin Laden's hiding place?, CNN-IBN
  11. ^ Al Qaeda Strikes Back Archived June 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., Brookings Institution
  12. ^ Silvestri, Francesca (12 January 2015). "Avoiding Armageddon: America, India and Pakistan to the Brink and Back- Book Review". Political Studies Review. 13 (1): 157–158.
  13. ^ Chestnov, Roman (2015). "Avoiding Armageddon: America, India, and Pakistan to the Brink and Back - Book Review". The Hague Journal of Diplomacy. 10 (1): 108–110.

External links

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