Simon Mabon

Project Director

Lancaster University Lancaster University

Dr Simon Mabon is Senior Lecturer in International Relations at Lancaster University where he is also Director of the Richardson Institute, the UK’s oldest peace and conflict research centre. His research falls at the intersection of International Political Theory and Middle East Studies, with a focus on sovereignty and the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Mabon is the author of Saudi Arabia and Iran: Power and Rivalry in the Middle East (I.B. Tauris) and has had articles published in Middle East Journal, Middle East Policy, Third World Quarterly, Politics Religion and Ideology, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, E-International Relations , and Global Discourse.  He is currently working on a book on sovereignty in the contemporary Middle East (Manchester University Press) and a follow up to Saudi Arabia and Iran (Cambridge University Press). Mabon is also the co-author of The Origins of ISIS (I.B. Tauris) British Foreign Policy Since World War II (Routledge), Hezbollah: From Islamic Resistance to Government (Praeger), and co-editor of Sectarianism (Routledge) Securitization in the non-west (Routledge) and Terrorism and Political Violence (Sage).

Mabon regularly appears on international media outlets and have discussed international affairs and Middle Eastern politics with BBC News, BBC World, CNN, Al Jazeera CNBC, Sky News, ABC Australia, TRT Turkey, France24, Deutsche Welle, Al Arabiya, BBC 5 live, LBC, ABC Australia, CBC Canada, and others. He served as Academic Advisor to the House of Lords International Relations Committee inquiry into the UK relations with the Middle East during the 2016-17 academic year. Mabon has spoken at a range of international events including at the United Nations, the European Parliament, Harvard University, GeorgeTown University Doha, the University of St Andrews, King's College London, the University of Leeds, the University of Aarhus, An Najah University Palestine, the People’s College Nanded, and many others. He is a regular tweeter (@drmabon), avid snowboarder, Arsenal fan, and musician

Key Publications

  • The Struggle for Supremacy: Saudi Arabia and Iran (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020) Forthcoming.
  • Houses Built On Sand (Manchester/New York: Manchester University Press/Oxford University Press, 2019) Forthcoming.
  • ‘The End of the Battle for Bahrain and the Securitization of the Shi’a'. Middle East Journal, (Forthcoming, 2018)
  • ‘Securitization and Islam in the Middle East’ Routledge Handbook on Middle Eastern Security (Forthcoming, 2018) with Nicholas Coombs. 
  • ‘Islam and Foreign Policy across the Middle East’ Routledge Handbook of the International Relations of the Middle East(Forthcoming, 2018).
  • ‘The Kingdom and the Glory? Saudi Arabia as a Middle Power in the Contemporary Middle East, Georgetown (Forthcoming, 2018).  
  • ‘Da’ish, stasis and bare life in Iraq’, in Jacob Erikson and Ahmed Khaleel (eds), Iraq After ISIS  (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) with Ana Maria Kumarasamy
  •  ‘The Apocalyptic and The Sectarian’, Tim Clack and Rob Johnson (eds) Upstream Operations. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018)
  • ‘Conservatism in Turkey’, in Mark Garnett, Conservativism (London: Routledge, 2018) with Mark Garnett and Bekir Varoglu.
  • Saudi-Iranian Relations after the Rise of Mohammad Bin Salman’, E-International Relations, 17.07.18
  • ‘It’s a Family Affair: Religion, Geopolitics and the Rise of Mohammed bin Salman’, Insight Turkey (Spring 2018)
  • Securitization in the non-western world (London: Routledge, 2018) co-edited with Saloni Kapur. 
  • ‘Existential Threats and Regulating Life’, Global Discourse 8:1 (2018)
  • ‘Fundamentalism: examining the role of public reason in ‘non-liberal’ approaches to ‘unreasonable’ doctrines’, Australian Journal of Political Science 53:2 (2018) pp195-210. With Matthew Johnson
  • Muting the trumpets of sabotage: Saudi Arabia, the US and the quest to securitize Iran, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 2017. 
  • ‘Sovereignty, Bare Life and the Arab Uprisings. Third World Quarterly VOl. 38 No. 8, 2017. 1782-1799
  • ‘The Circle of Bare Life: Hizballah, Muqawamah and the Rejection of Being Thus’. Religion, Politics and Ideology. Vol. 18. No.1, 2017. 1-22.
  • ‘Nationalist Jāhiliyyah and the Flag of the Two Crusaders’. Studies in Conflict and Terrorism. Vol 40. No.11. 2017 966-985.
  • The Origins of ISIS: The Collapse of Nations and Revolution in the Middle East (London: I.B. Tauris, 2017). Co-authored with Stephen Royle.
  • People, Sects and States: Interrogating Sectarianism in the Contemporary Middle East. (London: Routledge, 2017) Co-edited with Lucia Ardovini. 
  • British Foreign Policy After 1945 (London: Routledge, 2016) Co-authored with Mark Garnett and Robert Smith
  • ‘Contested spaces and sectarian narratives in post uprisings Bahrain’, Global Discourse with Sossie Kasbarrian. Vol .6 No.4, 2016. 677-696.
  • Review: Saudi Arabia in Flux: Plus ca change…? Middle East Journal, 70:3 (2016) pp673-676
  • Hezbollah: From Islamic Resistance to Government (Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2015). Co-authored with James Worrall and Gordon Clubb.
  • ‘ISIS: Sectarianism, Geopolitics and Strong/Weak Horses’, E-International Relations, 10.04.15. Online:
  • Terrorism and Political Violence (London: Sage, 2015). Co-edited with Caroline Kennedy and Gordon Clubb.
  • ‘Aiding Revolution? Wikileaks, Communication and the Arab Spring in Egypt’, Third World Quarterly, Vol.34 No.10, 2013. 1843-1867
  • Saudi Arabia and Iran: Soft power rivalry in the Middle East (London: I.B. Tauris, 2013). Paperback edition published in October 2015.
  • ‘Kingdom in Crisis: Saudi Arabia, Instability and the Arab Spring’, Contemporary Security Policy, Vol.33 No.3, 2012. 530-553
  • The Battle for Bahrain: Iranian-Saudi rivalry’, Middle East Policy, Vol.19 No.2, 2012. 84-97