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Robert Smith


Robert is a Lecturer in International Relations at Coventry University. His research focuses on the theory and practice of statebuilding; contemporary Iraqi politics; counterinsurgency strategies in post-conflict environments; and British foreign policy during the Blair era. His PhD thesis looked at the US-led reconstruction of the Iraqi state following the invasion in 2003. Ongoing research considers the development of the Iraqi state since regime change, with particular interest devoted to the Kurdistan Regional Government. He is currently writing with Mark Garnett and Simon Mabon (Lancaster University) a textbook on British Foreign Policy since 1945. He has taught International Relations at Lancaster University and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He worked for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office within the Iraq Policy Unit in 2003-4, and recently operated as a political and security analyst based in Erbil, Kurdistan.


  • PhD in International Relations (Lancaster University 2008)
  • MA in Politics and International Relations (Lancaster University 2003)
  • BSc (Hons) in Computer Science (Lancaster University 1988)
  • PGCert in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (Lancaster University 2006)

Selected Outputs 


  • (2015) British Foreign Policy since 1945 by Mark Garnett, Simon Mabon, and Robert Smith. (Routledge)

Book Chapters:

  • (2015) “Recognition and Statebuilding: Somaliland and Kurdistan” in Geis, Anna and G. Kolliarakis (eds.) Recognition in International Relations: Rethinking an Ambivalent Concept in a Global Context. Palgrave Macmillan (Palgrave Studies in International Relations)
  • (2005) “Why did it take you so long to get here?” in Cushman, Thomas (ed.), A Matter of Principle: Humanitarian Arguments for War in Iraq. California: University of California Press. (written for Ann Clwyd MP)

Book Reviews:

  • (2007) ‘Review of Voices of the new Arab republic: Iraq, Al-Jazeera, and Middle East politics today. By Marc Lynch.’, International Affairs 87 (3), 529-530.
  • (2010) ‘Review of United States and Iraq Since 1979: Hegemony, Oil and War By Steven Hurst.’, International Affairs 86(6), 1477-1478.

Research Areas

  • Contemporary politics of the Middle East, especially Iraq
  • Kurdistan Regional Government and Iraqi Kurdish politics
  • Statebuilding and Nationbuilding
  • United States Foreign Policy
  • British Foreign Policy
  • Contemporary security issues and the “War on Terror;” Counterinsurgency
  • Human Rights.


  • 279ISS Foreign Policy Analysis
  • 176ISS World Politics since 1945

Lecturer in International Relations

School of Humanities

Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Building: George Eliot

Room: 315

Office Hours: 3-4pm Tuesday, 11-12noon Wednesday and 1-2pm Thursday

Contact: (0) 24 7688 8970


 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2023