Björn Brenner

Lecturer in Middle East politics - Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Jordan - Chercheur associé, Institut français du Proche-Orient (Ifpo) à Amman, Jordanie

Contact information

  • E-mail

    bjorn.brenner [at]
  • Phone

    +46 8-55342705

Postal address

Box 27805
115 93 Stockholm

Visiting address

Drottning Kristinas väg 37


Dr Björn Brenner researches and lectures on contemporary Middle Eastern politics, currently at the Swedish Defence University in Stockholm. Since 2008, his research has focused on Syrian, Lebanese, Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian politics. One focus has been to closely follow and understand the political situation in the Gaza Strip and the tensions between the various actors there. Much of this research has taken place on location in the Middle East.

In 2009, Björn studied at Damascus University and during the following years, 2010-2015, he conducted field studies in Syria, Lebanon and Gaza. By means of his participant observation approach, staying with families with varying political connections, he was able to interview both leaders and activists of several of the region's more controversial political factions.

On a more general level, Björn's research has dealt with issues connected with Islamism and democracy and to what extent these concepts could be regarded as compatible in practice. His doctoral thesis addresses the overarching question of how Islamists who have succeeded in reaching positions of political power have then come to govern in practice.

In 2015, Björn Brenner was appointed Research Fellow at the French Institute of the Near East in Amman, Jordan, where he has pursued his postdoctoral project on Jordanian-Palestinian customary dispute resolution venues and techniques, and the ways in which they intersect with the formal streams of justice.

Björn has a wide-ranging interest in politics, religion and society in the western part of the Middle East, which includes everything from militant extremism to more non-political phenomena such as regional popular music and dialectical differences in the Arabic language.

In Scandinavia, as well as in the Middle East, Björn participates as a commentator on Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian politics in radio, television and the press. He is a writer for the online journals Human Security and Journal of the Swedish Institute for International Affairs, as well as a contributing writer for several others.

Björn is available for questions from the media on +46 8 55342705, and press photographs of him are available in the Swedish Defence University press room. Further information, such as links to previous TV and radio interviews, can be found at

Pour une présentation de Björn en français, aller sur sa page personnelle de l'Institut français du Proche-Orient.


List of publications

"The killing of human rights activist Vittorio Arrigoni: A result of the unsustainable situation reigning in the Gaza Strip", Palestine-Israel Journal, 23, no. 1, 2018.

"Sprickan mellan Hamas och Muslimska brödraskapet", Tidskriften Respons (September) 2017.

"Allvarlig utveckling i Jerusalem - bakgrund och analys", Swedish Defence University Online, 2017.

"Blinded by idealism - Palestine has become a European project", Haaretz, 20 June 2017.

"Israel pressas på eftergifter i Trumps nya Mellanösternstrategi", Mänsklig Säkerhet (juni) 2017.

"The Deradicalisation of Islamists by Islamists: Hamas's kid-glove approach to Salafi-Jihadists in the Gaza Strip 2010-2015", Strategic Assessment, 20, no. 1, 2017.

"Affärsmässig Trump kan lösa Israel-Palestinakonflikten", Göteborgsposten, 19 maj 2017.

"The Enemy Just Blinked: Why Hamas's New Charter Is A Big Deal", Haaretz, 22 March 2017.

"Salafi-Jihadism in Gaza and the killing of activist Vittorio Arrigoni", Journal of Swedish Institute for International Affairs (March) 2017.

"Islamism: Hamas styre av Gaza har varit både auktoritärt och pragmatiskt", Mänsklig Säkerhet (februari) 2017.

"Trumps ambassadflytt kan utlösa ny våldsvåg", Svenska Dagbladet, 20 januari 2017.

Gaza Under Hamas: From Islamic Democracy to Islamist Governance, London: I.B.Tauris, 2017.

"Jordanien har blivit ett drivhus för IS-resenärer", Utrikesmagasinet, (November) 2016.

"Kvinnliga aktivister blundar för Hamas övergrepp", Svenska Dagbladet, 19 september 2016.

"Arabisk sedvanerätt i Palestina: Sulha som förmildrande omständighet", Advokaten, 82, no. 6, 2016.

"Frankrike vill gjuta liv i lamslagen fredsprocess", Utrikesmagasinet, (July) 2016.

"Le Hamas et le monde", Book review, Mediterranean Politics, 21, no. 3, 2016.

"Oro inför palestinskt maktskifte: Utan kronprins kan Palestina rämna", Utrikesmagasinet, (April) 2016.

"Oro inför palestinskt maktskifte: Vad händer när Abbas lämnar?", Utrikesmagasinet, (April) 2016.

"Mördare eller Mandela? Marwan Barghouti på väg mot toppen i Palestina", Mänsklig Säkerhet, (February) 2016.

"Palestina mellan europeisk illusion och bister verklighet", Svenska Dagbladet, 24 January 2016.

"Palestinian ethnonationalism in Israel", Book review, Mediterranean Politics, 20, no. 3, 2015.

"Krisläge - men ingen ny intifada", Svenska Dagbladet, 27 October 2015.

"Intifada eller inte - allvarlig israelisk-palestinsk våldsspiral utan slut i sikte", Mänsklig Säkerhet, (October) 2015.

"God grogrund för jihadism efter förra sommarens krig: Håller Islamiska staten på att etablera sig på Gazaremsan?", Mänsklig Säkerhet, (June) 2015.

"Inrikespolitiska läget i Israel inför parlamentsvalet 17 mars", Swedish Defence University Online, 16 March 2015.

"Islamist governance Hamas style: Readings from the Palestinian experiment in Islamic democracy", Doctoral Thesis, School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, 2015.

"Hamas - fanatiska men inte fundamentalister", Svenska Dagbladet, 5 August 2014.

"Synfel bakom Gazakriget", Svenska Dagbladet, 20 July 2014.

"Det nya Egypten driver Hamas närmare Iran", Svenska Dagbladet, 2 August 2013.

"Maktkamp inom Hamas bakom våldsspiralen", Svenska Dagbladet, 22 November 2012.

"Gaza i botten: Förlorad vår för unga demokratikämpar", Magasinet NEO, (2) 2012.

"The Fatah-Hamas rift: Context and future direction", International Society of Military Sciences ISMS, Conference Paper, 2010.

"Egypt's policy on Islamism and Islamic extremism: The punctuated equilibrium theory perspective on policy change", Master Thesis, Department of Political Science, Uppsala University, 2007.



Syrian politics
Lebanese politics
Israeli politics
Palestinian politics
Jordanian politics
US/EU-Middle East relations
Palestinian National Authority
BDS and the peace process
Hamas and Fatah
Palestinian Islamic Jihad
Salafi-Jihadi groups in Gaza and the Sinai

Areas of research and education

State-society relations in
the Middle East:

Islamist movements and
parties in or outside
electoral politics

Function and dynamics of
clannish societies

Informal law and customary
dispute resolution techniques
in Arab societies (al-islah)

Violent radicalisation and Salafi-JIhadism

Latest publications

Gaza Under Hamas: From Islamic Democracy to Islamist Governance

Book, 2017

The Deradicalization of Islamists by Islamists: Hamas's Kid Glove Approach to Salafi Jihadists in the Gaza Strip, 2010-2015

Article in journal, 2017

Le Hamas et le monde

Article, book review, 2017