Zack Gold
Associate Research Analyst


Zack Gold is an expert in U.S. Middle East policy, violent extremism, and non-state armed groups. He specializes in Egyptian politics and security and is an internationally recognized authority on terrorism and counterterrorism in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. At CNA, his recent research topics include U.S. efforts against Al-Qaeda, transnational challenges to U.S. national security, North Africa maritime capacity, and Balkans instability.

Prior to joining CNA, Gold was a nonresident fellow with the Atlantic Council's Hariri Center; a visiting fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv; and a researcher at The Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy. He is the author of book chapters and research papers on Egyptian security, including the 2016 International Centre for Counter-Terrorism - The Hague report, "Salafi Jihadist Violence in Egypt's North Sinai: From Local Insurgency to Islamic State Province."

Gold earned his M.A. in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School, Tufts University; and his B.A. in political science and communication from the University of Delaware. He twice received the Department of State's Critical Language Scholarship to study Arabic in Oman and Egypt, and also studied Arabic at The American University in Cairo. He is proficient in Arabic.


November 23, 2018

Zack Gold says, “Does killing the top leaders really decapitate the group or affect its long-term capacities? I frankly can't determine any difference in the way the group operates after these killings – why is it still able to lay down roadside IEDs on a near daily basis?” “A Bloody Year in Sinai”

November 5, 2018

Zack Gold says, “There are obviously diplomatic and political factors but to their minds (the Egyptians) the situation is a security one."

France 24: “Egypt Treads Carefully as Gaza Broker”

November 4, 2018

Zack Gold says, “The U.S. is correct that a regional grouping should include the entire GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council], If [the Americans] are sending the message of not joining an organization that doesn’t include Qatar, it’s an important message to send.”

Al-Monitor: “Middle East Upheaval Casts a Shadow Over ‘Arab NATO” 

October 15, 2018

Zack Gold says, “Al-Ashmawy broke ties with militants in Sinai when they chose to align with ISIS in late 2014, so his capture will have no impact on intelligence for Egyptian operations in North Sinai.”

Daily News Egypt: “Al-Ashmawy’s Apprehension Is ‘Big Win for Cairo’ but ‘Not Enough to Boost Sinai Operations”

October 8, 2018

Zack Gold says, “Ashmawy was a boogeyman for the Egyptian army, so there is potentially a morale factor to his capture after more than five years.”

The Wall Street Journal: “Libyan Forces Detain Former Egyptian Army Commander Wanted in Attacks”

October 8, 2018

Zack Gold says, “Certainly, this could be seen as a morale boost for Egypt, after blaming Ashmawy for major attacks — especially against security force and government officials — for over five years. However, it’s unlikely to have any impact in the short term on Egypt’s counterterrorism fight. Egypt still faces its biggest threat from ISIS, which itself was battling Ashmawy in Libya.”

The Washington Post: “Libyan Forces Capture Egypt’s Most Wanted Militant”