Sebastian Sons

Associate Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Program

Areas of Expertise

  • Societal developments in Saudi Arabia
  • Saudia Arabia's foreign policy
  • South Asian migration to the Arab Gulf states
  • Islamic Jihadism


English, Arabic




If you are interested in an internship in the Middle East and North Africa Program, please contact Laura Lale Kabis-Kechrid:

Sebastian Sons has been a researcher in the DGAP’s Middle East and North Africa Program since November 2014 and is involved in the research project on “Engagement of the Arab Gulf States Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates in Egypt and Tunisia.” He previously headed the research unit at the German Orient-Institute in Berlin and worked as a journalist. Currently, he is writing his PhD dissertation on “Mediatization of labor migrants from Pakistan in Saudi Arabia” at the Humboldt Universität Berlin. He studied modern history, Islamic Studies, and political science in Berlin and Damascus.


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Selected Publications

Foreign Policy and the Next German Government
Experts from the German Council on Foreign Relations offer case studies
by Josef Braml, Claire Demesmay, Dina Fakoussa, Ali Fathollah-Nejad, Wilfried Jilge, Laura Lale Kabis-Kechrid, Stefan Meister, Christian Mölling, Jana Puglierin, Henning Riecke, Claudia Schmucker, Daniela Schwarzer, Svenja Sinjen, Sebastian Sons, Sarah Wohlfeld
DGAPkompakt 7, Summer 2017, 42 pp.
Foreign Policy and the Next German Government
A new German government will take office after the elections on September 24, 2017. DGAP experts outline in 12 separate areas the foreign policy goals Germany should pursue (and with which partners).
Category: International Policy/Relations, Germany
The Saudi-Iranian Conflict
What are the roots of the rivalry and what are its consequences?
by Ali Fathollah-Nejad, Sebastian Sons
DGAP Five Questions (January 2016); published in Handelsblatt Global Edition (January 29, 2016), pp. 32-35.
The Saudi-Iranian Conflict
What effect will the escalation between the two regional powers have on the Middle East’s multiple crises? How much influence does the West have, and where does it position itself between its recent rapprochement with Iran and its “business-as-usual” approach toward the Saudis? DGAP associate fellows Ali Fathollah-Nejad and Sebastian Sons discuss geopolitical goals, domestic power considerations, and the exploitation of religion. Translated by Imogen Taylor.
Category: Security, Iran, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia's Engagement in Egypt
Aid is not reaching the general population.
by Sebastian Sons
Cicero, November 10, 2015. In German.
A recent contribution by Associate Fellow Sebastian Sons to the German political magazine, Cicero.
Category: International Policy/Relations, Saudi Arabia
The Engagement of Arab Gulf States in Egypt and Tunisia since 2011
Rationale and Impact
by Sebastian Sons, Inken Wiese
DGAPanalyse 9 (October 2015), 85 pp.
The Engagement of Arab Gulf States in Egypt and Tunisia since 2011
Saudi-Qatari relations are back in the headlines. Inken Wiese and Sebastian Sons examine here the complex nature of Gulf-state assistance to Egypt and Tunisia after the upheavals of 2011 and review the impact of aid on political and economic development in the two countries – particularly on democratization and inclusive socioeconomic change. If there is potential for synergy between Arab and Western donor countries, it remains untapped.
Category: Democratization/System Change, Near and Middle East/North Africa