Dr Björn Brenner is an international civil servant, naval officer, scholar and award-winning author based in Stockholm, Sweden. Dr Brenner’s books include GAZA UNDER HAMAS 2017/2021 and ISLAMIST GOVERNANCE HAMAS STYLE 2015.

Björn researches and advises on contemporary Middle Eastern affairs with a special focus on Syrian, Lebanese, Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian and Iraqi politics. One focal point has been to closely follow the local 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 coastal territory.

In 2009, Björn studied at Damascus University and during the following years, 2010-2015, he conducted extensive 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 groups.

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 received his doctorate in Peace and Development Studies from the University of Gothenburg and started his first academic position as Chercheur associé at the Institut français du Proche-Orient (Ifpo) in Amman, Jordan. His postdoctoral project focused on exploring Jordanian-Palestinian intersections of local customary dispute resolution methods, formal justice-making and domestic politics.

In 2016, on the completion of his postdoc in Amman, Björn was appointed Course Director of War studies analysis and Military strategy at the Swedish Defence University in Stockholm. In addition to being responsible for certain civilian courses at the university, this position also included directing parts of Sweden’s new academic programme for military officers’ training.

In 2017, Björn joined the United Nations to serve as the Principal Military Advisor to the UN Special Envoy for Syria. In conjunction with being selected for this position, Björn was promoted to the rank of Commander (Navy). This followed on several previous international military postings as a commissioned naval officer, as well as diplomas from both Swedish and French universities, including École navale in Brest. 

Björn served under two UN Special Envoys, Staffan de Mistura (2017-2019) and Geir Pedersen (2019-2021). During these years, Björn headed the envoy’s ground analysis unit and was the First Reporting Officer to the Ceasefire Task Force of the International Syria Support Group ISSG, co-chaired by the United States and Russia, convening at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva.    

In 2021, upon completion of his work on the Syria mediation team, Björn transitioned to a new role in the Hague as a special advisor in the Director-General’s office of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). This role included contributing with expertise from earlier fieldwork in the region and overseeing certain investigations and the production of their final reports.  

Since 2023, Björn is a full-time employee of the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Director (Kansliråd) at the Department for Middle East and North Africa Affairs (UD-MENA). As a member of the department’s Levant group, his main focus is Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Jordan.  

Prior to joining the UN, Björn was a frequently appearing expert commentator in radio, television and the press. He was also a regular contributor to several international journals and newspapers, including Haaretz, Mediterranean Politics, Strategic Assessment, Palestine-Israel Journal, as well as, Sweden’s biggest dailies Svenska Dagbladet and Dagens Nyheter.

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

Björn is a keen sailor and guardian of marine traditions, serving as an elected member of the Royal Society for Naval Sciences, Kungl Örlogsmannasällskapet.



POLITICS ON THE BANKS OF THE JORDAN is no longer updated and ended its activities in 2017 with Björn Brenner’s entry into international diplomacy. The blog was an independent, non-profit, political commentary on Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian affairs. It sought to provide informed and non-partisan analysis of current affairs in the western part of the Middle East, predominantly of the political developments on the two sides of the river Jordan. The issues that were brought up included greater regional political developments, as well as, domestic politics and local socio-political events.

Since the blog’s birth in 2013, the political landscape in the region saw some major shifts: the nature of different alliances changed, sectarian divides increased and new-old power brokers re-emerged on the political scene. As a consequence, these shifts had significant spillover effects on several of the different local arenas. This, in turn, led to a gradually expanding scope of the blog, with an increased interest also in Syrian and Lebanese affairs, in addition to its original three-legged focus on Israel, Palestine and Jordan.

The blog’s target audience was anyone interested in an academic perspective on the contemporary politics and society of the western part of the Middle East. The name of the blog was exclusively a geographical reference to a particular part of the region (Israel, Palestine and Jordan). It did not carry any further connotations or (religious) symbolism. The blog was mainly kept updated and written while being present in the region, on the west and east banks of the Jordan. 

Dr Björn Brenner was the editor and main contributor to the blog. When a guest writer appeared, the contribution was clearly marked “Guest Writer” together with the contributor’s full name. With this exception, all views expressed in the blog belonged to Dr Brenner and did not necessarily represent the positions, opinions or policies of his employer. This disclaimer referred equally to the Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube and Instagram accounts that were connected to this website at the time.



Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs 2023-

United Nations Secretariat 2017-2022

Swedish Defence University 2016-2017

Institut français du Proche-Orient 2015-2016

University of Gothenburg 2010-2015

Finnish National Defence University 2009-2010

Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies 2007-2009

French Armed Forces – Marine Nationale 2003-2004

Swedish Armed Forces – Naval Schools 1999-2003


Author – Bloomsbury Publishing

Author – I.B. Tauris Publishers

Contributing writer – Haaretz

Contributing writer – Strategic Assessment

Contributing writer – Mediterranean Politics

Contributing writer – Palestine-Israel Journal

Contributing writer – Svenska Dagbladet

Contributing writer – Göteborgsposten

Contributing writer – Tidskriften Respons

Contributing writer – Magasinet NEO

Contributing writer – Journal of the Royal Society of Naval Sciences

Contributing writer – Journal of the Swedish Institute for International Affairs

Contributing writer – Journal of Human Security (Mänsklig Säkerhet)

Contributing writer – Journal of the Swedish Bar Association (Advokaten)


Björn Brenner – Royal Swedish Society for Naval Sciences

Björn Brenner – British-Kuwait Friendship Society

Björn Brenner – Palestine Book Awards

Björn Brenner – Amazon Author Page

Björn Brenner –

Björn Brenner – Researchgate

Björn Brenner – YouTube Channel

Björn Brenner – Google Scholar Citations

Björn Brenner – LIBRIS National Union Catalogue

GAZA UNDER HAMAS – Facebook Book Page