Waleed Zuaiter

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Waleed Zuaiter
وليد زعيتر
Born (1971-01-19) January 19, 1971 (age 53)
Alma materGeorge Washington University
Occupation(s)Actor, producer

Waleed F. Zuaiter (Arabic: وليد زعيتر; born January 16, 1971) is an Arab-American actor and producer who has performed in on-stage productions in Washington, D.C.; Berkeley, California; and New York City, as well as several film and television productions. He lives in Los Angeles, California. He is the producer and co-star of Omar (2013), which was nominated for an Oscar at the 86th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Zuaiter, an American with Palestinian ancestry, born in 1971 in Sacramento, California, but grew up in Kuwait. He returned to the United States to earn his degree in philosophy and theatre at George Washington University, in Washington, D.C..


Zuaiter began his acting career with several productions in Washington, before relocating to New York City.

On the New York stage, he received critical acclaim for his portrayal of a former Iraqi translator for the U.S. military, in George Packer's Betrayed. He also has starred in David Greig's The American Pilot at the Manhattan Theatre Club, Tony Kushner's Homebody/Kabul, Ilan Hatsor's Masked, Eliam Kraiem's Sixteen Wounded, and Victoria Brittain and Gillian Slovo's Guantanamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom. He also performed alongside Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline in Mother Courage at the Public Theater.

Zuaiter is also the producer of the annual New York Arab-American Comedy Festival and a member of the Arab-American theater collective NIBRAS.

Zuaiter's film and television productions include the HBO/BBC miniseries House of Saddam, Sex and the City 2 and The Men Who Stare at Goats, in which he played the role of Mahmud Daash. Recently, he completed filming the suspense-thriller Elevator, directed by Stig Svendsen, in which he plays a man trapped in a Wall Street elevator with several people, one of whom has a bomb.

Most recently Waleed produced and starred in Omar, a gripping thriller written and directed by Golden Globe winner and Oscar nominee Hany Abu-Assad (Paradise Now). The film was selected as the Palestinian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards,[2] and was nominated for an Academy Award.[3] It also won Best Feature Film at the 2013 Asian Pacific Screen Awards.[4]

He also was featured in an NBC Universal Pilot written by Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson and directed by Spike Lee, starring Bobby Cannavale. Alongside Bobby Cannavale, Waleed's son, Laith Zuaiter, was featured in the pilot. Waleed Zuaiter starred in London Has Fallen as Kamran Barkawi, Aamir Barkawi's son and henchman and second in command of a terrorist strike.

He starred as the recurring character Samir Abboud in the Netflix adaptation of the novel Altered Carbon. Zuaiter starred in Billionaire Boys Club as The Persian, Hedayat Eslaminia and Izzy’s Father.[5] In 2019, Waleed Zuaiter starred in Netflix limited series The Spy, as the Syrian Colonel Amin al-Hafiz.[6]

In 2020, he played the role of a former Iraqi police officer collaborating with US forces while trying to find his missing daughter in the series Baghdad Central.[7] The role earned him a leading actor nomination in the 2021 British Academy Television Awards.[8]

In 2021, he starred as Hassan Asfour, senior Palestinian Liberation Organization negotiator, in the HBO film Oslo about the negotiations that led to the Oslo I Accord.[9]

As of October 2022, Zuaiter is co-starring as Koba, a Georgian assassin and crime boss, in the second season of Gangs of London, a London crime drama series airing on Sky Atlantic in the UK and Germany, and on AMC in the US.



Year Title Role Notes
2000 Eat Me! Barry
2003 Justice Saeed
2004 Jihad! Salaam
2007 The Visitor Omar
2009 Veronika Decides to Die Lecturer
2009 The Men Who Stare at Goats Mahmud Daash
2010 Sex and the City 2 Shahib
2011 Elevator Mohammed
2012 The United Waleed Zaki
2013 Omar Agent Rami Also producer
2015 Parisienne L'oncle Simon
2016 The Free World Khalil
2016 London Has Fallen Kamran Barkawi
2016 Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero Malek
2016 Namour Nabil
2016 20th Century Women Charlie
2018 Here and Now Sami
2018 Billionaire Boys Club The Persian / Izzy's Dad
2018 The Angel Gamal Abdel Nasser
2018 Saint Judy Omar
2019 William Dr. Julian Reed
2021 Amira Said


Year Title Role Notes
2002, 2008 Rani Khan / Khalid Rani Khan / Khalid 2 episodes
2007 Numbers Ali Karimi Episode: "Robin Hood"
2007 The Unit Man with Red Envelope Episode: "M.P.s"
2007 M.O.N.Y. Achmil Durrani Television film
2008 House of Saddam Adnan Hamdani Episode #1.1
2009 Lie to Me Deputy Ambassador Rafid Episode: "The Best Policy"
2010 NCIS: Los Angeles Thierry / Sheik Episode: "Black Widow"
2010 Blue Bloods Adam Hassan Episode: "What You See"
2011 Homeland Afsal Hamid Episode: "Blind Spot"
2011 The Good Wife Danny Marwat Episode: "Executive Order 13224"
2011 Lost and Found Raj Television film
2012 Political Animals Ambassador Serkan Episode: "Second Time Around"
2012 Common Law Aram Parisian Episode: "Hot for Teacher"
2013–2014 Revolution Martin Shaw 4 episodes
2014 Legends Faris Nader Episode: "Iconoclast"
2014 The Blacklist Dr. Daniel Rivera Episode: "The Scimitar (No. 22)"
2015 House of Cards Kaseem Mahmoud Episode: "Chapter 30"
2015 Masters of Sex Mohammad aka Shah of Iran Episode: "Three's a Crowd"
2016 Madam Secretary Prime Minister Khoosat 2 episodes
2016 Good Behavior Chase Rochefort
2017 Chicago Justice Amir Nasiri Episode: "See Something"
2017 Prison Break Mohammad El Tunis 2 episodes
2018 Altered Carbon Samir Abboud 6 episodes
2018 Colony Vincent 4 episodes
2019 The Spy Colonel Amin al-Hafiz 5 episodes
2020 Baghdad Central Muhsin Kadr al-Khafaji 6 episodes
2020 Ramy Yassir Episode: "Uncle Naseem"
2021 Oslo Hassan Asfour Television film
2022 Gangs of London Koba 6 episodes


  1. ^ "Oscar Winners 2015: The Complete List - 86th Academy Awards". Oscar.com. Archived from the original on 2014-06-27. Retrieved 2014-05-09.
  2. ^ "Foreign Language Oscar: Israel Submits 'Bethlehem'; Palestine Goes With 'Omar'". Deadline.com. 29 September 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-09-29. Retrieved 2013-09-30.
  3. ^ "Oscars: Main nominations 2014". BBC News. 16 January 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-01-16. Retrieved 2014-01-16.
  4. ^ "Asia Pacific Screen Awards Announced in Australia". Australia Network News. 13 December 2013. Archived from the original on 2020-10-28. Retrieved 2014-04-10.
  5. ^ Katherine Bishop (January 6, 1988). "Murder Trial in Bungled Extortion Case Enters Final Stages". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 6, 2018. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  6. ^ "The Spy" Archived 2019-09-30 at the Wayback Machine at Rotten Tomatoes.
  7. ^ Ellen E. Jones, "Baghdad Central review – more than just a Middle East Morse" Archived 2020-04-05 at the Wayback Machine. The Guardian, 3 February 2020.
  8. ^ "BAFTA TV 2021: The Winners and Nominations for the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards and British Academy Television Craft Awards". BAFTA. 24 May 2021. Archived from the original on 7 June 2021. Retrieved 14 July 2021.
  9. ^ "Oslo (2021)" Archived 2021-06-03 at the Wayback Machine at Rotten Tomatoes

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