Terrorism Articles

Global Insider: Iran-Pakistan Border a Major Concern in Bilateral Relationship

By The Editors
, on , Trend Lines

This month, four Iranian border guards were freed two months after being kidnapped and allegedly taken into Pakistan by an Iran-based Sunni militant group. In an email interview, Isaac Kfir, a senior researcher at Syracuse University’s Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism and a visiting assistant professor of law and international relations, explained the state of Iran-Pakistan relations. more

Strategic Horizons: Amid Debate, U.S. Shares Drone Approach With Partners

By Steven Metz
, on , Briefing

While Americans debate when and where the U.S. should use drones to strike at insurgents and terrorists who cannot be reached by other means, they may be overlooking an important trend: the move to supply a targeted killing capability to allied nations. The decision to provide technology and advice to Colombia and Yemen is only the beginning, as more states will field drones with or without American help. more

Global Insights: With Election, Afghanistan Strengthens Democratic Credentials

By Richard Weitz
, on , Column

The first round of Afghanistan's presidential election saw the country's political institutions perform much better than during the 2009 ballot, while the Afghan National Security Forces provided a relatively safe and secure electoral environment. The winners may not be clear until May, and a second round is likely. But already the results offer hope for Afghanistan's status as a functioning democracy. more

Central African Republic a Crisis Too Far for Chad’s Regional Security Ambitions

By Celeste Hicks
, on , Briefing

With Chad’s April 3 announcement that it would pull its peacekeepers out of the CAR, the country finally seemed to be bending to widespread criticism of the actions of its soldiers. Things had deteriorated for Chad’s armed forces since last year, when their role in support of France’s Operation Serval in Mali was widely praised. The CAR may have forced Chad to recognize the limits of its regional ambitions. more

As Afghanistan Selects New President, Its Insurgency May Change Too

By Kathy Gilsinan
, on , Briefing

On Saturday, Afghans will vote in the first round of an election that, if all goes well, will result in the first democratic transfer of presidential power in Afghanistan’s history. The elections will also be the first of the post-Taliban era to be secured entirely by Afghan forces. But for all its historic gravity, in some respects the poll will not represent much of a break with Afghanistan’s past. more

Beijing Finds Neither ‘Iron-Fisted Rule’ Nor Development Bring Order to Xinjiang

By Kendrick Kuo
, on , Briefing

On March 1, a group of Uighurs from Xinjiang attacked a train station in southwest China using foot-long knives, killing 29 and injuring 143. The attack was a spillover from Xinjiang’s internal conflict, the source of which is a matter of dispute. Beijing’s attempts to bring order to the region through development, repression and regional coordination have so far failed, leaving it looking for alternatives. more

Kagame’s Rwanda Presents South Africa With Delicate Balancing Act

By James Hamill
, on , Briefing

Relations between South Africa and Rwanda have suffered a sharp downturn with the murder and attempted murder in South Africa of two former high-level Rwandan security officers who had fled Rwanda for South Africa. While the Rwandan regime formally denied responsibility, the attacks have poisoned bilateral relations, which had been close until South Africa began providing safe haven for Rwandan exiles. more

Saudi Arabia Walks Tightrope With Shift in Syria, Regional Policies

By Brian Katulis
, on , Briefing

President Barack Obama’s upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia will come at a time of considerable shifts in Saudi regional strategy, with signs that Riyadh is taking a more assertive approach to dealing with a range of Islamist political forces. Riyadh seems to be pursuing a policy of dual containment of what it sees as its two biggest threats: the Muslim Brotherhood and certain branches of jihadi terrorism. more

Special Report: Afghanistan's Uncertain Transition

By The Editors
, on , Report

After 13 years of war, Afghanistan is preparing for a new phase of political transition. The U.S. intervention has left widely divergent situations across the country, but the long-promised 2014 troop withdrawal is set to proceed regardless of local conditions. As the year unfolds, Afghans will see a presidential election with no clear frontrunner amid faltering Taliban peace talks. Regional actors, notably India and China, are re-evaluating their position in the country. And America’s continuing leverage—and political interest—is in doubt. This special report examines Afghanistan’s uncertain transition through articles published in the past year. more

Yemen’s Creation of Federal Republic Leaves Major Grievances Unresolved

By Alexandra Lewis
, on , Briefing

This month, Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi announced the partition of the country into six federal regions. The move resulted from a political negotiation of Yemen’s governance processes, a significant development in itself, but the new federal system’s implications for peace and conflict are undetermined, especially since the system’s legitimacy is already being questioned by key Yemeni stakeholders. more

World Citizen: With All Else Failing, Obama Must Now Act in Syria

By Frida Ghitis
, on , Column

There are two points of approximate consensus regarding U.S. strategy in Syria. First, the U.S. should not send troops to become directly involved in the fighting. Second, the Obama administration’s current approach to the Syrian conflict is a failure. But if diplomacy has failed and both inaction and direct intervention are not acceptable options, there is still another course of action the U.S. can take. more

Diplomatic Fallout: Crisis in CAR Continues to Divide Western Powers

By Richard Gowan
, on , Column

Few would deny that the Central African Republic has endured a hellish breakdown of basic order. But is this a humanitarian disaster to be stopped through rapid military action? Or is it a case of a failed state that demands a long-term effort to rebuild state capacity? Or could it morph into the next front in the war with radical Islamists? The crisis is becoming a Rorschach test for international policymakers. more

World Citizen: U.S.-Saudi Ties Go From Bad to Worse

By Frida Ghitis
, on , Column

For decades, the foundation of Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy rested on the kingdom’s relationship with the United States. The past three years, however, have brought enormous turbulence to the Middle East, and the Saudis have found Washington’s response increasingly worrisome. Saudi rulers are questioning America’s reliability as an ally and protector and as a result have launched a risky new foreign policy. more

Iraq’s Turmoil Highlights Extent and Limits of Iran’s Influence

By Alireza Nader
, on , Briefing

Since the 2011 drawdown of U.S. military forces from Iraq, the U.S. is no longer the key foreign player in that country. Today, Iran is arguably the most influential foreign force in Iraqi politics. But it is important not to overemphasize Iranian influence in Iraq. Tehran faces limits to its power in Baghdad, and Iraq is likely to seek Iranian patronage only as long as Iraq remains fractured and vulnerable. more

Strategic Horizons: As Insurgency Mutates, U.S. Response Must Evolve

By Steven Metz
, on , Column

Insurgency is mutating. Today, there are two major forms, each needing a different response. One is the traditional type, a legacy of colonialism, that sought control over remote or peripheral areas. The other takes place in sprawling cities rather than remote areas and is more akin to gangs than traditional insurgents. These two types of insurgency now co-exist, and the U.S. response must evolve in kind. more

Strategic Posture Review: Kenya

By Jon Rosen
, on , Report

After winning Kenya’s March 2013 presidential election, President Uhuru Kenyatta inherited the difficult task of leading East Africa’s most significant diplomatic and economic actor while simultaneously awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court. Meanwhile, his coalition government assumed oversight of Kenya’s growing role in the maintenance of regional security. Though tensions with Kenya's traditional partners in the West over the ICC trial now seem to be easing, Kenya’s numerous security threats, compounded by deep ethno-political divisions, will pose obstacles to its economic ambitions and efforts to play a stronger role in regional leadership. more

Congress Resists Pentagon Drone Oversight as U.S. and Partners Continue Targeted Killings

By Eric Auner
, on , Trend Lines

As U.S. forces draw down in Afghanistan, the United States continues to carry out targeted killings against suspected terrorist leaders in several theaters—including through the use of armed drones—and to enhance the ability of partner nations to carry out lethal operations. But U.S. drone strikes can kill innocent civilians along with the intended targets, generating backlash abroad and concerns domestically. more

Ending ETA: Defeat or a Peace Process?

By Teresa Whitfield
, on , Briefing

The long process toward the dissolution of ETA, the violent Basque separatist organization, took a surprising turn in the past month with its prisoners’ de facto recognition of the legitimacy of the French and Spanish governments. Although short of the repentance that many wished to hear, their pledge to pursue their release by legal means and the group’s goals through the political system is big—and good—news. more

Global Insights: As U.S. Draws Down, India Raises Security Profile in Afghanistan

By Richard Weitz
, on , Column

Last month, during Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s visit to India, the two governments announced they would deepen their defense and security ties. Although Indian officials declined to fill Karzai’s entire shopping list, Afghan-Indian military cooperation will likely increase now that the U.S., which has generally discouraged a major Indian security role in Afghanistan, is losing influence in Kabul. more

Global Insights: Russian Bombings Show Limits of Security Crackdowns

By Richard Weitz
, on , Column

After a period of relative calm, two recent terrorist attacks in Russia serve as a reminder that, despite the government’s pre-Olympic crackdown, Russia’s heartland remains vulnerable to militants from the Muslim-majority North Caucasus region. Although no one has claimed responsibility for the bombings, Volgograd has suffered from years of attacks, typically by Islamist terrorists from the North Caucasus. more

Assassination Campaign Leaves Lebanon’s Anti-Syrian Coalition in Pieces

By Stephen Dockery
, on , Briefing

The assassination in Lebanon of Mohammed Chatah, a moderate former minister, is not simply spillover from the Syrian war but also another episode in a long campaign of political violence that has broken Lebanon’s coalition of anti-Syrian politicians. The remnants of March 14 are often feckless and disorganized, while Lebanon’s violence helps stop a serious front against Damascus from forming next door. more