Terrorism Articles

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Andrew Dacey reviews security checkpoints with Iraqi soldiers in the city of Abu Ghraib, Iraq, March 31, 2009 (U.S. Army photo).
Strategic Horizons

Can U.S. Build a Better Iraqi Army the Second Time Around?

By Steven Metz
, , Column

For the U.S., getting out of Iraq required rebuilding the Iraqi army. But the raw material that U.S. military advisers and trainers had to work with was not optimal. To defeat the Islamic State group, the Iraqi army will have to be organized on professional and not sectarian grounds. more


Strategic Horizons

U.S. Strategy for Defeating the Islamic State Group Won't Work

By Steven Metz
, , Column

President Barack Obama’s strategy for dealing with the Islamic State group appeals to a weary nation, but it is unlikely to work because it violates two cardinal rules of strategy: The resources are not commensurate with the objectives, and the coalition’s objectives are not in sync. more

Boko Haram, Corruption Purges Put Cameroon on Edge

By Alex Thurston
, , Briefing

Alongside the political risks of President Paul Biya’s desire to stay in power indefinitely, two short-term problems stoke anxiety in Cameroon: the potential for destructive escalation in the fight with Boko Haram, and the ambiguous effects of an aggressive anti-corruption campaign. more

Waiting for Disruption: The Western Sahara Stalemate

By Jacob Mundy
, , Feature

The Western Sahara conflict is fast approaching its 40th anniversary with no end in sight. A web of geopolitical interests keeps the conflict in a permanent state of limbo. Therein lies the paradox: The peace process now exists to contain the conflict, but only a crisis will save Western Sahara. more

Global Insider

Peace With the PKK High Priority for Erdogan Presidency

By The Editors
, , Trend Lines

In an email interview, Mehmet Ümit Necef, associate professor at the Centre for Contemporary Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Southern Denmark, discussed the prospect of peace talks with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) under the Erdogan presidency. more

Strategic Horizons

The Price of Defeating the Islamic State

By Steven Metz
, , Column

Destroying the Islamic State would be a very good thing. The danger is that American political leaders and strategic thinkers will reprise their tradition of overestimating U.S. power and underestimating the costs of destroying a fanatical transnational terrorist organization. more

Special Report

Zero Solutions: Challenges Mount for Erdogan's Turkey

By The Editors
, , Report

Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s shift from the prime ministership to the presidency symbolizes a deeper shift for Turkey. While Erdogan has made progress towards peace with the Kurdish minority, he faces criticism for an increasingly autocratic ruling style, and Turkey’s international relations are under strain.

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Al-Shabab: A Close Look at East Africa's Deadliest Radicals

By Peter Dörrie
, , Feature

More than any other organization, Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahedeen, widely known as al-Shabab, has left its mark on the recent history of Somalia. Political and radical Islam have a long history in the country, but no group has survived longer than al-Shabab, and no group has emerged stronger from challenges and setbacks. Today, the group has emerged from an existential crisis and looks stronger than it has in years. Though al-Shabab is often referred to as simply a “terrorist group,” the term does not accurately describe the range of the group’s activities.

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In Training Partner Militaries, U.S. Should Not Rush to ‘Do Something’ in Africa

By Michelle Sieff
, , Briefing

As African heads of state gather in Washington this week for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the continent’s overall security progress shouldn’t obscure its ongoing challenges, including violent Islamist extremism. With the shift in U.S. counterterrorism strategy from direct to indirect action—training partner or indigenous troops—U.S. policymakers and the military must confront critical strategic and practical issues. more

Special Report

A Year of Conflict and Crisis for Africa

By The Editors
, , Report

As President Barack Obama convenes a summit of nearly 50 African leaders in Washington focused mainly on economic opportunity, security and health crises continue to undermine the continent’s potential. But while Western powers continue to wield influence, it is increasingly Africa’s leaders who are driving events. more

Global Insider

U.N. Resolution Unlikely to Lead to Better Aid Distribution in Syria

By The Editors
, , Trend Lines

In mid-July, the U.N. Security Council unanimously voted to allow humanitarian aid delivery to Syrians in rebel-held areas without Syrian government consent, through four border crossings from Turkey, Iraq and Jordan. In an email interview, Dr. Hannah Vaughan-Lee, a humanitarian practitioner and academic, discussed the challenges ahead for the cross-border aid operation. more

Diplomatic Fallout

Lacking Security Strategy, EU Counts on Nearby Crises to Absorb Threats

By Richard Gowan
, , Column

The EU’s security may actually benefit from ongoing crises in cases such as Ukraine, Mali and even Syria. The longer these conflicts absorb the efforts of potential foes, the less likely they are to menace the EU directly. EU members have no appetite to get involved in these wars, leading critics to grumble that it refuses to fight for its interests. But it may be in its interests to let others keep fighting. more

World Citizen

In Israel, Pragmatism Could Trump Ideology After the Fighting

By Frida Ghitis
, , Column

The domestic political repercussions of a military conflict don’t become clear until the fighting stops. But political tremors don’t wait for a cease-fire. In Israel, the current confrontation with Hamas has fractured a major political alliance and caused one high-level personnel change. But so far there is no indication that Israel’s political landscape will be dramatically transformed by the conflict. more

Strategic Posture Review: Israel

By Shai Feldman
, , Report

Israel’s threat environment has changed dramatically in recent years, especially when compared to that which Israel faced when its defense doctrine was first articulated and its force structure was first conceived. This report will discuss these changes, identify the new challenges Israel faces, characterize the domestic environment affecting defense allocations and attempt to ascertain the implications of these factors for Israeli strategy. The conclusion will elaborate on the debate now taking place within the country’s defense community about the future doctrine and force structure of the Israel Defense Forces. more