Terrorism Articles

Iraqi security forces hold a flag of the Islamic State group they captured during an operation outside Amirli, north of Baghdad, Iraq, Oct. 7, 2014 (AP file photo).

End Game: Al-Shabab as a Model for the Islamic State’s Decline

By Clint Watts
, , Feature

What might the decline of the Islamic State look like? The best recent historical model may be al-Shabab, the terrorist group that once governed Somalia but which has now entered a state of gradual decline. Such a comparison would be useful for dealing with the implications of IS’ likely fall. more

Strategic Horizons

Contrasting Strategic Cultures Drive U.S.-Israel Split on Iran

By Steven Metz
, , Column

Unlike Israel, the United States has far-ranging, interconnected global concerns and a uniquely idealistic strategic culture. How the U.S. deals with Iran reverberates outside the Middle East, and done badly, it might advance Israel’s security while degrading American interests elsewhere in the world. more

Global Insider

Kenya’s Harsh Counterterrorism Tactics Risk Stoking Extremism

By The Editors
, , Trend Lines

In recent months, Kenya has increased its crackdown on Islamic extremism, including mosque raids and alleged extrajudicial killings. In an interview, Jeremy Prestholdt, a professor at the University of California, San Diego, discussed Kenya’s counterterrorism policies. more

Strategic Horizons

Making Libya a U.N. Protectorate Would Be Wise but Impossible

By Steven Metz
, , Column

Libya is a mess and rapidly getting worse, as the Islamic State moves in. Only one option has even a theoretical chance of turning Libya around: a United Nations protectorate. But there are very few nations with enough surplus military power to commit to what could be a very long-term operation. more

Libya Needs More Than Unity Government to Halt IS Rise

By Mohamed Eljarh
, , Briefing

Four years after the revolution began to overthrow Moammar Gadhafi’s regime, Libya today faces a new and very real threat: militants affiliated with the Islamic State. But the group’s advance must be understood in the wider context of Libya’s civil war, and Libyans cannot tackle it alone. more

Strategic Horizons

The Paris Attacks and the Logic of Insurgency

By Steven Metz
, , Column

To understand last week’s horrific terrorist attacks in Paris first requires understanding the core logic of insurgency. Because insurgents are weaker than the government, they need help from the other side, even if it is unintentional. Whoever planned the Paris attacks is counting on this. more

World Citizen

In Bitter Irony, Jihadi Women Serve as Useful Propaganda

By Frida Ghitis
, , Column

When French officials announced they were searching for a woman as an accomplice in the attacks on a Jewish grocery store in Paris, many shook their heads. How was it possible that a woman born and raised in the West could be committed to an extremist ideology that is hostile to women? more