Air Campaign Against ISIS Is Just Getting Off the Ground

The stated objective of the American-led bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria is to “degrade, and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)—language carefully crafted to imply a gradual process that may take months, even years. Yet just over two months into the campaign, some are already asking for results. The United […]

What Could US Boots on the Ground Do in Iraq and Syria?

“These boots are made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do. One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you.” Nancy Sinatra’s 1966 hit song, “These Boots Are Made for Walking,” became wildly popular with GIs during the Vietnam War, where the lyrics took on a more bellicose meaning. In discussions of […]

What Are ISIS’s Options Now?

In domestic debates about what the United States should do to blunt the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Americans often forget that the adversary also has options. A determined force, ISIS will counter the bombing campaign. In publicizing its brutal murder of two American journalists, ISIS must have anticipated […]

The Devourers – Al-Baghdadi and The Islamic State

ISIS is an “imminent threat to every interest we have,” warned Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. “This is beyond anything we’ve seen. We must prepare for everything.” In an article appearing in The Hill, long-time Congressional staffer Brent Budowsky argued that it is “highly probable” ISIS will…obtain nuclear, chemical, biological or other weapons of mass […]

Brothers Killing Brothers

The Current Infighting Will Test al Qaeda’s Brand. Terrorists often resolve internal disputes the old-fashioned way: They kill each other. Battles between rival rebel groups and within terrorist organizations are not uncommon. Internal feuds have characterized terrorist movements throughout modern history, from the Russian Revolution to the Palestinian civil war. In February 2014, members of […]

Nigeria’s Inescapable Burden

History shows rescuing hostages is a difficult and bloody business. There is much we do not know about the circumstances of the 220 young Nigerian schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram. Where are they being held? Are they still together in a single group or dispersed into smaller groups? Have some already been “sold” and […]

Fight Today’s Terrorist Threat, Not Yesterday’s

The U.S. must constantly update its surveillance and information-sharing procedures. Domestic counterterrorism efforts have been largely successful since 9/11. All but four of the more than 40 known terrorist plots by homegrown jihadists have been thwarted by authorities. But this effort faces serious challenges as it seeks to counter an ever-evolving and increasingly diverse terrorist […]

The Real Homeland Security Issues for 2014

Americans need a new debate about the threats, risks, and costs. As Congress sets its agenda for hearings and legislation relating to homeland security, we can anticipate some of the issues it will address. Expect discussion about whether al-Qaida is on the run or on the rebound, new legislative initiatives on how to deal with the […]

Syria’s Bloody Stalemate

Neither side can win and neither side can afford to lose. Seems highly unlikely that the upcoming talks in Geneva scheduled to begin on Jan. 22 will achieve a political settlement to Syria’s civil war. Syrian President Bashar Assad will attend, but feels under no pressure to negotiate his own departure. The attendance of the […]

The Invasion of Iraq: A Balance Sheet

Historically, wars were fought primarily for material gain: livestock, treasure, tribute, or territory. More recently, however, the profit motive for war has declined as life has become more precious and conquest and plunder have become less acceptable, although conflicts waged for control of diamonds and other precious commodities continue in parts of the world. International law […]

When Armies Divide: The Security of Nuclear Arsenals During Revolts, Coups, and Civil Wars

When Armies Divide: The Security of Nuclear Arsenals During Revolts, Coups, and Civil Wars

Download the eBook here. [Brian Jenkins’ book, “When Armies Divide,” speaks to a central nuclear issue: what happens when society’s most organized response capability fades into a fog of uncertainty over who is in charge of what. How do the decisionmakers decide where the soundest leadership is as the rapid and inexorable march of time […]

5 Myths About Sept. 11, 2001

We all remember where we were on Sept. 11, 2001, when al-Qaida launched its horrific attacks on the United States. In the decade since, no number of commissions, books, films and reports has been able to end the misconceptions about what 9/11 meant, America’s response to it and the nature of the ongoing threat. As […]