Sure, Talk with ISIL. Just Choose the Right Topic

Terrorists At The Table: Why Negotiating is the Only Way to Peace received a glowing review from Fareed Zakaria. In his latest Washington Post column he distilled the book’s thesis as follows: “Terrorism is a reflection of an underlying political problem that almost always needs to be addressed politically.”  He went on to argue that the so-called Islamic State in Iraq[…]


Blue Shift: Why The U.S. Military Must Appeal To Silicon Valley

Regardless of his actual chances of winning in 2016, Senator Rand Paul’s candidacy for President of the United States will once again generate debates over the fiscal conservative agenda. What Senator Paul envisions, among other things, is a streamlined U.S. military with a demobilized posture and, critically, an attending decrease in defense spending. His father[…]


Former Army Interrogator: Moral and Legal Considerations Aside, Torture Doesn’t Work

Yesterday, torture was once again on our minds. Months after President Obama’s callous admission that “we tortured some folks” in the years after 9/11, the Democrat-led Senate Intelligence Committee has succeeded in unearthing details about the CIA’s enhanced interrogation program that greatly discredit the prevailing narrative of torture’s effectiveness. In spite of these new details,[…]


A Fork In The Road To Damascus? The U.S., Saudi Arabia, and a New “Moderate” Syrian Militia

Despite all of Secretary of State John F. Kerry’s recruitment efforts to enlist Sunni heads of state in the Middle East for an anti-Islamic State coalition, it is important not to forget what many Sunni leaders want to eradicate from Syria first and foremost: Bashar al-Assad and his Alawite-led regime. On September 11, 2014, King[…]


Sunni Leaders Are Key to Fighting Islamic State: An Optimistic View

While young Muslims from around the world continue to flood into the battlefields Syria, Obama’s two key diplomats in the coming war against the so-called Islamic State are also on the move. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel just flew to Turkey to enlist the country’s military support along its southern border with Syria, and Secretary[…]


Campaign 2014: Of Candidates and Conflicts

The spring of 2014 will be yet another in a restive line of transformative periods in the broader Middle East, for better or worse, as the region’s people continue their political overhaul by electing new presidents, parliaments, and constitution-drafting bodies. Eight Middle Eastern countries have elections scheduled in 2014, and most will proceed without external[…]


Sectarian Jihad: A Confusing New Fashion

On December 10, 2013, Foreign Policy Magazine reported that the number of foreign fighters participating in the fight against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has eclipsed the number of jihadists who fought side-by-side in Afghanistan in the 1980s. “At this rate,” according to Foreign Policy’s Thomas Hegghammer, “the foreign fighter flow into Syria looks set to[…]


Egypt & Russia: Will Weapons Warm-up this Cold War Relationship?

After the Obama administration halted the transfer of over $560 million in cash and loan guarantees to support the Egyptian military, it was clear that Egyptian officials would have to find alternate ways to equip their forces. On November 18, the AP reported a statement from Russian Technologies chief Sergei Chemezov, who confirmed a deal[…]


Al-Maliki proves that he isn’t a Sissi: U.S.-Iraq Rapprochement

After Nuri al-Maliki was elected prime minister in 2010, several months of wrangling ensued with the Sunni “Iraqiya” bloc, highlighted by a near last minute walkout. Eventually, Iraq’s top officials produced a power sharing agreement that was lauded by world leaders. These days, the 2010 “equal-share” bargain has effectively fallen apart, and without U.S. troops[…]


The Problem with Pakistan: Drones or Delusions?

The Drone Smokescreen On October 23, 2013, President Obama hosted a meeting with the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in order to discuss a bilateral relationship greatly strained by the killing of Osama Bin Laden on Pakistani soil. Subsequent to the U.S. Navy Seal raid in Abbottabad on May 2, 2011, the U.S. suspended $800[…]

Guantanamo Sept  11 Trial

Regaining Legality: The Rendition Of Abu Anas Al-Libi

After 12 years of war, it is temping to interpret the increased use of drones in the U.S. counterterrorism campaign as a sign that officials now prefer to kill terror suspects rather than risk lives detaining them. These days, nostalgic interrogators and analysts see drone strikes as the new paradigm in counterterrorism, one with a[…]


Resurrecting the Dead: A Return to Outdated Domestic Policy

Charles Mink As of mid September 2013, the Egyptian military regime has reinstituted domestic policies designed to suppress violent Islamic groups and their influence on the Egyptian population. On September 12, 2013, President Adly Mansour announced the extension of the country’s state of emergency for another two months, calling the decision an essential precaution in[…]


Al-Qaeda Loyalists and U.S. Troops Together At Last in the Sinai

The New Venue For War-on-Terror Ground Combat? The Egyptian central government in Cairo has suffered another heart attack with the ousting of ex-President Muhammad Morsi. His economic ineptitude and political cliquishness notwithstanding, the premature removal of a democratically elected Muslim Brother has given al-Qaeda ideologues in Egypt precisely the leverage needed to once again raise[…]


A Holy Alliance in Syria Threatens Wholesale U.S. Support for Opposition Forces

The Enemy of my Enemy is still my Enemy As early as last December 2012, U.S. diplomats active in Syria have prescribed caution in treating Syrian rebels fighting the oppressive regime of Bashar al-Assad as friendly to the United States. While the axiomatic “enemy of my enemy” cliché has been an antiquated notion since the[…]