The Russian military announced that it might have killed the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in an airstrike in Raqqa. Would his death weaken the group or will ISIS continue to adapt, evolve, and expand like al Qaeda did?
Jun 22, 2017 Foreign Affairs
The terrorist attack that began when a van mowed down pedestrians on London Bridge is a reminder that vehicular terrorism has become mainstream. How can authorities safeguard against such low-tech attacks?
Jun 5, 2017 TheAtlantic.com
As the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria suffers defeats on the battlefield, it is expanding its cyber presence to continue to encourage attacks abroad. The more the group relies on cyberspace, the more likely it will expose important segments of its organization to detection and disruption.
May 30, 2017 The National Interest
ISIS is being defeated as an insurgency while preparing to transform into a clandestine terrorist group. But ISIS will continue to pose a serious threat to the countries where it operates and to the Western nations that it targets as it evolves.
May 18, 2017 The Cipher Brief
Hamas has unveiled a revised version of its charter that appears to soften the group's stance toward Israel. Does this represent a shift away from violence and toward a more lasting and peaceful political presence? Or is it a ploy to buy time to rearm?
May 17, 2017 Foreign Affairs
Significant gains have been made in attacking the Islamic State's cash and diminishing its ability to finance high-frequency attacks in Iraq and Syria. But the group may retain enough money to support sporadic attacks in the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe.
May 15, 2017 Lawfare
ISIL's caliphate is crumbling. But unless the U.S.-led coalition can reduce the many possibilities that might give ISIL's down-and-out members a reason to fight on, the militants will continue to contribute to disorder in the region.
May 3, 2017 War on the Rocks
Moscow has achieved tactical successes in Syria, but without Western and regional help, its long-term strategic interests could be at risk. Denying strong evidence that the regime of Bashar al-Assad attacked civilians with sarin gas makes it harder for Moscow to obtain the Western and regional help it needs to secure its interests there.
Apr 24, 2017 Newsweek
For the United States, countering terrorism saw both progress and setbacks in 2016. The U.S. will need to keep pace with terrorist abilities to adapt to its countermeasures while maintaining a high operational tempo punctuated by aggressive counterterrorism strikes.
Apr 13, 2017 The Strategist
The U.S. is struggling to find an effective way to counter violent extremism at home and counteract the presence of terrorist groups on social media. Policymakers are tasked with managing a military defeat of IS in the Middle East while lowering the risk of blowback in the U.S. at the same time.
Apr 13, 2017 The Strategist
As Russia gets more involved with the Syrian civil war, it's likely that Sunni militants will intensify their campaign against Russia. But the key reason why Sunni attacks on Russia proper will increase is the fallout between Sunni jihadists in the Caucasus — namely, the al-Qaeda-linked Caucasus Emirate and the ISIS-linked Wilayat Qawqaz.
Apr 4, 2017 The Atlantic
Russia is fast replacing the United States as the number-one enemy of Al Qaeda, ISIS, and other Sunni jihadist groups motivated by violent and puritanical Salafist ideology. This shift is rooted in recent Russian actions in the Middle East.
Apr 3, 2017 Politico
Al Qaeda in Syria, by any name, remains a dangerous and capable terrorist organization with the ability to conduct attacks in the West. Those seeking to grapple with the threat the group poses should focus less on its names and more on its actions.
Mar 23, 2017 The Cipher Brief
Today's terrorist networks will multiply far beyond the wars in Iraq and Syria. When one conflict ends, these fighters often join another. It is critical they be denied safe haven and the ability to train and network in ungoverned territories.
Mar 14, 2017 The National Interest
When a conflict ends, transnational terrorists are likely to disperse in many directions and switch their allegiances among terrorist groups. For the West, countering these different groups will require a range of strategies.
Mar 6, 2017 The Atlantic
ISIS is a worthy candidate for eradication, but failing to also target its franchises, al-Qaida splinters, and other non-aligned groups in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia could allow other threats to metastasize.
Feb 9, 2017 Defense One
The coalition tasked with countering ISIS has made progress, and ISIS is sure to break apart further over the next few years. Any splinter groups that result could differ from their parent organization, so counterterrorism strategies will need to adjust.
Jan 31, 2017 Foreign Affairs
Most parties have been on the losing side of the war in Syria. Meanwhile, Lebanese terrorist militia Hezbollah has cemented its status as a regional power player. The group has gained fighting experience and benefited from a growing alliance with the Assad regime, Iran, and Russia.
Jan 30, 2017 The National Interest
The United States should continue to pursue international cooperation in cyberspace, improve its ability to identify and expose the sources of attacks, and improve its oversight of the development and adoption of cyber-related technologies.
Dec 22, 2016 Defense One
The idea of a crime-terror nexus does appear to be a major threat in Europe, where terrorists and criminals now recruit from the same milieu. Coperation between European law enforcement and intelligence agencies is critical.
Dec 15, 2016 International Centre for Counter-Terrorism
Russia is a declining economic power whose foreign policy has led to isolation and criticism. But Putin may have an inflated sense of Russia's importance and expect one-sided U.S. concessions. If so, diplomacy could run into headwinds early in the Trump administration.
Nov 21, 2016 Newsweek
As ISIL experiences ongoing battlefield losses it will have to rework its strategy to sustain itself as a preeminent jihadist brand. Meanwhile, the group will likely place greater emphasis on smaller scale strikes that require less central direction.
Nov 10, 2016 War on the Rocks
While the West targets ISIS, Jabhat Fateh al Sham, formerly known as Jabhat al Nusra, is quietly laying the groundwork for al Qaeda's resurgence.
Nov 2, 2016 The Cipher Brief
Al Qaeda presents a graver long-term threat to the West than the Islamic State. It has proved more effective in exploiting U.S. policy in the Middle East to legitimize itself as an armed force and, increasingly, as a viable political player.
Oct 27, 2016 Reuters
Washington must act soon to raise the costs of Syrian and Russian killing in Aleppo. Otherwise, the quarter-million people who live there could be in danger, and the Kremlin might think that it can mount further challenges to the West.
Oct 6, 2016 USA Today
New York City native Colin Clarke discusses how terrorism has evolved since the September 11 attacks and how the tragedy motivated him to become a terrorism expert.
Sep 11, 2016 Fox News Channel
Whether or not Jabhat Fateh al-Sham's new name means a genuine break from its parent organization al Qaeda, the mere rebranding could prolong Syria's civil war. The worst-case scenario is that the group could embed itself within the rebel opposition in Syria the way Hezbollah did in Lebanon.
Aug 25, 2016 Reuters
To counter the threat posed by the Islamic State group, it is crucial to understand what the terrorist organization is and what it is not. Attributing all jihadist violence to a ruthless gang headquartered in Raqqa exaggerates the power of the group and plays into their propaganda and recruiting efforts.
Aug 23, 2016 U.S. News & World Report
Rather than thinking of defeating terrorists solely in traditional military terms, it might make sense to think of bankrupting them. It might help to consider the factors that cause luxury brands to lose their luster or big box retailers to fail.
Aug 16, 2016 The National Interest
Because the U.S. cannot afford to prioritize and defend against every possible threat, it must accept risk with each decision. And the more adaptive the adversary, the more likely it will confound readiness investments made previously to confront it.
Aug 10, 2016 Defense News
Would counterterrorism forces be better served by containing terrorist groups instead of attempting to destroy them? Dismantling and destroying the Islamic State and similar organizations is a worthy strategic goal, but policymakers must also be prepared to limit the effectiveness of splinter groups as they emerge in the aftermath.
Jul 12, 2016 The Washington Post Monkey Cage Blog
Focusing on one type of threat or the other — whether state or non-state in its general nature — is becoming a less tenable option as the United States considers how to assess and improve its military readiness.
Jul 12, 2016 Defense One
ISIL has been forced out of 56 places it once controlled, including five major cities. Taking its territory and diminishing its brand is required to reduce the group's operational capacity for carrying out or influencing local or distant attacks.
Jul 8, 2016 The National Interest
The Islamic State's loss of territory, money, and recruits would seem to demonstrate significant progress by the U.S.-led coalition. But if there is one accepted truism in the battle against the group, it is that its leaders intend to fight to the death to establish an Islamic caliphate.
May 23, 2016 Reuters
If they haven't already, the Islamic State's leaders will soon formulate a contingency strategy, a Plan B that the West will then be forced to contend with.
May 11, 2016 Foreign Policy
Megacities are urban areas that seep into one another and have more than 10 million inhabitants. To counter violent non-state actors operating in megacities in the future, the U.S. military will have to be able to piece together a comprehensive and actionable intelligence picture, and under enormously challenging circumstances.
Apr 6, 2016 Reuters, The Great Debate blog
To prevail against ISIS in cyberspace, the United States and its cyber soldiers will have to be capable of reacting quickly, while being guided by an overarching strategy. Secretary of Defense Carter urged U.S. Cyber Command to intensify the fight against ISIS but it would also be wise to recruit civilian volunteers.
Apr 1, 2016 Project Syndicate
Effective and enduring political settlements result from quid pro quos, not irrational pursuit of one-sided advantage. Recognizing that contending parties have legitimate interests in the complex Syria conflict could help bring an end to a destructive war in a volatile but vital region.
Mar 18, 2016 U.S. News & World Report
Moscow remains ambivalent but the West and its Arab partners could improve cease-fire prospects in Syria. They will have to drive the peace process to maintain pressure for political accommodation and also do more to help the rebels they back avert a military imbalance.
Feb 18, 2016 Newsweek
Millions of people leave behind online footprints each day, giving law enforcement and intelligence experts the chance to construct a profile of who is more likely to commit violence in the name of a murderous ideology.
Dec 28, 2015 Newsweek
Iranian sponsorship of terrorist organizations cannot be divorced from the negotiations because the sanctions that will be lifted provide new sources of funding to reinforce the Iran threat network. A global strategy to address the Iran threat network is essential to stability in the region.
Jul 15, 2015 FOX News Channel
Recent analysis about how to defeat the Islamic State tends to be based on no more than intuition, a general sense of history, or a small number of cases of questionable comparability. A study of 71 historical cases of counterinsurgencies should help provide empirical evidence to this important debate.
Sep 2, 2014 The Washington Post Monkey Cage Blog