After nearly 25 years of Saddam Hussein's rule, Iraqis generally welcomed his overthrow during the 2003 invasion, but the post-Saddam years have seen increased religious conflicts, economic struggles, insurgency, and the continued and divisive presence of occupying forces. RAND research on the Gulf Wars and nation-building efforts in Iraq have helped to inform and advise both the U.S. government and military, and the nascent Iraqi government.
Both Iraqi and Kurdish officials have expressed concern that ethnic violence will break out in the north once U.S. troops withdraw. Though many state publicly that the U.S. "occupation" must end, some of these same officials say privately that they would like U.S. troops to remain as a go-between, writes Larry Hanauer.
While the full extent of Iran's current clandestine influence remains murky, the "proxy narrative" is instructive more for what it reveals about Gulf insecurities than any truths about Iran's capabilities or intentions, write Frederic M. Wehrey and Dalia Dassa Kaye.
We are still too close to the events to discern the long-term trajectory of the campaign against al Qaeda. And almost nine years after 9/11, analysts are still remarkably divided in their assessments of al Qaeda's current situation, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.
Reflecting changes in the American approach to counterinsurgency, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen recently enunciated a new and apparently more restrained doctrine for the use of armed force. But is this really a repudiation of the so-called Powell Doctrine, asks James Dobbins.
Iran's attempt to join the world's nuclear-weapons club is setting the stage for a military confrontation. Israel's view on the matter is clear—a nuclear-armed Iran is a threat to its existence. What will Iran do in the wake of an Israeli attack that Iran will almost certainly assume has U.S. support, asks David E. Johnson.
As America starts its ninth year at war, more than 32,000 U.S. service members have already been wounded in action in Iraq and about 3,500 in Afghanistan. Will U.S. resolve to strengthen care for wounded Americans be maintained, asks Ralph Masi.
Two foiled airliner bombings bracket a decade that changed the world's understanding of terrorism as a new form of global warfare and has had profound ramifications we are still coming to grips with in the U.S., writes Brian Michael Jenkins.
When the Berlin Wall fell 20 years ago, those raised in the shadow of possible nuclear holocaust felt disbelief, followed by relief and hope that the end of the Cold War would bring lasting peace, and the end of conflict. And in Europe, at least, it mostly did – but not everywhere, writes Christopher S. Chivvis.
With much talk about how to "win hearts and minds" in the Muslim world, it's surprising that few are looking back to a global contest of ideas that the U.S. and its allies categorically won: the Cold War, write Todd C. Helmus and Dalia Dassa Kaye.
Before he closes Guantánamo, Obama must take a clear-eyed look at the record – and anticipate the next chapter of the fight against terrorism. What happens to terrorist suspects after they leave the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, asks Aidan Kirby Winn.
When Defense Secretary Gates announced that he was dismissing Gen. McKiernan as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan and replacing him with Lt. Gen. McChrystal, he signaled his support for an intellectual movement that in a few short years has come to dominate military thinking in Washington, writes Celeste Ward.
In the wake of President Obama's recent European trip, hopes for a rejuvenation of transatlantic security cooperation continue to rise. This means resolving some old problems and avoiding new pitfalls, writes Christopher S. Chivvis.
President Obama's visit to Ankara this week highlights Turkey's growing strategic importance to the United States - and a high stakes dilemma for the President and for U.S. strategic interests, writes F. Stephen Larrabee.
Former Vice President Cheney has been insisting again that the coercive interrogation techniques used against terrorism detainees after 9/11 prevented attacks on the United States.... His assertions merit more careful examination, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.
The Obama administration's decision to withdraw the bulk of United Sates troops from Iraq over the next 19 months has sparked fears that Iraq will once again plunge into the wide-scale and debilitating violence that it endured from 2004 to 2007. Those fears are, for the most part, overblown, writes Lowell Schwartz.
On his first day in office, President Barack Obama issued a dramatic series of executive orders intended to symbolize a change of direction in America's "war" on terrorism. Despite the headlines these orders generated, a more significant policy shift may have been the one signaled the week before his inauguration, writes Benjamin Runkle.
The story of how President Obama engineered a grass-roots campaign, mobilizing formerly disengaged U.S. citizens with new media and new technologies, has reached almost mythological proportions. Less well known is the story of similar grass-roots efforts emerging in local communities around the world, write Cherl Benard and Edward O'Connell.
The concrete contours of President Obama's foreign policy team have finally begun to emerge. What is intriguing is how many assignments are being given to those who have worked on the Korean peninsula, writes Chaibong Hahm.
While female suicide bombers in Iraq have been getting all the headlines, a very different cadre of women has emerged on the scene with the opposite goal of forging peace and paving over the sectarian differences. Above all, these activists want to take back the streets and neighborhoods of their country, write Edward O'Connell and Cheryl Benard.
The debate over withdrawal of American forces from Iraq has effectively ended: Troops will begin withdrawing in early 2009.... What is not yet entirely clear is what type of residual American force may remain in Iraq, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.