Since its founding, the Islamic State has consistently expanded and contracted in order to achieve its objectives. To discern how ISIS might continue to expand, it makes sense to trace Al Qaeda's trajectory, which followed a similar pattern in the 2000s.
In the wake of the deaths of four U.S. servicemen in Niger, Americans are embroiled in a pointless political squabble. The focus should be on developing a greater understanding of the risks and benefits of U.S. counterterrorism operations abroad.
Worldwide, nearly 800 women die every day due to mostly preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. More than half of these deaths occur in fragile states torn by armed conflict and generalized violence.
The collaborative role being played by the United States and Djibouti represents the kind of partnerships that are now required in the battle against terrorism, because little-known places like Djibouti are one arena where the battle could be won or lost.
The average Somali lives on less than $2 a day. Even fishermen, who are comparatively well off by national standards, face difficulties making a living due to the chronic depletion of sea stocks from years of poaching and illegal dumping of toxic waste. Under such circumstances, the allure of piracy is clear.
The raids that the United States conducted over the weekend in Libya and Somalia could signal a new focus in Washington on capturing terrorist suspects and gathering intelligence rather than relying on drone strikes. RAND experts Linda Robinson, Angel Rabasa, and Seth Jones comment.
The Shabab terrorist attack at Westgate Mall in Kenya and its follow-up attacks in the country are a stark reminder that the Somalia-based group poses a threat to the United States and its interests in East Africa, writes Seth G. Jones.
Containing persistent maritime disorder might be more fruitful and could lay the foundations for a successful transition to better use of the sea once the societal factors—an even longer term problem—have been resolved, writes Laurence Smallman.
Although al Qaeda appears to be coming under pressure in some dimensions, I remain wary of calling a tipping point, and I am even more skeptical about the prospect of a knockout punch, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.
Piracy is a growing international problem, primarily around the Horn of Africa. The international response has been largely military in nature and focused exclusively on the maritime theatre, ignoring key land drivers of piracy, which will resurface once the military actions end, write Peter Chalk and Laurence Smallman.
The recent French and American rescues of hostages held by pirates off the coast of Somalia were necessary and proper. No one believes these actions will end piracy. But unless we impose risks on the pirates--which means taking some risks ourselves--piracy will certainly flourish, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.