Pakistan, the world’s second-largest Muslim nation, borders Afghanistan, Iran, India, and China and is a key player in Middle East and Asian relations due to its geography and complex history. RAND research has explored the forces shaping the development of Pakistan’s economic and political systems, its nuclear imperative, the role of local Islamic fundamentalist groups in global terrorism, and the effect of U.S. military policy and foreign aid to Pakistan on regional counterterrorism efforts.

  • Commentary

    Asia's Nonproliferation Laggards: China, India, Pakistan, Indonesia and Malaysia

    The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction ranks as one of the biggest challenges facing the Obama administration. Luckily, Mr. Obama has a tool to combat this threat, in the form of the Proliferation Security Initiative.... The trick now will be to convince key Asian countries to participate, writes Charles Wolf Jr.

    Feb 9, 2009

  • Report

    Mumbai Terrorist Attacks Show Rise of Strategic Terrorist Culture

    The Mumbai terrorist attacks in India suggest the possibility of an escalating terrorist campaign in South Asia and the rise of a strategic terrorist culture. This report identifies the operational and tactical features of the attack, evaluates the response of Indian security forces, and analyzes the implications for the region and the U.S.

    Jan 15, 2009

  • Report

    A Strategic Planning Approach: Defining Alternative Counterterrorism Strategies as an Illustration

    This paper defines an approach to strategic planning and illustrates its application using the example of the critical national security topic of counterterrorism.

    Jan 1, 2009

  • Commentary

    Backlash Against Terror

    The recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, are part of a disturbing trend across the Muslim world of groups that target civilians in the name of Islam. Less visible to Western eyes, but potentially just as significant, is a growing backlash among Muslims who condemn such attacks as unethical, writes ...

    Dec 21, 2008

  • Commentary

    Mumbai's Terrifying Logic

    We tend to describe terrorism as senseless violence, but it seldom is. If we look at the attacks from the attackers' perspective, we can discern a certain strategic logic, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Dec 9, 2008

  • Commentary

    India, Pakistan Must Confront Threat of More Violence

    As the last Mumbai sites were being cleared of terrorists, grim signs emerged of the challenges that face India and Pakistan. Unfortunately, beginning to know what the Mumbai attack was — and what it was not — only augurs more violence for India. At least three factors are at play, writes Christine Fair.

    Dec 9, 2008

  • Commentary

    The Backlash Against Terror

    The recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, are part of a disturbing trend across the Muslim world of groups that target civilians in the name of Islam. Less visible to Western eyes, but potentially just as significant, is a growing backlash among Muslims who condemn such attacks as unethical, writes Seth Jones.

    Dec 8, 2008

  • Commentary

    Terrorists Have to Be Lucky Once; Targets, Every Time

    The 9/11 tragedy was a catalyst that accelerated the pace of the changes in the UK security model that were already occurring due to the waning threat of terrorism from the IRA and the growing threat from those who espoused an ideology of violent jihadism. The changes took place in three main areas, writes Lindsay Clutterbuck.

    Nov 30, 2008

  • Report

    Unfolding the Future of the Long War: Implications for the U.S. Military

    While policymakers, military leaders, and scholars have offered numerous definitions of the "long war" - an epic struggle against adversaries bent on forming a unified Islamic world to supplant western dominance; an extension of the war on terror - no consensus has been reached about this term or its implications for the United States.

    Nov 29, 2008

  • Report

    Enhancement by Enlargement: The Proliferation Security Initiative

    The Proliferation Security Initiative consists of 91 countries seeking to limit the spread of weapons of mass destruction between states or non-state actors that would thereby pose a serious threat to global or regional security. This report assesses the perspectives of the five "hold-out" nations and how to possibly gain their affiliation.

    Nov 21, 2008

  • Commentary

    Know Your Enemy: From Iraq to Afghanistan

    As debate continues about how to fight a resurgent Al Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan and along the Pakistan border, leaders in Washington, Kabul and Islamabad seem lost about what to do next.... And most experts agree that an Al Qaeda-orchestrated attack on the U.S. homeland would likely be plotted from their sanctuary in these border areas, write Benjamin Bahney and Renny McPherson.

    Nov 9, 2008

  • Report

    Lessons from Six Decades of Research on Deterrence, From Cold War to Long War

    The United States' 2006 reversal of its 2002 proclamation that deterrence was irrelevant to most future national security strategies is bolstered by research which shows that deterrence will likely play an ongoing role in U.S. efforts to manage a variety of threats, including both near-peer competitors and terrorist organizations.

    Oct 8, 2008

  • Testimony

    Defeating Terrorist Groups

    In testimony presented before the House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Terrorism and Unconventional Threats and Capabilities, Seth Jones discusses how to defeat terrorist groups through a strategy based on careful police and intelligence work rather than military force.

    Sep 18, 2008

  • Report

    New Book Provides Unique View Into Mind of Fanatical Jihadists

    David Aaron, a veteran U.S. diplomat and director of the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy, has compiled a wide range of writings by Islamic terrorists that offer an unusual window into their mentality. The book, "In Their Own Words: Voices of Jihad," is a virtual encyclopedia of jihadist rhetoric written by the terrorists themselves.

    Sep 16, 2008

  • Commentary

    A Nuclear 9/11?

    Will terrorists go nuclear? It is a question that worried public officials and frightened citizens have been asking for decades. It is no less of a worry today, as we ponder the seventh anniversary of 9/11, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Sep 12, 2008

  • Report

    Political Reform in the Arab World is a Mixed Bag in Confronting Terrorism

    Democratic political reforms can marginalize extremists and undermine support for political violence, but cosmetic reforms and backtracking on democratization can exacerbate the risk of terrorism.

    Sep 9, 2008

  • Report

    U.S. Should Rethink "War On Terrorism" Strategy to Deal with Resurgent Al Qaida

    Current U.S. strategy against terrorist organization al Qaida has not been successful at limiting the group's capabilities. Since Sept. 11, 2001, al Qaida has been involved in more terrorist attacks than ever before, spanning an increasingly broader range of targets.

    Aug 3, 2008

  • Report

    A President's Early Foreign Policy, National Security Success Depends on Transition

    The foreign policy success of incoming presidents, particularly in the early years of a presidency, is largely determined by how well the new administration learns from the successes and failures of the outgoing president.

    Jul 29, 2008

  • Report

    Dangerous Thresholds: Managing Escalation in the 21st Century

    Historical examples and the analysis of two modified Delphi exercises augment an examination of approaches to escalation management within the demands of today’s security environment and its attendant threats involving not only long-standing nuclear powers, but also insurgent groups and terrorists.

    Jul 8, 2008

  • Report

    Flexibility and Sensitivity to Local Concerns Are Crucial to Long-Term U.S. Security Relationships with Iraq and Afghanistan

    The United States is heavily invested – diplomatically, economically, and militarily – in Iraq and Afghanistan. Based on this, the United States must clarify its long-term intentions to Iraq, Afghanistan, and the surrounding regions.

    Jun 17, 2008