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  • Issue Brief posted April 22, 2015 by David Inserra, James Phillips 67 Islamist Terrorist Plots Since 9/11: Spike in Plots Inspired by Terrorist Groups, Unrest in Middle East

    In late February, Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Somalia, was arrested in Ohio and charged with various terrorist activities. Last week, news came that a Federal Grand Jury had indicted Mohamud on additional federal charges, including providing material support to terrorists and making a false statement involving international terrorism. With…

  • Issue Brief posted April 16, 2015 by Michaela Dodge, Steven Groves, James Phillips Senate’s Iran Nuclear Bill Misses the Point

    Two days ago, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) unanimously passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, a bill that attempts to bolster the congressional role in the Obama Administration’s negotiations on the Iranian nuclear program. While the effort is well intentioned, the bill sets up Congress to allow the Administration to act as if it had…

  • Backgrounder posted April 7, 2015 by Dakota Wood, Charlotte Florance, James Phillips Intervention in Libya: Lessons in Leading

    Weeds of the Arab Spring The Arab Spring undoubtedly changed the political, economic, and security landscape in the Middle East and North Africa. More than four years after the self-immolation of Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi and the catalytic explosion of the event on social media among Arab youth populations, authoritarian regimes quickly came under fire,…

  • Backgrounder posted March 5, 2015 by Brett D. Schaefer, James Phillips Time to Reconsider U.S. Support of UNRWA

    The Palestinian Authority (PA), which was created by the Oslo peace process, has turned its back on negotiations with Israel and sought to pressure and delegitimize the Jewish state through the United Nations. Palestinian efforts to secure a one-sided Security Council resolution calling for an Israeli withdrawal to the borders that existed before the 1967 Arab–Israeli War…

  • Issue Brief posted February 10, 2015 by James Phillips The Iran Nuclear Negotiations: Understanding Key Issues

    The Obama Administration has bent over backward in an effort to secure a nuclear agreement with Iran. In principle, it has accepted Iran’s illicit uranium enrichment activities, the heavy-water reactor at Arak that could become a plutonium bomb factory, and Iran’s continued stonewalling of the investigation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). These…

  • Commentary posted January 28, 2015 by James Phillips A Big Foreign Policy Challenge: Regaining Saudi Arabia's Trust

    The passing of King Abdullah and ascension to the throne of Crown Prince Salman has proceeded smoothly at a time when the Saudi kingdom faces growing challenges at home and abroad. King Abdullah, 90, compiled a record as a relatively liberal reformer who helped modernize the kingdom, reform its educational system and somewhat expand opportunities for Saudi women to work,…

  • Commentary posted January 21, 2015 by James Phillips ISIS vs. Al Qaeda: The good news and the bad news

    The Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), has become a bitter rival of Al Qaeda, its parent organization. Its leaders represent a new generation of Islamist militants who have broken with Al Qaeda in a power struggle over Syria and the future of the global Islamist revolution. Both groups share the same ultimate goal: the…

  • Issue Brief posted January 12, 2015 by Brett D. Schaefer, James Phillips Provocative Palestinian U.N. Actions Require Strong U.S. Response

    The U.S. has provided billions of dollars in assistance to facilitate peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Despite America’s financial support and its repeated diplomatic efforts, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has demonstrated little serious interest in negotiating a peace agreement that recognizes Israel’s right to exist, commits the Palestinians to…

  • Issue Brief posted November 26, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Dakota Wood, James Phillips, Luke Coffey National Security Priorities for the Next Secretary of Defense

    President Barack Obama is replacing his Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel. Hagel was the third Secretary of Defense to serve under President Obama, following Robert Gates and Leon Panetta. The announcement of Hagel’s resignation, reportedly under pressure from the White House, was not accompanied by mention of a successor, who must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Hagel…

  • Issue Brief posted November 22, 2014 by James Phillips Nuclear Negotiations with Iran: U.S. Must Avoid a Rush to Failure

    The November 24 deadline for a nuclear agreement with Iran is fast approaching, with no sign that a deal that would advance U.S. national security interests can be reached by that date. After almost a year of negotiations, Iran has won international acceptance of its once-covert uranium enrichment facilities and obtained substantial sanctions relief in exchange for…

  • Special Report posted November 17, 2014 by Lisa Curtis, Charlotte Florance, Walter Lohman, James Phillips Pursuing a Freedom Agenda Amidst Rising Global Islamism

    Contributors Lisa Curtis is Senior Research Fellow for South Asia in the Asian Studies Center, of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, at The Heritage Foundation. Charlotte Florance is a Research Associate for Economic Freedom in Africa and the Middle East in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign and National…

  • Issue Brief posted October 6, 2014 by James Phillips The Rise of Al-Qaeda’s Khorasan Group: What It Means for U.S. National Security

    The air strikes against Islamist terrorist groups in Syria that the U.S. launched on September 22 included strikes against a group that few Americans had heard about before: the Khorasan group. Although sometimes mistakenly characterized as a new terrorist group, Khorasan is a new tentacle of an old organization—the al-Qaeda high-command or core group. The rise of the…

  • Commentary posted September 10, 2014 by James Phillips The message ISIS wants to send to America, the world

    The grisly propaganda videos released by Islamist terrorists of the executions of innocent American hostages are coldly calculated to intimidate the terrorist group’s enemies, inspire its followers and incite further attacks against the United States and our allies. The Islamic State (formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS) considers the videos a…

  • Commentary posted July 17, 2014 by James Phillips Gaza Crisis Illuminates a Grave New World

    The eruption of the third Gaza war since 2008 is yet another manifestation of the growing threat posed by Islamist militants within an increasingly unstable Middle East.  In recent years, Al-Qaeda and other Islamist revolutionary groups have made major gains in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia, Bahrain and Yemen.  They have exploited the chaos of the…

  • Issue Brief posted June 3, 2014 by James Phillips To Defeat Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Stronger Counterterrorism Cooperation Needed

    Iraq faces major political, national security, and economic challenges that should be addressed by the new government that emerges from the April 30 elections. Last year, more than 7,800 civilians and 1,050 members of the security forces were killed in political violence and terrorist attacks, making it Iraq’s deadliest year since 2008. The Islamic State of Iraq and…