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  • 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 16, 2014 by Peter Brookes President Obama too fond of fairy tales

    President Obama would rather have been anywhere else on Earth but at that White House podium Wednesday night unveiling a new counterterror strategy for dealing with the Islamic State (aka ISIS or ISIL) in Iraq and Syria. Why? The speech — given in the shadow of the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks — cut sharply counter to the “wishful-thinking” narrative…

  • Commentary posted September 15, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Obama's ISIS strategy: Why Bush's 2007 warning on Iraq matters

    Replaying the video of President Bush's 2007 warning against a premature withdrawal U.S. troops from Iraq is all the rage. In the last 24 hours, millions of Americans have “gone to the tape."  But, unlike a referee’s decision in an NFL game, President Obama’s blown call on this question can't be reversed. There are no do-overs in war.   Still, Mr. Bush’s comments are…

  • Commentary posted September 15, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Why Obama's ISIS Speech Is No Strategy: 5 Concerns Going Forward

    If making a speech served as strategy, then FDR would have checked that block by declaring Pearl Harbor a day of infamy. But not so. Long before the Japanese bombers and Zeros hit Pearl, Roosevelt’s team had put in months of hard thinking, planning and decision-making to prepare for the nightmare scenario of a two-front conflict with Germany and Japan. And after 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 August 25, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. U.S. must stop giving ground in Iraq

    The best way to start winning a war is to stop losing. That axiom certainly applies to what’s going on in Iraq. But, that said, there is no place for American brigades in this battle. Yes, Americans have a huge stake in preventing al-Qaeda’s cousin from setting up a brutal caliphate in Iraq. The Middle East is a crossroads of the world. If unchecked, the malevolent…

  • Commentary posted August 25, 2014 by Daniel Kochis We’re All in this Together: U.S. Allies Should Do More to Confront ISIS

    Make no mistake, ISIS’s methodical march of savagery across the Middle East threatens more than the religious and ethnic minorities caught in its path. The United States and its allies, especially those in the region, have every reason to be concerned about the human cost of allowing ISIS to roam freely. Any rational person must be disgusted by the cold-blooded murders…

  • Issue Brief posted August 15, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Steven P. Bucci, Ph.D. The Way Forward in Iraq

    The situation in Iraq remains grave. Spiraling violence, political instability, and a humanitarian crisis caused by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) could impact U.S. vital interests. The Obama Administration has an obligation to take responsible action. Congress should insist the President take immediate, suitable, and appropriate measures to safeguard American…

  • Commentary posted July 8, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Prez Sticks to His Global Mistakes

    Secretary of State John Kerry recently floated a mind-boggling idea: To help turn back ISIS, the Islamic terrorist group that has seized control of more than a third of Iraq, the U.S. could enter a cooperative arrangement with the mullahs of Iran.  Yes, the administration still clings to the notion that it can advance American interests by cutting a deal with Tehran. No…

  • Commentary posted July 8, 2014 by Peter Brookes Terrorist Caliphate May Crumble

    The situation in Iraq is bad and it’s getting worse. This week, the terrorist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, announced the formation of an Islamic state — or caliphate — across the swath of territory it is currently holding. It’s a big deal — for a lot of reasons. First, while holding territory can be more difficult than taking it, just…

  • Commentary posted July 8, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Cutting Off ISIS Foreign-Fighter Pipelines

    Foreign fighters—outsiders recruited or who volunteer to fight in another country for somebody else’s cause—are nothing new. What’s new is that they have become a staple of the Al Qaeda cohort. It’s called the “pipeline” problem. Ferrying warriors to the war and also returning them home to spread the war elsewhere has become part of the stock and trade of how…

  • Commentary posted July 8, 2014 by Jim Talent Over the Brink

    What is happening in Iraq now has a nightmarish quality. Three years ago, the United States had defeated al-Qaeda in Iraq and set up a fledgling democracy in Iraq. I understand those who believe that Prime Minister Maliki could never have been trusted and Iraq would never have become a real democracy. But the United States didn’t need a democracy in Iraq, or even a…

  • Commentary posted June 16, 2014 by Kim R. Holmes, Ph.D. When war-weariness leads to more war

    President Obama is fond of saying he was elected to “end” wars, not start them. He clearly is tapping into Americans’ well-known weariness of wars and sees himself as merely carrying out their will. But there’s a problem. Americans may indeed be war-weary (although how much may be exaggerated), but that only means they assume Mr. Obama’s policies will actually end the…

  • Commentary posted June 15, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Has Obama "Lost" Iraq?

    Forget about speeches—foreign-policy crises define a presidency. Memorable speeches resonate because they are built on acts of real leadership. Conversely, failure washes away the most resounding rhetoric. Which is why the unraveling of Iraq will define Obama's tenure at the top much more than his recent address at West Point. After listening to Obama's speech to the…

  • Commentary posted June 13, 2014 by Dakota Wood America's Options: Combating ISIS in Iraq

    Riven by religious extremism and brutal sectarian competition, Iraq is descending again into the madness of civil war. The Maliki government has made a mess of things since taking office, estranging large segments of the Iraqi population along the way. The U.S. contributed to the mess via its hasty withdrawal two years ago, electing to end its security mission based on…