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  • Issue Brief posted April 20, 2016 by James Phillips Obama Needs to Mend Fences at Gulf Cooperation Council Summit

    President Barack Obama will travel to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Salman on Wednesday and with leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on Thursday. His trip is a follow-up to the May 2015 summit at Camp David that the President convened with leaders of the six GCC member states: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. President…

  • Issue Brief posted April 7, 2016 by Olivia Enos, James Phillips Next Steps for Addressing ISIS Genocide

    On March 17, 2016, Secretary of State John Kerry declared that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had committed genocide against Yazidis, Christians, and Shiite Muslims in Iraq and Syria.[1] The State Department’s decision to label ISIS acts as genocide came on the heels of a “sense of Congress” resolution, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives March 14,…

  • Special Report posted January 6, 2016 by Lisa Curtis, Luke Coffey, David Inserra, Daniel Kochis, Walter Lohman, Joshua Meservey, James Phillips, Robin Simcox Combatting the ISIS Foreign Fighter Pipeline: A Global Approach

    The Islamic State’s recent global terror campaign—including the October 31 downing of a Russian passenger jet that killed 224 and the November 13 shooting attacks in Paris that killed 130 restaurant patrons and concert-goers—has increased the urgency for the U.S. to lead a global alliance to defeat the Islamic State and its ideology. ISIS has also been able to establish a…

  • Commentary posted November 30, 2015 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. Whose values is Barack Obama promoting in Syria?

    The most serious problem with the Syrian refugees isn't that they'll bring terrorists with them. It's the war in Syria that made them refugees in the first place. President Barack Obama claims we have to admit refugees if we are to live up to our values. But he's the one who's sat on his hands as Syria burned. It's banal to say that concerns about terrorism are…

  • Issue Brief posted November 6, 2015 by James Phillips The Obama–Netanyahu Meeting: An Opportunity to Bolster Strategic Cooperation

    President Barack Obama will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on November 9 after a long period of tension between the two leaders over the controversial nuclear deal with Iran. Netanyahu, who warned that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose an existential threat to Israel, was highly critical of the risky agreement, which he lambasted for…

  • Commentary posted October 1, 2015 by Peter Brookes Brookes: Putin plays O for patsy in Syria

    When President Obama said at the United Nations on Tuesday that “ ... defeating ISIL requires — I believe — a new leader,” I thought for a brief moment I’d finally found something on which he and I could agree. Then I realized he wasn’t talking about his own leadership. The president was actually talking about the regime of Bashar Assad, the Syrian dictator Team…

  • Commentary posted July 8, 2015 by James Phillips Time for the Obama administration to respond to Syrian chemical attacks

    The Obama Administration puts a lot of stock into negotiating with hostile regimes.  Consider its seemingly endless negotiations with Iran over that nation’s illicit nuclear weapons program. But even as those negotiations drag on, Iran’s ally Syria has systematically violated the 2013 agreement it negotiated with the administration. In that agreement, codified in a U.N.…

  • Issue Brief posted May 14, 2015 by James Phillips Preparing for the Approaching Syrian Endgame

    Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship has been rocked by a string of military defeats and by internal tensions within the minority Alawite-dominated regime that is battling for its life against a rising tide of predominantly Sunni rebel groups. Casualties, defections, and loss of territory have severely undermined the Syrian Army and Syria’s security services, forcing the Assad…

  • 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,…

  • 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…

  • Commentary posted October 6, 2014 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. What's at Stake in U.S. Strategy in Syria

    The Obama administration's strategy for Syria relies on using U.S. air power to support local forces. If this approach fails, as it has failed in the past, the United States will find itself still lacking an effective, politically viable strategy for fighting Islamist terror more than a decade after 9/11 attacks. Since World War II, U.S. administrations have sought ways…

  • 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 June 12, 2014 by Peter Brookes Syrian Islamists Spread Terror Network Into Iraq

    Earlier this week on these very pages I warned about the rise of violent Islamist extremism, not exclusively but especially in Syria. Unfortunately, in just a few short days, the situation has gotten worse. I’m thinking about Iraq. On Tuesday, Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul, was overrun by an al-Qaeda “offshoot,” the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS — a…

  • Commentary posted June 9, 2014 by Peter Brookes Islamist Threat on the Rise

    Since the national conversation of late has been riveted on terrorism spurred on by the controversy swirling around the Taliban prisoner swap, it’s a good time to take stock of the state of Islamist militancy. Bottom line? The threat is getting worse. For instance, for the year 2013, the State Department estimated that terrorist attacks jumped more than 40 percent…