Countering Insurgencies and Violent Extremism in South and Southeast Asia

September 01, 2020

Today, people’s rising aspirations often sit at odds with political stability. Impatience, dissent and violent protests can easily slip into insurgency and terrorism. Various state machineries stand guilty of weaponizing political disaffection in pursuit of political goals. These policies often...

The Islamic State and Donald Trump’s Delusion

November 01, 2019

Even before the recent raid that resulted in the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the erstwhile head of the Islamic State (IS or ISIS), US President Donald Trump had spoken of how he had single-handedly defeated the caliphate. “Now, when I came, the caliphate was all over the place,” the...

A Shadow Caliphate Emerges from the Ruins

March 27, 2019

The extent to which the Islamic State has re-established itself in a country where it was supposedly defeated is testament to its resilience and to the appeal of its extremist ideology. The narrative is an appealing one. The Islamic State (IS or ISIS) was cornered and down to defending a single...

How Love Drives Extremism

The human need for connection leads young people to be especially vulnerable to extremist groups who promise deep connection, comradeship, brotherhood and belonging. Even a cursory glance at recent books on extremism makes clear the kinds of emotions that most scholars and policymakers see as...

US Special Ops at War 

January 11, 2018

US Special Operations Forces were deployed to 149 nations in 2017, or about 75% of the countries on the planet. At around 11 o’clock that night, four Lockheed MC-130 Combat Talons, turboprop Special Operations aircraft, were flying through a moonless sky from Pakistan into Afghan airspace. On...

The Virtual Islamic State Is Next

November 24, 2017

The Islamic State is increasingly going online to ensure its survival. Cyberspace is the ideal platform for terrorists because, unlike conventional warfare, barriers to entry into cyberspace are much lower. The price of entry is an internet connection. The surreptitious use of the internet to...

Are New Middle Eastern Alliances Reshaping the Region?

Political spats and rifts in the Middle East could lead to proxy wars and potentially redraw demarcation lines for new states in parts of Iraq and Turkey. The Middle East is witnessing a total makeover that may change the rules of war, peace and stability not only in the region, but also the...

Kurdexit: More Trouble than it’s Worth?

September 11, 2017

A yes vote in the Kurdish independence referendum might bring more trouble to the region. When on June 7 Masoud Barzani, Kurdistan’s incumbent president, announced a referendum on independence from Iraq for September 25, a wave of internal backlashes followed, questioning Barzani’s...

High Crimes and Demeanors in the Age of Trump

September 06, 2017

The US blames everyone but itself for the sorry state of global affairs. Let me try to get this straight: From the moment the Soviet Union imploded in 1991 until recently, just about every politician and mainstream pundit in America assured us that we were the planet’s indispensable nation,...

The Genocide of Yazidis is Not Over

August 02, 2017

The women and girls victimized by IS deserve to see their persecutors held accountable for their crimes in an international court. On August 3, 2014, Islamic State (IS) fighters attacked the Yazidi community in Sinjar, Iraq. Since then, the Yazidis have been the target of an explicit and...

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