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Posts by Daniel Byman

Daniel Byman is foreign policy editor of Lawfare. He is research director and a senior fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, where he focuses on counterterrorism and Middle East security. He is also a professor at Georgetown University's Security Studies Program. He served as a staff member on the 9/11 Commission and worked for the U.S. government. His most recent book is A High Price: The Triumphs and Failures of Israeli Counterterrorism.

The Foreign Policy Essay: The New Sectarianism

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Sunday, March 2, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Addressing an American public skeptical of U.S. military intervention in Syria, President Barack Obama noted, “In that part of the world, there are ancient sectarian differences.” Indeed, religious conflict—between Christians and Muslims in Egypt and especially between Sunnis and Shi’a in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Bahrain, and elsewhere in the region—seems worse now than at any . . .
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The Foreign Policy Essay: Frederic Wehrey on “The Roots–and Blowback–of the New Sectarianism”

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Sunday, January 26, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Examples of religious strife are numerous in the Middle East and elsewhere.  Yet more frequently, religious communities have lived side-by-side, if not always arm-in-arm.  In the Middle East today, however, regional civil wars have become sectarian conflicts, shattering this already-fragile accord and leading to the deaths of tens of thousands. Although violence in Iraq and . . .
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The Foreign Policy Essay: Charles Lister on “The anti-Jihadist Revolt in Syria”

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Sunday, January 19, 2014 at 10:00 AM

The revolt against the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (greater Syria), usually referred to by its acronym ISIS, is the latest dramatic turn in the Syrian civil war. In the last few weeks, a range of rebel groups, including other Islamists, have turned their guns against ISIS, driving it from parts of Syria the . . .
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The Foreign Policy Essay: “Syria’s Other Foreign Fighters”

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Sunday, January 12, 2014 at 10:00 AM

The Syria conflict hasn’t really stayed in Syria. The trickle of Sunni jihadists traveling to Syria to fight quickly became a flood, with their numbers rapidly surpassing those in past wars, the anti-Soviet struggle in Afghanistan being just one. Because of their strong anti-Western views and tendency toward international terrorist activities, the Sunni fighters have . . .
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The Foreign Policy Essay: “2013 – The Year We Lost Iraq?”

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Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Violence in Iraq in 2013 was worse than at any time since 2008 – when Iraq was still in the throes of its all-out civil war that had led to over 100,000 deaths. And Iraq’s problems are getting worse, not better. Although there are many differences, the situation in Iraq today reminds me in some . . .
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The Foreign Policy Essay: C. Christine Fair on “Lashkar-e-Taiba: Pakistan’s Domesticated Terrorists”

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Sunday, December 29, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Lashkar-e-Tayiba (LeT), which operates under the name Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD), is both an important and misunderstood terrorist group. LeT grabbed world attention in 2008, when its operatives attacked hotels and other sites during a multi-day operation in Mumbai, India that killed over 160 people. In addition to the horror of the attack itself, American officials were . . .
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The Foreign Policy Essay: Elizabeth Dickinson on “Financing Extremism in Syria”

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Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 10:00 AM

The civil war in Syria has confounded U.S. policymakers, who worry about the mounting humanitarian crisis, the collapse of the Syrian state, the prominent Iranian presence, and especially the growing role of jihadist terrorists in the conflict—yet have proven unable to halt or even stem these problems.  One of the most vexing issues, however, is . . .
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The Foreign Policy Essay: Oriana Skylar Mastro on “China’s ADIZ – A Successful Test of U.S. Resolve?”

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Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 10:00 AM

China’s declaration of an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea on November 23 confounded many observers, including veteran China-watchers. The move alarmed China’s neighbors and was met with a rapid U.S. response, which involved flying two unarmed B-52s through the zone as a form of calibrated defiance. My Georgetown colleague, Oriana . . .
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The Foreign Policy Essay: Cheng Li and Ryan McElveen on “NSA Revelations Have Irreparably Hurt U.S. Corporations in China”

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Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Lawfare readers have followed and discussed the Snowden revelations with a mixture of dread and excitement. Our focus, understandably, is on the impact of the leaks on the intelligence community and on U.S. national security policy. The seemingly endless disclosures and associated news stories, along with the many declassified documents from the ODNI, have sparked . . .
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The Foreign Policy Essay: Erik Gartzke on “Fear and War in Cyberspace”

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Sunday, December 1, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Cyberwar is all the rage, and with it, questions abound on what new technologies may mean for society and—Lawfare’s specialties—the implications of these technologies on surveillance, privacy, intelligence, and the laws of war. However, we may have rushed to explore the trees without looking at the overall forest. Erik Gartzke offers here a short version . . .
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The Foreign Policy Essay: Afshon Ostovar on “Seven Things to Know About Iran’s Revolutionary Guards”

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Sunday, November 24, 2013 at 10:00 AM

A few hours ago, the United States and five world powers reached an agreement with Iran to freeze and even roll back aspects of its nuclear program. Iran pops up on Lawfare from time to time, in part because of its intervention in Syria, but also because its support for terrorist groups, its nuclear program, . . .
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How to Handle a Citizen Terrorist? We Have an App for That

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Thursday, January 3, 2013 at 4:26 PM

Ever caught a U.S. citizen you suspected of terrorism, and not known what to do with him? We have an app for you. Sorry, you can’t yet download it for your iPhone—yet—but our Disposition Matrix App is now live over at The Atlantic. For the past several months, we have been working on a very . . .
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