Jacob Olidort

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Jacob Olidort is adjunct professorial lecturer at American University. From 2016 to 2017 he served at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where he worked on the Syria portfolio. He was previously a Soref Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. All statements of fact, opinion or analysis expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official positions or views of the U.S. Department of Defense or of any other part of the U.S. government.

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Foreign Policy Essay

Is the Islamic State Defeated?

Editor’s Note: Whether the Islamic State is out as well as down is hotly debated in the terrorism world. President Trump believes the group is defeated, but most analysts argue that it remains a major threat. How to measure defeat, though, is not given much consideration. Jacob Olidort of American University argues that the president basically has it right: If you look at a broad range of measures, the Islamic State is defeated and U.S. policy should reflect this win.

Daniel Byman

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Foreign Policy Essay

Terrorists and Territory: What Jordan Can Teach Us about Managing Jihadists

Editor’s Note: Since 9/11, the United States has pushed all its allies to crack down on terrorism to prevent them from launching attacks or aiding others who might do so. President Trump has doubled down on this approach, calling for allies to "drive out" any terrorists on their soil. Jacob Olidort of the Washington Institute argues that zero tolerance is a mistake. Jordan, known for its effectiveness in fighting terrorism, illustrates how a country can manage and control jihadists at home without needing to eradicate them.

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Foreign Policy Essay

The Islamic State's "Homo Jihadus"

Editor's Note: It's hard to know what aspect of the Islamic State is most disturbing, but high on the list is the use of children as suicide bombers and executioners. Jacob Olidort of the Washington Institute draws on his study of Islamic State textbooks to explain how such practices are part of the Islamic State's broader indoctrination goals and why the United States and its allies should step up efforts to counter these.

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Foreign Policy Essay

Fall of the Brotherhood, Rise of the Salafis

Editor's Note: The 2013 coup in Egypt did not, as the story so often goes in the West, lead to the end of the Islamist role in Egyptian politics. Rather, it led the new regime to crack down on the Muslim Brotherhood but accommodate a Salafi role in politics. Indeed, throughout the Middle East the Salafis have emerged as a potent political force, represented not only by radical groups like the Islamic State but also by a range of peaceful political and social organizations.