William McCants

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William McCants is a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, where he directs its Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World. He is author of The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy, and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State.

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Foreign Policy Essay

The Foreign Policy Essay—Special Edition: First, Do No Harm

Editor’s Note: The White House summit on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) that will begin tomorrow is a bold attempt to tackle the “root causes” of terrorism. Yet more than a decade after 9/11, neither the United States nor its allies have a strong understanding of how to do so. Indeed, the programmatic track record is more one of noble failures than even limited successes. My Brookings colleague Will McCants cautions against programs that are too broad and alienate American Muslims, instead calling for a narrow focus on at-risk communities and individuals.

Foreign Policy Essay

The Foreign Policy Essay: The Sectarian Apocalypse

Editor’s Note: The savage fighting in Syria and now Iraq seems to grow worse every month. As the U.S. role in the conflict grows, so too does the need to understand the motivations of the fighters, including Westerners who go off to join the fray. Unlike many past conflicts in the Muslim world, the eschatological elements of the Syrian conflict run deep. William McCants, my colleague at Brookings who runs the Project on U.S.

Foreign Policy Essay

The Foreign Policy Essay: Saudi Arabia Dumps the Brotherhood

Editor’s Note: The Arab Spring and the subsequent backlash from authoritarian regimes have created new rifts in the Middle East. One of the biggest new divides is between those who support and those who oppose the Muslim Brotherhood, the inveterate Islamist movement that has branches in many Arab countries. Saudi Arabia in particular has supported the counterrevolution in several countries, backing a crackdown in Bahrain and providing vital financial support for the Egyptian military leaders who overthrew the Brotherhood government there.