Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS)

Latest in Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS)

Foreign Policy Essay

Counterproductive Counterinsurgency: Is Mozambique Creating the Next Boko Haram?

Editor’s Note: Mozambique has a small terrorism problem, but the government’s response threatens to make it a big one. Hilary Matfess of Yale University and Alexander Noyes of RAND Corp. contend that Mozambique is overreacting to the danger with a heavy-handed crackdown that is inflaming tension while doing little to disrupt the most radical elements there. Indeed, they argue that Mozambique risks following the path of Nigeria, where a ham-fisted government response to a radical sect led to a surge in support for the group that became Boko Haram.

Foreign Policy Essay

Revisiting Marawi: Women and the Struggle Against the Islamic State in the Philippines

Editor’s Note: The Islamic State’s crimes against women are well known, but it has also managed to appeal to women to join the fight directly or otherwise support the group. Too often, however, governments fail to recognize this risk. Kiriloi Ingram of the University of Queensland draws on her fieldwork in the Philippines to argue that governments and civil society groups need to do a far better job of recognizing the dangers women can pose while also empowering them to help counter violent extremism.

Daniel Byman

***

Foreign Policy Essay

Addressing the Threat of Homegrown Violent Extremists Sympathetic to the Islamic State

Editor’s Note: In recent years, so-called homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) have eclipsed returned foreign fighters and other sources of terrorism. National Defense University’s Kim Cragin assesses the HVE threat and finds that, contrary to popular opinion, Western security agencies are disrupting many HVE plots and otherwise doing well against this potentially dangerous threat.

Daniel Byman

***

Foreign Policy Essay

How Content Removal Might Help Terrorists

In recent years, counterterrorism policy has focused on making social media platforms hostile environments for terrorists and their sympathizers. From the German NetzDG law to the U.K.’s Online Harms White Paper, governments are making it clear that such content will not be tolerated. Platforms—and maybe even specific individuals—will be held accountable using a variety of carrot-and-stick approaches.

Foreign Policy Essay

How States Foster Violent Extremism and What the United States Should Do About It

Over the past two decades, extremists have successfully exploited both intrastate politics and interstate relations to further their own state-building projects. In particular, they have targeted marginalized, peripheral regions of fragile states, where citizens are politically and economically excluded by their governments. Stopping the spread of extremism will require a broader strategy to address the often counterproductive role played by government actors, instead of focusing narrowly on potentially radicalizing individuals.

Foreign Policy Essay

The Limits of British Citizenship

Editor’s Note: What to do with captured foreign volunteers for terrorist organizations is one of the toughest issues facing Western governments today. (See my views on a current U.S. case here.) Human rights organizations are particularly critical of governments that revoke citizenship or otherwise try to prevent their citizens from returning. Robin Simcox of the Heritage Foundation believes this opposition is simplistic.

Foreign Policy Essay

Fitna, a Failed Coup and a Squandered Opportunity to Undermine the Islamic State’s ‘Intangible Power’

Editor’s Note: The Islamic State seeks to project an image of strength, and that image has attracted many followers. In the past few years, the above-ground caliphate has collapsed and infighting is growing, but the group still stresses its prowess and leadership in its propaganda. Michael Smith II, a terrorism analyst who specializes in jihadist influence operations, calls for the United States to exploit the Islamic State’s internal dissent in its own counter-propaganda, playing up these divisions to further weaken the group.

***

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

***

Foreign Policy Essay

Thinking Critically About “By, With, Through” in Syria, Iraq, and Beyond

Editor’s Note: In the years since 9/11, the United States has waged war around the globe. It has often done so, however, “by, with, and through” local partners. Despite the importance of this approach and its overall value to the United States, its risks and limits do not receive enough attention. Morgan Kaplan of the Buffett Institute at Northwestern asks several probing questions about U.S. efforts to work with partners and concludes that this approach should not be uncritically embraced.

Daniel Byman

***

Subscribe to Lawfare

EmailRSSKindle