In the past few days, two young women who left their home countries to join the Islamic State in Syria announced their desire to return home with their children. Hoda Muthana, from the United States, and Shamima Begum, from the United Kingdom, both married Islamic State fighters and had children in Syria. But neither the U.S. nor the U.K. will allow their return.
Latest in Islamic State
On the morning of Jan. 6, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced that it had captured five Islamic State foreign fighters in Syria, including two reported U.S. citizens. The SDF identified the American captives as Zaid Abed al-Hamid, a 35-year-old from an undisclosed location in the U.S, and Warren Christopher Clark, a 34-year-old from Houston, Tex. If Clark’s capture is verified, it adds another chapter to years-long efforts to investigate into American Islamic State members.
More than 600 Islamic State fighters from a variety of countries are being held by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Syria, but no one thinks this situation can last. Frantic diplomatic negotiations have borne little fruit so far, and it appears a two-pronged stopgap solution may be in the works. Buckle up.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces captured an American-Saudi dual citizen last September suspected to be a member of the Islamic State. Because of his citizenship, he was quickly transferred to Defense Department custody and is being held in Iraq. After nine months of detention and litigation over this U.S.
For a brief moment, the Islamic State was a massive success.
Iraq’s Harsh Approach to Punishing Islamic State ‘Collaborators’ Stands to Have Counterproductive Consequences
“[The Islamic State]’s ideology is so dangerous that we cannot afford to show any leniency” —an Iraqi judge interviewed in Mosul (Dec. 13, 2017)
Editor’s Note: The Islamic State’s territorial expansion and burgeoning online presence seemed to rise together. As the group lost territory, however, its online presence evolved. Jade Parker and Charlie Winter, two leading analysts of the Islamic State’s propaganda machine, describe how the group’s propaganda production has changed in the post-Caliphate era and how we can prepare for the next round.
Editor’s Note: Of the many horrible things the Islamic State has done, one of the worst is its indoctrination of children and use of them in its gruesome deeds. The children are both victims and perpetrators. Governments have a responsibility to care for them yet must also guard against possible threats they may pose. Robin Simcox of the Heritage Foundation lays out the challenges ahead for several European states, as well as how they might confront this knotty problem.
In the post-September 11 era, the United States has suffered fewer terrorist attacks than many observers expected, even as the threat of the Islamic State looms. The relative safety of the U.S. homeland is in part due to the United States’ externalization of its counterterrorism operations: U.S. partners in the Middle East collect intelligence on the Islamic State, disrupt its fighters and operatives, host drone and air assets, and bomb the group in coordination with U.S. forces.
Editor's note: This post is adapted from testimony given by the author before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on June 8. Video of the hearing is available here.