ISIS and the Crumbling Middle East

  • Copts Bear Brunt of a Shift in Terror Strategy in Egypt

    On December 11 at approximately 10 AM, Cairo time, a bomb ripped through the St. Paul and St. Peter Church in the Cairo district of Abassiya, killing 25 and injuring over 50 worshipers. Eyewitnesses described to local media a harrowing scene of devastation Cairo’s citizens haven’t felt in a long time. The explosion, which reportedly came from the direction of the women’s pews, caused the roof to partially collapse and knocked worshipers standing outside its walls to the ground. Most of the victims were women and...
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  • Donald Trump's Position on the Use of US Military Power

    And finally, a commitment to only engage the use of military forces when it's in the vital national security interest of the United States.
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  • Iraqis Sheltering in Mosul Create Fresh Hurdles for Aid Agencies

    Abu Mohamed stood outside his shrapnel-scarred gate in the eastern Zahra district of Mosul and pointed to where a mortar round had exploded the day before, killing two of his neighbors.
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  • Every Street Corner is the Front Line in Mosul

    Wisam al-Zubaidi is a member of one of Iraq’s elite counter-terrorism troops. But right now he isn’t fighting, he is in a Baghdad hospital nursing a bullet wound in his foot. At a battle east of Mosul, he and his battalion were ambushed by the extremist group known as the Islamic State, which Iraqi forces are currently fighting in northern Iraq. Some of his comrades were killed, others injured and some are still fighting; al-Zubaidi, a member of the elite troops that often fight their way forward into battle before other military units, is still telephoning his colleagues to find out what’s going on.
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  • Moscow, Washington, and the Wreckage of Syria

    At a recent international conference, Russian scholars triumphantly upheld their country's role in Syria and called on the West to organize a "Marshall Plan" to rebuild Syria under Bashar al-Assad. In Peru, meanwhile, President Obama—he who has put American boots on the ground in Syria to help fight ISIS—lamented (without apparent irony) that he could never find a legal justification to act militarily in Syria. The slaughter of Syrian civilians and its policy consequences are bad enough. The narratives of those who unashamedly glorify the perpetrators and those who coldly dismiss defending the defenseless add enduring insult to an ongoing abomination. And someone will ultimately have to pay to rebuild that which has been utterly wrecked by a regime and its supporters.
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  • ISIS in Sirte: From Caliphate to Insurgency

    With the Libyan city of Sirte almost completely liberated from the Islamic State, the group appears to be adapting rather than collapsing. Despite a significant decline in interactions with outsiders, recent statements by ISIS leaders and the tactics used in its fight in Sirte point to how it might deal with the aftermath. In its fight for survival, the Islamic State is adopting a low profile and building a network of itinerant, covert cells.
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  • Tal Afar: Prospect for Escalation

    The international media often describes the city of Mosul, the capital of Ninawa province, as the Islamic State’s (ISIS) last remaining stronghold in Iraq. However, there is another major stronghold that may soon be a flashpoint between rival factions of the anti-ISIS coalition. In late October, Iraq’s Shia militias opened a new front in the military campaign against the Islamic State, aiming to liberate the city of Tal Afar, about 35 miles west of Mosul. The entrance of pro-government Shia militias—known as the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU)—prompted a Turkish warning that it may intervene to protect Sunnis in Tal Afar from potential revenge killings at the hands of Shia militia forces.
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  • What the Loss of Mosul Will Mean for ISIS

    As Iraqi forces continue to push further into the Islamic State’s bastion in Mosul, the looming loss of this key city heralds the end of the Islamic caliphate as a pseudo state. The organization, however, may survive as an insurgency and more importantly through the continuity of its “ideological caliphate.”
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  • Anbar’s Iraqi Policemen: Between ISIS and a Hard Place

    There have been plenty of calls for families who were displaced by the security crisis caused by the Islamic State group to return home, once their territories have been cleared of the extremists. But in the central province of Anbar, it seems that not everybody is welcome.
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  • Top US General: Russia Trying to Undermine NATO

    The threat baseline, he [Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford] said, is four-plus-one: Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and violent extremism.
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