• ISIS Strikes Brussels: Is This The ‘New Normal’?

    The terrorist attacks in Brussels represent a collective failure of Western intelligence, underscore the challenges radicalized young Muslims pose to Europe and the United States, but most of all are emblematic of what the Atlantic Council’s Barry Pavel describes as a “new normal.”

    The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the March 22 attacks—at Brussels’ main international airport and a subway station near the European Union’s headquarters—that left at least thirty-six people dead.

    These attacks are “yet another tragic milestone of the ‘new normal’ that Europe, the United States, and their Mideast partners must endure,” said Pavel, Vice President, Arnold Kanter Chair, and Director of the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.

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  • Pavel Quoted by Roll Call on Brussels Attacks

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  • Can Japan Help End the War in Syria?

    Interview with Kota Suechika of Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan

    Japan can use its good relationships with various actors in the Syrian civil war to help end the conflict that this month entered its sixth year, according to Kota Suechika, a professor at the College of International Relations at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan.

    Japan’s options are limited because of its pacifist constitution. However, “Japan has got unique currency maintaining relations with various conflict actors, including state and non-state ones,” said Suechika.

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has sought to revise the constitution following the national anger that followed the beheading of two Japanese...

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  • In Somalia, al Shabaab Far from a Spent Force

    US strike on terrorist group exposes ‘serious strategic challenge,’ says Atlantic Council’s J. Peter Pham

    A US airstrike that killed more than 150 al Shabaab fighters at a training camp in Somalia over the weekend emphasizes the extent of the terrorist threat in a country that US President Barack Obama once cited as a counterterrorism success story, said the Atlantic Council’s J. Peter Pham.

    “The airstrike was a tactical and operational success, but it also underscores that there is a very serious strategic challenge,” said Pham, who is Director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center.

    The airstrike hit a training camp about 120 miles north of the Somali capital, Mogadishu. Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said a “large-scale” attack was being planned. “We know they were going to be departing the camp and they posed an imminent threat to US and [African Union] forces,” he said...

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  • In Nigeria, Boko Haram Casts a Shadow Over President Buhari’s Sunny Victory Claim

    Militant group has shown a ‘remarkable resilience and an almost uncanny ability to reinvent itself,’ said Atlantic Council’s J. Peter Pham

    A recent spate of deadly attacks by Boko Haram only serve to underscore the fact that despite Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s optimistic proclamations on the war against the Islamist militants, the group is far from finished, said J. Peter Pham, Director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center.

    “This is a group that has, over the course of the decade and a half that it has been active, shown remarkable resilience and an almost uncanny ability to reinvent itself,” Pham said.

    Buhari declared in December of 2015 that Nigeria had “technically” won the war against Boko Haram. Those words have returned to haunt him sooner than he probably imagined. On January 30,...

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  • Indonesia an Obvious Target as ISIS Seeks to Expand Footprint

    The terrorist attacks in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, on January 14 are concerning, but hardly surprising. The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the attacks, a first for the group inside the world’s largest Muslim country.

    It is clear that ISIS is seeking to increase its global footprint and searching for new ground to grow its supporter base. Indonesia is an obvious target for ISIS for a number of reasons, and in some ways it is surprising that such an attack did not happen sooner.

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  • Can Ghani Make Peace with the Taliban in Afghanistan?

    Answer lies in Pakistan’s willingness to end support for militants, says Atlantic Council’s James B. Cunningham

    Representatives from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, and the United States are meeting in Islamabad this week to draw up a roadmap for peace talks with the Taliban.

    James B. Cunningham, a former US Ambassador to Afghanistan and current Khalilzad Chair on Afghanistan and Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, discussed the prospects of peace in an interview with the New Atlanticist’sAshish Kumar Sen. Here are excerpts from our interview.

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  • Think Before We Talk About War on ISIS

    Whether our political leaders and media commentators are willing to declare war on the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) is fast becoming somewhat of a litmus test for whether one is serious about defeating this particular brand of terrorists. While the horror of the attacks in Paris certainly merits a strong response, the notion of a war against ISIS is neither apt nor helpful in actually eliminating the threat from the group and its sympathizers. It is not even very satisfying as a rhetorical device as it does not seem to mobilize opinion or inspire our population to make the sacrifices that a genuine war would entail, assuming we have gotten over our willingness to pursue massive, unfunded, and undeclared voluntary wars.

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  • In Bangladesh, Radical Islam on the Rise as 'Battling Begums' Feud

    Faysal Arefin was stabbed to death in his second-floor office in a crowded Dhaka neighborhood on Oct. 31. His crime: Publishing books by Avijit Roy, a Bangladeshi-American blogger and strident opponent of religious extremism.

    Arefin is not the first to meet such a gruesome end. On Feb. 26, machete-wielding men fatally attacked Roy as he was walking with his wife on a street in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka.

    Arefin and Roy are part of an alarming — and growing — list of victims of radical Islam. At least five secular bloggers have been killed in Bangladesh so far this year. Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), a local Islamist group that has claimed responsibility for some of the attacks, has drawn up a...

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  • Letter from Strasbourg (Part One): French Defense Priorities and Capabilities

    NATO is past the half-way mark between last September's Wales Summit and the Warsaw Summit planned for next July. So it is not too soon to ask how Allies are responding to the strategic, capability, and other challenges identified in Wales.
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