The US, EU and NATO continue to maintain a significant military presence in and around the Mediterranean, but military capabilities must be nested within a whole-of-government, international approach. The challenges in this region demand unprecedented levels of civil-military and intergovernmental cooperation. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
The next Administration faces serious problems and issues in its security cooperation with its Arab allies that cannot be papered over with reassuring rhetoric. Some problems are all too obvious results of the rise of ISIS; the legacy of the U.S. invasion of Iraq; and the problems in the fighting in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen. Other problems, however, are less obvious, but equally or more important. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Two years on, the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State, or IS, has achieved some important gains. This is particularly true in Iraq, where the liberation of Fallujah last month has focused attention on Mosul—the capital of the so-called caliphate. But military victory is only half the battle. As the Islamic State is pushed out of Iraqi cities and towns, the communities it ruled must be integrated back into Iraq. Nature abhors a vacuum; the U.S.-led Global Coalition to Counter ISIL should do more to support the Iraqi government in filling that vacuum. For its part, the Iraqi government itself must display a greater commitment to inclusive governance that reinforces its own legitimacy. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
As strife in the Middle East continues to make headlines, from the militant group ISIS to Syrian refugees, the Muslim world is sharply divided on what the relationship should be between the tenets of Islam and the laws of governments. Across 10 countries with significant Muslim populations surveyed in 2015, there is a striking difference in the extent to which people think the Quran should influence their nation’s laws. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Analysis of publicly available information on homegrown violent jihadist activity in the United States since September 11, 2001, suggests that the Islamic State (IS) and its acolytes may pose broad challenges to domestic law enforcement and homeland security efforts. Homegrown IS–inspired plots can be broken into three rough categories based on the goals of the individuals involved. The first two focus on foreign fighters, the last on people willing to do harm in the United States.
On September 10, 2014, President Obama announced the formation of a global coalition to “degrade and ultimately defeat” the Islamic State (IS, aka the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL/ISIS or the Arabic acronym Da’esh). According to the U.S. State Department, there are currently 66 participants in the coalition. Each country is contributing to the coalition in a manner commensurate with its national interests and comparative advantage. The brief report offers several figures. The first is a map of the training and capacity building bases across Iraq, and key nations operating out of those bases as reported by United States Central Command and supplemented with open source reporting. The second is a table depicting participants in the military campaign, and what specifically each country is contributing in terms of military forces.
Since late 2014 the Islamic State has declared war on Saudi Arabia and launched a series of terrorist attacks on Saudi soil intended to start an uprising. In a further attack on the Saudi kingdom, the self-declared caliphate has claimed to be the true representative of the severe form of Islam indigenous to Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism. These two very different versions of an Islamic state are at war over a shared religious heritage and territory. [Note: contains copyrighted material].