Number of Refugees to Europe Surges to Record 1.3 Million in 2015

Number of Refugees to Europe Surges to Record 1.3 Million in 2015. Pew Research Center. Phillip Connor. August 2, 2016.

A record 1.3 million migrants applied for asylum in the 28 member states of the European Union, Norway and Switzerland in 2015, nearly double the previous high water mark of roughly 700,000 that was set in 1992 after the fall of the Iron Curtain and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Today, Eastern European countries like Kosovo and Albania still contribute to the overall flow of asylum seekers into the EU, Norway and Switzerland, but about half of refugees in 2015 trace their origins to just three countries: Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 36 pages, 1 MB].

After Liberation: Assessing Stabilization Efforts in Areas of Iraq Cleared of the Islamic State

After Liberation: Assessing Stabilization Efforts in Areas of Iraq Cleared of the Islamic State. Center for American Progress. Hardin Lang and Muath Al Wari. July 26, 2016.

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].

[PDF format, 32 pages, 711.9 KB].

The Islamic State and U.S. Policy

The Islamic State and U.S. Policy. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Christopher M. Blanchard and Carla E. Humud. June 14, 2016.

The Islamic State (IS, aka the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL/ISIS, or the Arabic acronym Da’esh) is a transnational Sunni Islamist insurgent and terrorist group that controls large areas of Iraq and Syria, has affiliates in several other countries, has attracted a network of global supporters, and disrupts international security with its campaigns of violence and terrorism. The U.S.-led coalition military campaign against the Islamic State organization in Iraq and Syria has adapted since 2014, as Administration officials and coalition partners have implemented changes in strategy and tactics that have reduced the area controlled by the group and eliminated thousands of its personnel. While the Islamic State has suffered losses on the ground in Iraq, Syria, and Libya, a series of terrorist attacks attributed to the group or to individuals it has inspired have claimed hundreds of lives on four continents since November 2015, including in the United States. These incidents are creating a more global sense of urgency about further weakening the group and preventing future attacks.

[PDF format, 33 pages, 1.21 MB].

Islam and Sharia Law

Islam and Sharia Law. Atlantic Council. Yussef Auf. May 5, 2016.

With the meteoric rise of Islamic political movements in 2011, the issue of Sharia law has come to the forefront of a debate around the role of religion in governance. In the issue brief, Auf identifies and explains the challenges of incorporating Sharia law into the legal framework of modern governments, using the example of Egypt to enumerate the difficulties of codifying religious doctrine into law. Auf discusses how Sharia law attempts to regulate public life in three different domains: political governance, the Islamic legal system, and the economic system. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 8 pages, 920.72 KB]

Rethinking Coordination of Services to Refugees in Urban Areas

Rethinking Coordination of Services to Refugees in Urban Areas. RAND Corporation. Shelly Culbertson et al. April 27, 2016.

The study analyzes coordination of international and national entities managing the Syrian refugee response in urban areas in Jordan and Lebanon and provides recommendations on improving coordination strategies and practices. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 148 pages, 0.8 MB].

The Divide Over Islam and National Laws in the Muslim World

The Divide Over Islam and National Laws in the Muslim World. Pew Research Center. Jacob Poushter. April 27, 2016.

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].

[PDF format, 10 pages, 291.11 KB].

Coalition Contributions to Countering the Islamic State

Coalition Contributions to Countering the Islamic State. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Kathleen J. McInnis. April 13, 2016.

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.

[PDF format, 14 pages, 783.6 KB].