The Islamic Republic of Iran has no real intention to defeat the self-proclaimed Islamic State, argues CFR’s Ray Takeyh with coauthor Reuel Marc Gerecht. The Islamic State’s exacerbation of sectarian divisions is advantageous to Iran as it continues to manipulate Sunni-Shiite relations to extend its power and help its allies.
In a feature investigation for Foreign Policy, Emerson Brooking examines the Internet “war” now brewing between members of the hacking collective Anonymous and militants of the self-declared Islamic State. He explores the ways, means, and ends of—as he writes—“one of the strangest conflicts of the twenty-first century.”
The New York Police Department runs simulated exercises, called tabletop exercises, to test the responses and decision-making of senior commanders in advance of prominent events (the Thanksgiving Dayparade), in response to complex threats (missing radioactive material), or for new potential perpetrators (lone wolf attackers). Micah Zenko explores the use of NYPD tabletop exercises in his new book, Red Team: How to Succeed by Thinking Like the Enemy, including his firsthand experience attending one.
The Islamic State, or ISIS, is the first terrorist group to hold both physical and digital territory: in addition to the swaths of land it controls in Iraq and Syria, it dominates pockets of the Internet with relative impunity. But it will hardly be the last.
What used to be known as the Global War on Terrorism seems to be lurching from one defeat after another. In the Middle East, ISIS has taken control of cities from Palmyra to Mosul. Libya and Yemen and Syria and large swathes of Iraq have no effective governance, leaving their territory to be fought over between competing terrorist groups.
U.S. President Barack Obama came into office determined to end a seemingly endless war on terrorism. Obama pledged to make his counterterrorism policies more nimble, more transparent, and more ethical than the ones pursued by the George W. Bush administration. Obama wanted to get away from the overreliance on force that characterized the Bush era, which led to the disastrous U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.
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