This video is part of a special Council on Foreign Relations series that explores how 9/11 changed international relations and U.S. foreign policy. In this video, Ed Husain, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, who was previously a member and strategist for radical Islamist organizations in London discusses the impact of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on Islamist extremism as well as global counter-terrorism efforts. "The most important thing that happened after 9/11," says Husain, "is not just the so-called 'War on Terror', but more importantly, the unspoken and often unheard developments within Islamist extremism globally." Husain argues that "the global Islamist movement then split into two, immediately after 9/11," into global jihadists like al-Qaeda on one side and non-violent extremists on the other.
Stewart M. Patrick, Director of the Council on Foreign Relations' International Institutions and Global Governance Program, explains why some weak and failing states such as Pakistan are more attractive than others as safe havens for transnational terrorist groups.
Elliott Abrams, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, says that bin Laden's death helps the drive for democracy in the Middle East and weakens the influence of al-Qaeda in the Arab world.
In this report by the Institute for the Study of War and AEI's Critical Threats Project, Jeffrey Dressler and Reza Jan look at the expansion of the Haqqani network, Afghanistan's most capable insurgent organization, and argue that the peace accords signed between the Sunnis and Shias lack legitimacy.
In The National Interest, Bruce Riedel comments on the al-Qaeda plot to terrorize "Obama's city" of Chicago on the eve of U.S. elections back in 2010, noting that the Saudi spy who defected to our allies underscores the importance of U.S. alliances in the Middle East.
CFR's John Campbell says deteriorating economic and social conditions in Northern Nigeria are behind the recurring upsurge in Boko Haram's activity. Campbell cautions that the circumstances enabling Boko Haram to operate may be taken advantage of by Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups, though that has not happened yet.
Pakistan's latest moves to exert influence in Afghanistan, including possible brokering of talks with militant Taliban allies, could pose difficulties for U.S. stabilization efforts, says CFR's Daniel Markey.
Authors: Steven Simon and Jonathan Stevenson Democracy: A Journal of Ideas
Steven Simon and Jonathan Stevenson argue that demilitarizing Hezbollah is crucial to rolling back Iranian influence in the Middle East and shaping an environment more conducive to Arab-Israeli accomodation.
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Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
Koblentz argues that the United States should work with other nuclear-armed states to manage threats to nuclear stability in the near term and establish processes for multilateral arms control efforts over the longer term.
The authors argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones, thereby creating standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2014 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »