This report looks at why extremist strategic communications in Pakistan have been so successful and what it would take for the government and its allies to reverse the gains of what is sometimes called "the al-Qaeda worldview." Like all good communications campaigns, extremist messaging is grounded in a reality. In this case, that reality is the views and emotions—and the narratives that articulate them—that were born out of the establishment and subsequent conduct of the state of Pakistan.
The People's Mujahedin of Iran, or MEK, is a militant Iranian opposition group and a recognized terrorist organization, according to the U.S. State Department. This Backgrounder examines the group's history and the politics surrounding its relocation from Iraq.
The West may no longer be the main target for terrorist organizations; turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa has given rise to an increased number of more locally-focused attacks in the last year.
In this United States Institute of Peace special report, freelance journalist Andrew Walker explains the history of Boko Haram, an extremist Islamic sect in Nigeria, that has created havoc across the north of the country and its violent attacks on government offices, the United Nations, and churches.
Reports that Pakistan-based militant groups may be moving to unite could help clarify U.S. talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan. But CFR's Daniel Markey calls it a tricky game, complicated by unclear U.S. intentions in the region.
Attacks on Shia Muslims in Afghanistan claimed by a Pakistani militant group are a disturbing omen -- for sectarian ties and the prospects for a peace deal with insurgents, says counterterrorism expert Brian Fishman.
Recent data on organized violence shows that conflicts between a state and one or more nonstate armed groups vastly outnumber interstate conflicts. As a result, argues former international affairs fellow Payton L. Knopf in a new CFR Working Paper, the State Department needs clear guidelines as to why, when, and how its diplomats should conduct outreach to these groups.
Pakistan has emerged as a terrorist sanctuary for some of the world's most violent groups, including al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and homegrown militants, that threaten the stability of Pakistan as well as the region.
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.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.