Current political and economic issues succinctly explained.

The Islamic State

Authors: Zachary Laub and Jonathan Masters

With Iraq weakened and a civil war raging in Syria, it’s unclear whether local forces and a U.S.-led international coalition can roll back the self-proclaimed Islamic State, explains this Backgrounder.

See more in Terrorism; Iraq


Author: Zachary Laub

Hamas is the main Palestinian armed resistance group, but the Islamist movement has struggled with governance since assuming control of Gaza.

See more in Israel; Palestine; Terrorism

Boko Haram

Authors: Mohammed Aly Sergie and Toni Johnson

Nigeria's Islamist group Boko Haram has evolved from a local insurgency to a brutal militant group that the United States has designated a terrorist organization.

See more in Nigeria; Radicalization and Extremism

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)

Author: Staff

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has emerged as one of the most dangerous al-Qaeda affiliates, strengthening amid political unrest in Yemen. This Backgrounder examines the group and U.S. counterterrorism operations.

See more in Terrorism; Yemen

Author: Steven J. Markovich

Income inequality is generating high-level attention and debate in the United States, but the causes are complex and the policy remedies so far are modest, explains this Backgrounder.

See more in United States; Poverty