Nearly a century after it first emerged in Egypt, political Islam is redefining the Muslim world. Also called Islamism, this potent ideology holds that the billion-strong global Muslim community would be free and great if only it were pious—that is, if Muslims lived under state-enforced Islamic law, or sharia, as they have done for most of Islamic history.
A close call. It is tempting to view the chaos in Libya today as yet one more demonstration of the futility of U.S.-led military interventions. That is precisely the case that Alan Kuperman makes in his article (“Obama’s Libya Debacle,” March/April 2015), which asserts that NATO’s 2011 intervention in Libya was “an abject failure” that set free Libya’s vast conventional weapons stockpiles, gave rise to extremist groups, and even exacerbated the conflict in Syria.
Intelligence analysts have labored for years to identify the factors that make countries unstable. For those wanting to anticipate the next failed state, Nassim Nicholas Taleb and Gregory Treverton (“The Calm Before the Storm,” January/February 2015) offer a counterintuitive insight: “Disorderly regimes come out as safer bets than commonly thought—and seemingly placid states turn out to be ticking time bombs.”
The use of social media and other Internet-enabled communications by the self-proclaimed Islamic State is pushing the United States and other democracies to react to the abuse of liberal freedoms by illiberal forces. CFR Visiting Fellow David P. Fidler outlines ways to counter the Islamic State's online onslaught through policies anchored in free speech, transparency, and accountability.
The potential chaos highlighted by a 2011 Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Contingency Planning Memorandum, "Post-Qaddafi Instability in Libya," has come to fruition. Daniel P. Serwer outlines the unfolding crisis and recommends steps the United States, Europe, and Arab countries can take to help mitigate the fallout.
Eboo Patel, founder and president of the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), leads a conversation on the global interfaith movement’s efforts to achieve religious pluralism, as part of CFR's Religion and Foreign Policy Conference Call series.
Authors: Ray Takeyh and Roger I. Zakheim Wall Street Journal
Signals from the United States that it has no intent to use force against Iran has weakened America’s deterrence posture, argues CFR’s Ray Takeyh. The Islamic republic has, as a result, become more comfortable resuming its nuclear activities.
As Kurds strive for a greater role in Turkey and continue to resist the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) has released a new interactive guide examining the Kurds’ growing prominence in the region.
In an article for Politico, Philip Gordon discusses four big trends that are unraveling the Middle East. He argues that the United States is not the cause of the growing disorder and should not pretend there is an easy fix.
Upheaval in the Middle East presents both challenges and opportunities for the 30 million Kurds living in the region. The newest InfoGuide outlines these dynamics, their historical underpinnings, and how they could reshape the Middle East.
This month, former Egyptian President and Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsy was sentenced to death by an Egyptian court. More trials and harsh sentences are expected. Today, more than 40,000 Islamists are in prison in Egypt.
CNN correspondent Barbara Starr interviewed Defense Secretary Ash Carter on May 24, 2015. Secretary Carter stated that the reason the self-proclaimed Islamic State gained territory in Iraq is that "Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight."
As the deadline for an Iran nuclear deal approaches, the Obama administration’s security reassurances to Arab Gulf partners have fallen short of the mutual-defense treaty they seek, says expert Vali Nasr.
Osama bin Laden's messages reached his followers and his opponents through multiple media channels. Research Links aims to provide researchers with a more comprehensive timeline of statements made by bin Laden between 1994 to 2011, as well as additional background information. Updated May 2015 to include Office of the Director of National Intelligence's release of documents found at the compound where Osama Bin Laden was found in Pakistan.
The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
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.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2015 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 »