Middle East and North Africa

Foreign Affairs Article

From Calvin to the Caliphate

Author: John M. Owen, IV

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.

See more in Middle East and North Africa; Europe; Religion

Foreign Affairs Article

Who Lost Libya?

Authors: Derek H. Chollet and Ben Fishman

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.

See more in Libya; NATO

Foreign Affairs Article

Warning Signs

Author: Paul B. Stares
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.”

See more in Middle East and North Africa; Intelligence

Other Report

Countering Islamic State Exploitation of the Internet

Author: David P. Fidler

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. 

See more in Syria; Iraq; Cybersecurity; Internet Policy

Other Report

Libya’s Escalating Civil War

Author: Daniel P. Serwer

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.

See more in Libya; Conflict Prevention; Fragile or Failed States

Research Links

Messages and Interviews of Osama bin Laden

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.

See more in Middle East and North Africa; Terrorist Leaders