The Islamic State, or ISIS, is the first terrorist group to hold both physical and digital territory: in addition to the swaths of land it controls in Iraq and Syria, it dominates pockets of the Internet with relative impunity. But it will hardly be the last. Although there are still some fringe terrorist groups in the western Sahel or other rural areas that do not supplement their violence digitally, it is only a matter of time before they also go online.
Recent terrorist attacks and resulting questions about the limits of surveillance have rekindled debate about how governments should deal with the challenges of powerful, commercially available encryption. With active debate in the United States and Western Europe surrounding this issue, it is instructive to note that Israel has been regulating encryption for decades.
The shifting politics of the Middle East has created a convergence of interests between Israel and Saudi Arabia, writes CFR’s Ray Takeyh. The United States can help by moderating a strategic dialogue that has the potential to counter Iranian influence and rejuvenate the peace process.
Turkey has chosen not to play a constructive role in combating extremism and resolving the Syrian conflict, argues CFR’s Steven A. Cook. Instead, Ankara has gone after securing its own interests, that of securing the power of the ruling party and undermining Syria’s Kurds.
Thursday, the House voted 289 to 137 to press “pause” on bringing more Syrian refugees to the United States without first imposing even more stringent screening measures on the new arrivals fleeing the savagery, starvation and indiscriminate bombings of their nation’s civil war.
In an article for The Weekly Standard, Elliott Abrams explains that while President Obama decries the idea of giving preference for asylum to Christians in the Middle East that is exactly what the State Department says it is doing.
In an article for The Weekly Standard, Elliott Abrams explains why there is nothing “shameful” about giving priority to helping Syrian religious minorities at the greatest risk in the sectarian civil war.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has no real intention to defeat the self-proclaimed Islamic State, argues CFR’s Ray Takeyh with coauthor Reuel Marc Gerecht. The Islamic State’s exacerbation of sectarian divisions is advantageous to Iran as it continues to manipulate Sunni-Shiite relations to extend its power and help its allies.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2016 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 »