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November 1, 2019

Election 2020
Foreign Policy Roundup: Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, Israel, and Campaign Advisors

Each Friday, I look at what the presidential challengers are saying about foreign policy on the campaign trail.

Bernie Sanders speaks at the J Street National Conference in Washington, DC, on October 28.

November 12, 2019

Election 2020
The President's Inbox: Should the United States Maintain Maximum Pressure on Iran?

Each week between now and the Iowa caucuses, I’m talking with two experts with differing views on how the United States should handle a foreign policy challenge it faces. These special episodes are p…

A line of Iranian flags wave in a square in Tehran.

October 28, 2019

Islamic State
Islamic State Leader’s Death Does Little to Ease Syria Concerns

A U.S. military operation that eliminated Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is welcome but fails to allay worries about the security vacuum caused by the removal of U.S. troops from northern …

October 29, 2019

Islamic State
After Baghdadi: What Hurts the Islamic State May Help Al-Qaeda

Al-Qaeda could benefit from the death of the Islamic State’s leader, potentially regaining its worldwide reach and influence.

October 17, 2019

Nigeria
Buhari Orders Land Borders Closed in Long-Running Effort to Boost Rice Production

In August, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered closed Nigeria’s land border with Benin, preventing the import of goods. The move significantly affected trade in foodstuffs. It is part of an effort to tackle smuggling and associated corruption, but also, apparently, to spur the domestic agricultural industry. On October 14, Nigeria ordered closed all of Nigeria’s borders with Benin, as well as those with all other countries, for the same reasons.

A farmer works with rice sprouts on a farm

October 14, 2019

Syria
The United States Is Done Caring About Syria

A major new report about the Syrian war raises the question of whether Washington ever cared about it in the first place.

A child inspects a site hit by what activists said was an airstrike by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar el-Asaad at Arbin town in Damascus countryside, Syria July 21, 2015.

June 13, 2006

Terrorism and Counterterrorism
Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, Zarqawi’s Mysterious Successor (aka Abu Ayub al-Masri)

Five days after U.S. forces killed al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the group announced his successor, the unknown Abu Hamza al-Muhajir. Speculation abounds about the man and the signifi…

September 12, 2019

Iran
Israel Is Doing All the Dirty Work Against Iran

The United States came up with “maximum pressure”—but the Israeli government is the only one carrying it out.

Israeli soldiers charge a mortar shell

August 19, 2019

Iran
Iran Owns the Persian Gulf Now

The Trump administration’s nonresponse to Iranian aggression has sent an unmistakable message.

A U.S. Navy soldier onboard Mark VI Patrol Boat stands guard as an oil tanker makes its way towards Bahrain port, during an exercise of U.S./UK Mine Countermeasures (MCMEX) taking place in Arabian Sea, Bahrain September 11, 2018.

August 14, 2019

Nigeria
Understanding the Threat Posed by ISWA in Nigeria

The fishing town of Baga, on the shores of Lake Chad, has been devastated by both Boko Haram and the Nigerian army. It is currently controlled by the Boko Haram faction, the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA). The group is led by Abu Abdallah al-Barnawi, and is separate from, and presumably a rival to, Abubakar Shekau’s faction. Obi Anyadike, a reporter, interviewed eight former residents of Baga who had fled to Maiduguri.

Two women and a man stand by a window and a door of a mosque in Maiduguri.