War on Terror Update 2: Yemen, Libya, and Collateral Damage

Not long ago, Yemen was cited as an example of successful U.S. counterterrorism policy. President Obama described our engagement there, relying pretty much entirely on the use of drones in cooperation with the Yemeni government, as a model for future counterterrorism operations, specifically against ISIS. Unfortunately, our counterterrorism partner, the Yemeni government, has collapsed. Several…

Links to Start Your Week 3/1/15

Middle East Leaked intelligence cables show that Israel’s intelligence agency, Mossad, contradicted prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s assertions that Iran was producing a nuclear weapon. Researchers are not sure that ISIS’s social media propaganda is as important to recruitment as is widely believed. They argue that battlefield success is a better predictor of a group’s ability…

Links to Start Your Week 2/22/15

Middle East 21 Egyptians working in Libya were executed by the ISIL this week. The men were Coptic Christians. The move is being interpreted as both evidence of ISIL’s spreading influence beyond Iraq and Syria, and men in the video said it was also a warning to Europe. Spokesmen from ISIL have talked before about…

War on Terror Update 1: Kayla Mueller

Once again, time has gotten away from me a bit on the blogging front. You would think that being snowed in half the time would make me productive on this front, but somehow that was not the case. But anyway, a lot has been happening in the realm of the Global War on Terror, and…

Links to Start Your Week 2/2/15

Middle East The New Yorker has a primer on the latest flare-up in tensions between Israel and Hezbollah in the larger context of Middle East politics. Occupied Pleasures is a photo book aiming to undermine the persistent narrative of the Palestinian territories as only a place of suffering. Support their Kickstarter! (For more glimpses of…

Links to Start Your Week 1/25/15

Middle East King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has died. His 79-year-old brother succeeds him. Meanwhile, the once close relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia has gotten somewhat more strained, but has not been severed. As has always been the case, one of the key reasons for that is Saudi oil. You may have heard…

State of the Union Reaction

I’m sure you’ve all been waiting with bated breath for my thoughts on the State of the Union, just like we were all on pins and needles for Joni Ernst’s response speech last night. Unlike hers, this will actually engage some (though not all) of the content from Obama’s address. You can find video and…

Links to Start Your Week 1/18/15

Latin America Honduras had 100 recorded murders in the first 10 days of 2015, calling into question the government’s assurance that its policy of using the military to do police work in the streets has curbed crime. This week the Honduran congress is debating whether to enshrine the policy in the constitution. Middle East Two…

Links to Start Your Week 1/11/15

Europe France’s Primer Minister Manual Valls has said that the country is at war with radical Islam in the wake of this week’s terrorist attack. In the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attack, there have been at least 15 attacks against Muslim targets in France. Asia Sri Lanka has elected a new government. The transfer…

Charlie Hebdo, French Society, and Islamophobia

Fast Facts You probably already know a decent amount about the shooting at the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, but just in case, here are the basics. Gunmen opened fire on the offices of the magazine, killing 12 people. Witnesses said that they heard the gunmen shout things like “Allahu akbar,” leading authorities…

Trends to Start Your Year 2015

Since I did links on Thursday, today I’m going to briefly summarize some trends, rather than individual news stories, that I think are going to become/remain important in the news this year. Migration Not the kind with birds or caribou. The kind with human beings crossing human-made borders to pursue their human interests. Economic migration…

Links to Start Your Year 1/1/15

Middle East Foreign Policy reports that there is a coalition of secular, nationalist Syrian rebels based in the country’s south that may be an alternative to Assad’s rule and that of ISIL. These might be the “moderate rebels” American policymakers dream of, but there is also reason for caution: they have allied with the al…