The Great Debate

The cracks in Islamic State’s business plan are starting to show

By Ora Szekely
February 20, 2015
File photo of displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Sinjar town, walking towards the Syrian border

Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Sinjar town, walk toward the Syrian border, Aug 11, 2014. REUTERS/Rodi Said/Files

Why Islamic State’s brand of horror works so well

By Arie W. Kruglanski
February 10, 2015
People walk past television screens displaying a news program, about an Islamic State video showing Japanese captive Kenji Goto, in Tokyo

People walk past television screens displaying a news program about an Islamic State video showing Japanese captive Kenji Goto, on a street in Tokyo Jan. 28, 2015. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

What Islamic State got out of burning a man alive

By Peter Van Buren
February 9, 2015
Female protesters, with pictures of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh, chant slogans during a rally in Amman

Female protesters, with pictures of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh, chant slogans during a rally in Amman Feb. 7, 2015. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

The 3-step guide to de-radicalizing jihadists

By Arie W. Kruglanski
November 5, 2014

Militant Islamist fighters on a tank take part in a military parade along the streets of northern Raqqa province

It might seem hard to believe but, according to psychological science, even the most hardened jihadists can be de-radicalized.

How the West buys ‘conflict antiquities’ from Iraq and Syria (and funds terror)

By Sam Hardy
October 27, 2014

1“Many antique collectors unwillingly support terrorists like Islamic State, ” Michel van Rijn, one of the most successful smugglers of antique artifacts in the past century, told German broadcaster Das Erste this month.

Sykes-Picot drew lines in the Middle East’s sand that blood is washing away

By Michael Williams
October 24, 2014

sykespicot

Last week British Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond said the struggle against Islamic State was “effectively Iraq’s last chance as nation state.”

Here’s why Israel loses no sleep over Islamic State

By Dimi Reider
October 21, 2014

A masked man speaking in what is believed to be a North American accent in a video that Islamic State militants released in September 2014 is pictured in this still frame from video

At first sight, it seems that Israel is just as preoccupied with the rise of Islamic State as anyone else. Israeli media report diligently on the extremist group’s assault on the Kurdish town of Kobani and run at least a story every few days on its atrocities. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu references Islamic State frequently, as do other Israeli ministers. And the stories of two Palestinian citizens of Israel who died fighting for the group have been recently featured in the press.

Joining Islamic State is about ‘sex and aggression,’ not religion

By Arie W. Kruglanski
October 16, 2014

Militant Islamist fighter waving a flag, cheers as he takes part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province

It is easy to look to religion for an explanation of why young men — and some women — become radicalized. But it is psychology, not theology, that offers the best tools for understanding radicalization — and how best to undo it.

Why Iran, U.S. aren’t on quite the same side in fight against Islamic State

By Davoud Hermidas Bavand
October 8, 2014

Iraqi women walk past a poster depicting images of Shi'ite Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at al-Firdous Square in Baghdad

It might seem counter-intuitive to think that attacking the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, would damage Iran or Shi’ite interests in the Middle East. After all, Iran shares the West’s concerns about the radical Sunni group and is in a tacit alliance with the United States when it comes to defeating their common enemy. And yet, Iran fears it might end up being the loser in this battle.

Revoking passports isn’t the way to stop American jihadists from returning home

By Patrick Weil
October 7, 2014

Undated handout picture of a passport of a man identified as Ramy Zamzam

As the Western world confronts the threat posed by the Islamic State, many officials are pushing for stricter measures to be put in place to protect the United States from home-bound jihadists carrying U.S. passports.