The Great Debate

A strategy for defeating Islamic State from an unlikely source

By Jack Goldstone
March 11, 2015
Shi'ite fighters fire a rocket during clashes with Islamic State militants in Salahuddin province

Shi’ite fighters fire a rocket during clashes with Islamic State militants in Salahuddin province, March 1, 2015. REUTERS/Ahmed Al-Hussain

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

Iraqis may fear Shi’ite militias more than Islamic State

By Mohamad Bazzi
February 19, 2015
A fighter from the Shi'ite Kata'ib Imam Ali (Imam Ali Brigades) militia runs as they search a house after taking control of a village from Islamist State militants, on the outskirts of Dhuluiya

A fighter from the Shi’ite Imam Ali Brigades militia runs after taking control of a village from Islamist State militants, on the outskirts of Dhuluiya, north of Baghdad, Dec. 29, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

Why Arab Spring made life better in Tunisia, failed everywhere else

By Ellen McLarney
February 18, 2015
A Tunisian fan reacts after Tunisia lost their quarter-final soccer match of the 2015 African Cup of Nations against Equatorial Guinea in Bata

A Tunisian fan soccer fan. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Earlier this month, Tunisia’s newly elected parliament cobbled together a coalition government led by a secular party that included its Islamist rivals, who had been democratically ousted from power. The new government, coming on the heels of a historic presidential election, a new constitution and the first democratic elections to be held during the Arab Spring, marks an astonishing democratic culmination in the birthplace of the movement. It has also proven hard to replicate.

Time to end the authorization for endless war

By Steve Vladeck
February 11, 2015
U.S. President Obama thanks members of  the U.S. military for their service after meetings with military senior leadership for an update on the campaign to combat Islamic State at the Pentagon in Washington

President Barack Obama thanks members of the U.S. military for their service after meeting with military senior leadership to hear an update on the campaign to combat Islamic State at the Pentagon in Washington, October 8, 2014. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

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

Life is harsh under Islamic State. But what’s the alternative?

By Aki Peritz
February 9, 2015
Man walks down a street filled with abandoned vehicles and debris from damaged buildings in the northern Syrian town of Kobani

A man walks down a street in the northern Syrian town of Kobani, January 30, 2015. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

Is war between Hezbollah and Israel inevitable?

By Michael Williams
February 4, 2015
Israeli soldiers carry their belongings in an area near the Israel-Lebanon border January 29, 2015. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Israeli soldiers carry their belongings in an area near the Israel-Lebanon border January 29, 2015. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

One group battling Islamic State has a secret weapon – female fighters

By Benedetta Argentieri
February 3, 2015
Female fighters of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) stand at attention at a military camp in Ras a-Ain January 30, 2015. Picture taken January 30, 2015. REUTERS/Rodi Said

Female fighters of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) stand at attention at a military camp in Ras a-Ain January 30, 2015. Picture taken January 30, 2015. REUTERS/Rodi Said

What was behind Israel’s strike in Syria that killed an Iranian general?

By Steven Simon
January 23, 2015
Relatives of Lebanon's Hezbollah commander Mohamad Issa, known as Abu Issa, stand over his coffin during his funeral in Arab-Salim, south Lebanon January 20, 2015. REUTERS/Ali Hashisho

Relatives of Lebanon’s Hezbollah commander Mohamad Issa, known as Abu Issa, stand over his coffin during his funeral in Arab-Salim, south Lebanon January 20, 2015. REUTERS/Ali Hashisho