The Great Debate

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

Don’t believe the U.S. military when it says it doesn’t keep body counts

By David Axe
January 22, 2015
Residents inspect damaged buildings in what activists say was a U.S. strike, in Kfredrian

Residents inspect damaged buildings in what activists say was a U.S. strike, in Kfredrian, Idlib province September 23, 2014. REUTERS/Abdalghne Karoof

Iran transformed Syria’s army into a militia that will help Assad survive another year

By David Axe
December 17, 2014

A man inspects a damaged site hit by what activists said were barrel bombs thrown by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad on al-Ghariya, in the east of Deraa province

In early 2015, the civil war in Syria will turn four years old. If current trends hold, the terrible conflict — which has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions — will almost certainly continue to rage through the end of the year. That’s my prediction.

It’s a weird war when Iran and the U.S. are bombing the same country

By Michael Williams
December 10, 2014

A Syrian Air Force fighter plane fires rockets during an air strike in the village of Tel Rafat

The McDonnell Douglas’ F4 Phantom was a workhorse of the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War in the 1960s. It was retired from the USAF and the British Royal Air Force some 20 years ago. But the vintage fighter-bomber put in a surprise performance a few days ago over the skies of northern Iraq.

The pope’s door is always open to ISIS. Why America’s should be, too.

By Jonathan Powell
December 8, 2014

Hamas fighter speaks on the phone as he sits inside the personal meeting hall of President Abbas after they captured his headquarters in Gaza

Pope Francis strayed into controversy recently when he said that, while he supported military action against Islamic State, he also would not rule out speaking to the group if it would help bring peace to Syria and Iraq. “It is difficult, one could say almost impossible, but the door is always open,” he said.

Here’s why killing the head of Islamic State wouldn’t yield results

By Arie W. Kruglanski
November 27, 2014

Aerial view of bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad

Many believe that killing the leaders of terrorist organizations like Islamic State could change the course of events in Iraq and Syria. Like the cutting off of a snake’s head, eliminating the chief of a terrorist organization is assumed to deal it a fatal or near fatal blow. The U.S. government, for instance, has often boasted about eliminating major al Qaeda leaders, and viewed such assassinations as a clear mark of progress in the ‘global war on terror.’