NGOs and Academia

Thursday, October 30, 2014 - 10:48
Many Arab governments are fueling the very extremism they purport to fight and looking for U.S. cover. Washington should play the long game.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014 - 08:21
The U.S.-led coalition has little to show for more than two months of airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a campaign now titled Operation Inherent Resolve. In the face of these setbacks, the United States should devote significantly more resources both toward fighting ISIS and addressing the conditions in Iraq and Syria that the group exploited in its rise to power.
Monday, October 27, 2014 - 12:55
It is too early to say that the U.S. strategy against the Islamic State is imploding, but it is scarcely too soon to question whether this is possible. In fact, it is far from clear that the original U.S. strategy ever planned to deal with the complications that have arisen since President Obama officially announced a portion of what that strategy really had to be.
Monday, October 27, 2014 - 07:41
It is an unusually mild day in Cairo for late September, but the young man perspires throughout our interview. He recounts the nightmares that continue months after he was released from prison, where he was detained for more than a month on unfounded accusations of illegally participating in a demonstration. Later that afternoon, arriving at the offices of a human rights organization, I trade glances with a thuggish man planted at a desk near the door to look over everyone who comes and goes. Inside, staff members describe in haunting terms the pressures they feel from heightened government surveillance and threats. That evening at a diplomatic dinner, a human rights activist renowned for his integrity tells me about an upcoming trip outside the country. Then he leans close and whispers, “I’m not coming back. It’s been made clear to me I have no choice.”
Friday, October 24, 2014 - 07:11
Many Arab governments are fueling the very extremism they purport to fight, and looking for U.S. cover. Washington should play the long game.-
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - 06:37
The problem is that isolationism—as commonly understood—not only doesn’t fit American foreign policy today, it doesn’t even fit American foreign policy in the 1920s and 1930s. There are plenty of valid critiques of how the United States comported itself on the world stage between World War I and World War II. But the claim that America detached itself from other countries is simply not true. In 1921, for instance, President Harding summoned the world’s powers to the Washington Naval Conference and pushed through what some have called the first disarmament treaty in history. In 1924, after Germany’s failure to pay its war reparations led French and Belgian troops to occupy the Ruhr Valley, the Coolidge administration ended the crisis by appointing banker Charles Dawes to design a new reparations-payments system, which Washington muscled the European powers into accepting. American pressure helped to produce the 1925 Treaty of Locarno, which guaranteed the borders between Germany and the countries to its west (though not, fatefully, to its east). In 1930, President Hoover played a key role in the London Naval Conference, which placed further limits on naval construction.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - 06:29
In a May 2013 speech outlining his counterterrorism policy and addressing the use of drone strikes,1 President Barack Obama insisted that the United States uses the “highest standard” of criteria when selecting targets. The United States, the president said, only strikes “terrorists who pose a continuing and imminent threat to the American people...and before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured.”
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - 06:25
The new aid policy, along with restrictions on military assistance enacted by Congress, sought to alter the bargain with Egypt from weapons in exchange for peace with Israel, to weapons in exchange for peace and democratic progress. This has of course angered Egypt, used to a steady flow of American weapons since the 1979 Peace Treaty regardless of its human rights record. On his first trip to the United States as president last month, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi complained about the suspension in a Charlie Rose interview. The Peace Treaty remains secure, but the policy has not advanced stated US democracy goals. During the past year, Egypt has slid back into authoritarian rule, experiencing one of the worst periods of repression in its modern history. This article discusses why the suspension has not been an effective democracy promotion lever; a forthcoming article will cover the status of the military aid on which Congress has imposed democracy conditions.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - 06:14
It was reported that a CIA commission found that arming rebels in civil wars is ineffective. That might not strike many who remember the 1980s as a shocker, but do its findings stand up empirically? After all, the Reagan administration funneled arms to Afghan mujahedeen fighters, a move often held up as an example of blowback and a reason not to arm rebels in Syria. But we largely accomplished our immediate goals of pushing the Soviets out of Afghanistan (we just botched the postwar plan after they left). I wonder if the CIA analysts eyeballed any of the countless scholarly articles on the subject. If they did, they would find a mixed bag, though one on balance in favor of their findings. On one hand, insurgents are winning a larger percentage of wars than they were in the pre-Cold War era, a function, at least partially, of outsider actors’ meddling. On the other hand, we all know the litany of Bay of Pigs-style botched covert operations.
Friday, October 17, 2014 - 09:19
The Tourniquet, authored by Adjunct Senior Fellow Marc Lynch, lays out a strategy for internationally legitimate and regionally coordinated large-scale but conditional assistance to Iraq and to Syrians. For Syria, the report argues for a "strategic pause" to allow the building of viable alternative governance in rebel-controlled parts of Syria, while rejecting the idea of partnering with the Asad regime against ISIS as both unrealistic and undesirable and acknowledging the constraints imposed by the absence of a viable Syrian opposition with which to work. For Iraq, it argues for close support conditioned upon a commitment by Iraqi leaders to implement long-needed political reforms and by Kurdish leaders to remain within the Iraqi state. Regionally, it shows the importance of pulling back from debilitating proxy wars and warns against subordinating human rights and political reforms to the exigencies of a new war on terror.