The Future of a Post-ISIS Iraq

This March, the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit was deployed to the Middle East as part of Operation Inherent Resolve in order to assist local ground forces in retaking the city of Raqqa, the capital of ISIS. Over the past two and a half years, U.S. forces (both conventional and special operations) have been deployed to Iraq and other Middle Eastern nations to assist and train local troops. It must be noted that this is the first time American ground forces will be openly involved in ground combat against ISIS. This…

Obama’s Foreign Policy Legacy

Obama is perhaps the biggest game changer of our lifetime. Besides being the first African-American president, he enacted numerous major policy shifts and programs such as the Affordable Care Act and a financial stimulus package after the Great Recession, and he made progress in the battle against climate change. Domestic policy is where President Obama has made his biggest waves in the news and his greatest enemies. He struggled to put many of his ideas into action due to two deadlocked Congresses and many strong enemies on the right. His…

How Mosul Can Reshape Obama’s Foreign Policy Legacy

In mid-June of 2014, smoke rolled into the sky above Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq. Burning Humvees littered streets that had once bustled with people. Only days earlier, the Islamic State had invaded the city, crushing the ill-equipped Iraqi security detail that had been assigned to protect it. The stunning defeat gave the radical group its first strong foothold in Iraq (most of its activity had been in Syria up to that point) and allowed it to use the city as its base of operations in the country. The…

The West’s Policy of Inaction Cripples Syria

Recently, when an interviewer asked presidential candidate and former Gov. Gary Johnson what he would do about Aleppo if elected president, Johnson, the Libertarian Party nominee, asked, “What is Aleppo?” Some interpreted his remarks as an unconscious gaffe. Yet, in response to ensuing pressure, he genuinely reassured the public that he didn’t know where Aleppo was or the significance of the city. Johnson’s isolationism is not an excuse to be ignorant of tragedies riddling the world. The truth of the matter, however, is that Johnson’s lack of understanding of the…

Making America Break Again: Islamophobia and Democracy

In his 1933 inauguration address, President Franklin D. Roosevelt set the foundation for American resiliency when he said: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” Admittedly, the 1930s were an era of heightened racial tensions, racial targeting, and severe violence, and in the time between FDR and Barack Obama’s current terms, our nation has taken great strides in securing internal inclusiveness and justice through the promotion of civil rights and American freedoms. Yet,…

How ISIS Recruits Through Social Media

The power and influence of social media has become increasingly apparent. The Internet population has now grown to the billions, connecting people from all around the world. Political movements are using social media to coordinate their efforts, which is why so many authoritarian governments limit access to it. These networking sites have become an important tool for democracy; for example, Twitter and Facebook played a central role in the Arab Spring.  However, they can also be used as a tool to spread extremism – most notably by the terrorist group…

The Islamic State: A Symptom of a World in Transition

The rise of the Islamic State bears a striking resemblance to the formation of various nation-states in the 19th and 20th centuries. With its rapid territorial expansion since June, the militant group has focused its efforts on controlling geographic territory while unifying its people around a common culture, including a strict interpretation of Islamic law. Framed within a larger debate over globalization, however, the Islamic State highlights important tensions in today’s world, where increasing interconnectivity has threatened the preeminence of nation-states. The globalization debate is perhaps best conceived by visualizing…

Al-Zawahiri releases al-Qaeda 7.0

By Abu Maghas al-Hammami WAZIRISTAN, Pakistan — At this year’s Worldwide Jihadists Conference (WWJC), CEO Ayman Al-Zawahiri released the newest iteration of the world’s most famous terrorist organization. The group is touting the new iDeology 6, giving jihadists even shakier religious justification to pursue violent jihad at home and abroad. Codenamed “Khorasan” during development, the release’s reception has been largely negative.