ISIS

February 16, 2017
As part of the State Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) during the Obama administration, Michael Ortiz helped develop and launch a new CVE strategy and also worked to build the case internationally for those efforts.
February 16, 2017
With the recent U.S.
February 16, 2017
The Cipher Brief's Executive Producer and Reporter Leone Lakhani, spoke with Haras Rafiq, CEO of Quilliam, to discuss how the organization works to counter the narratives propagated by extremist groups.
February 10, 2017
At first glance, it would appear that the Middle East President Donald J.
February 10, 2017
The Middle East that the Trump Administration must now come to grips with is not the one Barack Obama envisioned leaving his successor when he took office eight years ago. Shortly after Obama entered office in 2009, the new U.S.
February 10, 2017
The Middle East went through maelstrom developments during the Obama Administration. Some of these were put into motion by the 2003 American invasion of Iraq.
February 7, 2017
October’s attacks on the Border Guard Police bases by the insurgent group Harakah al-Yaqin (HaY) in Myanmar’s Rakhine state and their aftermath have raised concerns over whether the Rohingya crisis in that country, formerly known as Burma, might present an opportunity for expansion of internation
February 7, 2017
Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, has largely disappeared from the news since its military junta was replaced by a relatively reformist government after 2015 elections, and the country opened to the outside following an Obama administration push.
February 7, 2017
The struggle of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims is a regular topic of discussion on jihadist online message boards, frequently cited as the ultimate case of persecution against Muslims.
February 2, 2017
One of the most daunting foreign policy tasks facing the Trump Administration is determining America’s path forward in Afghanistan. From the time he launched his campaign until assuming the Oval Office two weeks ago, U.S.
December 30, 2016
As ISIS incurs the firepower of the international community, al Qaeda has quietly rebuilt its resources, rebranded itself, and “rehabilitated its image” explains terrorism expert Bruce Hoffman.
December 30, 2016
Drone strikes have proven effective at eliminating terrorist leaders, yet terrorists continue to threaten American security. In this article written for the 15th anniversary of 9/11, Cipher Brief expert Kevin Hulbert describes how U.S.
December 30, 2016
The Cipher Brief sat down with Matthew Olsen, former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, to discuss the terrorist threat in the coming year.
December 30, 2016
Editor’s Note: Over the coming days, The Cipher Brief presents some of our most incisive coverage on key issues of 2016 and a look ahead at what is yet to come in 2017.
December 28, 2016
EU unity has been challenged by almost a decade of low growth and high unemployment. This has led to populism and nationalism challenging mainstream political parties.
December 8, 2016
In what many expect to be the final national security speech of his presidency, U.S. President Barack Obama reflected on U.S.
December 8, 2016
The Cipher Brief sat down with Bruce Hoffman, Director for Security Studies at Georgetown University, to discuss President Obama’s counterterrorism legacy and the outlook for the terrorist threat in the coming year. According to Hoffman, although the U.S.
November 27, 2016
Should we think of Iraq as a solution rather than a problem?
November 15, 2016
Last month, Kurdish forces in northern Iraq shot down an Islamic State drone booby-trapped with explosives that later killed two Peshmerga soldiers as they inspected it.
November 15, 2016
Drones have traditionally been used by Western militaries as a tool in counterterrorism efforts, but insurgent and terrorist groups are increasingly turning to small hobby drones to bolster their own efforts.
November 9, 2016
Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter’s assertion that the battle to dislodge the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) from Raqqa “starts in the next few weeks,” caught many by surprise.
November 9, 2016
Following the aggressive Russian and Turkish interventions in Syria, it can be difficult to tell where the various parties in the conflict stand.
November 9, 2016
Amid the dizzying array of jihadist groups, rebel militias, umbrella opposition alliances, and state-level actors either directly or indirectly involved in Syria’s conflict, it can be difficult to tell who is fighting whom and why.
October 28, 2016
In the coming months, and possibly weeks, the Iraqi Security Forces, with the help of a diverse group of fighters spanning the Iraqi political spectrum, will raise the Iraqi flag atop the Ninevah Provincial Government Center in Mosul.
October 16, 2016
With the Islamic State (ISIS) having lost more than 40 percent of its territory in Iraq since its height of control in January 2015, all attention has turned to ousting the group from its stronghold in Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.
October 16, 2016
The good news: all signs point to a final attack on ISIS in Mosul by Iraqi forces and the American-led coalition. This struggle has received much media attention, and even presidential campaign play, and for good reason.
October 16, 2016
From victories in Ramadi, Fallujah, and towns and principalities in between, the Iraqi army and its coalition allies have steadily rolled back the territorial gains made by the terrorist group ISIS over the past two years.
October 7, 2016
Fifteen years to the date after the U.S. launched its invasion of Afghanistan, al Qaeda still remains a force to be reckoned with.
September 27, 2016
On September 10th in the restive Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in northwest China, as many as 10 people were killed or injured when police investigated the house of suspected terrorists.
September 16, 2016
Since its birth, modern Turkey has occupied a delicate position in the world. Straddling both Asia and Europe, the ancient Ottoman capital of Istanbul captures the blessing and the curse of Turkish geography.
September 13, 2016
In the aftermath of 9/11, the American intelligence community (IC) went through one of the most transformative periods in its history.
September 11, 2016
The Cipher Brief sat down with Matthew Olsen, Former Head of the National Counterterrorism Center to discuss the progress that the U.S. has made over the last 15 years in the War on Terror. According to Olsen, “While we’ve been successful in preventing large-scale attacks,” the U.S.
September 9, 2016
Reflecting on the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11, Congressman Will Hurd of Texas said that there have been both successes and room for improvement as the U.S. campaign against terrorism continues. The efforts of the U.S.
September 9, 2016
Sunday marks the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11, the date that altered the trajectory of America’s national security apparatus.
September 8, 2016
In August, U.S. President Barack Obama reassured the Pentagon that the Islamic State will “inevitably be defeated.” U.S.
September 6, 2016
What presidential candidate Donald Trump says on the spur of the moment about foreign events – without understanding, or perhaps caring about its impact overseas -- can create serious and potentially dangerous situations for Americans abroad.
September 1, 2016
Fighting jihadi groups has been compared more than once to whack-a-mole. You thump a group here and it pops up there. You thump it again and it pops up somewhere else. A front is lost but another opens up. The challenging part is anticipating where the jihadis will go next.
September 1, 2016
On September 21, 2014, a group of Algerian jihadists, named Jund El Khilafa (The soldiers of the Caliphate) kidnapped Hervé Gourdel, a 55-year-old French nature guide, in Djurdjura National Park in northern Algeria.
September 1, 2016
With the Islamic State (ISIS) facing imminent defeat in its Libyan stronghold of Sirte, questions have arisen over where the group might seek refuge next.
August 30, 2016
Before Donald Trump speaks out again on the subject of nation-building, I suggest he – or his staff – study what the Pentagon terms “Building Partner Capacity,” which has been expanding over the past decade and serves as what can only be termed the Defense Department’s part in nation-building.
August 28, 2016
As the Syrian civil war progresses with no end in sight, Rob Richer, former Associate Deputy Director for Operations at the CIA and member of the Cipher Brief network, discussed recent developments in Syria. According to Richer, U.S.
August 26, 2016
As Tunisia nears the sixth year of its 2011 popular revolution, the most challenging question is whether these massive protests led to a real change in the lives of the people.
August 25, 2016
There is a leadership struggle underway within Boko Haram, the violent, extremist movement that has claimed more than 20,000 lives since 2011 and destabilized the secular Nigerian state and its neighbors.
August 25, 2016
"If you know the enemy and know yourself," Sun Tzu once wrote, "you need not fear the results of a hundred battles." When it comes to the War on Terrorism, unfortunately, we have a lot to fear.
August 25, 2016
A key moment on the Boko Haram timeline occurred in March 2015, when the group pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS). According to Dr.
August 11, 2016
The Cipher Brief spoke with Congressman Will Hurd of Texas about the increasing security challenges in Afghanistan. According to Hurd, U.S. objectives in Afghanistan have remained the same since 2001.
August 11, 2016
With Taliban and ISIS attacks occurring in Afghanistan almost daily, questions surrounding the direction of the country’s security apparatus loom large. Despite U.S. President Barack Obama’s announcement in early July that 8,400 U.S.
July 28, 2016
Like a divorced couple in a bitter custody battle, al Qaeda and the Islamic State’s (ISIS) leaders can’t help but to denounce each other in the ugliest of terms.
July 28, 2016
This is a good moment to assess the state of ISIS – its strengths and weaknesses – given that America is heading into a bruising presidential campaign during which all sorts of claims will be made about the ISIS challenge.
July 28, 2016
Jabhat al-Nusra, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, is "splitting" from the al Qaeda network.

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