Border Security

Jane Harman on The Daily Rundown

Jane Harman comments on the developing ISIL situation; what might happen if ISIL did, in fact, obtain three fighter jets, the power and success of the Kurdish fighters, and the role that Turkey has played in the conflict. 

"It seems to me, three fighter jets going up against us, and even the Assad forces, are not going to last very long. And if we have any reason to believe they are around, we are going to look for them," says Jane Harman. 

The Iranian Sphere of Influence Expands Into Yemen

Stopping the Islamic State has taken over the headlines and dominated Middle East policy debates in recent weeks. While the jihadists' rampage is cause for understandable concern, it has obscured a huge strategic shift in another Middle Eastern linchpin: Yemen. The takeover of Sanaa in mid-September by the Houthis, a Shiite minority group, has dire implications for Yemen's neighbors and for the American war on terror. And further escalation seems likely. On Oct. 8, Houthi leader Abdulmalik al-Houthi called for mass demonstrations against foreign meddling in the country's politics.

Why Kobani Matters

Very few Americans had heard of Kobani until a couple of days ago. But the sleepy Syrian border town, a few football fields away from Turkey, has become a microcosm of the U.S. challenge in fighting Islamic State—and underscores why Syria is likely to be a far tougher campaign than Iraq.

After 13 Years, War in Afghanistan Grinds On

Tuesday marks the 13th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan–America’s longest war.

For U.S. combat troops, the end is in sight: By Dec. 31, most of them will have been withdrawn.

Unfortunately for Afghans, and their neighbors affected by the withdrawal, the war all but promises to continue–indefinitely.

The Nation-Building Trap

The more I think through the Obama administration's strategy on Syria the more worried I get. I feel like the guy in the Kingston Trio's classic tune "A Worried Man."

Congress AWOL on Mideast Action

A  chorus of lawmakers — including Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Angus King (I-Maine) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) — has called for a special session of Congress to debate the contours of President Obama’s self-described “war” on terror groups in Iraq and Syria, and to fulfill members’ constitutional responsibility to “declare” (aka “authorize”) it. After saying he’d punt the issue to next year, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) now says he’ll call Congress back next week if the president asks.

Iran’s Dinner Diplomacy

Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani, did not shake hands with Barack Obama at the United Nations this week, a year after their celebrated cell-phone chat. The two men didn’t even pass each other in the hallway. But Rouhani did give a quiet dinner at his hotel on Tuesday for twenty former American officials—including a secretary of state, three national-security advisers, and a chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—from all six Administrations since the 1979 revolution.

Sexual Violence Under ISIS Control

The news is full of beheadings, but ISIS fighters are now infamous for a campaign of sexual violence. This interview with Haleh Esfandiari on NPR's On Point with Tom Ashbrook looks at the Islamic State’s war on women.

How to Address Child Migration from Central America

The arrival at the U.S. border in 2013–14 of tens of thousands of unaccompanied migrant children from Central America is unprecedented. Factors driving them include both longstanding challenges—chronic violence, economic despair, official corruption, and the pull of family reunification—and the myth recently disseminated by greedy traffickers of lenient U.S. immigration policy. The United States, while taking steps to deter further migration, should also focus intensively on the long term factors.

Ironies in Obama’s U.N. Address

In his United Nations address, President Barack Obama had a tough-love message for the Islamic world: Grow up. Share power. And deliver the goods to your people so they won’t be attracted to extremism.

The United States is leading the military campaign to confront a new tide of extremism, but the president laid the onus of ending a global threat on the regimes in the Islamic world, especially the Middle East. Left unsaid was the ironic fact that several of those autocratic countries are participating in the new coalition against the Islamic State.

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