Is America Losing the Kurds?

Amid the uncertainty shrouding the latest UN-brokered Syrian peace talks, one thing is already clear: Syria’s Kurds, who control a sizeable chunk of the country’s border with Turkey, are being excluded yet again, triggering feelings of betrayal and anger that could weaken the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS).

Many point the finger of blame at Turkey and its ruling Islamists who successfully blocked the Kurds from participating in previous rounds of talks.

A U.S. Blueprint for Syria

A friend who works in the Obama Administration recently lamented that the Russians are always a step ahead of us when it comes to Syria and the Middle East. If we are wondering why this is the case, the answer is simple: Moscow knows exactly what it wants in Syria and we do not. The time has come for the U.S. government, with selected allies, to publicly offer what it thinks a comprehensive solution to the Syrian crisis should look like. As suggested below, even if the proposition put forth here does not end up as the ultimate outcome, it is important for the U.S.

Former Scholar Hussain Nadim Recognized in Forbes Magazine 30 Under 30 Law and Policy Global Leaders

Hussain Nadim, the current founding director of the Peace and Development Unit of Pakistan's Ministry of Planning Development and Reforms, and former visiting scholar at the Wilson Center's Asia Program, has been recognized as one of the 30 Under 30 Global Leaders in Law and Policy by Forbes Magazine.

Conflict and Cultural Destruction: Why Totalitarian Regimes Seek to Destroy Historical Memory

Evoking memory of the Nazi onslaught on cultural icons, the Taliban’s destruction of the Bamiyan statues and ISIS's pillaging of pre-Islamic sites has horrified contemporary observers and raised new concerns about the ways certain regimes seek to destroy historical memory. At the same time, new narratives of cultural persistence and survival are emerging, such as Romanian efforts in the Cold War to circumvent censorship through theatre, or contemporary ways to counter hardline censorship of Persian literature in Iran.

Is ISIS Going All Out on Turkey?

The deadly suicide bomb attack that struck Istanbul’s main tourist hub on Tuesday, January 12 is a stark warning to Turkey’s ruling Islamists about the blood-soaked mayhem and financial hardship the country is likely to face should it escalate its conflict against the Islamic State (ISIS). More broadly, it illustrates just how badly Turkey’s policy of backing rebels of all stripes and nationalities to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on the one hand, and to stymie Kurdish aspirations on the other, is backfiring.

Saudi Arabia and Iran's Forever Fight

Anyone who thinks the current tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran are a passing phase ought to take a deep breath and remain calm. Although the current crisis is unlikely to lead to a military confrontation, a much hotter rivalry may be with us for some time.

The Ashley Madison Way of War

On December 11, 2015, Islamic State supporters published the home addresses of dozens of national security officials. It isn’t clear that the details are authentic, or that they were gathered via anything more sophisticated than Google, but the move marked a growing interest in low-grade digital conflict — the spread of an Ashley Madison way of war.

Fallout From Saudi Cleric’s Execution Underscores Mideast Challenges

It would be irrational to conclude that U.S. actions and inactions hadn’t contributed to the messes in the Middle East. But the region’s challenges are rooted in internal, religious, and sectarian problems that are not amenable or conducive to U.S. military power or political persuasion; and they are spread among allies who have their own needs and agendas. Three recent events underscore this.

The Longest War

The Sinai Peninsula. Paris. Mali. San Bernardino.

We keep trying to find our way out of this recurring nightmare of terrorist attacks. The United Nations unanimously adopted a resolution to use “all necessary measures” to combat Islamic State. Security services remain on the highest alert worldwide. For New Year's, Brussels canceled its festivities, Moscow shut down Red Square, and thousands of soldiers and police officers patrolled New York, Paris and London. But protecting every “soft target” in the world around the clock is impossible. We know more attacks will come.

Facing Reality in the Long War Against Jihadis

The jihadi terror we face is an insoluble problem. We can no more conclusively “win” the war against jihadi terror than we can “win” the wars against crime or drugs; or eliminate all racial prejudice; or eliminate all disease, poverty, and inequality. I say this as neither a declinist nor a defeatist. I served in Republican and Democratic administrations for more than 20 years working on Middle East issues, and I believe deeply in American exceptionalism and power.