Elusive Rewards of the Expanding U.S. “Shadow Wars”

Neha Ansari

Any optimism that the Somali militant group Al-Shabaab had been permanently subdued was brutally disabused in mid-January, when an armed assault on an upscale city block in Nairobi left at least 21 people dead. The tragedy should once again raise questions about the United States’ implicit theory of victory underlying its heavy and increasing use of drone strikes in counterterrorism operations in Somalia and beyond.

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The Future of Religious Terrorism

Megan K McBride

In December 2017, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the defeat of ISIS: “We can announce the end of the war against Daesh.… Our battle was with the enemy that wanted to kill our civilization, but we have won with our unity and determination.” One year later, in December 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump issued a similar declaration: “We have won against ISIS. We have beaten them and we have beaten them badly.…We have taken back the land and now it’s time for our troops to come back home.” These declarations are aspirational at best, and analysts from both the left and the right agree that ISIS is far from defeated.

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CSS Research & Policy Seminar: Karim Elkady

Karim Elkady, the Smith Richardson strategy and policy fellow at the Center for Strategic Studies, presented his next book, “Alliances that Matter: Why the United States Succeeds in Rebuilding States under its Military Occupation,” on November 19 at the CSS Research and Policy Seminar. After Elkady’s presentation, Jeffrey Taliaferro, professor of political science at Tufts University, discussed the project and offered feedback.

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Three Ways to Improve Military Interventions

By Patrick Maxwell

The complexity of contemporary civil wars—especially those in which a multiplicity of armed actors compete for control or resources—makes it difficult for standard foreign military interventions to increase security and improve stability. Contemporary civil wars often feature interconnected local and national agendas; unfortunately, the processes aimed at ending civil wars tend to focus on high-level actors, while ignoring the local-level dynamics that fuel national-level conflict. In such contexts, how can external actors conducting peacekeeping or so-called peace enforcement efforts ensure the safety of civilian communities and contribute to peace and security?

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