We gathered a few quick reads to catch you up to speed on pressing foreign conflicts and national security issues. Highlights from the guide are below and read it in its entirety here.
New 9/11 Commission Recommendations
Ten years ago, the members of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, issued The 9/11 Commission Report, the official account of the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001. A decade later, they reconvened, as private citizens, to reflect on the changes of the past decade and the emerging threats we face as a country. In recent months, they have spoken with some of the country’s most senior current and recently retired national security leaders.
The horrific kidnapping of hundreds of Nigerian school girls earlier this year has drawn international attention to and condemnation of the terrorist group Boko Haram. While the current crisis has brought a global focus on this dangerous group, they have been engaged in terrorist activities for a number of years. In BPC’s September 2013 Threat Assessment, the Homeland Security Project identified previous deadly attacks perpetrated by the more than a decade-old organization and outlined their focus on creating Sharia law throughout Nigeria. Here are some key facts about the group that appear in BPC’s report.
ISIS V. ISIL
Who’s in Iraq? Why are there various names for the terror group in Iraq?
The terrorist group marching through Iraq and slowly taking control of large swaths of the country has been referred to by a variety of names by our government officials, the media and foreign policy experts. These include the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
ISIS and U.S. Cooperation with Regional Actors
The surge by the extremists of the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) into Iraq threatens to dismember the country and create a Sunni Islamist state that could become a training ground for a new generation of terrorists. Addressing this threat will require more than simply reversing ISIS’s territorial gains and pushing them out of Iraq. It will require a political decision by Iraq’s major ethno-sectarian groups—the Sunnis, Shias and Kurds—to stay, and govern, together. But the military dimension of the Iraqi crisis cannot be overlooked. It, too, will require coalition building, as the Iraqi Army struggles to contain ISIS on its own. With the United States already deciding that its military contribution will be limited to training and advising it will have to look for other regional partners willing to shoulder some of the burden. In doing so, it is important to remember that in the Middle East, the enemy of your enemy may still be your enemy.
ISIS and U.S. Cooperation with Regional Alliances
On June 10, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) seized control of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, as well as Tikrit, and is now steadily advancing towards Baghdad. The ascendancy of this extremist organization—which had been excommunicated from al Qaeda earlier this year—has profound implications for the security and stability of the region. It also exposes just how fractured and unsettled the Middle East is.
Evaluating a Nuclear Deal with Iran
BPC released an infographic and analysis that shows what would constitute an acceptable nuclear deal with Iran as the Joint Plan of Action (JPA) deadline approaches this weekend. The visual shows various ideas of what a “good” outcome could consist of and the analysis expands on the options.
4 Critical Issues to Watch in Turkey
BPC has identified four critical issues to monitor that would indicate the path that Prime Minister Erdoğan’s government intends to take: 1) electoral irregularities 2) social media bans 3) the pending intelligence law and 4) relations with Israel. With the elections now several months behind us, we evaluate the AKP’s recent actions in each of these areas.