BOOKS

A Hint on Confronting Islamist Power. Or Maybe Not.

Will it never end? When will time run out on the array of shape-shifting militant Islamist movements intent on moving into shaky trouble spots around the world to impose their extreme ideology, harness the population and hijack the local economy? How long will it take for the international community — the ubiquitous West — to … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Flung Into Mosul, Stopping the Bleeding, Slowing Death

MOSUL, Iraq — For two weeks in early April and again in June, I was embedded in Mosul with an emergency-response division of the Iraqi army, which is fighting to retake the city from ISIS. The nonprofit organization I work for, NYC Medics, was contracted by the World Health Organization to run a trauma stabilization … Read more

In Iraqi Kurdistan, It’s a Life of Harsh Contrasts for Women and Girls

ERBIL, Iraq — Despite the war crimes being committed against women and girls in northern Iraq since the extremist group ISIS invaded two years ago, rejection of entrenched violence and discrimination against females may be taking root among pockets of the autonomous Kurdish region here. Yet in many ways, life for women and girls remains … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

International Tactics to Counter Terrorism and Violent Extremism Miss the Real Problem

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Terrorism and violent extremism are the most dramatic threats in the 21st century to state monopoly on the use of force, a cornerstone of the international system. In recent years, the failure of early counterterrorism efforts to stop the multiplication and geographic expansion of terrorist groups has shifted attention to countering violent extremism, … Read more

BOOKS

Falling Flat in Syria: How Not to Fight Jihad

Sun Tzu’s classic work on the art of war advises would-be warriors to “know your enemy.” What were Western powers and the United Nations thinking when they first pondered ways to stop Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from beating, torturing, bombing and even gassing his own people after the first hesitant protests against his rigid rule? … Read more

As Syrian Peace Talks Take Shape, How Will Women Take Part?

When the United Nations Security Council recently approved timelines to begin peace talks and institute a national cease-fire in Syria, the language in the resolution gave no hint of the magnitude of such undertakings, nor did the congratulatory speeches afterward by diplomats delve into the details. That means the nitty-gritty work is left to the … Read more

Report Accuses Russia of Attacks on Hospitals in Syria

At the end of July, Physicians for Human Rights, a group of health care professionals who have been documenting abuses in conflict areas for nearly three decades, went to Turkey to hear the stories of Syrian doctors who are seeing a once-advanced medical system in the Syrian city of Aleppo being systematically destroyed in unrelenting … Read more

Saving Scholars Who Become Victimized in the Middle East

Khalid al-Asaad, an internationally recognized Syrian scholar of antiquities, was beheaded by ISIS on Aug. 18 for refusing to disclose the location of archeological treasures apparently removed for safekeeping from Palmyra, one of the Middle East’s most important archeological landmarks and a Unesco World Heritage Site in Syria. This latest tragedy inflicted by ISIS highlights the … Read more

US Policy Denies Emergency Abortion Globally for War Rape Victims

In 1973, Jesse Helms, a newly elected United States senator and an ideologue contemptuous of the United Nations, dismissive of international treaties and completely devoid of compassion for the world’s poor, put his name on an amendment to the landmark 1961 United States Foreign Assistance Act banning any use of US funds to support abortion … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

One Year Later, the World Must Stop Boko Haram Genocide

It was a year ago this week that the terrorist group Boko Haram, which pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) not long ago, carried out a late-night abduction of 276 girls from their boarding school in Chibok, Nigeria, loading them into trucks and disappearing into the dense forest. The abduction … Read more

Sacking of Iraq’s Cultural Heritage Takes Yet Another Turn

The shocking scenes of irreplaceable centuries-old treasures being smashed and toppled from their pedestals in a museum in Mosul — with the rabid acts of destruction proudly videotaped by fighters who call themselves the Islamic State — has provoked global outrage. But for Iraqis, who have seen decades of losses over centuries of intermittent war, … Read more

The Noose Tightens on Money Flows to Jihadists in Iraq and Syria

The Russian-sponsored resolution to fight more precisely the financing of the Islamic jihadists who control swaths of Iraq and Syria passed unanimously in the United Nations Security Council recently, expressing the entire council’s dread, at least for now, of the two main protagonists terrorizing the region — Islamic State (ISIS) and Al Nusra Front. “We’re … Read more

Yazidi Women in Iraq Describe ‘Unspeakable Brutality’ Under IS Rule

The news from Syria and Iraq is most often dominated by besieged cities and airstrikes on the strongholds of the Muslim extremists of the Islamic State. What those fighters are doing to women they abduct is often hidden by the terrorizing captivity under which they are held. The daily horror of torture, rape and slave … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

How Do Early-Modern Christian Conflicts Differ From Muslim Ones Now?

Is the conflict in the contemporary Muslim world so unusual, given that Christians were doing similar things 400 to 500 years ago? Is it really a phenomenon that involves “Muslims,” or is it more a matter of conflicts peculiar to a particular region? To what extent are the stakes in the conflict “religious,” as opposed … Read more

Islamists Systematically Destroying World Heritage Sites in Syria and Iraq

Beyond the horrific executions, the deadly assaults on Christian and Yazidi communities and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing towns to avoid their terror, fighters of the Islamic State movement sweeping through Syria and Iraq are deliberately demolishing or damaging ancient historical sites in some of the world’s oldest towns and cities. … Read more

Will All of Syria’s Arsenal of Chemical Weapons Be Destroyed?

After an extraordinary effort from the United Nations, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and about a half dozen countries, including the United States and Russia, 96 percent of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal has been destroyed, acting on a UN Security Council mandate. The remaining 4 percent of the arsenal consists of 12 … Read more

Turkey Loses as Five New Elected Members to Join the Security Council

Five new members have been elected to join the United Nations Security Council: Angola, Venezuela, Malaysia, New Zealand and Spain. The first three countries ran unopposed for the five two-year term seats open on the council, representing their regions, respectively: Africa, Latin America and Caribbean and Asia. New Zealand and Spain ran for the two … Read more

Obama Speaks to the UN: Together, We Must Strike Out Terrorism

Amid hypertight security at United Nations headquarters in New York, President Barack Obama told the packed mass of 100-plus global leaders meeting at the opening day of the 69th General Assembly session that the United States, in a current world of “pervasive unease,” cannot take on the fight against violent extremism and other serious international … Read more

US to Convene a Summit at UN on Stopping Extremists

President Barack Obama will hold a summit late this month in the United Nations Security Council to try to counter the surging power and strength of the Islamic terrorists that have seized parts of the Middle East this summer and other violent extremists worldwide. The summit, to convene on Sept. 25, will occur during the … Read more

Women’s Voices Must Stay ‘Alive’ in ISIS-Controlled Regions

The extremist Sunni militant group called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which recently declared a caliphate in parts of the Middle East, now controls an area of 13,000 square miles in Iraq and Syria. Testimonies coming out about daily life in the ISIS-controlled region depict an agenda of fear and intimidation being imposed, one … Read more

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