ISIS

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The Islamic State burst onto the world stage in 2014, capturing vast stretches of Iraq and Syria, brutally and publicly killing Western prisoners, and declaring itself a new pan-Islamic caliphate. President Obama announced an American effort to roll back and eventual defeat the Islamic State, and enlisted an international coalition of Arab and Western powers to accomplish that goal. This effort has, in turn, raised a host of new questions: about effectiveness and commitment, about international law, about presidential authority, about the interpretive limits of an out-of-date domestic authorization for the use of force, and about the general viability of American policy in the region.

Latest in ISIS

Civil Liberties and Constitutional Rights

Hoda Muthana and Shamima Begum: Citizenship and Expatriation in the U.S. and U.K.

In the past few days, two young women who left their home countries to join the Islamic State in Syria announced their desire to return home with their children. Hoda Muthana, from the United States, and Shamima Begum, from the United Kingdom, both married Islamic State fighters and had children in Syria. But neither the U.S. nor the U.K. will allow their return.

Counterterrorism

The Story of an American Islamic State Member Allegedly Captured in Syria

On the morning of Jan. 6, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced that it had captured five Islamic State foreign fighters in Syria, including two reported U.S. citizens. The SDF identified the American captives as Zaid Abed al-Hamid, a 35-year-old from an undisclosed location in the U.S, and Warren Christopher Clark, a 34-year-old from Houston, Tex. If Clark’s capture is verified, it adds another chapter to years-long efforts to investigate into American Islamic State members.

Detention

Inching Closer to a Showdown Over the Fate of Captured Islamic State Fighters

More than 600 Islamic State fighters from a variety of countries are being held by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Syria, but no one thinks this situation can last. Frantic diplomatic negotiations have borne little fruit so far, and it appears a two-pronged stopgap solution may be in the works. Buckle up.

Foreign Policy Essay

Virtual Caliphate Rebooted: The Islamic State’s Evolving Online Strategy

Editor’s Note: The Islamic State’s territorial expansion and burgeoning online presence seemed to rise together. As the group lost territory, however, its online presence evolved. Jade Parker and Charlie Winter, two leading analysts of the Islamic State’s propaganda machine, describe how the group’s propaganda production has changed in the post-Caliphate era and how we can prepare for the next round.

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Foreign Policy Essay

Children of the Caliphate: Victims or Threat?

Editor’s Note: Of the many horrible things the Islamic State has done, one of the worst is its indoctrination of children and use of them in its gruesome deeds. The children are both victims and perpetrators. Governments have a responsibility to care for them yet must also guard against possible threats they may pose. Robin Simcox of the Heritage Foundation lays out the challenges ahead for several European states, as well as how they might confront this knotty problem.

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ISIS

The Islamic State’s Long-Term Threat to the Middle East

In the post-September 11 era, the United States has suffered fewer terrorist attacks than many observers expected, even as the threat of the Islamic State looms. The relative safety of the U.S. homeland is in part due to the United States’ externalization of its counterterrorism operations: U.S. partners in the Middle East collect intelligence on the Islamic State, disrupt its fighters and operatives, host drone and air assets, and bomb the group in coordination with U.S. forces.

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