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Islamic State

Afghanistan down, Syria next?

Afghanistan down, Syria next?

If the evacuation of Afghanistan tested U.S. partnerships in ways that revealed something short of solidarity, building and sustaining an allied strategy for political transition in Syria can provide the corrective.

The Special Units Leading the Taliban’s Fight against the Islamic State

The Special Units Leading the Taliban’s Fight against the Islamic State

The Taliban sensed an opportunity. Eager to win more public support for their insurgency and desperate to prevent the Islamic State from making further inroads into their territory, they decided to escalate the fight against the group.

In Second Regime, Both the Taliban and the World Face a New Reality

In Second Regime, Both the Taliban and the World Face a New Reality

Afghanistan itself was a sideshow in which money and careers could be made and repatriated. In the meantime, an artificial economy was created there to service birds of passage, from diplomats and aid workers to military officials and outside contractors.

Faisal Devji
The Budding Kurdish-Iranian Alliance in Northern Iraq

The Budding Kurdish-Iranian Alliance in Northern Iraq

In the dusty farms and villages of Sinjar, the interests of Iran and Turkey collide. Here in northern Iraq, Tehran is allying with non-state actors in order to further its own interests — this time with the controversial PKK group, which will bring it into conflict with Ankara.

Hannah Lynch
Syria’s Wretched Foreign Legion

Syria’s Wretched Foreign Legion

Thousands of Syrians have fought as mercenaries in Libya, Azerbaijan, and possibly elsewhere, on both Russia and Turkey’s behalf. Dozens have been killed, and hundreds have come back after their contractual deployments, but none return to the life they left behind.

Isabel Ivanescu,
Eva Kahan
A Caliph Without a Caliphate: The Biography of ISIS’s New Leader

A Caliph Without a Caliphate: The Biography of ISIS’s New Leader

Documents and pictures, made public in English by New Lines for the first time, that indicate Qardash was in fact a leading figure among Iraqi jihadist groups over the past two decades who has steadily worked his way up the security and religious hierarchy within the Islamic State group.

Feras Kilani
The Folkloric Stories Behind Kurdish Secularism

The Folkloric Stories Behind Kurdish Secularism

Even though Kurds produced many legends in Islamic history, like Saladin, contemporary Kurds invoke folkloric figures and battles. The central role of these legends explains the secularism of Kurdish resistance and why Islamism has not gained ground among Kurds today

Hussain Jummo