Claiming more than three hundred lives, most of them Muslim, the attacks by ISIS in Turkey, Bangladesh, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia have created pandemonium. Since the early months of this year, ISIS has suffered a series of defeats. But the real lesson is that it will take much more than military victories to defeat ISIS.
During the past few years, the CIA’s claim to having successfully tracked down Osama bin Laden through extensive intelligence work has come under scrutiny by a small group of skeptics. Seymour Hersh, the widely admired investigative journalist who uncovered the My Lai massacre in 1969, is perhaps the most insistent and vocal among them.
The Struggle for Pakistan: A Muslim Homeland and Global Politics
by Ayesha Jalal
The Army and Democracy: Military Politics in Pakistan
by Aqil Shah
No one should be surprised to read that in Pakistan the army has taken charge, established military courts, derailed democracy, brought television and other media under military control. Nor should one be surprised to learn that foreign policy and national security were being directly run by the army. Many similar situations have occurred in Pakistan since 1958, when the army first came to power in a gradual coup, declared martial law, and ruled for a decade. The country has for years been under partial military rule, outright martial law, or military authority disguised as presidential rule. But the arrangement that has evolved over the last six months is the strangest so far.
The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001–2014
by Carlotta Gall
For forty years Pakistan has been backing Islamic extremist groups as part of its expansionist foreign policy in Afghanistan and Central Asia and its efforts to maintain equilibrium with India, its much larger enemy. Now Pakistan is undergoing the worst terrorist backlash in the entire region.
The Chinese Question in Central Asia: Domestic Order, Social Change and the Chinese Factor
by Marlène Laruelle and Sébastien Peyrouse
Great Games, Local Rules: The New Great Power Contest in Central Asia
by Alexander Cooley
Central Asia has reached a turning point and what comes next really worries it. Will the Taliban return to conquer Afghanistan and open the way for the Central Asian Islamist groups that are closely linked to al-Qaeda and have increased their forces while based in Pakistan? Will populist riots reminiscent of the Arab Spring sweep through the region? Will the weaker states, lacking economic resources, become hostage to China or Russia? Will the most important regional organization help them overcome instability or will it continue to help them avoid making serious reforms?
The suicide bomber who killed seventy-two people on Easter Sunday in a park in Lahore, Pakistan has drawn condemnation from around the world. Far less noted, however, has been the attack’s devastating effect on relations between Pakistan’s army and civilian government, which threatens to bring further instability to the country’s Punjab heartland.
At least seven people were killed when, January 20 in Kabul, a suicide bomber drove a car laden with explosives into a minibus taking forty journalists and staff of Afghanistan’s Tolo TV home after a day at the office. With the Tolo TV massacre, public patience for President Ashraf Ghani is running out.
Much of the ISIS playbook in Paris—the meticulous planning, the selection of soft targets, the multiple simultaneous attacks by different teams used to create a sense of chaos in the streets, the mayhem created—was inspired by the extremist group LET’s attack in Mumbai in 2008. LET’s most important innovation in jihadi warfare is the use of mass attacks on civilian targets.
For the new Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour, the current Afghan offensive is a shrewd political move. Now, the entire Afghan state is threatened. The government in Kabul has already lost most of its popular support, and may not survive another major victory by the Taliban—especially if a large Afghan city is captured.