Deal With the Sunnis
November 27, 2006

The United States is in a quagmire in Iraq because it rushed to war, and then to occupation, without a plan or even a realistic assessment. We must not exit Iraq in the same blind fashion. We need a plan to stabilize Iraq politically before we exit. Any such plan must have numerous military, economic, and political dimensions. But a key feature should be to split up the Sunni Arab insurgency. This insurgency is already deeply divided between secular (nationalist, Baathist) and religious elements and--within the latter--between Islamists focused on Iraq and hardcore utopian revolutionaries (Sal

Novel Approach: Counterterrorism as Pulp
November 06, 2006

The year is 2020. A young Muslim preacher has been proclaimed thenew caliph, attracting a worldwide following that includes thedaughter of an American senator. Civil wars and insurgencies ragethroughout the Muslim world and beyond. Muslim athletes at theOlympics declare loyalty to the caliphate over their own nations.Histories of previous caliphates soar on Amazon's best- sellerlist. A dystopian novel's potboiler plot? Not exactly. The scenario comesfrom a global trends estimate by the National Intelligence Council,a government advisory group.

Clerical Era
October 02, 2006

Shortly after I arrived in Damascus this summer, I dropped by the offices of Dr. Mohammed Al Habash, one of Syria’s leading religious scholars, to interview him about the rise of Islam in his country. But the Danes beat me to him. Habash’s Islamic Studies Center was hosting the first official Danish delegation to travel to Syria since a mob, infuriated by the publication of cartoons of the Prophet in a Danish newspaper, had attacked and burned the Danish Embassy in February.

Mole People
July 31, 2006

All that was missing was the flight suit and the aircraft carrier. On June 21, Senator Rick Santorum joined Representative Pete Hoekstra, the suave Michigan Republican who chairs the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, to make a surprising revelation. "We have found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq--chemical weapons," Santorum announced at a joint press conference. His evidence?

Deterrent Defect
May 08, 2006

Peter Beinart asks why Iran can't be deterred.

Is Al Jazeera the next PBS?
May 01, 2006

It took Dave Marash about four years as a Washington anchor to become disgusted with the pandering, the triviality, and the sensationalism of TV news. Marash was a paragon of seriousness, as his bearded chin and intense eyes announced to even casual viewers of WRC-TV, Washington's local NBC affiliate, and, by 1989, he was fed up.

Camp Fire
February 20, 2006

ON JANUARY 29, the Sunday Times reported that British investigators had learned few details about the July 7, 2005, terrorist attacks in London that left 56 people, including four suicide bombers, dead. Although the identities of the perpetrators were quickly uncovered last summer, a government document dated October 2005 and leaked to the newspaper last month said that MI5, Great Britain’s domestic intelligence service, knew virtually nothing about “how, when and with whom the attack planning originated....

Wire Trap
February 06, 2006

 THE REVELATION BY The New York Times that the National Security Agency (NSA) is conducting a secret program of electronic surveillance outside the framework of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) has sparked a hot debate in the press and in the blogosphere. But there is something odd about the debate: It is aridly legal. Civil libertarians contend that the program is illegal, even unconstitutional; some want President Bush impeached for breaking the law. The administration and its defenders have responded that the program is perfectly legal; if it does violate FISA (the administr

Elevated Threat
February 06, 2006

IN 2002, REPUBLICANS RAN ON THE war on terrorism. In 2004, they ran on the war on terrorism. And, last week, Karl Rove informed the country that, in 2006, they plan to run on…the war on terrorism. It’s the political equivalent of Groundhog Day. Of course, every two years, the specifics change slightly. In 2002, the White House argued that, because Democrats wanted labor protections in the Homeland Security bill, they would leave the United States vulnerable to another September 11. In 2004, they argued that, because John Kerry was a serial flip-flopper with no backbone, he’d leave the United S

Air America
January 23, 2006

Editor’s Note: Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout was convicted last November of four counts of conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens and provide material support to terrorists. Last week, Bout’s lawyer filed papers requesting that the judge dismiss the indictment—and cited this January 2006 TNR article as a reason. “As a result of the embarrassing New Republic disclosure of the incompetence—or worse—of the Departments of Defense and State in their dealings with Bout, someone in the government decided it was time to ‘get’ Viktor Bout,” the lawyer wrote.