Jocelyne Cesari Chair of Religion and Politics, University of Birmingham, UK; Senior research fellow, Georgetown University’s Berkley Center on Religion, Peace and World Affairs; Visiting Professor of Religion and Politics and Associate, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program, director, interfaculty program Islam in the West, Harvard University... Read more about What is Islamic in the Islamic State?
Jessica Stern Fellow, FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Research Professor, Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University; co-author of ISIS: The State of Terror... Read more about Terror in the Name of God
The departure of the last US combat troops from Iraq has been the occasion for much comment in North America. Nevertheless, much of it seems to miss the point. For one thing, it is almost always based on the typically American assumption that things might have gone better with better planning or sounder local knowledge or a different military strategy. But, as I have argued many times before, a modern occupation is bound to run into serious difficulties, however well executed and thought through, and, therefore, should only be embarked upon in the most...
The surprising and in many ways shocking emergence of ISIS as one of the best trained, best financed, and most highly motivated and militarily effective fighting forces in the Arab east has led to much talk of an erasure of the old colonial-period Sykes-Picot boundary that artificially divided Syria and Iraq. But though there is an element of truth in this, the issue is much more complex and best viewed by looking at the origins of the modern state of Iraq from a more detailed historical perspective.
America’s long academic summer vacations are usually quiet times for writing and reflection with little disturbing news from the national or international arena. So it was this year too at Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies with our graduate students scattered around the world and only a limited audience for a discussion I organized in early August to try to understand more about Israel’s far-away Gaza War.... Read more about News from Iraq Becomes More, Deliberately, Personal and More Difficult to Interpret