Settling Settlements

Netanyahu's Real Policies, Before and After the Election

Elliott Abrams and Uri Sadot
Jewish settlers stand behind an orange Star of David at entrance of Jewish settlement of Shirat Hayam, August 8, 2005.
Jewish settlers stand behind an orange Star of David at entrance of Jewish settlement of Shirat Hayam, August 8, 2005. (Goran Tomasevic / Reuters)
The United States and Europe frequently criticized Netanyahu's settlement policy as expanding Israeli presence in the West Bank. Meanwhile, right-wing constituencies in Israel lashed out at Netanyahu for doing the exact opposite. In fact, he was doing both—a balancing act that is about to get a lot harder.

ISIS Sends a Message

Nathaniel Zelinsky
What does an ISIS militant mean when he raises his index finger? Or an Egyptian activist who raises four? Although Western observers have largely ignored them, such gestures provide a unique window into the evolving politics of the Middle East.

Counterinsurgency Doesn't Work

James F. Jeffrey
In their recent articles, Max Boot (“More Small Wars”) and Rick Brennan (“Withdrawal Symptoms”) rely on a flawed assumption: that if only the United States had waged counterinsurgency properly, it could have succeeded. In fact, the blame lies not with poor implementation but with the strategy itself.

Capsule Review

Today's Book: The Hizbullah Phenomenon

John Waterbury

The three scholars of the Levant who wrote this book focus on an undeniably important element of Hezbollah’s strategy: spin.

Geoff D. Porter

From conflict in Mali to Libya's dangerous morass, Algeria has never faced such serious threats directly on its own borders. For the moment, the country appears determined to follow its usual strategy of pushing for political solutions to the external crises while beefing up its internal security as a safeguard if these solutions fail. The problem with this strategy is that asks too much from ordinary Algerians, who can only hope that it’s the best way to protect the normalcy that they hold so dear.

A Kashmiri woman Ishrat Ghani cries while narrating the story of her mother's death during a day-long token hunger strike organi
Letter From
Vasundhara Sirnate

Although they both want the same things—protection from counterterrorism gone awry and development—Jammu’s Hindu population and Muslim Kashmiris have different answers about how to get them. Modi's election laid these divisions bare.

An Orthodox monk prays next to armed servicemen near Russian army vehicles outside a Ukrainian border guard post.
Thomas J. Reese and Daniel I. Mark

Moscow is applying its restrictive laws in Crimea. As a result, Muslims, Jews, and even some Orthodox Christian groups are facing increasing discrimination.

A boy, who is a follower of the Houthi movement, carries his weapon during a protest against the Saudi-led air strikes in Sanaa,
Philippe Bolopion and Belkis Wille

The Saudi Arabia-led bombing campaign in Yemen is off to a dreadful start, at least when it comes to the civilian toll. And now that the United States has offered its support, it will be associated with the bloodshed.

A wall painted with the black flag commonly used by Islamic State militants in al-Alamm, March 10, 2015.
Andrew F. March and Mara Revkin

Debating whether ISIS is really "Islamic" or is better understood as an exotic apocalyptic death cult does not bring the world closer to understanding how the group governs. Indeed, whatever it believes about the apocalypse, it sees itself as creating a distinctive legal order for the here and now, one that is based on a literal (if selective) reading of early Islamic materials and a long-standing theory of statecraft and legal authority.

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh attends a meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) in Dakar, 2012
Daniel Bekele and Jeffrey Smith

Since the attempted coup in December, six Gambian soldiers, including the three sentenced to death, have been held in solitary confinement and denied contact with family members and proper access to lawyers. These reports are just the most recent reminder of the horrendous human rights situation in Gambia.