Al Shabab's Last Stand?

The Group Will Crumble -- but Its Message Will Survive

Paul Hidalgo
Somali government soldiers walk near the wreckage of a suicide car bombing in Mogadishu, September 8, 2014.
Somali government soldiers walk near the wreckage of a suicide car bombing in Mogadishu, September 8, 2014. (Feisal Omar / Courtesy Reuters)
Last week’s deadly U.S. strike on Ahmed Abdi Godane, the leader of the Somalia-based Islamist militant group al Shabab, could be the group’s undoing. Even so, the region is not out of the woods.
Snapshot

Beyond Air Strikes

Michael O'Hanlon
The most important part of U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent speech about Iraq and Syria wasn’t how many air strikes the United States will conduct and when -- the elements that have dominated much of the analysis of the event. Rather, it was his call to form, from scratch, an Iraqi National Guard.
Snapshot

The View from Catalonia

Carles Boix and J.C. Major
Over the past few years, the number of Catalans who wish for independence from Spain has skyrocketed. Until the early 2000s, a steady 10–15 percent supported independence. Now, according to recent opinion polls, that percentage is closer to 50.
Snapshot

The Trouble With Targeted Killings

Betcy Jose
As the reaction to the death of al Shabab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane has shown, open condemnation of targeted killings as violations of international law has slowly given way to silence. Here's why.
A Kurdish fighter keeps guard against Islamic State militants near Mosul in northern Iraq, August 19, 2014.
Snapshot
William McCants

Despite ISIS’ success in capturing jihadists’ imagination, the idea of an Islamic state has one fatal flaw: its physical incarnation makes it vulnerable to attack.

Snapshot
Rameez Abbas

When al Qaeda recently vowed to wage jihad in India, it seemed an idle threat. But India is more receptive to Islamic militancy than at any time in recent memory.

Manpreet Sing Makkar -- active in the Yes campaign -- poses for a photograph in Edinburgh, July 16, 2014.
Snapshot
Mark Blyth

Scottish independence could lead to economic disaster. But debates over national independence are seldom rational. Younger Scots aren't thinking about costs and uncertainties so much as the idea that a different future is possible.

Snapshot
David Brown

Vietnam once hoped to manage China's regional ambitions by showing Beijing deference. But Hanoi now has a new strategy: cozying up to its one-time enemy, the United States.

A pro-democracy protester rests in Hong Kong, August 31, 2014.
Snapshot
Scott Harold

The ongoing dispute between Hong Kong and Beijing is dangerous precisely because it has exposed political and cultural rifts that have been widening for some time. The question of Hong Kong’s 2017 election is only a relatively narrow controversy in a much broader showdown.

A member of the Guard of Honor of the Presidential Regiment from Russia performs in Moscow, September 7, 2014.
Postscript
Joshua Yaffa

Late last week in Minsk, negotiators representing Ukraine, the separatist forces, and Russia agreed to a ceasefire. If this deal holds -- plenty of earlier ceasefires have fallen apart as soon as they were signed -- then the active phase of fighting in eastern Ukraine will have come to end on terms favorable to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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