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  • Author: Michael Rubin, Ahmad Khalid Majidyar
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Shi'ism has a public relations problem, at least, in the United States. Most Americans formed their perception of Shi'ism not by reading its rich internal debates or exploring its diversity and cultural heritage, but rather by seeing Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini lead chants of "Death to America" after the 1979 Iranian revolution and Iranian hostage takers scaling embassy walls and then parading blindfolded, abused diplomats on television. Less than four years later, Shi'ite operatives in Lebanon rammed a truck bomb into the headquarters of US Marines serving as peacekeepers in Beirut, killing 241 in an incident that propelled suicide terrorism to the forefront of the American conscience.
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East
  • Author: Mary Habeck
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Current national security policy is failing to stop the advancement of al Qaeda and its affiliates throughout the Muslim-majority world. While there are many reasons for this failure, three key issues stand out: a poor definition of the enemy, an incorrect view of its objectives, and the adoption of a strategy that will not defeat the latest evolution of this adaptive organization. If the US understood al Qaeda as it is: the leadership and field army of an insurgency with worldwide linkages that hopes to impose its extremist version of shari'a , govern territory, and overthrow the leaders of every Muslim- majority country, the current national strategy for combating al Qaeda would not be confined to counter - terrorism and attrition, but would instead make counterinsurgency-without large numbers of American ground forces-its main technique for confronting and defeating the organization.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Islam, Terrorism, Military Strategy, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Katherine Zimmerman
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The failure to define al Qaeda properly has confused American policy and strategy. The enemy was not just the man shot dead on May 2, 2011, in Abbottabad, Pakistan, nor is it the 1.5 billion Muslims for whom Osama bin Laden claimed to speak.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Defense Policy, Islam, Terrorism, War, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, America
  • Author: Roger F. Noriega, José Javier Lanza
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: As stepped-up counternarcotics policies in Colombia and Mexico have increased pressure on regional drug trafficking networks, organized crime syndicates have relocated operations to Central America, where law enforcement agencies and institutions are ill-equipped to withstand the onslaught. These multibillion-dollar gangs are making common cause with some local politicians who are following a playbook honed by Hugo Chávez in Venezuela. The result in Venezuela was the birth of a narcostate, and similar dramas are playing out in Central America. Like Chávez, caudillos are using the democratic process to seek power, weaken institutions, and undermine the rule of law—generating turmoil that accommodates narcotrafficking. Making matters worse for Honduras is that left-wing activists abroad, in support of ousted president and Chávez acolyte Manuel Zelaya, are waging a very public campaign of outlandish claims seeking to block any US assistance to help the Honduran government resist the drug cartels. It is imperative that US policymakers vigorously support democracy, the rule of law, and antidrug programs in Honduras.
  • Topic: Corruption, Crime, Democratization, War on Drugs, Narcotics Trafficking, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: America, Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Cheryl Miller
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The military-civilian disconnect has been a source of increasing concern over the last few decades. National security leaders—including the commander in chief, President Barack Obama—have warned that many Americans are unaware of the military's sacrifices and its growing sense of isolation from wider society. In remarks at Duke University in September 2010, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates identified this issue as the “narrow sliver” problem, reflecting on both the achievements of America's all-volunteer force and the challenges it now faces.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Education, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: New York, America
  • Author: Charlie Szrom, Chris Harnisch
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The environment in which an al Qaeda affiliate operates is one of the most important factors in assessing the threat it poses to US interests. Defeating the militant Islamist network led by al Qaeda requires a nuanced strategy that supports the appropriate combination and prioritization of policies and approaches for each environment in which an al Qaeda affiliate or franchise operates. The US government has not articulated such a strategy, a deficiency that acquires urgency because terrorist groups based abroad have been linked to three attacks against the American homeland in the past year. Building a strategy to oppose the al Qaeda network requires detailed understanding of its different operating environments, the ties between its various parts, and how territory affects its vitality. A comprehensive strategy should deny the al Qaeda network access to operating environments from which it can pose a major threat to the United States and the West.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Frederick W. Kagan, Kimberly Kagan
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Success in Afghanistan is the establishment of a political order, security situation, and indigenous security force that is stable, viable, enduring, and able—with greatly reduced international support—to prevent Afghanistan from being a safe haven for international terrorists. The current American and Coalition strategy is making progress and should be continued. Since President Obama, NATO allies, and the Afghans have agreed that troops will be present in Afghanistan through 2014, the policy does not require substantial modifications at this point. This paper is thus primarily a report on the current situation in Afghanistan and a consideration of some of the prospects and challenges ahead. Our principal recommendation is that the U.S. and its allies should continue to resource and sustain the strategy now being executed, which is the only approach that can secure their vital national security interests in Afghanistan.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, America
  • Author: Gary J. Schmitt, Thomas Donnelly
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: National security is neither a "sacred cow" nor just another federal budget line item. Providing for the common defense of the American people and our homeland is the primary responsibility of policymakers in Washington. However, in an effort to protect social entitlements like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the health care reform law from serious deficit and debt reduction efforts, President Obama has proposed not only to raise taxes, but also to cut another $400 billion more from future national security spending. As Obama said on June 29, 2011, "[Outgoing Secretary of Defense] Bob Gates has already done a good job identifying $400 billion in cuts, but we're going to do more."
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Debt, War
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Washington
  • Author: Gary J. Schmitt, Thomas Donnelly
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Over the past year, actions by the People‘s Republic of China (PRC) have called into question its previous assertions that its rise to great-power status would be peaceful. Whether it was scolding countries around the world about the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Chinese dissident Liu Xiabo, declaring that its ?core interests? now included some 1.3 million square miles of the South China Sea, dismissing complaints of neighbors as failing to recognize that "China is a big country," ignoring North Korean acts of terror, challenging U.S. naval ships on the high seas, creating new confrontations with Japan over disputed islands, slashing its export of rare earth elements, continuing cyber attacks on American defense and commercial entities, or testing a new stealth fighter during the visit of the American secretary of defense, the picture that emerges is of a China that believes it can now throw its considerable economic and military weight around. It‘s a challenge that the U.S. has been slow to meet and, as a result, led to considerable uncertainty among friends and allies about whether the U.S. is up to that challenge—uncertainty fed in no small measure by prospects of a declining American defense budget.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation
  • Political Geography: China, America
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The future of America's national security hangs in the balance. Facing a looming Thanksgiving deadline, a select bipartisan panel of 12 lawmakers is struggling to hammer out legislation that would reduce the federal deficit by more than $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years. However, it remains unclear if they will succeed.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Debt
  • Political Geography: United States, America