In the News

How Should the US Respond to Sotloff's Killing?

September 3, 2014

In an interview with Judy Woodruff of the PBS Newshour Dickey Center Director Daniel Benjamin talks about the appropriate response to the killing of American journalist Steven Sotloff.  

"I think that the key thing right now is not to react instantly to try to get some retaliation for this really barbaric attack, but rather to get the strategy right, to get the partners brought in, and to ensure, of course, that the Iraqis themselves continue to move towards inclusiveness and towards working together against a common threat,” says Benjamin, who is a former counter terrorism official in the Obama administration.

Listen to the entire interview on PBS with former National Security Council staff Lt. Col. Douglas Ollivant (Ret.), former State Department official Anne-Marie Slaughter, and Benjamin.

What Level of Threat Does ISIS Pose to the US?

August 18, 2014

Dickey Center Director Daniel Benjamin talks to Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC about ISIS and the threat to Iraq and Syria, and the challenge of arming individual Iraqi and Kurdish factions to fight them. He also discusses the overheated rhetoric coming out of Washington about ISIS as a threat to the US.

Watch the entire discussion on MSNBC.

Hawks Exaggerate Islamic State Threat to the US (Boston Globe)

August 17, 2014

In an opinion piece in the Boston Globe, Dickey Center Director Daniel Benjamin cautions that politicians in Washington and the press are exaggerating the direct threat to the United States from the group calling itself the Islamic State, or ISIS. 

"The danger to Iraq and its neighbors is real. The Islamic State has shown itself to be a formidable insurgency. Its focus is on ripping apart Iraq and Syria, sowing sectarian conflict, and creating in its midst a new jihadist state or caliphate . . .  But, for now, it’s important to understand that even if marauding operatives in Land Cruisers may be humiliating Iraq’s hollowed-out military, that doesn’t mean they have genuine terrorist skills," Benjamin writes.

Read the entire article in the Boston Globe

ISIS Is an Unproven Threat to the US

August 12, 2014, Dartmouth Now

In a story about the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Jake Tapper ’91, host of CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper, turns to Dartmouth’s Daniel Benjamin for comment about the threat posed by the militant group.

Benjamin, the Norman E. McCulloch Jr. Director of Dartmouth’s John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding and the former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the U.S. State Department, tells Tapper that ISIS poses “an unproven threat” to the U.S. “It’s a big concern, but at the moment, there is no proven record of out-of-area activities, no demonstrated ability to carry out attacks, and if I had to say who the next attack was going to be carried out by, it wouldn’t be ISIS.”

Dartmouth Welcomes Fellows from Africa (WCAX)

Dartmouth's cohort of 25 Young African Leaders were highlighted in a segment on the local CBS affiliate, WCAX. Academic Director Amy Newcomb and Fellow Chedi Ngulu were interviewed and footage was taken during the Rockefeller Center's Leadership Session with the Fellows.

Follow the Dickey Center on Facebook and check out our Flickr account to keep up with our Washington Fellows of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).

Young African Leaders at Dartmouth

Dartmouth's cohort of 25 Young African Leaders participating in the first Washington Fellowship are well into their six-week business and entrepreneurship institute.

Starting with their coursework in Design Thinking, they soon will transition to intensive study of entrepreneurship, all the while participating in weekly leadership sessions  and service and community engagement. They also are working on their teambuilding skills through activities with the Outdoor Programs Office.

Read more about our YALI Washington Fellows in recent articles in Dartmouth Now and The Dartmouth.

Iraq's Problem Is Power Politics, Not 'Ancient Hatreds' (WSJ)

Dartmouth Now

The strife in Iraq is more a result of modern power politics rather than ancient religious hatreds, according the Dickey Center Director Daniel Benjamin, writing in the Wall Street Journal.
"There is indeed plenty of bad blood between Sunnis and Shiites. But today's sectarian rifts in Iraq and the wider region are the result of calculated efforts over many years by modern states—above all, Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia. Both countries have long jostled for regional dominance, and despite their bitter harvest, neither seems particularly willing to change," writes Benjamin.

He reviews the long history of relative commity between Sunnis and Shites, which was broken with the ascent of Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini,  the US invasion of Iraq, and the region's recent desent into regional sectarianism. America cannot abandon the Middle East, says Benjamin, "But don't get your hopes up."

Iraq crisis: Is it time for al-Maliki to step down? (CNN)

June 18, 2014

As the situation in Iraq deteriorates many are asking whether it's time for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to step aside for a change in leadership. Dickey Center Director Daniel Benjamin and the Woodrow Wilson Center's Robin Wright participated in a discussion on CNN's The Lead with Jake Tapper to discuss what lies ahead for Iraq and Prime Minister Maliki. Listen to their discussion online. 

Iraq On The Brink: U.S. Weighs Options As Jihadis Advance (NHPR)

Dickey Center Director Daniel Benjamin participated in a discussion on the current situation in Iraq on the New Hampshire Public Radio show The Exchange.

Can Iraq Survive? (Boston Globe)

"The news from Iraq has been so bad for so long, it has become difficult to distinguish the merely depressing from the genuinely disastrous," writes Dickey Center Director Daniel Benjamin in an opinion piece in The Boston Globe. While he notes no one will contemplate putting "boots on the ground", Benjamin says the U.S. will continue to provide Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki with arms, but "the future will require real imagination and effort to contain the demons now proliferating in the eastern reaches of the Fertile Crescent — at a moment when Americans would most like to look away."

Read the entire piece on The Boston Globe's website.

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