Security

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.”

Postdoctoral Fellowship

Fellowships are available for recent doctoral graduates and established scholars to spend 9-12 months in residence at Dartmouth on research and scholarly writing on issues related to Arctic Studies. The current fellows program is offered in conjunction with a Dickey Center fellowship in International Security and US Foreign Policy, which is a collaboration with the Dean of Faculty office at Dartmouth. 

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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."

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