Blogs: Paul Pillar

The Illusive Purposes of Toughness

Ideological Warfare Against Nonviolent Political Islam

Paul Pillar

The fundamental mistake in suppressing groups such as the Brotherhood, or in effect condoning such suppression with a step such as the Cruz-Diaz legislation, is that closing peaceful channels for the expression of political Islam moves more people into the violent channels.  We have seen this process playing out in Egypt since the coup, with the harsh practices of military strongman Abdul Fatah al-Sisi being followed directly by an upsurge in terrorist violence in Egypt.  The unfortunate lesson being absorbed by many young men with Islamist inclinations is that all those years of forbearance by the Brotherhood were for naught.  The lesson is that only a violent path has any chance of success.

The newly introduced legislation is bad not only as a politicization of counterterrorism but also as a counterproductive approach to Islamist terrorism in particular.  Also unfortunate are indications of this approach becoming part of the new administration’s direction.  A disturbing part of the testimony this week by the nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, was his seamless lumping of the Muslim Brotherhood with “other agents of radical Islam, like al-Qaeda”.  Likely to be even more damaging is the entrenchment of indiscriminate Islamophobia at the center of national security decision-making in the White House. 

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Russia Had Plenty to Work With: The Crisis in American Democracy

Paul Pillar

The fundamental mistake in suppressing groups such as the Brotherhood, or in effect condoning such suppression with a step such as the Cruz-Diaz legislation, is that closing peaceful channels for the expression of political Islam moves more people into the violent channels.  We have seen this process playing out in Egypt since the coup, with the harsh practices of military strongman Abdul Fatah al-Sisi being followed directly by an upsurge in terrorist violence in Egypt.  The unfortunate lesson being absorbed by many young men with Islamist inclinations is that all those years of forbearance by the Brotherhood were for naught.  The lesson is that only a violent path has any chance of success.

The newly introduced legislation is bad not only as a politicization of counterterrorism but also as a counterproductive approach to Islamist terrorism in particular.  Also unfortunate are indications of this approach becoming part of the new administration’s direction.  A disturbing part of the testimony this week by the nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, was his seamless lumping of the Muslim Brotherhood with “other agents of radical Islam, like al-Qaeda”.  Likely to be even more damaging is the entrenchment of indiscriminate Islamophobia at the center of national security decision-making in the White House. 

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The Anti-Intelligence President-Elect

Paul Pillar

The fundamental mistake in suppressing groups such as the Brotherhood, or in effect condoning such suppression with a step such as the Cruz-Diaz legislation, is that closing peaceful channels for the expression of political Islam moves more people into the violent channels.  We have seen this process playing out in Egypt since the coup, with the harsh practices of military strongman Abdul Fatah al-Sisi being followed directly by an upsurge in terrorist violence in Egypt.  The unfortunate lesson being absorbed by many young men with Islamist inclinations is that all those years of forbearance by the Brotherhood were for naught.  The lesson is that only a violent path has any chance of success.

The newly introduced legislation is bad not only as a politicization of counterterrorism but also as a counterproductive approach to Islamist terrorism in particular.  Also unfortunate are indications of this approach becoming part of the new administration’s direction.  A disturbing part of the testimony this week by the nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, was his seamless lumping of the Muslim Brotherhood with “other agents of radical Islam, like al-Qaeda”.  Likely to be even more damaging is the entrenchment of indiscriminate Islamophobia at the center of national security decision-making in the White House. 

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Winning May Be the Only Thing for Trump, But Not For the U.S.

Paul Pillar

The fundamental mistake in suppressing groups such as the Brotherhood, or in effect condoning such suppression with a step such as the Cruz-Diaz legislation, is that closing peaceful channels for the expression of political Islam moves more people into the violent channels.  We have seen this process playing out in Egypt since the coup, with the harsh practices of military strongman Abdul Fatah al-Sisi being followed directly by an upsurge in terrorist violence in Egypt.  The unfortunate lesson being absorbed by many young men with Islamist inclinations is that all those years of forbearance by the Brotherhood were for naught.  The lesson is that only a violent path has any chance of success.

The newly introduced legislation is bad not only as a politicization of counterterrorism but also as a counterproductive approach to Islamist terrorism in particular.  Also unfortunate are indications of this approach becoming part of the new administration’s direction.  A disturbing part of the testimony this week by the nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, was his seamless lumping of the Muslim Brotherhood with “other agents of radical Islam, like al-Qaeda”.  Likely to be even more damaging is the entrenchment of indiscriminate Islamophobia at the center of national security decision-making in the White House. 

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