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Peter Henne
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Entries by Peter Henne

Pushing Past the 'Grey Area' on Homegrown Radicalization

(0) Comments | Posted June 3, 2013 | 5:49 PM

Co-authored by Jonathan Kennedy, a doctoral student in the Department of Criminology at the University of Maryland and a Research Associate at START

In a recent article in Foreign Policy, Jane Harman echoes a growing concern that homegrown radicalization is likely to persist even if the United...

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Religious-Secular Clashes in Turkish Politics

(1) Comments | Posted March 21, 2013 | 12:10 PM

I've just returned from a trip to Turkey. Early in my stay, I stopped by a café in Istanbul. It had recently opened, and the staff was drawing the attention of passersby with calls of buyurun!

My waiter and I talked as I ate, beginning with him teasingly insisting I...

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What Mali Tells Us About Ideology and al-Qaeda

(2) Comments | Posted February 26, 2013 | 10:15 PM

After French forces routed al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Tuareg rebel fighters in northern Mali, they reportedly recovered a strategy document written by AQIM's leader. The document discusses plans to set up a "low-profile" Islamic government in the region, while also attacking AQIM members for instituting...

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What We're All Missing in the Zero Dark Thirty Debate

(0) Comments | Posted January 24, 2013 | 2:27 PM

Recent commentary on Zero Dark Thirty -- the Kathryn Bigelow film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden -- has attempted to move away from debating whether or not torture really mattered in finding the former leader of al Qaeda. I appreciate this, as it's useful to point...

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Of Sultans and Soap Operas

(0) Comments | Posted November 30, 2012 | 6:39 PM

Last December, I was in Doha to attend the UN's Alliance of Civilizations conference. While fighting off jet lag in my hotel room -- the 13 hour flight is a killer -- I saw a commercial for Hareem al Sultan (the Arabic version of the original Turkish name, The Magnificent...

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Turkey, Syria and the Geopolitics of Identity

(32) Comments | Posted October 5, 2012 | 7:22 PM

The Syrian shelling of Akcakale -- a Turkish village on the Syrian border -- and Turkey's military response against Syrian targets was shocking. Personally, it made me think of a 2009 trip I took to Antep and Urfa -- cities in southeastern Turkey -- sponsored by the

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Does Religious Freedom Matter?

(0) Comments | Posted September 21, 2012 | 9:42 AM

The Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life has released its third report on global restrictions on religion, "Rising Tide of Religious Restrictions." This report, like the ones preceding it, presents a quantitative measure of government and social restrictions on religion to assess the...

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Are Some Nations More 'Real' Than Others? Does This Matter?

(15) Comments | Posted September 13, 2012 | 9:13 PM


Wednesday on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Joe Klein was a guest, discussing the current showdown over Iran's nuclear program. Klein is a smart and reasonable man, and most of what he said made sense. But he made a few almost throwaway comments about "real" vs. "fake" nations that, in my mind,...

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What's At Stake for International Religious Freedom in the US Contraception Debate?

(0) Comments | Posted September 4, 2012 | 4:10 PM

Cardinal Timothy Dolan's benediction at the Republican Convention, and his upcoming appearance at the Democratic Convention reflect the importance of religious debates over contraception in this election. How this battle in the ongoing American culture war is resolved matters for more than the immediate issue, though; it...

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Ambivalence, Idealism, and the Nobel Peace Prize

(3) Comments | Posted December 10, 2010 | 11:29 AM

This time last year, I was celebrating Obama's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. What most impressed me with this speech was his emphasis on the ambivalence of world politics; we must strive to make the world better, but also realize that we will never completely succeed. For me...

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Threats and Rumors of Threat

(0) Comments | Posted November 7, 2010 | 7:53 PM

The world seems a threatening place. The pre-election terror plot revealed al-Qaeda (AQ) continues its attempts to strike US and Western targets. A series of horrendous attacks occurred in the past week, including the massacre of Iraqi Christians and two suicide bombings of Muslim...

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Understanding Turkey's Foreign Policy

(43) Comments | Posted October 13, 2010 | 3:44 PM

A few days ago, I returned from a trip to Turkey, sponsored by the Rumi Forum. The trip included visits to four cities in Turkey and meetings with community, business and political groups. As someone who studies Turkey, the trip was an incredible opportunity to learn first-hand about...

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The Social Construction of Controversy

(1) Comments | Posted September 22, 2010 | 3:46 PM

Observers and participants in the recent Park51 debate likely noticed some parallels to the 2005 Danish Muhammad cartoon controversy. Potent religious issues mixed with a clash between freedom of speech and the protection of communal values. But, as Lawrence Wright has discussed, the real parallel is in the...

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Treading Water in Sri Lanka

(16) Comments | Posted August 24, 2010 | 5:34 PM

Last week, a commission began investigating the final phase of a horrendous decades-long civil war. This war, which ended last year, caused tens of thousands of deaths, prompted military interventions from a regional power, drew in a transnational diaspora, and spawned numerous refugees. The war's aftermath presents significant...

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Allawi: Still Our Safest Bet in Iraq

(1) Comments | Posted August 4, 2010 | 11:40 AM

Despite being an aspiring foreign policy wonk, I at first failed to realize the significance of August 31st, 2010. That is the date the US combat mission in Iraq will end. It is not that I was unaware of this date, or forgot. Instead, it was the near-absence of Iraq...

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Al-Shabaab's Desperation?

(15) Comments | Posted July 15, 2010 | 11:50 PM

The recent terrorist attacks in Uganda, during a World Cup celebration, quickly redirected the world's attention from the soccer tournament to the continuing threat of terrorism in Eastern Africa. The claim of responsibility by al-Shabaab (AS), a Somali Islamist group, added to the anxiety surrounding the attacks, as...

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How to Avoid Undermining Our Own Afghan Policy

(5) Comments | Posted June 30, 2010 | 12:10 PM

With the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan looming, concrete steps that would facilitate stabilization of the country are in high demand. Two possibilities that have gained some traction are power-sharing with the Taliban and a strategy that breaks off moderate elements of the group. Pressure to speed up disengagement from Afghanistan...

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What Do We Make of Somalia?

(1) Comments | Posted June 10, 2010 | 12:54 PM

The recent arrest of two men in New Jersey--who hoped to fight with al-Shabaab (AS), a Somali militant group with ties to al-Qaeda (AQ)--has highlighted the continuing unrest in this East African country. This follows reports of hundreds of foreign fighters in that country. But what...

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Supporting Allawi and Stability in Iraq

(19) Comments | Posted April 26, 2010 | 12:25 PM

Reports are beginning to emerge about increasing sectarian tension in Iraq, as trust degrades between Sunnis and Shia and fears of returning to the full-blown insurgency of a few years ago spread. This possibly deteriorating situation is connected to two concurrent developments in that country. Iraqi politicians are...

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Channeling Identity Politics in Iraq

(0) Comments | Posted March 29, 2010 | 5:06 PM

The recent news that Ayad Allawi won a slim majority of parliamentary seats in the recent Iraqi elections was, to say the least, surprising: a secular Shiite formerly derided as a U.S. puppet won with the support of Sunni Arabs. Yet, it would be a stretch to say...

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