FROM Patrick B. Johnston
How Long Can the Islamic State Stay in Business? The richest terrorist group in history is financed not just by smuggling oil and selling looted antiquities. It may get as much as a billion dollars a year from taxation on individuals and businesses subject to a system of brutal enforcement. While increased bombing may deplete oil revenues, beatings and even beheadings are taking a toll on formerly middle class people. We hear about a model of governance that could threaten the sustainability of the Islamic State from the inside.
The Islamic State The Islamic State, also called ISIS and ISIL, now controls a major part of Iraq and an entire province in Syria. It’s replaced the Taliban as a fomenter of terrorists-including a disturbing number with American or European passports. Now, President Obama has authorized spy planes to conduct surveillance over Syria—a possible precursor to a bombing campaign. We hear about the risks of military action—and a possible alternative: striking the real source of the Islamic State’s power: The modern financial system that keeps it armed and fed and guarantees its continuity.
The Islamic State Has Oil and Momentum… How Far Will It Go? The Islamic State controls so much of Iraq and Syria it’s able to finance its self-styled “caliphate” by selling oil. It’s a real threat to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad—complicating US efforts to help so-called “moderates.” What is the Islamic State? Does it pose a threat beyond Syria and its civil war? After 3 years, 170,000 casualties and 9 million refugees, Syria’s civil war has become bloodier than ever. Last week, 700 died in one battle between the government of Bashar al-Assad and the Islamic State. The object was control of a natural gas field near Homs.
Is the United States losing its moral authority in the world? American support for human rights has often been criticized as more about words than it is about action. President Trump is creating more skeptics than ever. What are the consequences for America's role in the world?
The free-flowing leaks in the Trump White House President Obama tried to clamp down on leakers, but the Trump Administration is besieged almost as never before. Are the "anonymous sources" partisans or worried professionals? Are they endangering the republic or performing a public service?