Getting ISIS Out of Iraq

Mon., Apr. 20, 2015    |    Robert A. Pape, The New York Times

Despite being criticized for lacking a strategy, the United States and its allies have made significant gains against the Islamic State. Over the past year, the areas it controlled that were most threatening to our regional allies in Iraq and Syria have shrunk by more than a third. The Islamic State’s fighters have been pushed back from the Mosul Dam in Kurdish Iraq, the town of Kobani in Syria, and, most recently, the Iraqi city of Tikrit, making the largest Kurdish and Shiite population centers vastly safer.

Lecture examines the strategy behind ISIS, suicide attacks

Mon., Mar. 30, 2015    |    Emory University News Center

What motivates a suicide terrorist? Is there a transitional moment that creates a terrorist? What are the risk factors that lead to suicide attacks? In the aftermath of 9/11, University of Chicago political science professor Robert Pape found himself flooded with such questions from a public in search of answers. And the truth was, he wasn't sure.

Killing Top Terrorists is Not Enough

Fri., Mar. 06, 2015    |    The Washington Post

The Washington Post columnist David Ignatius features the research of Dr. Jenna Jordan, former CPOST Researcher and current Assistant Professor of Political Science at Georgia Tech, whose path-breaking work focuses on the ineffectiveness of decapitation strategies against terrorist groups. 

Foreign Policy Likely To Be Hot Topic in 2016 Presidential Contest

Mon., Mar. 02, 2015    |    University of Chicago News Office

The University of Chicago News Office recaps the inaugural CPOST Speaker Series event held in early February 2015 with Robert Kagan, Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution.

Shopping Malls and Social Media, A New Age for Terrorist Threats

Thu., Feb. 26, 2015    |    Gentry Jenkins, Medill Reports Chicago, Medill News Service

CPOST Fellow Gentry Jenkins speaks with Medill Reports Chicago about how terror groups use social media to threaten and advertise. 

Forum on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) Report

Mon., Feb. 16, 2015    |    Robert Pape, H-Diplo, ISSF Forum 

Director Pape reviews the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) Report and the United States' Post-9/11 Policy on Torture in a forum at H-Diplo, weighing the strategic costs against the tactical benefits.

Every Insurgency Is Different

Sun., Feb. 15, 2015    |    Paul Staniland, The New York Times

In this editorial for The New York Times, Assistant Director Paul Staniland examines insurgencies across the globe and asks why, if each group is different in structure, goals, and strategies, it appears the U.S. and its allies use only one counterinsurgency approach against them all.

Is There a Better Way to Fight Terrorism?

Fri., Feb. 13, 2015    |    Robert Pape, Freakonomics Radio Podcast

Dr. Pape joined Stephen Dubner on the Freakonomics Radio Podcast to discuss the root causes of terrorism ahead of the White House "Countering Violent Extremism" Summit. 

The Future of American Foreign Policy

Thu., Feb. 12, 2015    |    University of Chicago News Office

In this interview, Dr. Robert Pape speaks with Dr. Robert Kagan, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, about America's role in the international system and the future of U.S. foreign policy and national security strategy. 

Four Reasons for ISIS’s Success

Sun., Jan. 25, 2015    |    Oxford Islamic Studies Online, Oxford University Press

Dr. Robert Pape and Sarah Morell examine ISIS's successes since June 2014 and offer insight into why the group has been able to expand its control in Iraq and Syria. 

Hammer and Anvil: How to Defeat ISIS

Fri., Jan. 02, 2015    |    Foreign Affairs

Dr. Robert Pape, Research Director Keven Ruby, and Research Analyst Vincent Bauer explore the effectiveness of U.S. and Coalition airstrikes on ISIS, and the best strategy moving forward. 

Why ISIL Beheads Its Victims

Tue., Oct. 07, 2014    |    POLITICO Magazine

Robert Pape, Michael Rowley, and Sarah Morell examine the strategtic logic behind ISIL's recent beheadings of Westerners. The group's primary goal, they argue, is not to fight the West, but instead to use anti-American sentiment to expand its recruitment pool in order to grow a military force powerful enough to take down enemies in the immediate vicinity. 

The Growing Threat of ISIS

Sun., Sep. 14, 2014    |    Beyond the Beltway with Bruce DuMont

Dr. Robert Pape appeared on "Beyond the Beltway" with Bruce DuMont to discuss the rising threat of ISIS and America's strategy moving forward. 

How National Security Has Increased in the United States

Thu., Sep. 11, 2014    |    WBEZ, NPR Chicago

On the anniversary of 9/11, Dr. Robert Pape spoke with WBEZ, NPR's Chicago affiliate, on the changing national security landscape since 2001. The discussion centered on the important balance between civil liberties and national security, and how to ensure that American policies maximize American security and individual freedom. 

How to Fix the Flaws in the Global Terrorism Database and Why It Matters

Mon., Aug. 11, 2014    |    The Monkey Cage at The Washington Post

Following up their original piece on government data exaggerating the increase in terrorist attacks, Director Robert Pape, Research Director Keven Ruby, and Research Analysts Vincent Bauer and Gentry Jenkins write for 'The Monkey Cage' at The Washington Post to explain that the Global Terrorism Database does not accurately portray the trajectory of terrorism over time, why this problem matters, and how to fix it. 

Green on Blue Attacks in Afghanistan

Thu., Aug. 07, 2014    |    ABC Chicago

Fellow David Benson, former Army intelligence officer, speaks to ABC Chicago about 'Green on Blue' attacks and the death of Major General Harold Greene in Afghanistan.

In the News: Russia, Ukraine, and MH17

Mon., Jul. 28, 2014

With events unfolding in Ukraine and Russia following the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 crash, CPOST Director Robert Pape discusses the tragedy, the implications for the conflict, and what action the international community can take. 

Why U.S. Military Involvement Will Hurt Iraq and Increase Suicide Terrorism

Thu., Jun. 19, 2014    |    The Monkey Cage at The Washington Post

In a piece written for "The Monkey Cage" at The Washington Post, CPOST Director Robert A. Pape explains why we should not be considering military options for Iraq despite the gains made by the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

New Publications

Fri., May. 30, 2014

We are proud to share new publications in the prestigious journals Security Studies and International Security by CPOST Fellow David Benson and CPOST alumna Jenna Jordan!

Beyond the Pivot: Managing Asian Security Crises

Wed., May. 07, 2014

On April 30, 2014, CPOST co-sponsored a conference on Capitol Hill with Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), founder and co-chair of the Senate U.S.-China Working Group. CPOST and Senator Kirk's office brought together top American and Chinese scholars, policymakers, and members of the think tank community to discuss the best ways to manage security crises in Asia. 

Up To June 2014 Suicide Attack Database Now Online

Wed., May. 07, 2014

We are proud to present the latest release of the CPOST Suicide Attack Database. The database now contains all known suicide attacks from 1982 to 2013 worldwide, and throgh June 2014 for Iraq, comprising 3,807 attacks in over 40 countries. It is most comprehensive and up-to-date database of suicide attacks in the world, and is available to the public for free.

U.S.-China Hotline Could Help Avert Crises

Fri., May. 02, 2014    |    UChicago News

Citing the increased number of territorial disputes in East Asia, Senator Mark Kirk and CPOST Director Robert Pape propose a hotline between the United States and China, similar to the one used with the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

A Hotline to Cool Asian Crises

Tue., Apr. 29, 2014    |    The Monkey Cage, The Washington Post

CPOST Director Robert A. Pape writes on the importance of establishing a new, working hotline between the United States and China. He proposes specific recommendations for a new hotline, "CHILINK," which will overcome previous shortfalls and provide a direct link between the American and Chinese governments in a time when we see an increasing frequency of security crises in East Asia. 

13 times that economic sanctions really worked

Mon., Apr. 28, 2014    |    The Washington Post

The Washington Post discusses situations in which economic sanctions have arguably worked, noting that such cases are quite rare. He cites CPOST Director Robert A. Pape's article "Why Economic Sanctions Do Not Work" to explain this important phenomenon in the context of the 2014 Ukraine Crisis.

Welcome to the New CPOST!

Mon., Apr. 28, 2014

We are proud to introduce the new CPOST website, including the Suicide Attack Database updated through 2013. As a research institute at the University of Chicago specializing in international security affairs, we strive to create new knowledge and policy initiatives through peer-reviewed scholarship, conferences, and engagement with the media.

Kirk wants State Dept. to share info on passport checks

Fri., Apr. 11, 2014    |    Chicago Sun-Times

U.S. Senator Mark Kirk and CPOST Director Robert Pape argue that the American public should be better informed about which countries check for stolen passports and which ones don’t, in the hopes of putting pressure on governments to fight passport fraud and make travel safer.

Sanctions on Russia Won’t Work

Sun., Mar. 09, 2014    |    Chicago Tribune

CPOST Director Robert Pape calculates that sanctions have worked less than 5 percent of the time. The intractable obstacle, he has written, is that modern governments are “willing to endure considerable punishment rather than abandon what are seen as the interests of the nation.”

Why Western sanctions against Russia could inflame Ukraine crisis

Fri., Mar. 07, 2014    |    CNN

CPOST Director Robert A. Pape examines the threat of U.S. sanctions against Russia over recent events in Ukraine.

Chechen Rebels’ Complicated Agenda

Fri., Feb. 07, 2014    |    The Boston Globe

CPOST Director Robert A. Pape discusses the cause of the Chechen rebels and the terror threat leading up to the Sochi Olympics.

Meet the Female Terrorists Keeping Putin Up At Night

Wed., Jan. 22, 2014    |    Foreign Policy

Robert Pape, Lindsey O’Rourke and Jenna McDermit of the Chicago Project on Terrorism and Security (CPOST) wrote in a New York Times op-ed that militants began using female suicide bombers after the outbreak of the second Chechen war with Russia in 1999. As the usual guerrilla tactics and hostage-taking proved ineffective, they turned to Black Widow attacks. “New tactics were employed and women were central from the start,” they wrote.

Sochi Olympic Security Concerns Loom in Wake of Russian Bus Bombing

Tue., Oct. 22, 2013    |    ABC News

The Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism last month completed an 18-month study for the Navy of thousands of terrorist incidents and Pape said it concluded in part that the Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus in desperation is now more willing to attack civilians over military targets. Pape said Russia’s aggressive counter-terror operations have beaten Umarov’s group into a corner.

September 11, 2011 – Ten Years Later

Wed., Sep. 11, 2013

To mark the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, CPOST asked prominent policymakers and scholars to reflect on the decade since September 11, 2001.

Why We Shouldn’t be Afraid of Al-Qaeda in Yemen

Fri., Aug. 16, 2013    |    The Boston Globe

CPOST Director Robert A. Pape and Research Associate David Schneyer explain why it was unnecessary to close over 20 embassies across the Middle East and North Africa in light of intelligence suggesting a threat posed by Al-Qaeda in Yemen.

Legal Implications of Verizon Phone Tracking

Thu., Jun. 06, 2013    |    Chicago Tonight

CPOST Fellow David Benson takes part in a panel discussion on the legal implications of cell phone tracking for American citizens

Echoes of London

Fri., Apr. 26, 2013    |    The Boston Globe

CPOST Director Robert A. Pape discusses the Boston Marathon bombing suspects and their likely motivation.

Why We Shouldn’t Attack Syria (Yet)

Thu., Feb. 02, 2012    |    Robert Pape

In this article, Dr. Pape argues that, unlike Libya, the opposition to Syria’s dictatorial president has not achieved sustained control of any major population area. So, air power alone would probably not be sufficient to blunt the Assad loyalists entrenched in cities, and a heavy ground campaign would probably face stiff and bloody resistance.

The New Standard for Humanitarian Intervention

Mon., Apr. 04, 2011    |    Robert Pape

CPOST Director Robert A. Pape writes about intervention in Libya and how it connects to and sets a new, "pragmatic" standard for intervention in humanitarian crises.

The Next Step in Libya

Fri., Mar. 25, 2011    |    Time Magazine

US Bases Abroad Trigger Suicide Terrorism: Are There Other Options?

Tue., Oct. 05, 2010    |    Steve Clemons, Huffington Post

Can it be that American military bases abroad, usually thought of as “stabilizers” in tough neighborhoods, are really the primary cause of radical terrorism against the US and its allies? That is what Robert Pape and James K. Feldman compellingly argue in their new book released this week titled Cutting the Fuse: The Explosion of Global Suicide Terrorism and How to Stop

Terrorism Studies: Social Scientists do Counterinsurgency

Mon., Apr. 26, 2010    |    Nicholas Lemann, The New Yorker

Once you take terrorists to be rational actors, you need a theory about their rationale. Robert Pape, a political scientist at the University of Chicago, built a database of three hundred and fifteen suicide attacks between 1980 and 2003, and drew a resoundingly clear conclusion: “What nearly all suicide terrorist attacks have in common is a specific secular and strategic goal: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from territory that the terrorists consider to be their homeland.” As he wrote in “Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism” (2005), what terrorists want is “to change policy,” often the policy of a faraway major power. Pape asserts that “offensive military action rarely works” against terrorism, so, in his view, the solution to the problem of terrorism couldn’t be simpler: withdraw.

The Truth Behind Suicide Terrorism

Tue., Sep. 22, 2009    |    Carnegie Results

In its Fall 2009 Issue, the Carnegie Corporation details its support for one scholar’s research, which opened up new terrain in policy relevant work and continues to influence decision makers at the highest level. Five years after being named a Carnegie Scholar, Robert Pape now heads the Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism, investigating trends and searching for solutions to critical international security issues facing the U.S. and world community.

A Scholarly Look at Terror Sees Bootprints In the Sand

Sun., Jul. 10, 2005    |    Caryle Murphy, The Washington Post

(CPOST Director Robert) Pape’s world is a little topsy-turvy right now because the loquacious associate professor of political science is hollering “No!” to some of the conventional wisdom underpinning U.S. foreign policy. Specifically, Pape contends in his controversial new book, “Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism,” that U.S. policymakers misread why suicide terrorists do what they do.

Press Conference on the American Face of ISIS

CPOST hosted local and national broadcast news at a conference announcing the release of The American Face of ISIS. Full video from the conference found here.

The Future of Afghanistan and U.S. Foreign Policy

In 2011, CPOST, the New York Council on Foreign Relations, and Foreign Affairs Magazine collaborated to present a special collection of perspectives and analyses examining Afghanistan ten years following the fall of the Taliban. This collection is comprised of a wide-range of perspectives from top military leaders, policymakers, and academics.