Zuri Linetsky

Zuri Linetsky is a non-resident fellow at the Global Policy Center at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. Follow @zurilinetsky

Recent Articles

Nigeria After Boko Haram: Rethinking Reeducation and Reintegration

Issues of religion, gender, and mistrust could further complicate efforts to return former fighters to their communities.

(Photo: AP/Lekan Oyekanmi)
(Photo: AP/Lekan Oyekanmi) A woman walks past Nigerian soldiers at a checkpoint in Gwoza, Nigeria, on April 8, 2015, after the town had been liberated from Boko Haram. T he war between Nigeria and the Islamic State in West Africa (also known as Boko Haram) has cost more than 20,000 people their lives. Boko Haram’s terror campaign and the violent response by the Nigerian military and its Civilian Joint Task Force militia have forcibly displaced 2.2 million people . In fact, in 2014, Boko Haram overtook the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as the world’s deadliest non-state militant organization, according to the Global Terrorism Index , accounting for 6,644 deaths. The Nigerian government has admittedly made headway. Over the past year, the military (with American military support ) has pushed Boko Haram militants out of the 19 local government areas it once controlled. Indeed, on December 24, 2015, president Muhammadu Buhari announced that Boko Haram had been “technically”...

How to Defeat ISIS

The Turks won’t like it, but the U.S. has to back the Kurds.

AP Photo/Jake Simkin
AP Photo/Jake Simkin In this Wednesday, November 19, 2014 photo, a female Kurdish fighter takes aim in Kobani, Syria. On the front lines of the battle for Kobani, Kurdish female fighters have been playing a major role in helping defend the Syrian town from an onslaught by the Islamic State extremist group. F ollowing the brutal November 13 Paris attacks, which France’s President François Holland labeled an act of war , both France and the United States have ramped up their respective bombing campaigns against the Islamic State (also knows an ISIS, ISIL and Daesh). More recently, French and U.S. warplanes have bombed Raqqa , the ersatz capital of ISIS, as well as various elements of the ISIS-controlled Syrian oil sector . Unfortunately, air power alone has done precious little to combat the spread and institutionalization of the Islamic State . However, when air power has been mobilized in support of capable ground forces—namely the various Kurdish armed forces operating in Iraq and...

ISIL, Iraq and Syria: Why Military Action Won’t Do The Trick

(AP Photo, File)
O n September 10, 2014, President Obama announced a new strategy aimed at “ degrading and destroying ” ISIL (also known as ISIS and the Islamic State). Ideally, the United States should avoid fighting in Iraq and Syria. Now that that the U.S. has committed itself to bombing Iraq and Syria, however, ISIL and the threat it represents should be placed into a historical context that until now has only sporadically informed U.S. plans. In 1994 the United States faced a similar Salafi Islamist non-state entity: the Afghan Taliban. ( Salafism is a strict interpretation of Islamic theology, as laid out by the Qur’an and the Hadith, wherein life must adhere as closely as possible to the conditions that existed during the religion’s first three generations). ISIL, like the Taliban, is a militant Islamist reaction to failed governance. Examining American-Taliban history can help American leaders understand the threat posed by ISIL, the dangers of trying to defeat the movement outright, as well...