What Effect Does Religious Freedom Promotion Have On Counterterrorism?

By Peter Henne

The Global War on Terrorism—a massive US-led struggle to defeat al-Qaeda after the 9/11 attacks—was one of the defining aspect of 21st century international relations. This effort also raised important questions for the study and promotion of religious freedom, namely whether its promotion would strengthen counterterrorism efforts.

Would greater religious freedom in Muslim countries have prevented the rise of al-Qaeda and its supporters, by decreasing grievances in their societies? Or would this have made counterterrorism efforts harder, by decreasing states’ control over “extremist” religious voices? My research on religion and counterterrorism finds that religious freedom can complicate counterterrorism efforts, but its promotion is ultimately preferable to support for repression.

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Why the U.S. Should Maintain a Close Partnership with Saudi Arabia

By: William Inboden

In April, President Barack Obama headed to Riyadh as the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia approached one of its lowest points since World War II. The Saudis regard current American policies in the region as disengaged, erratic, and overly solicitous of Iran. On the other hand, the Obama administration sees Riyadh as backward, parochial, and unhelpfully opposed to the Iran nuclear deal.

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