The Lawfare Podcast

 It’s already made the headlines, but earlier this week, Matt Olsen, Director of the National Counterterrorism Center delivered a keynote threat assessment of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria to the Brookings Institution. Olsen’s assessment stood out among the many others that have been released into the Washington echo chamber: it was alarming yet measured; it addressed the structural factors both propelling and limiting ISIL; and it outlined a series of steps the United States could take to limit the threat to the U.S. homeland and its interests abroad. Overall, Olsen paints a picture of a radical group with unnerving capabilities, but one that he says is certainly not “invincible.” Bruce Riedel, Director of the Intelligence Project and Senior Fellow at Brookings, introduced Olsen and moderated the discussion. 

Direct download: Episode_90_--_Matt_Olsen_ISIL_Talk.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:19pm EDT

Foreign Policy's Shane Harris hosts a panel--incuding Bobby Chesney, Benjamin Wittes, and Jennifer Daskal--on the law of the War on Zombies. What will be the legal architecture when the dead walk and come for your brains? Do we need a zombie AUMF? Do zombies have due process rights? Find out on this week's special episode. 

Direct download: Episode_89--Bone-Crushing_Zombie_Action.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:12pm EDT

Earlier this week, the Brookings Institution hosted a panel on Russia’s place in the international order in the light of recent more aggressive turns in its foreign policy. As the crisis in Ukraine continues to evolve, the United States is seeking to isolate Russian President Vladimir Putin. But, what is his ultimate goal? Is Russia attempting to free itself of the Western dominated world order? Is this a new Cold War? And specifically, what are the potential consequences to the global economy, counter-terrorism efforts, and the non-proliferation regime? Thomas Wright, fellow with the Project on International Order and Strategy (IOS), moderated the conversation with Brookings President Strobe Talbott, Senior Fellow Clifford Gaddy of Brookings’ Center on the United States and Europe (CUSE) and Susan Glasser, editor at Politico Magazine. 

Direct download: Episode_88_--_Russia_and_the_Intl_Order.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:36pm EDT

Washington was abuzz this week as more than 50 African leaders were in town for the first U.S.-Africa Summit. Yesterday, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the President of Somalia, spoke at Brookings on the future of his country. In his talk, President Mohamud addressed the challenges to democracy that Somalia faces, and how Somalia, the African Union, and other international partners can work together to ensure security, foster development, and promote stable state-building in the country. President Mohamud also addressed the challenges his state faces in its ongoing battle against Al-Shabab militants - a mission that the U.S. has contributed more than half a billion dollars to since 2007. President Mohamud provides a realistic assessment of that threat, while highlighting the efforts his country is taking to bring democracy to Somalia. Michael E. O’Hanlon, Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy at Brookings, provided introductory remarks and moderated the conversation.

Direct download: Episode_87_--_Future_of_Somalia.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:34pm EDT

Benjamin Wittes discusses the ongoing crises in Gaza with Brookings scholars Natan Sachs, Khaled Elgindy, and Tamara Cofman Wittes. 

Direct download: Episode_86_--_Wittes_on_Gaza-Israel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:49pm EDT

Last week, Professor Fernando Reinares, a senior analyst on International Terrorism at the Elcano Royal Institute, delivered a talk on his new book, entitled in English, “Kill Them! Who was Behind 3/11 and Why Spain was Targeted.” The talk covered the March 11, 2004 Madrid bombings, the rise and shape of jihadist networks in Spain, and the evolution of terrorism in Western Europe. In his speech, Reinares provides evidence that the decision to attack Spain was made not in response to the Iraq War, but instead in December 2001 in Pakistan by Moroccan Amer Azizi – previously a charismatic member of Al Qaeda’s Spanish Abu Dahdah cell – and that the Madrid bombing network began its formation in March 2002, more than one year before the start of the Iraq war. He highlights that like much of the West, today Spain battles the challenge of jihadist radicalization and recruitment networks that are sending fighters to join the wars in Syria and elsewhere.

Direct download: Episode_85_--_Reinares_on_Madrid_311.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:20pm EDT

Benjamin Wittes, Wells Bennett, and Steve Vladeck sit down to talk aboout the D.C. Circuit Court's recent decision in the Al Bahlul case and what it means for the future of US military commissions. 

Direct download: Episode_84--_Bahlul_w_Steve_Vladeck.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:54pm EDT

As the election crisis in Afghanistan comes to a head, all eyes are once again on the future of Afghan democracy. But, America’s history in the region extends back much further than its nation-building efforts since September 2001. On Tuesday,  at a Brookings launch of his newest book entitled, “What We Won: America’s Secret War in Afghanistan, 1979-1989,” Bruce Riedel, Senior Fellow and Director of the Intelligence Project at the Brookings Institution, discussed lessons the United States can learn from its successful efforts in the 1970s and 1980s in Afghanistan. In his talk, Riedel discusses the why the American intelligence operation in Afghanistan in the 1980s was so successful, and what, if any lessons, the United States can apply to its ongoing operations in the country. Riedel also explored the complex personalities and individuals who shaped the war, and explains how their influence still affects the region today. Brookings Institution President Strobe Talbott provided introductory remarks and moderated the conversation. 

Direct download: Episode_83--_Bruce_Riedel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:59pm EDT

Brad Smith, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Microsoft, gave a keynote address last week at Brookings entitled “The Future of Global Technology, Privacy, and Regulation.”

Direct download: Episode_82--Brad_Smith.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 3:19pm EDT

Brookings Senior Fellow Suzanne Maloney talks about Iran: common interests with the United States in Iraq and the fight against ISIS, attitudes toward working with the United States, and the prospects for a nuclear deal in the coming weeks and months.

Direct download: Episode_81--Suzanne_Maloney_on_Iran.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:49am EDT