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Beware Iran's Jihadi Legion
By Ilan Berman, Al-Hurra Digital, August 14, 2017
 

Today, the fight against the Islamic State terrorist group has become a top strategic priority of the United States and its allies in the region. In turn, the efforts of Washington and Middle Eastern partners have begun to pay real dividends, with recent months seeing a significant rollback the group's self-declared "caliphate" in Iraq and Syria. But lurking in the background of the current counterterrorism fight is another, and potentially even more significant, long-term threat.

 
The Sorry State Of The Ukrainian Navy - And Why It Should Matter To America
By Ilan Berman, The National Interest, August 11, 2017
 

Although it has come at enormous human and financial cost, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine that has raged in the latter's eastern territories since 2014 has helped spark a fundamental transformation of the Ukrainian military. The country now boasts the second-largest standing army in Europe (behind that of Russia), while a newfound sense of national unity - together with new training and greater readiness - has forged an increasingly capable fighting force. Nevertheless, at least one notable weak spot in Ukraine's current military posture remains.

 
Russia Has Weaponized Energy
By Philip Decker, U.S. News & World Report, August 10, 2017
 

In January 2009, Eastern Europeans were rudely reminded of a very blunt fact: If Russia wants to shut off the gas, it can.

Angered by backlogged debts, Gazprom, Russia's massive state petroleum and natural gas corporation, cut off its supply of gas to neighboring Ukraine - and, through it, to parts of the European Union. For weeks in the dead of winter, millions of Europeans were stranded without power, as Gazprom and its Ukrainian counterpart Naftogaz blamed one another for the crisis. While the flow of gas eventually resumed, European governments emerged from the experience shaken, and for good reason.

 
Central Asia's Encouraging Development
By Ilan Berman, Foreign Affairs, August 8, 2017
 

Something is stirring across the vast expanse encompassing the Caucasus and Central Asia, an area of nearly 1.6 million square miles and more than 86 million people. Throughout the region, political momentum is gathering for deeper cooperation, engagement, and coordination.

 
Can Pakistani Technology Fight Pakistani Terror?
By Robert Bole, The Diplomat, August 3, 2017
 

Pakistan has a long and troubled history of supporting extremists as a tool of statecraft - a policy that has, among many other things, inflamed tensions with regional rival India and roiled Islamabad's relations with Washington. Of late, however, this strategy of supporting proxies to maintain a zone of influence in the region has turned inward, with grievous consequences for the country's internal security and the cohesion of the Pakistani state itself.

 
Our Climate Is Our Security
By Chloe Thompson, U.S. News & World Report, August 1, 2017
 

Climate change has historically been a controversial topic, and former President Barack Obama was sharply criticized for addressing it during his time in office. However, the issue may be losing some of its political toxicity of late. More and more professionals and politicians on both sides of the aisle have begun speaking openly about the linkage between the environment and America's national security.

 
Still A Bad Deal
By Ilan Berman, U.S. News & World Report, July 18, 2017
 

Last Friday marked the two-year anniversary of the Obama administration's signature foreign policy achievement: the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, that agreement was intended as a solution to Iran's persistent nuclear ambitions, and as a vehicle to reboot the Iranian regime's relationship with the world.

 
High Noon In The Himalayas
By Jeff M. Smith, War on the Rocks, July 13, 2017
 

If you're struggling to make sense of the latest standoff between the Chinese and Indian militaries 10,000 feet in the Himalayas, don't fret: You're in good company. The showdown at Doka La is the product of a multi-layered, multi-party dispute steeped in centuries-old treaties and ambiguous territorial claims. Only recently have sufficient details emerged to piece together a coherent picture of the crisis and we're still left with more questions than answers. However, one thing is clear: While stare-downs at the disputed China-India border are a common affair, the episode now underway is an altogether different, potentially far more dangerous, beast.

 
How Russian Rule Has Changed Crimea
By Ilan Berman, Foreign Affairs, July 13, 2017
 

Since Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014, the Ukrainian peninsula has become something akin to a "black box," with little verifiable data on conditions available to counterbalance the official Russian narrative that all is well in the Kremlin’s newest territorial holding. Now, however, a new study has provided perhaps the most detailed look to date on the true state of political and economic play on the peninsula. Published by the Ukrainian Institute for the Future, a new but well-connected think tank based in Kiev, the report - entitled "Crimea: Three Years of Occupation" - draws on data from local sources and the analysis of seasoned specialists to paint a damning picture of the human and economic costs of Russian rule, and to make a compelling case that the Kremlin's Crimean project is a threat to Crimeans themselves, as well as to everyone else.

 
Iran Raises The Stakes
By Lawrence J. Haas, U.S. News & World Report, July 11, 2017
 

With America's global attention largely focused elsewhere, Iran continues to expand its military capabilities - legally and otherwise - forcing the question of what Washington and its regional allies plan to do about it.

 
The Basis Of The Trump Doctrine
By James S. Robbins, U.S. News & World Report, July 7, 2017
 

President Donald Trump spoke Thursday in Warsaw, Poland, to an enthusiastic crowd in historic Krasinski Square. He discussed the longstanding history of the U.S./Poland relationship, and the heroism of the Polish people during the 1944 Warsaw uprising against Nazism. He also laid the groundwork for what might be an emerging Trump doctrine of U.S. and European national security.

 
Trump's Opportunity To Arm Ukraine
By Stephen Blank, The Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2017
 

President Trump's trip to Poland next week is an exceptional opportunity to reassert U.S. leadership and American greatness. In Warsaw Mr. Trump can reaffirm the U.S. commitment to European security by giving Ukraine the weapons it urgently needs to defend itself against Russia's continuing aggression.

 
Engulfed In The Gulf: Erdogan And The Qatar Crisis
By Svante Cornell, The Turkey Analyst, June 29, 2017
 

The Gulf crisis over Qatar is once again catapulting Turkey into the politics of the Middle East, for which it is woefully unprepared. After a brief attempt at neutrality, Ankara threw in its lot with Doha, condemning the sanctions imposed by a Saudi-led coalition and accelerated its deployment of troops to a new base in Qatar. This decision risks upsetting President Erdogan's tenuous rapprochement with Saudi Arabia, and reflects the continued ideological prism guiding Turkish foreign policy. But it also reflects a concern with regime security. At least in part, Erdogan's embrace of Qatar reflects a belief that the same forces that supported the overthrow of Egypt's Muhammad Morsi welcomed the July 2016 failed coup in Turkey and now seek regime change in Doha. If so, Turkey's stance is unlikely to change, indicating a standoff may in the making.

 
A Win-Win For Assad
By James S. Robbins, U.S. News & World Report, June 21, 2017
 

The United States and Russia seem to be on a collision course in Syria, which is just fine for the regime in Damascus.

On Sunday, a U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet shot down a Syrian Su-22 fighter bomber that was conducting operations near positions held by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces outside the besieged Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa. The shoot-down took place after repeated warnings for the Syrian aircraft to disengage, and the Coalition justified the action as being "in accordance with rules of engagement and in collective self-defense of Coalition partnered forces." The next day, a U.S. Air Force F-15E downed an Iranian-made Shahed 129 armed drone near the site of a U.S.-backed training base at al Tanf for rebels opposed to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

 
Central Asia: All Together Now
By Bilahari Kausikan, S. Frederick Starr, and Yang Cheng, The American Interest, June 16, 2017
 

After a quarter century of independence, the fragmentation of Central Asia is evident to all. A senior official there might justifiably complain about how each country "[is] pursuing its own limited objectives and dissipating its meager resources in the overlapping or even conflicting endeavors of sister states." He might conclude that such a process, "carries the seeds of weakness in [the countries'] incapacity for growth and their self-perpetuating dependence on the advanced, industrial nations." One can also imagine that another Central Asian official, seeking an alternative, might propose that "we must think not only of our national interests but posit them against regional interests: That is a new way of thinking about our problems."

 
The Kremlin Needs to Address Russia's Demographic Crisis
By Ilan Berman, The Moscow Times, June 13, 2017
 

The latest numbers are in, and the forecast for Russia's demographic health is bleak. According to official figures released by the country's state statistics agency, Rosstat, in late May, Russia had 70,000 fewer births during the first four months of 2017 than it did a year earlier.

 
No One Wins The Fight Over Qatar
By James S. Robbins, U.S. News & World Report, June 9, 2017
 

The diplomatic row between Qatar and seven mostly Sunni Arab countries is being called a stumbling block for U.S. efforts to promote a united front against Islamic extremism in the region. But it won't be - because it is not in any country's interest for the rift to become permanent.

 
Saudi Arabia Has Backed Qatar Into A Corner
By Ilan Berman, The National Interest, June 8, 2017
 

To say that this has been a bad week for Qatar would be an understatement.

Over the weekend, five separate Arab states (Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt) cut their ties to the Gulf kingdom, citing as causes its extensive support for Islamic extremist groups and its cozy relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The rupture takes the form of a cessation of air travel, a closure of borders, and a call those countries' citizens and businesses to vacate the country.

 
Qatar Was A Double Agent In War On Terror
By Ilan Berman, USA Today, June 6, 2017
 

Just weeks after the President Trump's inaugural tour of the Middle East, which included significant pressure on the Arab Gulf states to build a regional security architecture to combat the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS) and counterbalance Iran, the prospects for such a construct appear more distant than ever, at least at first glance. Over the weekend, five separate Arab states - Saudi Arabia, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain - all formally severed their diplomatic ties to the Emirate of Qatar over the latter's support of Islamic extremism in various forms.

 
Why Is India Excluding Australia From Naval Drills?
By Jeff M. Smith, The Diplomat, June 1, 2017
 

Over the past quarter-century, the Malabar naval exercises have blossomed from a relatively mundane, low-level Indo-U.S. naval drill into a robust demonstration of geopolitical force joining the Indo-Pacific's three most powerful democracies. The history and significance of Malabar, which Japan joined as a permanent participant in 2015, have received ample attention elsewhere. But let me focus this piece on the geopolitical context and significance of Australia's request to join the 2017 Malabar exercises and India's recent response.

 
JFK's World Of Wisdom
By Lawrence J. Haas, U.S. News & World Report, May 29, 2017
 

John F. Kennedy would have turned 100 on Monday, and his life's work on foreign policy provides compelling insights into how we might approach our own challenges in an increasingly unstable world.

 
The Art Of The Middle East Peace Deal
By James S. Robbins, U.S. News & World Report, May 25, 2017
 

Can President Donald Trump broker the Israeli-Palestinian deal of a lifetime? After his trip to Israel, there is certainly cause for hope.

 
Turkey & Qatar's Support For Extremist Groups
By Lawrence Stutzriem and Svante Cornell, RealClearDefense, May 23, 2017
 

President Trump made clear in Sunday's Riyadh speech that America stands by countries willing to fight Islamist extremism. A welcome opportunity to revisit our relationship with two ostensible allies, Turkey and Qatar. Both host significant American military bases and Turkey is a NATO member, yet for too long they have been American partners in name while providing material support to extremist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Nusra front. President Trump's serious intent to confront Islamic terrorism means he must redefine the terms of our alliances with Turkey and Qatar. The United States can no longer allow them to have it both ways.

 
Trump Needs To Examine The Gaping Hole In The Colombia Peace Deal
By Christine Balling, The National Interest, May 17, 2017
 

President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos at the White House on May 18. The subject of their conversation will undoubtedly have a great deal to do with the peace accord concluded last fall between the Santos government and Colombia's most notorious guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).


 
Counter All Extremism
By James S. Robbins, U.S. News & World Report, May 10, 2017
 

President Donald Trump's administration is currently undertaking a review of federal programs established under the rubric of "countering violent extremism." The White House, however, should take note that it is just as important to counter nonviolent extremism. 

 
How Qatar Helped Hamas Get Its Groove Back
By Ilan Berman, The National Interest, May 2, 2017
 

On Monday, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood offshoot that rules the Gaza Strip, thrust itself back into the international spotlight when it formally unveiled a new organizational charter. The long-discussed and much-debated document - launched with great fanfare by Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshal at the upscale Sheraton Hotel in the Qatari capital of Doha - represents a new bid for relevance by the world's premier Palestinian Islamist movement. 

 
The Real Significance Of The US Carrier Group Fiasco
By Jeff Smith, The Diplomat, May 2, 2017
 

The USS Carl Vinson, one of ten American 100,000-ton nuclear-powered supercarriers, was a regular feature of international headlines last month - and for all the wrong reasons. It was the source of an embarrassing, if overhyped, mishap when the Donald J. Trump administration announced on April 8 the carrier was being ordered to the Korean peninsula amid a bout of escalating tensions with Pyongyang. You can imagine the uproar when the Carl Vinson was spotted sailing away from the Korean Peninsula more than a week later. 

 
The Raucous Caucasus
By Svante E. Cornell, The American Interest, May 2, 2017
 

The news from the Caucasus that reaches the United States these days is mainly bad news. We hear reports of widespread corruption, human rights violations, or clashes between warring nations. In the case of the Russian North Caucasus, jihadi terrorists fight regional governments run by pro-Russian thugs. Why, then, should such a small sliver of territory, with perhaps 20 million people, deserve treatment in a net assessment survey? The answer is that the importance of the Caucasus has never lain in its numbers or size, but rather in its role as a geographic, cultural, and geopolitical crossroads. As in the days of the Mongols or Tamerlane, or of the rivalries between the Czarist, Ottoman, and Safavid empires, so today the Caucasus is a meeting point, a bridge or a barrier, between east and west and north and south - between Europe and Asia, and between Russia and the Middle East. 

 
Israeli-Palestinian Peace Perspectives
By Lawrence J. Haas, U.S. News & World Report, May 2, 2017
 

The "moderate" Palestinian Authority, which runs the West Bank, continues to provide generous lifetime stipends, lump-sum payments, health care, tuition and other benefits to Israeli-killing terrorists and their families. 

At the same time, that same entity is threatening to sue Britain's government for rejecting its request that London apologize for issuing the Balfour Declaration in 1917, paving the way for Israel's creation. 

 
Blacklist The IRGC
By Ilan Berman, U.S. News & World Report, April 25, 2017
 

What should President Trump do about Iran? Campaign rhetoric about a rapid dismantlement of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 powers has given way of late to policy inertia, as the new White House focuses on domestic challenges (like health care) and foreign irritants, such as Syria and North Korea. But there are now fresh signs that the White House could soon seriously rethink its Iran strategy. As it does, it would be wise to revisit one of its earliest foreign policy concepts, and one with the potential to dramatically alter the strategic equation vis-a-vis Iran: a comprehensive blacklisting of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. 

 
Terror In Stockholm
By Svante Cornell, The American Interest, April 11, 2017
 

Last Friday, an ISIS supporter rammed a truck into a department store in the heart of Stockholm, Sweden, killing four people and injuring 15. That same evening, news broke that Swedish police had arrested a 39-year old man from Uzbekistan for complicity in the attack. By Sunday morning, Swedish media reported that the man's social media account indicated his support for both the Islamic State and the Islamic Party of Liberation, Hizb-ut-Tahrir. 

 
Terrorism In Russia: Why The Problem Is Set To Worsen
By Ilan Berman, Foreign Affairs, April 5, 2017
 

On Monday, the subway system of St. Petersburg, Russia's second city, was the site of a massive bomb blast that killed 14 commuters and wounded more than 50 others. (A second, unexploded device was subsequently found and defused by authorities.) The attack marked the most significant terrorist incident to hit the Russian Federation since December of 2013, when a female suicide bomber blew herself up in the main train station of the southern Russian city of Volgograd ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in nearby Sochi. 

 
Intellectual Whiplash On Israel
By Lawrence J. Haas, U.S. News & World Report, April 4, 2017
 

The same administration that's defending Israel in refreshingly bold fashion at the United Nations is discussing Israeli-Palestinian peace this week with a Palestinian leader who promotes the murder and kidnapping of Israelis and who spent 15 years in prison for throwing a grenade at an Israeli Army truck. 

 
The JCPOA Helps Iran's Elites And Hurts Rouhani
By Ilan Berman, Foreign Affairs, March 29, 2017
 

These are hard times for Hassan Rouhani. With fewer than two months to go until Iran's next national election, currently scheduled to take place on May 19, the long knives are out for the soft-spoken cleric who serves as the country's president. 

 
Science Fiction No Longer: Enhancing Military Readiness Through Synthetic Training
By Jennifer McArdle and Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Yvan Blondin, War On The Rocks, March 24, 2017
 

In 1965, the Vietnam War expanded over the 17th parallel into North Vietnam's panhandle and the Red River Delta. Despite its lead in hardware - with access to advanced radars, beyond visual range and close-in heat seeking ordnance, along with large numbers of heavy-bombers and fighter aircraft - the United States failed to achieve air superiority over North Vietnam. The People's Army of Vietnam, supported by its Communist allies, wielded a mixture of sophisticated air-to-air and surface-to-air weapons to devastating effect. By the summer of 1965, American fighters were being lost at a rate of an entire squadron every 45 days. By the end of that year, the U.S. Air Force had lost a total of 174 aircraft and 16 pilots, with another 35 aircrew members missing. 

 
Iran Emboldened
By Lawrence Haas, U.S. News & World Report, March 21, 2017
 

Tehran's new threat to ignore a key plank of the U.S.-led global nuclear agreement offers a timely reminder that, no matter what happens with Iran's upcoming presidential election, the regime is, and will remain, just as dangerous as it's ever been. It also hammers another nail in the coffin of the idea – so cherished by the last administration – that the 2015 deal, with its hundreds of billions in sanctions relief for Iran, would moderate the regime and spur a broader rapprochement between the Islamic Republic and the West. 

 
Israel's Self-Driving Future
By Avi Jorisch, Foreign Affairs, March 7, 2017
 

What will the car of the future look like? It may not be long before we know. In early February, Ford announced that it will allocate a staggering $1 billion over the next five years to develop the first fully autonomous vehicle, and almost every global automaker is working feverishly to create the ultimate self-driving machine. The consensus is that people will soon be using "Jetsons-like" cars powered not by humans but by smart computers. 

 

 
A Refreshing Change At The U.N.
By Lawrence Haas, The Daily Beast, March 7, 2017
 

Trump administration deliberations about whether the United States should quit the United Nations' Human Rights Council over its anti-Israel obsession reflect a welcome new U.S. approach to Turtle Bay. 

 
Where Is India on the One China Policy?
By Jeff M. Smith, The Diplomat, March 6, 2017
 

On February 13, India hosted a three-member, all-female delegation of parliamentarians from Taiwan. The visit was free of any major announcements or headlines. Nonetheless, it carried an abundance of geopolitical context at a time Beijing’s “One China Policy” (OCP) has attracted greater scrutiny in both Washington and Delhi.

 
Dezinformatsiya 2.0: Russia Heats Up Its Infowar With The West
By Ilan Berman, The Daily Beast, March 3, 2017
 

When it comes to Russian propaganda, we haven't seen anything yet. 

Over the past several months, Americans have become acutely aware of a phenomenon that Europeans were already all too familiar with: the pervasive, corrosive nature of Russian propaganda. Russia's purported attempts to meddle in the U.S. presidential election remain a major topic of national debate - one that could, even now, lead to fresh Congressional investigations and a political showdown between Capitol Hill and the new White House. 

 
We Can't Ignore Hamas
By Lawrence Haas, U.S. News & World Report, February 21, 2017
 

When Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman offered the other day for Israel to turn Gaza into "the Singapore of the Middle East," with a seaport, airport and industrial zones, if Hamas would stop firing rockets, building tunnels and seizing Israeli citizens, the terrorist group had a curt response. 

 
Assessing The Syria Situation
By James S. Robbins, U.S. News & World Report, February 15, 2017
 

The Obama administration's Syria strategy has left along with the former president. The question remains how the United States will continue to be involved in the conflict, if at all. 

 
Why Russia Won't Help Trump On Iran
By Ilan Berman, Foreign Affairs, February 10, 2017
 

By all appearances, the Donald Trump administration is preparing to attempt a historic reconciliation with Russia. In part, the strategy is aimed at driving a wedge into the long-running strategic partnership between Moscow and Tehran. With the proper incentives, the thinking goes, it might be possible to "flip" Russia. "There's daylight between Russia and Iran, for sure," one foreign official familiar with the White House's deliberations explained. "What's unclear is what [Russian President Vladimir] Putin would demand in return for weakening the alliance." 

 
Sinjar After ISIS: What The Peshmerga's All-Female Unit Can Do
By Christine Balling, Foreign Affairs, February 9, 2017
 

When I first met Captain Khatoon Ali Krdr, at a peshmerga military base near Dohuk, in Iraqi Kurdistan, last June, her all-female Yazidi peshmerga unit, the Hezi Roj, or "Sun Force," was weeks away from graduating from its first basic infantry training course, which involved military discipline, physical conditioning, and the handling of weaponry such as selective-fire rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. Khatoon had formed the Sun Force, the only all-female, all- Yazidi unit in the Kurdish peshmerga, in response to the horrors that the Islamic State (or ISIS) had inflicted on Sinjar, a majority-Yazidi district of Iraqi Kurdistan. In August 2014, ISIS had slaughtered over 5,000 Yazidi men in the district. And in Snuny, a town at the base of Mount Sinjar, where the Sun Force is currently deployed, ISIS had killed unknown numbers of Yazidi residents, dumping their bodies into mass graves before the peshmerga retook the town in 2015. 

 
How Trump Enables Democracy's Decline
By Lawrence Haas, U.S. News & World Report, February 8, 2017
 

President Donald Trump's unnerving failure to distinguish the free and democratic nation he leads from the autocratic and menacing Russia of strongman President Vladimir Putin has generated two notable sets of concerns - but the implications of Trump's rhetorical excesses expand far beyond current story lines. 

 
China's Aircraft Carriers: Full Steam Ahead?
By Jeff M. Smith, The Diplomat, February 7, 2017
 

I first visited Hainan Island six years ago, part of an annual exchange of delegations my think tank, the American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC), has been conducting with China since 1994. Led by former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard Myers, the January 2011 delegation chose Hainan Island for the customary "second province" visit following the obligatory deluge of meetings in Beijing. 

 
Trump's Ukraine Dilemma
By Ilan Berman, U.S. News & World Report, February 6, 2017
 

What's behind the renewed fighting in Ukraine? Over the past week, the country's eastern Donbas region - which has been a hotbed of separatist activity since the start of military hostilities between Russia and Ukraine in early 2014 - has been rocked by new, and intense, clashes between the Ukrainian military and Russian-supported rebels. The violence has already ravaged Avdiivka, a Ukrainian town of some 20,000, and left international observers scrambling to re-impose some sort of ceasefire. The situation, in the words of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, is now "an emergency situation verging on a humanitarian disaster." 

 
Will Trump Fire Back At Iran?
By James S. Robbins, U.S. News & World Report, February 1, 2017
 

On Sunday, Iran reportedly test-fired a Khorramshahr medium-range ballistic missile from a test site near Semnan, 140 miles east of Tehran. Iran began production of what it calls the "high-precision" weapon in 2016. The missile flew 600 miles before detonating in what U.S. officials called a "failed test of a reentry vehicle." 

 
Trump's Troubling Retreat
By Lawrence J. Haas, U.S. News & World Report, January 24, 2017
 

At this historical turning point, with the free world hungry for renewed American leadership, President Donald Trump's foreboding inaugural address was as troubling for what it didn't say as what it did. It was the mirror image of John Kennedy's stirring address of 1961, which focused almost entirely on America's struggle to defend freedom around the world and mentioned domestic policy only in passing. More than half a century later, with America's global leadership just as vital and far more widely doubted, Trump focused overwhelmingly on domestic affairs, citing foreign policy only in passing. 

 
Peril In Peru: Islamist Terror Shifts South
By Ilan Berman, Foreign Affairs, January 19, 2017
 

It might just be the most important terrorism case you've never heard of. Last fall, prosecutors in the Peruvian capital of Lima launched formal legal proceedings against a 30-year-old alleged Hezbollah operative named Mohammed Hamdar. The trial, now underway, has major regional - indeed, global - implications for the fight against international terrorism.