FPI's Books of 2017

2017 wasn't just about Trump. The ladies turned up and out to talk about foreign policy - from Russia to cyber and national security; energy to borders. The Middle East was a popular topic, with several great books on Syria.  And how delighted we were to download Mary Beard's Women and Power to round out the year. There is a plethora of expertise here. Let's dive in:



Another Fine Mess: America, Uganda, and the War on Terror by Helen Epstein

In this powerful story of Uganda and its war-torn neighbors in eastern and central Africa, journalist Helen Epstein chronicles how America's naïve dealings with African strongmen and single-minded focus on the War on Terror have themselves becomes sources of terror, short-circuiting the power Ugandans might otherwise have over their own destinies.


A Moonless, Starless Sky: Ordinary Women and Men Fighting Extremism in Africa by Alexis Okeowo

In this debut, Okeowo weaves together four narratives that form a powerful tapestry of modern Africa: a young couple, kidnap victims of Joseph Kony's LRA; a Mauritanian waging a lonely campaign against modern-day slavery; a women's basketball team flourishing amid war-torn Somalia; and a vigilante who takes up arms against the extremist group Boko Haram.



Madame President: The Extraordinary Journey of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf by Helene Cooper

The harrowing, but triumphant story of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, leader of the Liberian women’s movement, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and the first democratically elected female president in African history.







Red at Heart: How Chinese Communists Fell in Love with the Russian Revolution by Elizabeth McGuire

This is the multigenerational history of people who experienced Sino-Soviet affairs most intimately: prominent Chinese revolutionaries who traveled to Russia in their youths to study, often falling in love and having children there.



Sold People: Traffickers and Family Life in North China by Joanna Ransmeier

Trade in human lives thrived in North China during the Qing and Republican periods. Families at all social levels participated in buying servants, slaves, concubines, or children and disposing of unwanted household members. Johanna Ransmeier shows that these commonplace transactions built and restructured families as often as it broke them apart.




Cyber and Tech


The Chessboard and the Web: Strategies of Connection in a Networked World by Anne-Marie Slaughter

From a renowned foreign-policy expert, a new paradigm for strategy in the twenty-first century.





Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest by Zeynep Tufekci

A firsthand account and incisive analysis of modern protest, revealing internet-fueled social movements’ greatest strengths and frequent challenge.







Windfall: How The New Energy Abundance Upends Global Politics and Strengthens America’s Power by Meghan O’Sullivan

As a new administration focuses on raising American energy production, O’Sullivan’s Windfall describes how new energy realities have profoundly affected the world of international relations and security.






The NGO Game: Post-Conflict Peacebuilding in the Balkans and Beyond by Patrice McMahon

In most post-conflict countries nongovernmental organizations are everywhere, but their presence is misunderstood. In The NGO Game Patrice McMahon investigates the unintended outcomes of what she calls the NGO boom in Bosnia and Kosovo.





The Taste of Empire: How Britain’s Quest for Food shaped the Modern World by Lizzie Collingham

A history of the British Empire told through twenty meals eaten around the world.





Latin America



All the Agents and Saints: Dispatches from the U.S. Borderlands by Stephanie Elizondo Griest

In All the Agents and Saints, Elizondo Griest weaves seven years of stories into a meditation on the existential impact of international borderlines by illuminating the spaces in between and the people who live there. 





Middle East


Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s Awakening by Manal al-Sharif

A ferociously intimate memoir by a devout woman from a modest family in Saudi Arabia who became the unexpected leader of a courageous movement to support women’s right to drive.




The Exile: The Stunning Inside Story of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda in Flight by Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy

From September 11, 2001 to May 2, 2011, Osama Bin Laden evaded intelligence services and special forces units, drones and hunter killer squads. The Exile tells the extraordinary inside story of that decade through the eyes of those who witnessed it: bin Laden's four wives and many children, his deputies and military strategists, his spiritual advisor, the CIA, Pakistan's ISI, and many others who have never before told their stories.



Generation Revolution: On the Front Line Between Tradition and Change in the Middle East by Rachel Aspden

Generation Revolution unravels the complex forces shaping the lives of four young Egyptians on the eve and in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, and what their stories mean for the future of the Middle East.



The Home That Was Our Country: A Memoir of Syria by Alia Malek

Alia Malek weaves a lyrical narrative around the history of her family's apartment building in the heart of Damascus, the many lives that crossed in the stairwell, and how the fates of her neighbors reflect the fate of her country.




Jihad & Co: Black Markets and Islamist Power by Aisha Ahmad

Why have some ideologically-inspired Islamists been able to build state-like polities out of civil war stalemate, while many other armed groups have failed to gain similar traction? What makes jihadists win? In Jihad & Co., Aisha Ahmad argues that there are concrete economic reasons behind Islamist success.



Notes on a Foreign Country: An American Abroad in a Post-American World by Suzy Hansen

Blending memoir, journalism, and history, and deeply attuned to the voices of those she met on her travels, Notes on a Foreign Country is a moving reflection on America’s place in the world.




I Was Told To Come Alone: My Journey Behind the Lines of Jihad by Souad Mekhnnet

In this compelling and evocative memoir, we accompany Mekhennet as she journeys behind the lines of jihad, starting in the German neighborhoods where the 9/11 plotters were radicalized and the Iraqi neighborhoods where Sunnis and Shia turned against one another, and culminating on the Turkish/Syrian border region where ISIS is a daily presence.




Pipe Dreams: The Plundering of Iraq’s Oil Wealth by Erin Banco

A fascinating and revealing dive into the murky world of oil contracts that shape power and politics in Iraq.





Political Islam in Tunisia: The History of Ennahda by Anne Wolf

Political Islam in Tunisia uncovers the secret history of Tunisia's main Islamist movement, Ennahda, from its origins in the 1960s to the present. Banned until the popular uprisings of 2010-11 and the overthrow of Ben Ali's dictatorship, Ennahda has until now been impossible to investigate. This is the first in-depth account of the movement, one of Tunisia's most influential political actors.



Purifying the Land of the Pure: A History of Pakistan’s Religious Minorities by Farahnaz Ispahani

In Purifying the Land of the Pure, Farahnaz Ispahani analyzes Pakistan's policies towards its religious minority populations, beginning from the time of independence in 1947.




We Crossed A Bridge and It Trembled: Voices From Syria by Wendy Pearlman

Reminiscent of the work of Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich, an astonishing collection of intimate wartime testimonies and poetic fragments from a cross-section of Syrians whose lives have been transformed by revolution, war, and flight.




The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia by Masha Gessen

In The Future Is History, Gessen follows the lives of four people born at what promised to be the dawn of democracy. Each of them came of age with unprecedented expectations, some as the children and grandchildren of the very architects of the new Russia, each with newfound aspirations of their own--as entrepreneurs, activists, thinkers, and writers, sexual and social beings.




October: The Story of the Russian Revolution by China Mieville

On the centenary of the Russian Revolution, China Miéville tells the extraordinary story of this pivotal moment in history.



Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine by Anne Applebaum

In 1929 Stalin launched his policy of agricultural collectivization, which forced millions of peasants off their land and onto collective farms. The result was a catastrophic famine, the most lethal in European history. In Red Famine, Anne Applebaum argues that more than three million of those dead were Ukrainians who perished not because they were accidental victims of a bad policy but because the state deliberately set out to kill them.







Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II by Liza Mundy

Code Girls reveals a hidden army of female cryptographers, whose work played a crucial role in ending World War II.



Harpoon: Inside the Covert War Against Terrorism’s Money Masters by Nitsana Darshan-Leitner and Samuel M. Katz

A revelatory account of the cloak-and-dagger Israeli campaign to target the finances fueling terror organizations--an effort that became the blueprint for U.S. efforts to combat threats like ISIS and drug cartels.



The Internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World by Oona Hathaway and Scott Shapiro

The post-war liberal order was underpinned by a movement to make the waging of aggressive war illegal. Two American academics argue that this principle is now seriously under threat. 




The Unwomanly Face of War by Svetlana Alexievich

An oral history, first published in 1985 but only now translated into English, as told by women who enlisted in the Soviet army straight from school, learning to kill and die before they learned to live or give life. By one of the most gifted writers of her generation.





The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness by Jill Filipovic

In The H-Spot, Filipovic argues that the main obstacle standing in-between women and happiness is a rigged system. In this world of unfinished feminism, men have long been able to "have it all" because of free female labor, while the bar of achievement for women has only gotten higher.



Testoserone Rex: Myths of Sex, Science, and Society by Cordelia Fine

In Testosterone Rex, psychologist Cordelia Fine wittily explains why past and present sex roles are only serving suggestions for the future, revealing a much more dynamic situation through an entertaining and well-documented exploration of the latest research that draws on evolutionary science, psychology, neuroscience, endocrinology, and philosophy.



Veil: Object Lessons by Rafia Zakaria

The veil can be an instrument of feminist empowerment, and veiled anonymity can confer power to women. Starting from her own marriage ceremony at which she first wore a full veil, Rafia Zakaria examines how veils do more than they get credit for.



Women & Power: A Manifesto by Mary Beard

At long last, Mary Beard addresses in one brave book the misogynists and trolls who mercilessly attack and demean women the world over, including, very often, Mary herself. In Women & Power, she traces the origins of this misogyny to its ancient roots, examining the pitfalls of gender and the ways that history has mistreated strong women since time immemorial


Female Peace Laureates: The List

Here are the women who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize:

Jane Addams: Former international president of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, chaired a women's conference for peace held in the Hague (1931)

Emily Greene Balch: Worked as honorary international president of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, fought for disarmament and peace and raised awareness of fascism (1946)

Mairead Corrigan: Founder of the Northern Ireland Peace Movement, which fought for peace corribuilding and organized protest marches (1976)

Shirin Ebadi: Iran’s first female judge, fought for human rights with a focus on the rights of women and children, also advocated for separation of church and state (2003)

Beatrice Fihn: Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, which works to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons (2017)

Leymah Gbowee: Organized women from different backgrounds to fight for peace in Liberia, efforts played a decisive role in ending the war in Ghana (2011)

Tawakkol Karman: Co-founded the group Women Journalists Without Chains, which advocated for freedom of expression and democratic rights in Yemen (2011)

Aung San Suu Kyi: State counsellor of Myanmar, awarded for her “non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights (1991)

Wangari Muta Maathai: First African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, played a role in the struggle for democracy in Kenya, started a grass-roots movement to counter deforestation (2004)

Mother Teresa: Founded the Missionaries of Charity sisterhood, which built homes for orphans, lepers and the terminally ill (1979)

Alva Myrdal: Worked as government minister in charge of disarmament issues for Sweden, fought for nuclear-free zones in Europe (1982)

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: Former president of Liberia and the first woman to be democratically elected as head of state in an African nation, worked to promote peace and reconciliation (2011)

Baroness Bertha Sophie Felicita von Suttner: First woman to be solely awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, author of Lay Down Your Arms, honorary president of Permanent International Peace Bureau (1905)

Rigoberta Menchú Tum: Fought for social justice, indigenous rights and ethno-cultural reconciliation, served as UN Ambassador for the world's indigenous peoples (1992)

Betty Williams: Founder of the Northern Ireland Peace Movement, which fought for peace building and organized protest marches (1976)

Jody Williams: Driving force behind the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which was a key player in creating measures to ban the use, production, sale and stockpiling of anti-personnel mines (1997)

Malala Yousafzai: Author of I Am Malala, "for her struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education" (2014)


Covering and Uncovering Israel & Palestine

Suhad Babaa is the Executive Director at Just Vision, an organization dedicated to increasing media coverage and support for Palestinian and Israeli grassroots leaders working to end the occupation and build a future of freedom, dignity, and equality for all. 

FPI: What is Just Vision?

Suhad Babaa: Just Vision is a team of human rights advocates, journalists, and filmmakers dedicated to increasing media coverage and support for Palestinian and Israeli grassroots leaders working to end the occupation and build a future of freedom, dignity and equality for everyone in the region. Through award-winning films, digital media, and targeted public education campaigns, we drive attention to under-documented stories that undermine stereotypes, inspire commitment, and galvanize action.

While violence and extremism receive front-page exposure, courageous Palestinian and Israeli community organizers, activists, and human rights defenders are often invisible, both within their own societies and beyond. Just Vision fills this gap by ensuring that these leaders have a media megaphone and access to strategic networks, at home and abroad, so that they are more visible, valued and influential in their efforts.

FPI: What has most surprised you in your work? Are there any widely held perceptions about Israel and Palestine that have been challenged?

SB: There’s one thing that consistently strikes me: despite ongoing civil resistance efforts in Israel and Palestine, and daily acts of resilience by communities in the face of overwhelming repression and inequality, most people around the globe still don’t know about what’s taking place in the region.

In many ways, that’s also unsurprising, since the mainstream media so often misses these stories. There’s a stark disconnect between the reality on the ground and the stories we hear of Israel and Palestine in our news, which are characterized by violence, extremism, and failed political leadership. Unfortunately, these kinds of stories reinforce the misconception that the conflict is intractable, by painting a picture that things have always been this way, and will always be this way.. That’s narrow telling of what’s going on in the region is dangerous. It also misses the immense possibility and power that exists at the grassroots.

FPI: Could you give any examples? 

SB: In 2009, we released Budrus, a documentary film that tells the story of a Palestinian community in the West Bank village of Budrus. Faced with the threat of having their community destroyed by the Israeli separation wall, they led a 10-month campaign to stop the wall from being built on their lands. Through their strategic, sustained campaign – which unified political factions across the community, welcomed in Israeli and international allies, and included the leadership of women who took the helm at the frontlines – the community’s efforts were ultimately successful. These events took place in 2003-2004, and when we began researching the story – in 2006 – there was very little in the media that captured the nonviolent nature of the movement in Budrus.

From the outset, our goals were clear: we wanted to put Palestinian and Israeli nonviolent resistance efforts at the center of local and international discourse about the conflict. We also wanted to help build the capacity of nonviolent activists in the field, by ensuring they gain traction within their own societies and abroad.

Two years after Budrus’ release, StrategyOne  (a daughter company of the public relations firm Edelman) conducted an independent media audit to assess the film’s impact on the discourse about Palestinian-led nonviolent efforts in the mainstream English-language press. Their study showed that coverage prior to the release of the film characterized the protests in Budrus as “riots” and “disturbances of the peace” -- a law-and-order frame that justified the repression of the nonviolent movement and the activists by the Israeli military and government. But after the launch of the film, most of the media coverage described events in Budrus as a nonviolent struggle initiated by the residents to save their lands and olive trees, with women at the frontlines and unity across political divides. Moreover, in the two years following the film’s release, the key messages we set out to tell through the story of Budrus had a 91 percent message penetration rate across English-language coverage – demonstrating the impact of accurate storytelling of what is really taking place on the ground.

If accurate storytelling can so dramatically change the discourse around one series of events, imagine what would happen if our media makers and audiences demanded holistic storytelling about what’s happening in Israel and Palestine. It could be absolutely transformative.

FPI: Have you found that "track II" diplomacy, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, is uniquely effective in a way that traditional diplomacy isn't?

SB: Diplomatic efforts on this issue have consistently failed to recognize power asymmetry in this conflict. It’s a flaw that has led to countless failures in the diplomatic arena, whether we talk about Track I or Track II diplomacy. The diplomacy that has characterized the peace process in Israel and Palestine, namely the Oslo Accords and all subsequent negotiations, has not adequately addressed how power asymmetry inherent to the occupation cements structural inequality. Every agreement that came out of Oslo – from the Paris Protocol governing economic relations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel to security coordination between the Palestinian Security Services and the Israeli army – failed to address this. In fact, they’ve done the opposite, perpetuating inequalities with detrimental effects for the region.

Remarkably, it’s a process that diplomats have relied on for over two decades, despite its obvious and repeated failings.

I like to imagine a Fortune 500 company where executives report losses for over two decades. Year after year, the same leadership comes to the board with the same analysis and proposals for growth – despite clear losses – and the board throws money at them and wishes them luck in the next quarter. In any other line of business, the executives would have been fired ages ago, and their analysis and strategy for growth tossed in the trash. Not so in the realm of Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy.

If diplomatic efforts for peace on Israel/Palestine are to succeed, they need to take power seriously at every level – to do that will require bringing both carrots and sticks to the table. Yet with regard to the Israeli government, sticks are rarely ever used.

This is why the grassroots is essential: where there are stark asymmetries in power, and when political leaders have failed to do the right thing, whether because of lack of courage, authenticity, or legitimacy, communities will and must lead.

FPI: Do you have any book or movie recommendations for people who are looking to better understand the issue?

SB: You’re asking a question that’s close to my heart, and of course, I’m going to run with that and plug Just Vision’s films and digital resources, which you can find out about on our website a www.justvision.org. Also, stay tuned for our upcoming film, Naila and the Uprising, slated for a launch in the coming months.

There is also no shortage of fantastic films on the topic, but I’ll recommend a couple – one that provides a glimpse of the evolution of Israeli policies and practices vis-à-vis Palestinian populations: The Law in the These Parts. And another film about the civil resistance efforts in the Palestinian village of Bil’in: 5 Broken Cameras. And a totally unrelated film, but one that has lessons across movements and is a big inspiration for our team: How to Survive a Plague.

For a historical reading, Avi Shlaim’s Iron Wall and Rashid Khalidi’s The Iron Cage.

On civil resistance in Palestine, Mary Elizabeth King’s A Quiet Revolution and Ben Ehrenreich’s The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine are both fantastic. And if you want to dive into the theory and practice behind civil resistance around the world, Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan’s Why Civil Resistance Works is essential.

And, finally, if you happen to read Hebrew, I encourage you to check out our Hebrew-language news site, Local Call (in Hebrew, Sikha Mekomit, co-published with 972 Advancement of Citizen Journalism) at mekomit.co.il to follow developments on the ground. You can also find a selection of articles from Local Call, translated and cross-published in English on +972 Magazine at 972mag.com.

FPI: Do you have any advice for fellow Interruptors?

SB: Keep interrupting. Leaders across the world are failing in disastrous ways. Globally and across issues, we need to disrupt the status quo and amplify the work of others who are doing the same. At the same time, be compassionate to yourself and to others along the way. We’re in this for the long-haul, and if we’re going to succeed, we’ll need all of us. I look forward to meeting you down the road.


Jerusalem as the capital: A Primer

On Wednesday, Donald Trump announced that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, throwing seven decades of diplomacy into a tailspin. Yeah, the rest of the Arab world didn't like it. The EU's foreign policy chief, Frederica Mogherini noted that the announcement could have "very worrying potential impact." What does this radical shift in policy mean? Lisa Goldman, editor of Mobilisation Lab and co-founder of +972 Magazine, sat down with us to explain.

FPI: Could you give us a brief background on Jerusalem as the Israeli capital? 

Lisa Goldman: Jerusalem is a disputed city: the eastern half, about 44 miles in area, includes the 1-mile square walled old city, which is holy to all three monotheistic religions. For the Christians it is the place where Jesus walked with his cross on the way to his crucifixion; for the Jews it is the site of their ancient temple; and for the Muslims it is the place from which the prophet Mohammed rose to heaven.

East Jerusalem is also home to more than 250,000 stateless Palestinians who live in impoverished neighborhoods that are deprived of basic urban amenities and patrolled by Israeli military police. It is also home to the largest Jewish settlements, which most Israelis think of as Jerusalem neighborhoods. It was a divided city between from 1948-1967, with the eastern part in Jordanian territory.

FPI: Could you tell us more about Jerusalem's divided status? 

LG: In June 1967, Israel conquered east Jerusalem and the West Bank during a war that lasted six days. While the normative consensus in the community of nations since the end of World War Two is that land acquired in war should be returned through negotiations, Israel regards Jerusalem as too important symbolically and religious to Jews, to be given up. In 1980, the Knesset, or legislature, passed a law declaring the city unified and east Jerusalem annexed. But almost no other country recognizes Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem, because it is unilateral and because the city is disputed between two peoples. The Palestinians view it as the capital of their future state, while the rest of the Arab and Muslim world attach great emotional, historical and religious significance to Jerusalem and its holy sites.

With the status of the city in dispute and the Palestinian question unresolved, the states that have embassies in Israel, maintain them in Tel Aviv rather than in Jerusalem. The meaning is not to deny that West Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. Rather, it is to indicate that until the status of the city is resolved through negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians, the international community is taking a neutral stance;  by keeping their embassies in the coastal city of Tel Aviv, just 45 minutes’ drive from Tel Aviv, the states that have diplomatic relations with Israel are indicating they do not want to tip the balance toward either side in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

FPI: How does Trump's announcement on Jerusalem change things? 

LG: Donald Trump’s declaration that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city is symbolically momentous, but tangibly insignificant. It changes nothing on the ground, but for the Palestinians and the Israelis it means that the United States no longer aspires to be a neutral broker committed to resolving the dispute between the two peoples through negotiations. Trump’s declaration indicates that the U.S. supports Israel in imposing unilateral decisions on the Palestinians.

FPI: How does Trump's announcement affect the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process? 

LG: By declaring that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announcing his intention to move the embassy there, Trump has taken Israel’s side in the dispute. Since Palestine is no longer an animating issue for the Arab people, and given the failure of the Arab leaders to stand up to Trump or voice support for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinians are alone now. Without external support, they have no way of pushing forward their national struggle for sovereignty. Militarily, they have no options either. Some analysts say this is the end of the Palestinian national struggle. It is not possible to achieve statehood through armed conflict; and without the U.S. or the Arab states as a broker, the Palestinians do not have the leverage necessary to negotiate with the Israelis.

One could say that Trump’s announcement merely confirms the reality, since Israeli-Palestinian negotiations have been effectively frozen since 2001 and since Israeli settlement expansion has only accelerated with each successive U.S administration, from Jimmy Carter until the president. Meanwhile, the situation on the ground for Palestinians is grotesque, with over 2.5 million people either living under military closure and in the grips of a humanitarian crisis in Gaza; or stateless, denied municipal services and disenfranchised in East Jerusalem; or squeezed into cantons in the West Bank and denied freedom of movement. Others say that this is analysis is defeatist. Europe could step up to broker between Israel and Palestine, for example. But Europe has shown no interest in playing this role, so far.

FPI: How does Trump's announcement affect relations between Washington and other Arab countries in the Middle East? 

LG: We see from the lack of response in the Arab Middle East to Trump’s announcement, that there will be no real consequences for the White House. The “Arab street” is still crushed from the regimes’ violent response to the uprisings of 2011, while the Arab leaders are preoccupied with the ongoing crises in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. Most importantly, the shared fear and loathing of Iran has been the catalyst for an alliance of opportunism between the Gulf states (especially Saudi Arabia), Israel and the United States. So while Saudi Arabia remonstrated quietly with Trump regarding his announcement about Jerusalem, it seems they will not be taking any action.

FPI: Is there anything to the timing of this announcement? 

LG: Both Netanyahu and Trump are facing serious corruption investigations. The Jerusalem announcement is a very effective distraction. And for both men, it plays to their populist base — for Trump, the right wing Christian evangelical Zionists, and for Netanyahu the hyper-nationalists who oppose territorial compromise with the Palestinians.

Experts on Afghanistan

Maya Alleruzzo: Chief Associated Press photo editor for the Mideast, Afghanistan & Pakistan

Rini AmiriNYU Center on International Cooperation, former advisor to Holbrooke on Afghanistan, former UN advisor

Tricia Bacon: Assistant professor at American University, expert on counterterrorism with extensive USG experience, and research focus on South Asia

Heather Barr: Senior researcher on women’s rights and former Afghanistan researcher at Human Rights Watch

Shamila N. Chaudhary: SAIS (advisor to Vali Nasr) and New America, former NSC director for Pakistan and Afghanistan, focuses mainly on Pakistan but larger Afghanistan regional security issues as well

Sarah Chayes: Senior fellow at Carnegie Endowment, author of The Punishment of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan After the Taliban and Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security

Courtney Cooper: International affairs fellow at CFR, former NSC director for Afghanistan

Erin Cunningham: Washington Post correspondent covering Afghanistan

Jessica Donati: Covers Afghanistan for the WSJ

Christine Fair: Associate professor at Georgetown, prolific author on South Asia

Vanda Felbab-Brown: Senior fellow at Brookings’ Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence

Eva Gross: Political advisor to the EU Special Envoy for Afghanistan

Linda Hemby: Political sociologist and human rights activist

Ashley Jackson: Researcher, consultant and writer with extensive experience in conflict and complex emergencies

May Jeong: Award-winning magazine writer and investigative reporter focused on Afghanistan, visiting scholar at Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at NYU

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon: Senior fellow at CFR, author of The Dressmaker of Khair Khana and Ashley’s War

Kelly Magsamen: VP for National Security, Center for American Progress, former acting assistant secretary of defense for Asia Pacific Security Affairs (including coverage of Afghanistan).

 Laurel Miller: Senior political analyst at RAND, former acting special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan

Fariba Nawa: Journalist, speaker and author of Opium Nation: Child Brides, Drug Lords and One Woman's Journey through Afghanistan

Lynne O’Donnell: Author of High Tea in Mosul, analyst and consultant focused on war and Afghanistan

Bente Scheller: Author of The Wisdom of Syria’s Waiting Game, specializes in foreign and security policy and Afghanistan