Bi-weekly News and Opinion Roundup - September 16, 2021
News from C&SN
On Monday September 20 at 12pm eastern time, join us for a panel discussion with experts in the fields of peacebuilding and humanitarian aid on the impacts of post-9/11 counterterrorism policies on civil society, and on strategies for addressing those impacts. Read about the event and panelists here, and register here. (September 20).

C&SN proudly joined 45 other organizations in sending a letter to the administration calling on it to conclude its sanctions policy review, to make the findings of the review public, and to implement structural changes to U.S. sanctions policy in order to protect civilian populations and enable peacebuilding, humanitarian aid, and human rights groups to carry out their missions unimpeded by sanctions. Read our press release on the letter here, and read coverage of the letter, featuring quotes from C&SN Director Paul Carroll, in the Wall Street Journal. (September 7).
Eelco Kessels, executive director of the Global Center on Cooperative Security, explores the consequences of two decades of counterterrorism policies, and calls for avoiding the exceptionalization of terrorism, pursuing a more inclusive strategy for addressing violent extremism, and for centering human rights and human security in counterterrorism policies. Read his take in the Hill. (September 2).
Humanitarian Aid
Contesting the Pentagon’s assertion that a recent drone strike that killed 10 people, including seven children, was “righteous,” the New York Times released findings of its investigation into the activities of Zemari Ahmadi, an aid worker who was killed in the strike after his activities were deemed suspicious. They found that what looked to the Pentagon like suspicious movements were actually routine for Ahmadi, and that canisters interpreted by the Pentagon as explosives were actually holding water for Ahmadi’s family. Ahmadi worked for Nutrition and Education International, a California-based aid group, as an electrical engineer. Read the story in the New York Times. (September 10).

Joel Charny, a former member of C&SN’s advisory board who recently retired from the Norwegian Refugee Council after a 40-year career in humanitarian aid, is interviewed on his life’s work and the lessons he’s learned over the years. C&SN was fortunate to have benefited from Joel’s experience, expertise and unwavering commitment to humanitarian needs during his tenure on our board. Read the interview with NPR here. (September 6).
Daniel Drezner, a Professor of International Politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, unpacks the troubled track record of U.S. sanctions, and unravels the false logic behind their dominant position in U.S. foreign policy, arguing that “reliance on economic sanctions would be natural if they were especially effective at getting other countries to do what Washington wants, but they’re not.” Read his take in Foreign Affairs. (September/October).

Rachel Alpert, a Partner at Jenner & Block and former Attorney-Advisor for the State Department’s Office of the Legal Advisor, calls for bringing U.S. sanctions in line with humanitarian principles and for protecting humanitarian assistance programs from U.S. sanctions before crises like the one in Afghanistan bring the issue of humanitarian access into the spotlight. Read her take in Just Security. (September 3).
Ahead of the 20-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, a local New York outlet took a look back at the NYPD’s surveillance of Muslim communities in the years following the attacks. NYPD tactics included “attending prayer services, listening in on conversations, stationing officers near mosques for photo and video surveillance, mapping entire neighborhoods based on ancestry, and even starting conversations about terrorism and reporting the responses to the police.” Joseph Gedeon reports for Gothamist. (September 7).
700 12th Street NW Suite 700
Washington, DC 20005
Phone Number: (202) 481-6927