Fortune - Is the Saudi Weapons Deal Good for America?

Violent extremist groups are not America’s greatest threat. The real threat is an increasingly influential kingdom with a powerful military capability that does not share America’s values of freedom for all, human dignity, and justice.

Are we trading in our leadership and values for short term gains that will bear unintended consequences?

Mina Chang
CNN The Real Value of Foreign Aid

"Why should we care?" "Let them take care of their own problems." "We have enough problems in our own backyard!" Those are sentiments echoed on all sides of the political divide when the public is asked about spending their tax dollars on foreign aid.  ]But at a cost of less than 1% of our entire federal budget, foreign aid is a bargain, given its ability to bolster our national security. 

A real cost calculus actually shows that cutting funds for resilience-building solutions would inevitably sacrifice more with blood, through military intervention, when a conflict hits a boiling point; or toward emergency and disaster response when there are food shortages, refugee influxes, and health epidemics.

Prevention must be the objective key part of our national security strategy. Then, and only then, will aid no longer be seen as charity -- but as an essential, modern tool of US national security, and an investment in our economic prosperity.

Mina Chang
Defense One - Afghanistan Reset Needs a Soft-Power Mission, Too

The U.S. has a long history of winning hearts and minds around the globe. Core to this effort should be building local economies and institutions, bolstering neighborhoods and communities, and providing tangible incentives to everyday Afghans to avoid the path that leads to extremism. 

Even the Taliban knows how important these soft power/localized economic efforts can be in winning this conflict. As part of the recent announcement of their spring offensive, Afghanistan’s Taliban pledged to focus violent attacks on development institutions as part of their effort to build popular political support. This is a direct attempt to undermine the U.S. mission on ground. The U.S. needs to counter the Taliban by redoubling our soft-power activities and focusing on approaches that are more likely to create lasting economic opportunities and success.

Mina Chang
Startup's Global Growth Can Help Combat Violent Extremism

Entrepreneurship can be a powerful force for creating economic stability and weakening extremist groups but entering new and developing markets paves the way for global expansion. But for entrepreneurs in this global age, the next step of building required infrastructure can also entail enormous obstacles, like government corruption, a local lack of education and violent extremism.

The Hill How we can use 'peace data' to stop extremism before it starts

Analyzing the wide spectrum of anonymous data available, whether it's quantitative or qualitative, can identify regions and communities that may be susceptible to instability or conflict. This can help agencies identify trends and growing vulnerabilities indicative of a possible extremist recruiting ground.

Why young Syrians join ISIS, and how to prevent it

The ongoing conflict in Syria — currently in its sixth year — is responsible for the death of approximately 300,000 individuals, 12,000 of whom were children. Millions of others have been displaced from their homes. The conflict has caused one of the largest refugee movements in recent history, with more than 4.8 million refugees registered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

How to combat violent extremism? Fight poverty

For people living in fragile states like Afghanistan, joining groups like the Taliban might well be one of their only options to provide for loved ones. Libyan intelligence chiefs, for example, say that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is building an "army of the poor" by offering upward of $1,000 in cash to those who join the radical group. For people living in countries where annual salaries equal a couple of hundred dollars, such economic incentives easily trump ideological barriers. While government employees in Afghanistan earn less than $2 a day, the Taliban pays equivalent of $10 to $20for a day of action.

HuffPo It’s Time to Take Back Nigeria’s Youth and End Insurgent Extremism

According to a recent study, unemployment, poverty, misinterpreted Islamic teachings, and manipulation by extremist heads are leading Nigeria’s young men down the road to radicalism. But what, specifically, are terrorist groups like Boko Haram doing to lure them in?

HuffPo How Stability Operations Can Fortify Fragile States: Part Two

Broadly, stability operations can be considered successful if the state in question sees a decrease in violence from initial kinetic intervention and then a move toward normalization as NGOs enter. The U.S. military bases all its stability operations on four guiding principles that, when combined and executed effectively, produce long-lasting stability.

How Stability Operations Can Fortify Fragile States

Our world is increasingly complex: Gone are the days when a nongovernmental organization could operate in conflict zones or areas of instability without significant risk of unintended physical and reputational consequences.

Today more than ever, with an estimated 40 to 60 fragile states, militaries and NGOs are embracing the need for stability operations that deliver a holistic interagency approach unified behind the common goal of sustained peace.

Special Benefit Dinner on Behalf of Linking the World

“We are honored to support the great work of Linking the World, an organization with great leadership that works tirelessly to build resilient communities in areas of instability and conflict,” says Pete Haas, Managing Partner, AlliedBarton. “We know that our security is dependent upon proactive measures overseas, and that’s why we are today pledging an additional $10,000 of support.”
 

FPIF Does Providing Aid in War Zones Do More Harm Than Good?

By clandestinely rebranding aid from outside sources with its own labels, ISIS fools surrounding populations into believing the insurgent state is a benevolent entity that protects and cares for its people.

This poses a huge moral dilemma for those of us who work at humanitarian organizations: If we know the aid will likely be diverted, should we not try to help suffering people? If we stop the aid, many belligerents will use it as propaganda to blame the West for the area’s suffering and hunger. But if we provide aid, aren’t we abetting terrorist organizations?

Afghan women need the support of US forces now more than ever

Under Taliban reign, Afghanistan is the most dangerous place in the world to be a woman. Rape, infanticide and desperate poverty permeate their lives. Sadly, many feel trapped and choose to take their own lives rather than suffer. As a result, suicides — the majority of which are committed by women — outstrip the annual combat and homicide death tolls combined.

NGO's In Stability Operations: Unity of Effort

Our world is increasingly complex. Gone are the days when an NGO could operate in conflict zones or areas of instability without significant risks and physical, reputational and/or unintended consequences. Today more than ever, militaries and NGOs are embracing the need for stability operations that deliver a holistic interagency approach unified behind the common goal of sustained peace.  

International Womens Conference - Afghanistan

Just a few days ago I was sitting in Afghanistan with a group of women from all over the country. I went with the intent of getting qualitative interviews, but what happened is… I heard their stories. On an intimate level. And every one of them was full of pervasive inequality and suffering.

The Taliban enforced some of the most violent and egregious limitations on women’s rights in modern statehood. And I know this audience is clearly aware of the violations. As you know these restrictions were severely and brutally enforced, the consequences included public stoning for even being accused of adultery or dishonor, they’ve been physically tortured, beaten severely, brutally mutilated, burned alive or had acid thrown at them—as well as being forced to marry at a very early age, raped or sold into prostitution, with many engaging in self-immolation as a result.

4 Ways Companies Can Help in the Face of Natural Disasters

Corporations, in particular, have the infrastructure, supply chains, experience and relationships to help respond quickly. It’s great when companies contribute their assets to relief efforts, but sometimes the best intentions actually cause more problems than they solve. For example, when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, we saw a candy company donate bags of Halloween candy to the affected children. Can you imagine children — who have just lost everything and, in many cases, family members — opening up skeleton-shaped candy suckers?

As the aid landscape changes, a new view on NGO neutrality

When aid workers see suffering, they don't respond with pity or shake their heads at the sorrow in the world. They respond with compassion so deep that it moves them to risk their lives to provide food, supplies and hope to people in need.

But good intentions don't always lead to positive outcomes. As the global community shrinks and technology keeps us more informed and connected, the nongovernmental organization (NGO) landscape grows increasingly diverse and complex, creating difficult operational conditions.