A Department of Homeland Security Emeritus Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

Book Talk: "With Us and Against Us: How America's Partners Help and Hinder the War on Terror," by Stephen Tankel

Book Talk: "With Us and Against Us: How America's Partners Help and Hinder the War on Terror," by Stephen Tankel

Monday, September 17, 2018
12:00pm - 1:00pm

On Monday, September 17th at 12:00pm at START Headquarters, Dr. Stephen Tankel will give a presentation on his new book, With Us and Against Us: How America's Partners Help and Hinder the War on Terror. This event is free and open to the public, but RSVPs are appreciated. If you are not a START affiliate, please email Eva Coll (escoll@umd.edu) by Thursday 09/13 if you're interested in attending for more information. 

In the wake of the September 11 attacks, President George W. Bush drew a line in the sand, saying, “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.” Since 9/11, many counterterrorism partners have been both “with” and “against” the United States, helping it in some areas and hindering it in others. This has been especially true in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia, where the terrorist groups that threaten America are most concentrated. Because so many aspects of U.S. counterterrorism strategy are dependent on international cooperation, the United States has little choice but to work with other countries. Making the most of these partnerships is fundamental to the success of the War on Terror. Yet what the United States can reasonably expect from its counterterrorism partners―and how to get more out of them―remain too little understood.

In With Us and Against Us, Stephen Tankel analyzes the factors that shape counterterrorism cooperation, examining the ways partner nations aid international efforts, as well as the ways they encumber and impede effective action. He considers the changing nature of counterterrorism, exploring how counterterrorism efforts after 9/11 critically differ both from those that existed beforehand and from traditional alliances. Focusing on U.S. partnerships with Algeria, Egypt, Mali, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen against al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other terrorist organizations, Tankel offers nuanced propositions about what the U.S. can expect from its counterterrorism partners depending on their political and security interests, threat perceptions, and their relationships with the United States and with the terrorists in question. With Us and Against Us offers a theoretically rich and policy-relevant toolkit for assessing and improving counterterrorism cooperation, devising strategies for mitigating risks, and getting the most out of difficult partnerships.

Professor Tankel specializes in international security with a focus on terrorism and counterterrorism, political and military affairs in South Asia, and U.S. foreign and defense policies related to these issues. He has published widely on these topics and conducted field research on conflicts and militancy in Algeria, Bangladesh, India, Lebanon, Pakistan, and the Balkans. Dr. Tankel has also lived and worked in Egypt and studied Arabic in Syria. He has authored numerous works, including Storming the World Stage: The Story of Lashkar-e-Taiba (Oxford University Press, 2011). Dr. Tankel frequently advises U.S. policymakers and practitioners and the Intelligence Community. He previously served as a Senior Advisor for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs at the Department of Defense. Dr. Tankel is also a senior editor of the web magazine War on the Rocks, on the editorial board of Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, and a frequent media commentator. He received his PhD in War Studies from King’s College London, has an MSc from the London School of Economics, and a BS from Cornell University.