2015 Archives

Experts on ‘The Rise of ISIS’ to discuss compelling new details at SMU Nov. 5

Books about "Rise of ISIS"

Black Flags by Joby Warrick

The Dictator's Army by Caitlin Talmadge

October 30, 2015

DALLAS (SMU) — Last year ISIS went on the offensive, taking vast stretches of territory in Iraq and Syria. The Iraqi Army dissolved in its path, despite years of training and billions of dollars of U.S. aid, raising a series of questions:

  • Why did ISIS succeed where other terrorist groups have failed?
  • Why was Iraq unable to stop it?
  • What are the consequences for U.S. national security and strategy in the Middle East?

The authors of two compelling new books will discuss “The Rise of ISIS” at a public discussion at SMU Thursday, Nov. 5. The free event, sponsored by the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies, will be 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Hall, 5901 Bishop Blvd., on the SMU campus. To RSVP, email tower@smu.edu.

Joshua RovnerEvent moderator Joshua Rovner, SMU Tower Center Distinguished Chair of International Politics and National Security, and author of the award-winning book, Fixing the Facts: National Security and the Politics of Intelligence (Cornell University Press 2011), calls the guest speakers “superstars from journalism and academia.” They are:

Joby WarrickJoby Warrick, a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and investigative reporter for The Washington Post, who is an expert on intelligence, diplomacy and security in the Middle East and South Asia. His new book, Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS (Doubleday 2015), chronicles the rapid rise of a strain of militant Islam, born in a remote Jordanian prison and spread with the unwitting aid of two American presidents. (For related NPR “Fresh Air” interview audio icon ) Warrick also is author of The Triple Agent (Doubleday 2011), the true story of an al-Qaeda spy who led the CIA into a deadly trap at Khost, Afghanistan, in 2009. 

Caitlin TalmadgeCaitlin Talmadge, professor of political science & international affairs at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where she is an expert on national security and military operations. Talmadge also has been a Council of Foreign Relations fellow and a consultant to the U.S. Department of Defense. Her ground-breaking new book, The Dictator’s Army: Battlefield Effectiveness in Authoritarian Regimes (Cornell University Press 2015), offers an important new argument about why authoritarian militaries sometimes fight very well — or very poorly. Talmadge also is co-author of U.S. Defense Politics: The Origins of Security Policy (Routledge 2008). 

For more details about the Tower Center, see http://www.smu.edu/towercenter or call 214-768-3954. Follow them on Twitter @SMUTowerCenter and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/towercenter.

About SMU

Southern Methodist University is a nationally ranked private university in Dallas founded 100 years ago. Today, SMU enrolls approximately 11,000 students who benefit from the academic opportunities and international reach of seven degree-granting schools.

About the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies

In the spirit of John Tower’s commitment to educate and inspire a new generation of thoughtful leaders, the Tower Center seeks to bridge the gap between the world of ideas, scholarship and teaching, as well as the practice of politics. The primary mission of the Tower Center is to promote the study of politics and international affairs and to stimulate an interest in ethical public service among undergraduates. The Tower Center is an academic center where all parties and views are heard in a marketplace of ideas, and the Center pursues its mission in a non-partisan manner.

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