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More aggressive tactics by authoritarian regimes and an upsurge in terrorist attacks contributed to a disturbing decline in global freedom in 2014. 

President Obama's call to arms against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), like his response to Russia's aggression against Ukraine, steps up U.S. efforts to curb major threats to U.S. interests. Does it also signal a greater commitment by Obama to stand up for democracy in the world? Probably not. But he should make democracy a priority.

The execution of James Foley is an extremely sobering reminder of the dangers faced by journalists determined to document the suffering of civilians and of the grave dangers to fundamental freedoms posed by ISIS.

Zainab al-Suwaij, executive director of the American Islamic Congress and a trustee of Freedom House, examines recent developments in Iraq.


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