The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and the Critical Threats Project (CTP) recommend an initial American course of action in Syria as the first phase of a broader U.S. strategic reset in the Middle East. 

The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) made significant progress from March 9 to 16, pushing deep into western Mosul and eliminating ISIS’s presence north of the city. ISIS has reopened attack fronts around Tikrit and Baiji.

Regional actors are vying to dominate the post-ISIS security structure and political order in northern Iraq.

Taliban militants’ military successes during their 2016 campaign, Operation Omari, demonstrate requirements for U.S. policy in Afghanistan.

The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) continued operations to retake Mosul and its environs, consolidating gains along its five axes before breaching the city limits on November 1.

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Russia Moves to Supplant U.S. Role

Russian President Vladimir Putin is leveraging Russia’s position in Syria to further diminish U.S. influence in the broader Middle East and North Africa. Russia will increasingly constrain U.S. freedom of maneuver in the broader region by expanding its military footprint and its anti-access and area denial zone. Putin advanced his regional strategy from February 27 to March 20, 2017 in three ways. First, he promoted economic relationships with key U.S.

Putin's Real Syria Agenda

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s primary objective in Syria is to constrain U.S. freedom of action – not fight ISIS and al Qaeda. Russia’s military deployments at current levels will not enable the Iranian-penetrated Assad regime to secure Syria. Moscow’s deepening footprint in Syria threatens America’s ability to defend its interests across the Middle East and in the Mediterranean Sea. The next U.S.