Ayad Allawi Sets Conditions to Recreate 2011 Premiership Bid

Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi is presenting himself as a viable Shi’a reformist alternative to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in the upcoming Iraqi legislative elections slated for May 12, 2018. Allawi will likely leverage his opposition to the expansion of the Iranian influence in Iraq, reformist stance and support for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to draw Shi’a Sadrist and some Kurdish support in the post-election premier selection phase.

Afghanistan's Powerbrokers Prepare for 2019 Presidential Elections

Afghanistan’s powerbrokers are in the early stages of an intense competition as they prepare for the planned 2019 presidential election. The multi-month disagreement between President Ashraf Ghani and warlord and long-time Balkh Province Governor Mohammad Atta Noor over the latter’s governorship is the first stage of a much larger battle between the two politicians for the presidency.

Russia's Military Posture: Ground Forces Order of Battle

The U.S. and its allies would be foolish to focus narrowly on any one form of possible future war with Russia in Europe. Russian President Vladimir Putin is working hard to create options in all forms of warfare, while continuing to demonstrate a preference for low-cost approaches. The U.S. and NATO must strike a balanced approach to dealing with the multifarious threats posed by Moscow and avoid oscillations between confidence and fear.

America's Global Competitions: The Gray Zone in Context

The U.S. faces three, interlocking competitions that will determine the future of the international order. The competitions pit America, its allies, and its partners against: the revisionist powers in Russia, China, and Iran; the revolutionary powers in the global movement animated by groups like al Qaeda ISIS; and the rogue power in North Korea. Success for the U.S. will require wrestling with all three competitions simultaneously and leveraging progress across them.

Iraqi Security Forces and Popular Mobilization Forces: Orders of Battle

Any U.S. strategy relying on a partnered force must proceed from a realistic assessment of its capabilities and intentions. The Institute for the Study of War completed an Order of Battle study to evaluate the capabilities and disposition of the ISF. This study also presents an Order of Battle of the PMF to help U.S. decision makers and forces on the ground recognize and remediate the presence of Iranian-backed militias within the ISF.

Al Qaeda Clearing the Path to Dominance in Southern Syria

Al Qaeda is growing stronger in Southern Syria. An assassination campaign targeting mainstream opposition commanders and governance officials is facilitating al Qaeda’s consolidation of power along the borders of Jordan and Israel. Southern Syria stands at increasing risk of becoming a second Idlib Province, which currently serves as a formidable safe haven for al Qaeda.