Russia's President Putin is working hard to create options in all forms of warfare, while favoring low-cost approaches. The U.S. and NATO must strike a balanced approach to dealing with the multifarious threats posed by Moscow across the European theater, including in the Baltics and Ukraine.
The U.S. faces three interlocking competitions that will determine the future of the international order. The competitions are with: the revisionist powers in Russia, China, and Iran; the revolutionary powers animated by groups like al Qaeda ISIS; and the rogue power in North Korea.
The U.S. cannot drive a wedge between Russia and Iran in the near term. Tehran and Moscow share an overarching objective to expel the U.S. from the Middle East which will likely bind Iran and Russia together into an enduring partnership.
The Assad regime and its allies in Russia and Iran have seized over a quarter of the besieged Eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus. Civilians will come under increased threat in the coming weeks as the fighting moves closer to heavily-populated urban suburbs.
Turkey seized the final stretch of the Syria-Turkey border in Afrin from the Syrian Kurdish YPG in late February 2018. The seizure of the border accomplishes the first of five assessed Turkish operational objectives in Afrin.
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Watch ISW President Kimberly Kagan speak at a March 19, 2018 town hall discussion on Syria and failing and fragile states for Public Radio International.
If Putin's March 2018 election fails to meet the Russian president's own standards for success, it may cause reverberations in his foreign and domestic policies. U.S. decision-makers must therefore focus on the nuance behind the "election" results, Nataliya Bugayova writes in an essay for Fox News.
This graphic marks the latest installment of the Syria SITREP Map made possible through a partnership between the Institute for the Study of War and Syria Direct. This graphics depicts significant developments in the Syrian Civil War from February 21 - March 6, 2018. The control of terrain represented on the graphic is accurate as of March 8, 2018.
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.
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.