The Institute for the Study of War and AEI's Critical Threats Project conducted an intensive multi-week exercise to frame, design, and evaluate potential courses of action that the United States could pursue to defeat the threat from ISIS and al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria. This first report examines America’s global grand strategic objectives as they relate to ISIS and al Qaeda and considers the nature of those enemy groups in depth and in their global context.
The Syrian regime and its allies launched a major, multi-pronged offensive in Aleppo Province on October 15 in order to bolster the regime's foothold in Aleppo City. Both Russia and Iran likely aim to enable Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to reassert control over Syria’s largest city given the heavy involvement of their military forces in these operations.
Growing Turkish-Russian military cooperation in Syria is a dangerous sign of a wider shift to a closer strategic relationship between Turkey and Russia.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent decision to keep a residual force of at least 400 troops in Syria prevents the immediate takeover of valuable natural resources and infrastructure in Eastern Syria by Iran, Assad, and Russia. These actors nonetheless still have options that could lead to the defeat or expulsion of U.S. forces.
Vital American interests remain at stake in Syria even as the U.S.-led coalition has retaken territory from the Islamic State. Jennifer Cafarella examines the decision to begin the process of withdrawing U.S. forces and the effects on key actors, including al Qaeda.
ISW Board Chairman Jack Keane and Danielle Pletka: The president stood by his word and didn’t tolerate the Syrian dictator’s use of weapons of mass destruction. But while the recent strike on Syria was important and necessary—it was far from sufficient.
Assad targeted a hospital and related sites with a chemical attack to inflict maximum civilian casualties. Enabled by his allies Russia and Iran, Assad likely also sought to test his freedom of action and impunity. What is at stake for the U.S. as it considers a response?
American passivity in the face of Assad’s violence, enabled by Iran and Russia, will not only deepen the humanitarian crisis, it also harms U.S. national security, Jennifer Cafarella argues in a FoxNews.com opinion essay.
It will take a long time and a hard struggle to achieve any outcome in Syria that the U.S. should be willing to live with. It is time to focus on it, devote resources to it, and prepare to do so for a long time, ISW's Jennifer Cafarella writes in a January 2018 opinion essay.
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.