American over-reliance on Kurdish forces as the primary ground partner in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) threatens the long-term success of the anti-ISIS campaign. These pitfalls could promote future regional disorder and prevent the U.S. from successfully degrading and destroying ISIS.
The Russian air campaign continued to concentrate in Deir ez-Zour Province on January 20 - 22 in response to recent ISIS advances against regime forces in the northwestern outskirts of Deir ez-Zour City. Russia’s increase in strikes in Eastern Syria coincides with reports of the deployment of approximately one hundred Russian soldiers and engineers to the Qamishli International Airport in Northeastern Syria.
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.