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 tempo of Russian air operations slowed considerably from January 4 - 7. ISW was only able to confirm 17 locations of Russian airstrikes during the reporting period, the lowest volume of Russian strikes since early October 2015.
Key Takeaway: The ongoing Vienna process will likely fail to end the Syrian Civil War because it does not provide adequate incentives to Syria’s powerful armed opposition factions to lay down arms. The Vienna process relies on agreements made between international powerbrokers independent from the demands of both pro- and anti-regime Syrian factions.