Publications

Russian Airstrikes in Syria: June 29 - July 27, 2016

July 28, 2016 - Chris Kozak

Russia enabled pro-regime forces to complete the physical encirclement of Aleppo City on July 28, isolating the primary nexus of the non-jihadist opposition in Northern Syria. These gains threaten the long-term survival of mainstream opposition groups that could serve as potential partners against ISIS and Syrian Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra.

ISW Resources on Jabhat Al- Nusra: Al-Qaeda's Syrian Affiliate

July 27, 2016 - Institute for the Study of War

Since 2014, ISW has been tracking Jabhat al- Nusra, the official al- Qaeda affiliate in Syria. ISW believes that Jabhat al- Nusra poses one of the most significant long-term threats of any Salafi- jihadi group. ISW recognizes ISIS and al Qaeda are Salafi- jihadi military organizations with distinct sources of strength and maintains that U.S. strategy must operate against both ISIS and Jabhat al- Nusra simultaneously. Focusing on an "ISIS first" strategy will result in Nusra continuing to grow stronger.

Ukraine Warning Update: Possible Clashes Could Trigger Snap Elections

July 26, 2016 - Franklin Holcomb

President Putin and pro-Russia actors within Ukraine aim to trigger snap parliamentary elections to bring pro-Russian and populist parties to power and start rebuilding the client regime. ISW assesses that Russia intends to provoke clashes during a large march of Orthodox Christians to Kyiv on July 27 to cause a crisis, to try to set conditions for snap elections. Russia’s military action against Ukraine failed to reverse the political defeat dealt to Russia when the Euromaidan movement came into power in 2014. President Putin seeks to find lower profile methods of regaining control of Ukraine, including exploiting lack of political unity and decreasing public support for the current Ukrainian governing coalition. Bringing Ukraine back to Russia’s orbit is a major strategic objective for President Putin in his efforts to reassert Russia’s power globally.

Iraq Situation Report: July 19-25, 2016

July 25, 2016 - Emily Anagnostos

Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi accepted the resignation of seven ministers on July 19 and July 20, suggesting that PM Abadi will seek to restart the Cabinet reshuffle process.

Syria Situation Report: July 16 - 22, 2016

July 22, 2016 - Chris Kozak

The failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15 will generate significant upheaval in the Syrian Civil War. Turkish President Recep Erdogan will likely direct his attention inward over the coming months in order to consolidate his power. This distraction will likely disrupt the flow of logistical support provided to opposition groups by Turkey, enabling short-term military gains by a number of actors including Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).

Ukraine Warning Update: Possible Clashes Could Trigger Snap Elections

July 22, 2016 - Kathleen Weinberger

President Putin and pro-Russia actors within Ukraine aim to trigger snap parliamentary elections to bring pro-Russian and populist parties to power and start rebuilding the client regime. ISW assesses that Russia intends to provoke clashes during a large march of Orthodox Christians to Kyiv on July 27 to cause a crisis, to try to set conditions for snap elections. Russia’s military action against Ukraine failed to reverse the political defeat dealt to Russia when the Euromaidan movement came into power in 2014. President Putin seeks to find lower profile methods of regaining control of Ukraine, including exploiting lack of political unity and decreasing public support for the current Ukrainian governing coalition. Bringing Ukraine back to Russia’s orbit is a major strategic objective for President Putin in his efforts to reassert Russia’s power globally.

How Turkey Could Become the Next Pakistan

July 19, 2016 - Jennifer Cafarella

The U.S. must recognize the risk a NATO ally may become a safe haven for al Qaeda as Erdogan consolidates power. The failed coup attempt by elements of the Turkish Armed Forces on July 15 will enable President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to establish himself as an authoritarian ruler in Turkey.

Iraq Situation Report: July 13-18, 2016

July 18, 2016 - Emily Anagnostos

The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) seeks to open and maintain operations in western Anbar and Ninewa Provinces in order to eliminate remaining ISIS strongholds in Iraq. Sadrist Trend leader Muqtada al-Sadr led thousands of protesters in Tahrir Square on July 15, giving usual demands for technocratic and anti-corruption reforms.

Syria Situation Report: July 9 - 15, 2016

July 15, 2016 - Chris Kozak

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on July 14 to discuss a proposal for bilateral military cooperation in the Syrian Civil War. The proposal calls for the establishment of a ‘Joint Implementation Group’ based in Amman, Jordan to “support deliberate targeting” of Syrian Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra and “maximize independent but synchronized efforts” against ISIS in Syria, according to a draft memorandum leaked by the Washington Post.

Afghanistan Partial Threat Assessment: June 30, 2016

July 14, 2016 - Caitlin Forrest

President Obama announced on July 6 that the U.S. will maintain 8,400 troops in Afghanistan through the end of January 2017 instead of the planned drawdown to 5,500. He then stated that the only way to achieve a full drawdown of forces is to reach a peaceful political settlement between Taliban militants and the Afghan government.

Pages