Russian Airstrikes in Syria: January 29 - February 7, 2016

February 8, 2016 - Genevieve Casagrande
Russia’s four month long air campaign has set conditions for the encirclement of Aleppo.  Pro-regime forces backed by heavy Russian airstrikes severed one of two opposition supply lines into Aleppo City from the Turkish border on February 3 when they pushed northwe

Russia Security Update: January 26-February 1, 2016

February 5, 2016 - Genevieve Casagrande

Russian warplanes concentrated their airstrikes in opposition-held territory in northwestern Aleppo Province in support of an ongoing regime offensive to sever the primary opposition ground line of communication (GLOC) from Aleppo City to the Syrian-Turkish border.

Assad Regime Gains in Aleppo Alter Balance of Power in Northern Syria

February 5, 2016 - Chris Kozak

Battlefield realities rather than great power politics will determine the ultimate terms of a settlement to end the Syrian Civil War. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his allies in Russia and Iran have internalized this basic principle even as Washington and other Western capitals pinned their hopes upon UN-sponsored Geneva Talks, which faltered only two days after they began.

The Pitfalls of Relying on Kurdish Forces to Counter ISIS

February 3, 2016 - Patrick Martin

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.

Russia Security Update: January 26-February 2, 2016

February 2, 2016 - Hugo Spaulding

Russia heightened its aggressive posture toward NATO as the U.S. prepared new deterrence measures in Europe. The U.S. Defense of Department requested funding to deploy an additional 3,000-5,000 troops to Europe in its FY 2017 budget request in a show of support to NATO allies threatened by possible Russian military aggression. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called for the establishment of a “cooperative and constructive” relationship with Russia, which he said required bolstering NATO defenses in order to gain Russia’s respect.

Iraq Situation Report: January 26 - February 1, 2016

February 1, 2016 - Patrick Martin

Financial difficulties stemming from collapsed oil prices, corruption, and the cost of the anti-ISIS fight pose an increasingly dire threat to Iraq that may prove more destabilizing than ISIS. 

Russia Airstrikes in Syria: January 20-25, 2016

January 29, 2016 - Genevieve Casagrande

The Russian air campaign in Syria enabled strategic gains in the regime’s longstanding effort to buffer its coastal heartland in Latakia from January 23 - 25. Russian strikes targeted opposition-held positions along the frontline in both Jebel al-Akrad and Jebel Turkmen mountain ranges in Northern Latakia, facilitating the regime’s seizure of the town of Rabi’ah.

ISIS Sanctuary: January 29, 2016

January 29, 2016 - Harleen Gambhir

ISIS continues to face military pressure on multiple fronts in Iraq and Syria. In response ISIS is heightening efforts to consolidate control along the Euphrates River Valley, and is also expanding its attack zones in western Syria and eastern Iraq. ISIS remains unchallenged in its core terrain across Iraq and Syria.

Russia Security Update: January 12-26, 2016

January 26, 2016 - Hugo Spaulding

Russia continues to aggressively posture against NATO from both Ukraine and Syria while casting itself as a constructive actor in both conflicts. U.S. European Command (EUCOM) accused Russia of destabilizing Europe by violating international norms and named deterring Russian aggression as its strategic priority. Moscow announced plans to form three new military divisions in western Russia to counter NATO.

Iraq Situation Report: January 20-25, 2016

January 25, 2016 - Patrick Martin

The U.S. is actively searching for ways to increase its impact on the anti-ISIS fight in Iraq. U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter called on Coalition members on January 22 to increase the amount of support they provide, and the U.S. indicated plans to intensify its own assistance for anti-ISIS actors in Iraq.