Iraq Situation Report: February 2 - 11, 2016

February 11, 2016 - Patrick Martin

The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency Chief, Vincent Stewart, noted that a Mosul operation was unlikely to occur in 2016, underscoring that the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have far to go before being ready to recapture the city.

Jabhat al Nusra and ISIS: Sources of Strength

February 10, 2016 - Jennifer Cafarella

This third report in the series "U.S. Grand Strategy: Destroying ISIS and al Qaeda" assesses the strengths and vulnerabilities of ISIS and al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al Nusra to serve as the basis for developing a robust and comprehensive strategy to destroy them.

Iraq Control of Terrain Map: February 9, 2016

February 9, 2016 - Patrick Martin

Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and Sunni Arab tribal fighters backed by Coalition air support recaptured central Ramadi on January 9, the completion of a six-month operation.

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.