Russia will likely intensify its campaign to disrupt Latvia’s political stability ahead of Latvia’s fall 2018 parliamentary elections. The U.S. should support NATO ally Latvia as it confronts Russia’s hybrid warfare and use the April 2018 Baltic Summit to reinforce its commitment to defend Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania.
This ISW Control of Terrain Map provides an assessment of the approximate territory held in Syria by various actors on the ground. The map is updated through March 22, 2018.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to conduct military operations across six locations in eastern Syria and Iraq following the Syrian Kurdish withdrawal from Afrin City in northwest Syria. Russia and Iran seek to use Turkey to undermine the U.S. and may encourage Turkey to prioritize operations in areas that would undermine American interests.
Watch ISW President Kimberly Kagan speak at a March 19, 2018 town hall discussion on Syria and failing and fragile states for Public Radio International.
If Putin's March 2018 election fails to meet the Russian president's own standards for success, it may cause reverberations in his foreign and domestic policies. U.S. decision-makers must therefore focus on the nuance behind the "election" results, Nataliya Bugayova writes in an essay for Fox News.
This graphic marks the latest installment of the Syria SITREP Map made possible through a partnership between the Institute for the Study of War and Syria Direct. This graphics depicts significant developments in the Syrian Civil War from February 21 - March 6, 2018. The control of terrain represented on the graphic is accurate as of March 8, 2018.
Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi is presenting himself as a viable Shi’a reformist alternative to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in the upcoming Iraqi legislative elections slated for May 12, 2018. Allawi will likely leverage his opposition to the expansion of the Iranian influence in Iraq, reformist stance and support for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to draw Shi’a Sadrist and some Kurdish support in the post-election premier selection phase.
Afghanistan’s powerbrokers are in the early stages of an intense competition as they prepare for the planned 2019 presidential election. The multi-month disagreement between President Ashraf Ghani and warlord and long-time Balkh Province Governor Mohammad Atta Noor over the latter’s governorship is the first stage of a much larger battle between the two politicians for the presidency.
Russia is a poor country—its economy is roughly the size of Italy’s on a bigger population and a vast territory—and conventional warfare is exceedingly expensive. That is why Russia’s Vladimir Putin has opted for hybrid warfare whenever possible—it is the manner of fighting best suited to the brilliant poor.