Publications

One-pager: Jabhat al Nusra and ISIS: Sources of Strength

February 10, 2016 - John Lawrence

American strategy toward ISIS has misidentified the group’s center of gravity and is inadvertently strengthening Syrian al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al Nusra. The US approach presumes that regaining Mosul in Iraq and ar Raqqa in Syria will cause ISIS to collapse, and it is not operating against Jabhat al Nusra in any meaningful way.

ISW in the News: January 2016

February 10, 2016 - John Lawrence

"According to a report, Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra, is a greater threat to the United States in the long term than is ISIS. The report, which suggests the U.S. is spending too much time focused on ISIS, was released last week by the Institute for the Study of War and the American Enterprise Institute." Source: CNN

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.

The Pitfalls of Relying on Kurdish Forces to Counter ISIS

February 3, 2016 - Chris Kozak

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. 

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