Following the January 2014 uprising by rebel groups in Syria against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), ISIS contracted its footprint in Syria.
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From WSJ Live- Institute for the Study of War President Kimberly Kagan on what elections will mean for Iraq.
Iraq is experiencing a political and security crisis. Iraq’s April 30, 2014 national elections will determine the shape of Iraq’s national government for the next four years, if indeed a government can endure Iraq’s potential relapse into civil war.
The impact of Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria has been felt not just on the battlefield, where the regime now has momentum in many areas, but also in Lebanon where growing sectarian tensions have undermined security and stability.
Anbar is not the only front in Iraq on which Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), now operating as the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS), is fighting in 2014. ISIS has also established a governorate in Diyala. Its spokesman has named the province the central front in the sectarian conflict he has urged.
The influx of military support to both sides of the conflict precludes a decisive military victory for either regime or rebels and ensures the protraction of the war. A protracted fight, the end of which cannot be negotiated, is on hand.
Damascus is the Syrian regime’s center of gravity. The capital of Syria has long been viewed by the rebel forces as the key to winning the war in Syria, and its loss is unthinkable for Bashar al-Assad. Thus the struggle for Damascus is existential for the regime as well as the opposition.
From WSJ Live- Institute for the Study of War research director Jessica Lewis on how Al-Qaeda terrorized its way to victory in Iraq.
In late June 2013, the Syrian government renewed its campaign in the central Syrian province of Homs, indicating that it failed to achieve its operational and strategic objectives after defeating the rebels in al-Qusayr.
Iraq continues its slide towards widespread violence. Over the weekend, the Iraqi government has issued an ultimatum to anti-government protesters following an attack in Anbar province that left five soldiers dead.