Middle East Security Project

Winning Battles, Losing Wars

Col. Harry G. Summers Jr. begins his book, On Strategy: The Vietnam War in Context, by relaying the following conversation: “‘You know you never defeated us on the battlefield,’ said the American colonel. The North Vietnamese colonel pondered this remark a moment. ‘That may be so,’ he replied, ‘but it is also irrelevant.’” As much as we may not want to admit it, in this sense, our current war against al Qaeda and their ilk resembles that of Vietnam. In fighting our post- 9/11 wars, we have won nearly every battle but are far from winning the war. How can this be? The answer lies largely in the civil military nexus that underpins how America wages war.

Is ISIS Expanding into Egypt?

Recent statements by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, and an alleged new group called the “Soldiers of the Caliphate in the Land of Egypt” has given rise to speculation that ISIS may be seeking to expand beyond Iraq and Syria into new territories such as Egypt. This fear is compounded by the recent arrest of an individual at the Cairo airport, allegedly seeking to travel to Syria for training with ISIS.

Harleen Gambhir


Harleen Gambhir is a Counterterrorism Analyst at the Institute for the Study of War. She focuses on the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham’s global activities and strategy, as well as on U.S. national security interests in dealing with a growing ISIS “Caliphate.” At ISW, Harleen has researched ISIS’s resurgence and capabilities in Iraq, and has authored “Dabiq: The Strategic Messaging of the Islamic State” and the “ISIS Global Intelligence Summary.” She is also the lead on several of ISW’s technology partnerships.

Lauren Squires


Lauren Squires is a Research Analyst at the Institute for the Study of War.  Prior to joining ISW, she worked as an analyst in the intelligence community focusing on the Middle East.  Before joining the government, Lauren served as an Active Duty Army officer serving on deployments to Kuwait in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Egypt where she was a liaison at the United States Embassy in Cairo.  Her professional work has included support for multiple combatant commands, including CENTCOM, AFRICOM, and EUCOM.