The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and the Critical Threats Project (CTP) at the American Enterprise Institute conducted an intensive multi-week planning exercise to frame, design, and evaluate potential courses of action that the United States could pursue to destroy the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) and al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria.
Middle East Security Project
The ANSF is unprepared to counter the Taliban militants’ summer campaign. Northern warlords will take advantage of Taliban militants’ gains to establish themselves as security providers and gain leverage against the fragile National Unity Government.
ISIS is using its foreign fighters and safe haven in Iraq and Syria to execute a terror campaign within Europe. ISIS’s March 22 Brussels attacks support a larger strategy to punish, destabilize, and polarize the West. ISIS will likely continue to attempt attacks in France and Belgium in 2016, using its large Francophone foreign fighter population and local supporters.
A new map from ISW showing the viewshed for Palmyra as of March 2016. Regime troops continue their attack and advance on the city and its environs.
The United States faces a geostrategic inflection in Syria that it has not yet fully recognized. The “cessation of hostilities” declared on February 11, 2016 permits Russia and the Assad regime to continue targeting U.S.
Genevieve Casagrande is a Syria Research Analyst at the Institute for the Study of War where she focuses on the Syrian opposition. She previously worked with The Carter Center as a Conflict Analyst with the Conflict Resolution Program’s Syria Conflict Mapping Project and the Syria Transition Options Initiative. While at ISW, Ms. Casagrande has spearheaded ISW’s Russian airstrikes in Syria maps which have appeared in many major publications across the globe.
Patrick Martin is a Research Analyst at the Institute for the Study of War where he focuses on political and security developments in Iraq. Prior to joining ISW, Patrick worked as an intern at the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED). He has contributed to ISW’s “Iraq Situation Report” and “Iraq Control of Terrain Map” products.
Key Take-away: The threat of large-scale attacks in North Sinai by ISIS’s Wilayat Sinai is elevated as of March 12, 2015, but this threat is not assessed to directly target the upcoming Egypt Economic Development Conference in Sharm al-Sheikh scheduled for March 13-15, 2015 due to heightened security in South Sinai.