Maliki's Authoritarian Regime

April 17, 2013

Today, political and military power in Iraq is highly centralized in Prime Minister Maliki’s personal office. This will have important implications for the future of Iraq and the trajectory and durability of its democratic transition.

Syria Update: Jabhat Nusra Aligns with al-Qaeda

April 15, 2013 -

Jabhat Nusra officially pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri in a recent statement. Despite Jabhat Nusra's attempts to reaffirm their Syrian identity, the announcement will likely enhance existing fractures between Jabhat Nusra and other opposition groups.

Syria Update: The Southern Battlefronts

April 5, 2013 - Institute for the Study of War

The Syrian opposition in southern Syria has achieved significant gains in recent weeks. The opposition in the north and south now appear to be launching similar, coordinated campaigns to outlast the will of the regime.

Governance In Rebel-Held Syria

March 28, 2013

Since the fall of al-Raqqa city into rebel hands in mid-March 2013, many Syria commentators have been closely tracking events in the city as an indicator of Syria’s future under rebel control.

The Free Syrian Army

March 25, 2013

The opposition movement in Syria has been fragmented from its inception, a direct reflection of Syria’s social complexity and the decentralized grassroots origin of the uprising. This condition has plagued Syria’s armed opposition since peaceful protestors took up arms and began forming rebel groups under the umbrella of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the summer of 2011.

The Opposition Takeover in al-Raqqa

March 15, 2013 - Joseph Holliday

On March 4, 2013, rebel groups overran government forces in al-Raqqa city, the first provincial capital and only urban center to fall to rebel hands since the start of the uprising.

Syria Update 13-01: Iraq-Syria Overland Supply Routes

March 8, 2013 - Joseph Holliday

Sunni insurgents ambushed a convoy of Iraqi and Syrian troops inside Iraq on March 4, 2013, marking the clearest example of spillover from the Syrian conflict into Iraq since the beginning of the Syrian uprising in early 2011.

The Assad Regime: From Counterinsurgency To Civil War

March 6, 2013 - Joseph Holliday

The conflict in Syria transitioned from an insurgency to a civil war during the summer of 2012. This report seeks to explain how the Assad regime lost its counterinsurgency campaign, but remains well situated to fight a protracted civil war against Syria’s opposition.

Political Update: U.S. Secretary of State Announces Non-Lethal Aid to Free Syrian Army

February 28, 2013

Following the February 28 Friends of Syria meeting, Secretary of State John F. Kerry announced that the U.S. will provide non-lethal aid, including food and medicine, to Syrian rebel fighters under the auspices of the Supreme Military Command of the Free Syrian Army.

The Syrian Army: Doctrinal Order of Battle

February 15, 2013 - Joseph Holliday

Current estimates of Syrian opposition strength have generated confidence that the Assad regime will be defeated militarily. This assessment cannot be made without also estimating the real fighting power of the Syrian regime.