Al-Qaeda in Iraq
by Jessica D. Lewis
Many have asked what needs to be done about the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), the terrorist organization that recently took control of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city. Questions range from the acceptability of airstrikes and the viability of a national unity government in Iraq to the feasibility of a counter-offensive that depends upon the remaining capacity of the Iraq Security Forces. These are important and worthy questions, and timely, because ISIS is growing stronger. But these questions preempt the rigorous analysis that is required in order to determine what the U.S. should do about ISIS and why.
The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has a disciplined military command that reports attacks across operating areas that has operated in this manner for at least two years.
ISW reporting has covered the events unfolding in Ramadi and Fallujah as Al-Qaeda in Iraq clashes with tribal militias and Iraqi Security Forces. For additional reading, see our timeline here.
ISW has assessed that AQI has reconstituted as a professional military force. It is therefore crucial to examine the first 60 days of the new “Soldiers’ Harvest” campaign for indications of what AQI means to accomplish this year.