Iraq Project


Next Steps for U.S. Foreign Policy on Syria and Iraq

American strategy in Iraq and Syria continues to suffer from a fatal flaw.  President Obama explicitly ordered that it focus only on “degrading” and “destroying” the Islamic State to the exclusion of any other American national security interests and regardless of the likelihood of the long-term success of any such effort undertaken in isolation.  As a result, the strategy has achieved some limited successes against the Islamic State, but those isolated successes

ISIS Advances in Anbar (September 1-October 7, 2014)

ISIS is advancing in Anbar and threatening Baghdad from the west, and U.S. airstrikes have not blunted their advance into key cities such as Ramadi. As of October 7, ISIS controls most of the territory between Qaim on the Syrian border and Abu Ghraib, only 40 km from Baghdad. ISIS has conducted a sophisticated campaign in Anbar Province over the past four weeks in order to capture additional cities in the Euphrates River Valley. 

Opinion: U.S. strategy against Islamic State is too much air, not enough boots

Los Angeles Times
Date Published: 
2014-10-06 00:00:00

Air operations in Iraq and Syria have not stopped the advance of Islamic State. Despite the bombing, the Al Qaeda splinter group has launched a series of offensives in Iraq, gaining new ground in Anbar Province, and it has continued its offensive in Syria.

Beyond The Islamic State: Iraq's Sunni Insurgency

The Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) is not the only violent group opposed to the government of Iraq. Groups ranging from Salafist-jihadist to Sunni nationalist have also been mobilized against Baghdad since at least 2013. They remain a threat to the government even if ISIS is removed, especially if the core concerns of Iraqi Sunnis remain unaddressed by the Iraqi government. The primary grievances of most Iraqi Sunnis include the integration of Shi'a militias into the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), attacks by the ISF in Sunni civilian areas, and political exclusion in Baghdad.