On April 10, 2015, the Pentagon released its map of the self-proclaimed Islamic State's operations in Iraq and Syria. The map also marks areas controlled by other groups in the region, such as Iraqi Kurdish security forces, Iraqi Government, and Syrian Government.
ISIS may use terrorism as a tactic, but it is not a terrorist organization. Rather, it is a pseudo-state led by a conventional army. So the counterterrorism strategies that were useful against al Qaeda won’t work in the fight against ISIS.
Both Max Boot (“More Small Wars,” November/December 2014) and Rick Brennan (“Withdrawal Symptoms,” November/December 2014) provide insight into what the United States did wrong at an operational level in Iraq.
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon discusses U.S. policy in the fight against ISIS, questioning whether the focus on strengthening Baghdad first can work when the source of the problem, ISIS, is headquartered in Syria.
Iraq Conflict: Islamic State Research Links provide news, analyses, background, U.S. government reports, costs and number of deaths, funding, and more on the current conflict surrounding the self-proclaimed Islamic State (also known as Islamic State In the Levant, ISIL, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, ISIS, or Daesh).
Before the House Foreign Affairs Committee's Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, CFR Senior Fellow Elliott Abrams details the United States' goals in Iraq and Syria: to alleviate the humanitarian and refugee crisis; to prevent an Iranian victory in Syria; and to strike devastating blows at the Islamic State.
Max Boot details a comprehensive strategy to defeat ISIS by committing to the fight on multiple fronts: intensify air strikes, utilize U.S. personnel and capabilities, encourage local and regional partners, and prepare for nation-building.
The U.S.-led coalition to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) includes fifty-five states, nine of which have taken part in military operations or stated their willingness to do so. However, over time, CPA's Micah Zenko argues, these commitments will diminish as the mission shifts, resources dwindle, and national support decreases, just as was the case in the Iraq War and 2011 intervention in Libya.
American leaders repeatedly offer unrealistic and outrageous counterterrorism strategies that are destined to fail. This is no different for the Obama administration's policy to "destroy" the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, says Micah Zenko.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
Koblentz argues that the United States should work with other nuclear-armed states to manage threats to nuclear stability in the near term and establish processes for multilateral arms control efforts over the longer term.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2014 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »