The Islamic State, or ISIS, is the first terrorist group to hold both physical and digital territory: in addition to the swaths of land it controls in Iraq and Syria, it dominates pockets of the Internet with relative impunity. But it will hardly be the last.
The Gulf War, fought swiftly and successfully, looks like something of an anomaly twenty-five years later, but its lessons remain valuable today, writes CFR President Richard N. Haass in the Wall Street Journal.
The use of social media and other Internet-enabled communications by the self-proclaimed Islamic State is pushing the United States and other democracies to react to the abuse of liberal freedoms by illiberal forces. CFR Visiting Fellow David P. Fidler outlines ways to counter the Islamic State's online onslaught through policies anchored in free speech, transparency, and accountability.
CNN correspondent Barbara Starr interviewed Defense Secretary Ash Carter on May 24, 2015. Secretary Carter stated that the reason the self-proclaimed Islamic State gained territory in Iraq is that "Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight."
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 Group 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).
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2016 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 »