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Syria

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  • Issue Brief posted May 14, 2015 by James Phillips Preparing for the Approaching Syrian Endgame

    Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship has been rocked by a string of military defeats and by internal tensions within the minority Alawite-dominated regime that is battling for its life against a rising tide of predominantly Sunni rebel groups. Casualties, defections, and loss of territory have severely undermined the Syrian Army and Syria’s security services, forcing the Assad…

  • Commentary posted November 6, 2012 by Peter Brookes Standing Back as Syria's War Festers

    Throughout the 20-month Syrian bloodbath, Team Obama has been telling us that they’ve been playing it low-key because they feared the crisis might spread beyond Syrian borders if we took a bigger role. Sigh. Even with a US-supported, Arab League-sponsored Syrian opposition meeting in Qatar this week, the lack of a hard-hitting US reaction to the slaughter (now…

  • Commentary posted October 6, 2014 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. What's at Stake in U.S. Strategy in Syria

    The Obama administration's strategy for Syria relies on using U.S. air power to support local forces. If this approach fails, as it has failed in the past, the United States will find itself still lacking an effective, politically viable strategy for fighting Islamist terror more than a decade after 9/11 attacks. Since World War II, U.S. administrations have sought ways…

  • Commentary posted June 9, 2014 by Peter Brookes Islamist Threat on the Rise

    Since the national conversation of late has been riveted on terrorism spurred on by the controversy swirling around the Taliban prisoner swap, it’s a good time to take stock of the state of Islamist militancy. Bottom line? The threat is getting worse. For instance, for the year 2013, the State Department estimated that terrorist attacks jumped more than 40 percent…

  • Commentary posted July 1, 2012 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Serious About Syria

    In late October 1956, the British, French and Israeli governments concluded a secret agreement. They would seize the Suez Canal and topple Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser -- retribution for Nasser's decision to nationalize the canal. The Middle East was about to explode. But once the invasion was well under way, an incensed President Eisenhower stepped in.…

  • Commentary posted June 17, 2013 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Syria Not Yet at War's End

    "I have said this 38,000 times: ... This tragedy is not something that can be settled from the outside, and it's about damn well time that everybody understood that." — Lawrence Eagleburger, 1992 Then-Secretary of State Eagleburger spoke some hard truths about the Bosnian War. One year into that conflict, he observed: "Until the Bosnians, Serbs and Croats decide to stop…

  • Commentary posted August 1, 2012 by Peter Brookes The Syrian Tipping Point

    The Syrian bloodbath has taken almost 20,000 lives over nearly 17 months and driven hundreds of thousands from their homes — but it won’t go on forever. The question is: When will the fight between the rebels and the Bashar al-Assad regime reach the tipping point, pushing the civil war in one direction or the other? It could come at any time, but will likely be…

  • Commentary posted March 3, 2013 by Peter Brookes Still Punting on Syria

    New Secretary of State John Kerry told a German audience last week that in America, “you have the right to be stupid, if you want to be.” Ouch. That’s a pretty harsh thing for a US official to say overseas about his country, but perhaps he was reflecting on Team Obama’s strategy toward the bloodletting in Syria — a conflict that has dragged on for nearly two years,…

  • Commentary posted July 15, 2012 by Ariel Cohen, Ph.D. Is Russia Finally Inching Away From Syria's Assad?

    The Interfax news agency reported Tuesday that a Russian naval squadron, including an antisubmarine ship and three marine-landing craft, left Severomorsk in the Arctic for the Mediterranean. Several more ships will join it en route. Together, they will pay a call to Tartus, Syria, Russia's only naval facility outside of the old Soviet Union. Russian officials have…

  • Commentary posted April 26, 2013 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. Barack Obama's Syrian 'Red Line' Comes Back to Trip Him

    The White House now believes Syrian strongman Bashar Assad has used the poison gas sarin against his own people. Last August, President Barack Obama called the use of chemical weapons a "red line." He now faces a hard choice: Admit his red line was phony or intervene in a conflict he has sought to avoid. The Syrian crisis is not just about sarin. Assad has killed more…

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  • Backgrounder posted May 9, 2016 by James Phillips The Dangerous Regional Implications of the Iran Nuclear Agreement

    Iran is consolidating its gains on multiple fronts under the July 2015 nuclear agreement reached with the P5+1 (the five permanent members of U.N. Security Council plus Germany). The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that addressed the nuclear issue has also bolstered Iran’s theocratic dictatorship in the economic, trade, political, diplomatic, military, and…

  • Issue Brief posted April 20, 2016 by James Phillips Obama Needs to Mend Fences at Gulf Cooperation Council Summit

    President Barack Obama will travel to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Salman on Wednesday and with leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on Thursday. His trip is a follow-up to the May 2015 summit at Camp David that the President convened with leaders of the six GCC member states: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. President…

  • Issue Brief posted April 7, 2016 by Olivia Enos, James Phillips Next Steps for Addressing ISIS Genocide

    On March 17, 2016, Secretary of State John Kerry declared that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had committed genocide against Yazidis, Christians, and Shiite Muslims in Iraq and Syria.[1] The State Department’s decision to label ISIS acts as genocide came on the heels of a “sense of Congress” resolution, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives March 14,…

  • Special Report posted January 6, 2016 by Lisa Curtis, Luke Coffey, David Inserra, Daniel Kochis, Walter Lohman, Joshua Meservey, James Phillips, Robin Simcox Combatting the ISIS Foreign Fighter Pipeline: A Global Approach

    The Islamic State’s recent global terror campaign—including the October 31 downing of a Russian passenger jet that killed 224 and the November 13 shooting attacks in Paris that killed 130 restaurant patrons and concert-goers—has increased the urgency for the U.S. to lead a global alliance to defeat the Islamic State and its ideology. ISIS has also been able to establish a…

  • Issue Brief posted November 6, 2015 by James Phillips The Obama–Netanyahu Meeting: An Opportunity to Bolster Strategic Cooperation

    President Barack Obama will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on November 9 after a long period of tension between the two leaders over the controversial nuclear deal with Iran. Netanyahu, who warned that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose an existential threat to Israel, was highly critical of the risky agreement, which he lambasted for…

  • Issue Brief posted May 14, 2015 by James Phillips Preparing for the Approaching Syrian Endgame

    Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship has been rocked by a string of military defeats and by internal tensions within the minority Alawite-dominated regime that is battling for its life against a rising tide of predominantly Sunni rebel groups. Casualties, defections, and loss of territory have severely undermined the Syrian Army and Syria’s security services, forcing the Assad…

  • Backgrounder posted April 7, 2015 by Dakota Wood, Charlotte Florance, James Phillips Intervention in Libya: Lessons in Leading

    Weeds of the Arab Spring The Arab Spring undoubtedly changed the political, economic, and security landscape in the Middle East and North Africa. More than four years after the self-immolation of Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi and the catalytic explosion of the event on social media among Arab youth populations, authoritarian regimes quickly came under fire,…

  • Issue Brief posted October 6, 2014 by James Phillips The Rise of Al-Qaeda’s Khorasan Group: What It Means for U.S. National Security

    The air strikes against Islamist terrorist groups in Syria that the U.S. launched on September 22 included strikes against a group that few Americans had heard about before: the Khorasan group. Although sometimes mistakenly characterized as a new terrorist group, Khorasan is a new tentacle of an old organization—the al-Qaeda high-command or core group. The rise of the…

  • Issue Brief posted June 3, 2014 by James Phillips To Defeat Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Stronger Counterterrorism Cooperation Needed

    Iraq faces major political, national security, and economic challenges that should be addressed by the new government that emerges from the April 30 elections. Last year, more than 7,800 civilians and 1,050 members of the security forces were killed in political violence and terrorist attacks, making it Iraq’s deadliest year since 2008. The Islamic State of Iraq and…

  • Issue Brief posted November 5, 2013 by James Phillips Greater Iraqi–American Cooperation Needed on Counterterrorism, Syria, and Iran

    Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki came to Washington last week in search of greater U.S. security assistance in battling the al-Qaeda-led insurgency that increasingly threatens Iraq's internal security as well as regional stability in the oil-rich Persian Gulf. The United States shares Maliki's goal of defeating al-Qaeda's franchise in Iraq, which has expanded into…

Find more work on Syria
Find more work on Syria