The many faces of ISIS
If we want to know what will happen to Islamic State (ISIS) after the death of its first “caliph” and the loss of Mosul and Raqqa, we must first understand what it is. There is not one ISIS, but at least four. Each will require different handling once the caliphate is shattered and scatters.
America edges back into the Middle East
The United States is cautiously reengaging in the Middle East. To deal with an explosive situation that threatens world peace, President Donald Trump must first tackle the legacy of the Obama years, which left Russia and Iran well entrenched in some of the region's Arab countries. Forcing them out may not be possible, but the U.S. could restore some equilibrium.
Daesh is an armed coalition, not a terrorist organization
The popular perception of Daesh – also known as Islamic State or IS – as a terrorist organization is as inaccurate as it is dangerous. Daesh is essentially a military force that uses the desert to its advantage, employing terrorist operations where useful. The misconception is dangerous because it leads decision makers to implement bad policy and distracts from the cool-headed analysis needed to defeat the force.
Daesh war status report: July 2016
Daesh has suffered an unbroken series of military defeats in recent months – in Syria, Iraq and Libya. But with every victory on the battlefield, strains among its opponents have grown, giving the “caliphate” an opening to exploit. Daesh’s most effective weapon remains terrorist attacks on Europe, which can be expected to increase.
Iraq: between democracy and failed state
Iraqi democracy has been more or less written off by the West. Combating its political gridlock, sectarianism and corruption will be harder than defeating Daesh. The best way Baghdad can start solving these problems is to strike a deal to retake Mosul.
Turkey: an awkward partner
As Turkey’s unstable internal politics have lurched toward repression, its foreign policy appears to have lost direction. The escalating war with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has pushed resolution of the Kurdish question into the distant future, while terrorist strikes and a conflict with Russia have dragged Ankara deeper into the Syrian quagmire. Meanwhile, the suppression of voices critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has raised doubts about just how far the rule of law applies. Where is Turkey headed? This question is being asked in Brussels, Berlin and Washington. Since 2011, Turkish politics have been unpredictable.The answer matters because Turkey has a key role to play in any effort to resolve the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. In Western capitals, it is expected that Ankara will take a clear stance in the fight against Daesh, also known as Islamic State.
China steps up engagement in the Middle East
Beijing’s increasing involvement in the Middle East has important economic, diplomatic, and military implications for the region, China and the world. The stakes were highlighted when the Chinese government chose to build its first overseas military base in Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa. President Xi Jinping’s recent visits to Iran and Saudi Arabia drove the poin...
Europe at a crossroads: toward a global strategy
The European Union plans to adopt a “Global Strategy” for its foreign and security policies (EGS) at its June 22 summit. The document is the result of years of reflection on the increasing complexity of Europe’s external relations and interconnections. A fundamental problem for the EU is that neither its individual membe...
Libya’s looming threat to Egypt
Egypt, which has yet to quell Islamic terror in northern Sinai, is now facing a similar threat from Libya – a country that has not had a functioning central government since 2011, when NATO air strikes helped bring about the fall of Muammar Qaddafi. No thought was given to how to set up a new, democratic regime to replace...
U.S. defense procurement to change after presidential election
For the rest of this election year, the United States military will endure a funding squeeze as politicians try to hold down federal spending. But rising demand for forces to operate against Daesh, (also known as Islamic State or ISIS) in the Middle East and South Asia is putting pressure on the Pentagon. Once the November elections are resolved, persistent public ...