Syria

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Snapshot,
Michael O'Hanlon

The most important part of U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent speech about Iraq and Syria wasn’t how many air strikes the United States will conduct and when -- the elements that have dominated much of the analysis of the event. Rather, it was his call to form, from scratch, an Iraqi National Guard.

Snapshot,
William McCants

Despite ISIS’ success in capturing jihadists’ imagination, the idea of an Islamic state has one fatal flaw: its physical incarnation makes it vulnerable to attack.

Snapshot,
Steven Simon

Despite the pandemonium in the Middle East, Sykes-Picot seems to be alive and well. That shouldn’t be surprising. Land borders settled via negotiation, especially when sealed by treaty, tend to be stable, even where relations between the neighboring states remain volatile or even hostile.

Essay, SEPT/OCT 2014
Kenneth M. Pollack

Washington’s current efforts to resolve the conflict in Syria will not break the stalemate. The only way to restore peace without committing U.S. troops is to build a new Syrian army capable of defeating both the Assad regime and the extremists. 

Snapshot,
Barak Mendelsohn

It is hard to believe ISIS did not understand that threatening the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan would mean directly challenging the U.S. alliance with the Kurds and potentially provoking it to fight. Indeed, it is likely that ISIS viewed the possibility as a win-win.

Snapshot,
Soner Cagaptay

From Turkey’s perspective, Kurdish autonomy is starting to look like a good thing. The portions of northern Iraq and Syria that are under Kurdish control are stable and peaceful -- a perfect bulwark against threats such as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). And that is why Turkey has been on good behavior with the Iraqi Kurds, is working on its relations with the Syrian Kurds, and might finally be breaking the impasse with the Kurds in its own territory.

Snapshot,
Andrew J. Tabler

Uprooting ISIS from the swath of territory it holds between Aleppo and Baghdad will take a lot more than airstrikes or a change of government in Iraq. To prevent ISIS from building a permanent safe haven in the region, Washington must help settle Syria.

Essay, JUL/AUG 2014
Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan

Revolts against authoritarian regimes don’t always succeed -- but they’re more likely to if they embrace civil resistance rather than violence. Over the last century, nonviolent campaigns have been twice as likely to succeed as violent ones and they increase the chances that toppling a dictatorship will lead to peace and democracy.

Snapshot,
Kemal Kirisci and Raj Salooja

Turkey has maintained a generous open-door policy for Syrian refugees. As Syrian refugees continue to pour into the country, Turkey must address their long-term status within its borders.

Snapshot,
David Malet

Foreign fighters might seem like a product of twenty-first-century warfare, but they are nothing new. Over the past two centuries, more than 70 insurgencies have successfully gone transnational. The patterns of recruitment for such disparate groups are broadly similar and, because of that, their campaigns all have the same Achilles’ heel.

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