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Snapshot,
Denise Natali

Within Iraq and Syria, the U.S.-led campaign against ISIS relies heavily on Kurdish Peshmerga. But the Peshmerga haven’t been a total success story; Peshmerga forces are using coalition air strikes to engineer territorial and demographic changes that are antagonizing Sunni Arabs—the very communities the United States needs on its side to degrade ISIS.

Snapshot,
Andrew F. March and Mara Revkin

Debating whether ISIS is really "Islamic" or is better understood as an exotic apocalyptic death cult does not bring the world closer to understanding how the group governs. Indeed, whatever it believes about the apocalypse, it sees itself as creating a distinctive legal order for the here and now, one that is based on a literal (if selective) reading of early Islamic materials and a long-standing theory of statecraft and legal authority.

Snapshot,
Hassan Hassan

Although ISIS defeats in Tikrit and other Sunni areas would seem like good things, the United States should tread carefully. The air campaign against ISIS in Iraq has reached its limits; more strikes won’t help against ISIS and will only further destabilize the sectarian balance in the country. It is time to take the battle further north to Syria.

Snapshot,
Dafna H. Rand and Nicholas A. Heras

In early March, Baghdad started a push to retake the historic city of Tikrit, in the center of the so-called Sunni triangle. Some Americans must be feeling a sense of déjà vu; the U.S. military tried something similar as part of the 2006-07 Arab Sunni Awakening. Then as now, counterterrorism operations combined with efforts to win Sunni hearts and minds required the tough, tedious work of offering the right guarantees and incentives to “flip” key leaders of the Iraqi Sunni tribal region away from the terrorists in their midst.

Snapshot,
Michael Knights

Unthinkable just a decade ago, the main government forces leading the battle in Tikrit are Shia fighters—the Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) that are under the control of militia leaders. Worryingly, these forces’ main partners are Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah.

Snapshot,
Michael Pregent and Robin Simcox

The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) is starting to show some wear and tear. True, it has pulled off some gruesome executions, attracted jihadists from across the world, and still holds swaths of Iraq and Syria. But cracks are appearing in the self-styled Caliphate.

Letter From,
Kayhan Barzegar

U.S. President Barak Obama has set a difficult goal in the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). To achieve it, he will need to bring Iran on board, especially in the Syrian peace talks.

Snapshot,
Robert A. Pape, Keven Ruby, and Vincent Bauer

The ongoing U.S. air campaign against ISIS succeeded in blunting the group's drive toward Kurdish and Shia territory. But it has failed to prevent ISIS' consolidation of control over the Sunni areas in Iraq and Syria. Here's how the United States can accomplish both.

Snapshot,

We poll experts on whether they think the United States should significantly step up its military campaign against ISIS in Iraq & Syria.

Video,
Justin Vogt and Anand Gopal

Anand Gopal, former Afghanistan correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, sits down with Justin Vogt, deputy managing editor of Foreign Affairs.

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