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The Syrian Theater ISW-CTP Intelligence Estimate and Forecast: The United States will continue to risk its vital strategic interests in the Middle East unless it changes its policies in Syria and Iraq. The U.S. must apply meaningful pressure against the Assad-Russia-Iran axis and regain leverage over it rather than accommodate it.






Latest from Turkey Exploits Seams of Russo-Iranian Coalition in Idlib Feb 6, 2018 - Press ISW Turkey is succeeding in its campaign of imposing cost on pro-regime forces in northwestern Syria. Turkey’s recent deployment to reinforce the de-escalation zone in Idlib Province capitalizes on the divergent tactical prioritizations between Russia and Iran in Syria.

Featured Report

Iraqi Security Forces and Popular Mobilization Forces: Orders of Battle

Iraqi Prime Minister’s Electoral Coalition Fractures, Signaling Change of Premier

Dec 29, 2017

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Feb 2, 2018 - Press ISW The U.S. should reassess military and political plans that rest on Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s continued premiership after Iraq’s May 12, 2018 elections. A series of splits from Abadi’s electoral list will increase opportunities for alternative candidates to gain the premiership. Abadi’s failed political alliance with Iranian-

Any U.S. strategy relying on a partnered force must

backed Popular Mobilization Forces and inability to maintain the

proceed from a realistic assessment of its

confidence of Ammar al-Hakim’s political allies signals that Abadi is

capabilities and intentions. The Institute for the

unable to manage varying political interests and will struggle to hold

Study of War completed an Order of Battle study to

together a post-election coalition.

evaluate the capabilities and disposition of the ISF. This study also presents an Order of Battle of the

PMF to help U.S. decision makers and forces on

the ground recognize and remediate the presence of Iranian-backed militias within the ISF.

Afghanistan Political Showdown between Ashraf Ghani and Mohammad Atta Noor Feb 1, 2018 - Press ISW

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Stalled negotiations between Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his political rival Balkh warlord Mohammad Atta Noor may lead to a protracted conflict that would endanger the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. Atta has negotiated with Ghani for over a year in order

Your support makes our work possible, and helps spread a better understanding of current

to gain a greater share of power for himself personally and for his

conflicts and emerging threats.

political party, Jamiat-e Islami. Atta has threatened imminent mass demonstrations if Ghani does not agree to electoral and constitutional reforms that would likely set favorable conditions for Atta to run for president in 2019.

Warning Update: Pro-Assad Coalition Set to Escalate in Southern Syria Jan 31, 2018 - Press ISW Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his allies in Russia and Iran are preparing to launch imminent combat operations in violation of the de-escalation zone in southern Syria. Al Qaeda is also likely preparing for a return of hostilities to southern Syria. The end of the ceasefire would generate new military and humanitarian crises on the borders of Jordan and Israel.

Turkey Escalates against Pro-Assad Forces to Protect Afrin Operation Jan 30, 2018 - Press ISW The Assad regime and Iran attacked Turkish forces that deployed into Syria with apparent Russian permission to establish a blocking position near a critical front line south of Aleppo City. Turkey’s goal was to deter Assad and Iran from providing military support to Kurdish forces defending Afrin against a Turkish offensive.

Facing Reality in Syria Jan 29, 2018 - Jennifer Cafarella It will take a long time and a hard struggle to achieve any outcome in Syria that the U.S. should be willing to live with. It is time to focus on it, devote resources to it, and prepare to do so for a long time, ISW's Jennifer Cafarella writes in a January 2018 opinion essay.


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