MENASource|News, Analysis, Perspectives

In December 2016, ISIS was ejected from Sirte by a coalition of forces allied to the UN-backed government. US airstrikes and special operations by western forces were integral to the campaign and, combined, provided the tipping point. This article proposes three tactical lessons from the campaign – which, of course, contain within them strategic implications. 

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A little over a year ago, it was still possible to speak of the ‘regimen’ of Egyptian president Sisi’s ‘non-regime.’ Power was dispersed, disparate, and given to erratic bursts of energy, that had far more to do with localised and internal disputes, than to an overarching directive from a cohesive chief governor.

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The Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) is a radical organization with vast capacity for recruitment and cultural domination - yet lacks its own literature, even a zealous, superficial manifesto. That is not a mistake or an oversight: the organization simply doesn’t need one. Daesh did not need to sow the seeds for the cultural dominance for its version of Islam and wait years to reap the rewards - it is reaping them now.

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Though accompanied by curiously little fanfare, the Obama administration’s most significant victory against the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) came not in Iraq or Syria, but in Libya. After eight months of fighting, the coastal city of Sirte was ‘liberated’ in December 2016, by a coalition of forces allied to the UN-backed government in Tripoli.

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Throughout the referendum campaign, President Erdogan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) promised to move the economy back to the top of their agenda. This was easier said than done, as the field dynamics changed drastically from 2002. During the AKP’s first twelve years of governing, Turkey was a strong EU candidate, with better diplomatic relations with the West, and a rising star in the Middle East.

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As the wealth of Arab states in the Gulf has increased over the past few decades, there has been a dramatic rise in parity between the education levels of men and women, with more women entering institutes of higher education, studying in Western countries, and entering the workforce, according to women leaders from the Gulf hosted by the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East on May 10, 2017. Hariri Center Deputy Director and Director of Research & Programs Mirette F. Mabrouk moderated the discussion.  

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On May 4th, Algerians went to the polls to cast their ballots in the country’s parliamentary elections. The ruling coalition of the National Liberation Front or Front de Libération Nationale (FLN) and the National Rally for Democracy (RND) emerged victorious, respectively winning 164 and ninety-seven of the 462 seats in the national assembly.

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The fight against ISIS in Iraq is in full swing. Despite the costly human errors that caused the death of hundreds of Mosul residents, the offensive forces continue to make progress, having managed during the past months to isolate, besiege, and take control of over 60 percent of the city.

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Recent clashes occurred in the south of Rafah between fighters loyal to Wilayat Sinai––previously known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, which joined the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) in 2014––and the Tarabin tribe. This follows a militant attack on April 17 against a truck belonging to a Tarabin tribesman as it carried cigarettes towards Gaza. After a string of kidnappings by both sides, Wilayat Sinai fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a tribal base. The Tarabin responded by gathering a group of fighters to blockade the town of Souq al-Barth and chase down ISIS fighters. Wilayat Sinai then targeted the tribesmen with a car bomb.

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Yemeni media is one of the most affected aspects in the raging war in Yemen. In an unprecedented case, a Houthi-controlled court issued a death sentence earlier in April, against journalist Yahya al-Joubayhy, for being a “Saudi spy,” reflecting a glimpse of the risks Yemeni media workers endure.

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