Islamism and Extremism

  • Syria: Preempting the Worst, Should Assad Fall

    Recent Assad regime reverses on Syrian battlefields have revived Obama administration fears of “catastrophic success:” that the person told by President Barack Obama in August 2011 to step aside might instead be pushed aside and that his fall could entail a regime collapse exploited by extremists intent on avenging the mass homicide atrocities of the regime.
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  • Dealing with Iran Post-Deal

    One may see the nuclear agreement with Iran as the product of a faulty premise and still respect the industry of US Secretary of State John Kerry and his team in arriving at respectable terms consistent with that premise. One may see the prospect of a regionally aggressive Iran soon to be flush with cash as alarming and still—given the positions of Washington’s closest allies and the international community in general—counsel Congress to show solidarity with the commander-in-chief.
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  • Trouble in Train-and-Equip Land

    On July 7, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter revealed to incredulous members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that the Pentagon is currently training sixty Syrian anti-Assad rebels to fight the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL).  Even in the context of a train-and-equip program that has aimed fatally low from the outset—some 15,000 fighters over three years—Carter’s report reflects abject failure.  He spoke the truth when he said, “We need a partner on the ground in Syria to ensure ISIL’s lasting defeat.”  The train-and-equip program as currently configured will not meet that objective.
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  • US Human Rights Report on Syria Portends a Merciless 2015

    The 2014 Syria Report on Human Rights Practices released on June 25, 2015 describes at length—and sometimes in graphic detail—the egregious violations taking place in Syria.
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  • Syria: Civilians Pay the Price

    Washington’s strategy to degrade and destroy the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) in Syria entails a significant contribution from Syrian civilians: their lives.
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  • The Limits of ISIS Expansion

    Shortly after losing Tikrit to Iraqi security forces and militia, the Islamic State seized Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s Anbar province, and captured the ancient city of Palmyra in central Syria just a few days later.
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  • Syria: What if the Regime Collapses?

    As noted in the May 18 MENASource article on civilian protection, an administration operationally inert in the face of Bashar al-Assad’s atrocities sees peril if Assad collapses too soon, which is to say nearly four years after President Barack Obama counseled him to step aside.
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  • Syria: The Imperative of Protecting Civilians

    That which is painfully clear amid the complexity of Syria's horrific conflict is the operational absence of the Obama administration in protecting Syrian civilians.
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  • US-led Coalition Needs to Rethink Its Anti-Jihadist Strategy in Syria

    Insurgents captured the strategically important town of Jisr al Shughour from regime forces on April 25. This followed a rebel takeover of the provincial capital of Idlib, a mere few weeks earlier. Significantly, while only one of many members of the coalition that took Idlib and Jisr al Shughour, the Nusra Front played a critical role in fighting and leading these battles. This victory demonstrates not only its military capability, but also its success in embedding itself within the wider insurgency in a coalition that included not only Islamist but also nationalist Free Syrian Army brigades.
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  • Syria: Q&A on the Syrian National Stabilization Force

    In the wake of releasing the report Setting the Stage for Peace in Syria: The Case for a Syrian National Stabilization Force, several pertinent (and tough) questions have been posed to one of the authors by Congressional staffers and others. This may well be the first of several postings aimed at sharing these questions and answers.
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