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  • Author: Heidi Peltier
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University
  • Abstract: Throughout the 18 years the U.S. has been engaged in the “Global War on Terror,” mainly in Iraq and Afghanistan, the government has financed this war by borrowing funds rather than through alternative means such as raising taxes or issuing war bonds. Thus, the costs of the post-9/11 wars include not only the expenses incurred for operations, equipment, and personnel, but also the interest costs on this debt. Since 2001 these interest payments have been growing, resulting in more and more taxpayer dollars being wasted on interest payments rather than being channeled to more productive uses. This paper calculates that the debt incurred for $2 trillion in direct war-related spending by the Department of Defense and State Department has already resulted in cumulative interest payments of $925 billion. Even if military interventions ceased immediately, interest payments would continue to rise, and will grow further as the U.S. continues its current military operations.
  • Topic: Debt, War, Military Spending, 9/11
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Iraq, Middle East, Yemen, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Joost Jongerden
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: While Trump always advocated disengagement from Syria, Turkish mainstream opinion and political leadership have never accepted Kurdish self-rule of territory on its Syrian border, which Turkey treats as an existential threat and dismisses with the trope of “terrorism.” Thus, Turkey’s military intervention should hardly be surprising. Indeed, not only is the assault an upscaled version of last year’s intervention and occupation of Afrin—a pocket in the western part of northern Syria—but it also fits a wider pattern of Turkish military aggression. Looking back over the past four years, we see Turkey repeatedly waging war for a “strong” state construction and regional power development.
  • Topic: War, Conflict, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, State Building
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Syria, Kurdistan
  • Author: Antulio J. Echevarria II, Hew Strachan, Seth A. Johnston, Howard Coombs, Martijn Kitzen, Christophe Lafaye, Conrad C. Crane, Alexander G. Lovelace
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The Autumn issue of Parameters opens with a Special Commentary by Sir Hew Strachan concerning lessons Western militaries learned, or ought to have learned, during their campaigns in Afghanistan. His commentary sets up this issue’s first forum, Afghanistan’s Lessons: Part I. In the opening article, Seth Johnston’s “NATO’s Lessons” underscores the importance of the Alliance’s role as a facilitator of multinational collaboration. He presents a favorable view, arguing NATO’s established processes succeeded in enabling countries with limited resources to participate fully in the mission in Afghanistan. Howard Coombs follows with a contribution concerning “Canada’s Lessons.” Among other things, he maintains Canada’s whole-of-government approach resulted in great gains while Canadian Forces were actively involved in combat. Nonetheless, Canada seems uninterested in maintaining this capability as a framework for responding to other crises. The third article in this forum is Martijn Kitzen’s “The Netherlands’ Lessons,” which highlights the benefits of having a small military that enjoys networked learning. Although the Dutch military seems to be reverting to enemy-centric thinking, the author encourages its leaders to retain an adaptive mindset that will facilitate adopting a more population-centric approach when necessary. In “France’s Lessons,” Christophe Lafaye explains how combat in Afghanistan contributed to the tactical and doctrinal evolution of the French Army. With decades of relative peace since the Algerian War, French soldiers began their service in Afghanistan with little experience and inadequate materiel. They quickly developed into a combat-ready force capable of responding rapidly to a variety of military emergencies as the need arose. Our second forum, World War II: 75th Anniversary, features two contributions concerning famous US generals. Conrad Crane’s, “Matthew Ridgway and the Battle of the Bulge” illustrates examples of Ridgway’s strategic thinking at work during the German’s surprise attack and ensuing crisis. Alexander G. Lovelace’s “Slap Heard around the World: George Patton and Shell Shock” analyzes Patton’s possible motives for slapping two soldiers in during the Sicily campaign in 1943.
  • Topic: NATO, War, History, Armed Forces, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Middle East, Canada, North America, Netherlands, United States of America
  • Author: M. Chris Mason, John Crisafulli, Fernando Farfan, Aaron French, Yama Kambiz, Bryan Kirk, Matthew Maybouer, John Sannes
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The United States will soon enter the 18th year of combat operations in Afghanistan. During that time, multiple approaches to stabilize the country have been tried, including support to regional security initiatives, “nation-building,” counterinsurgency, counternarcotics, counterterrorism, and “train and equip.” The constellation of anti-government elements known collectively as the Taliban continues to refuse reconciliation or a negotiated peace under the existing Afghan constitution.
  • Topic: War, History, Armed Forces, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Dr. Robert J. Bunker
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: This monograph focuses on an understudied, but yet a critically important and timely component of land warfare, related to the battlefield use of chemical weapons by contemporary threat forces. It will do so by focusing on two case studies related to chemical weapons use in Syria and Iraq by the Assad regime and the Islamic State. Initially, the monograph provides an overview of the chemical warfare capabilities of these two entities; discusses selected incidents of chemical weapons use each has perpetrated; provides analysis and lessons learned concerning these chemical weapons incidents, their programs, and the capabilities of the Assad regime and the Islamic State; and then presents U.S. Army policy and planning considerations on this topical areas of focus. Ultimately, such considerations must be considered vis-à-vis U.S. Army support of Joint Force implementation of National Command Authority guidance.
  • Topic: War, Islamic State, Conflict, Syrian War, Army, Chemical Weapons
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Joel D. Rayburn, Frank K. Sobchak, Jeanne F. Godfroy, Matthew D. Morton, James S. Powell, Matthew M. Zais
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Originally commissioned by Chief of Staff of the Army General Raymond T. Odierno, The U.S. Army in the Iraq War is the Army’s interim examination of military operations in Iraq from 2003 to 2011. This study, published in two volumes, is a narrative history that tells the story of U.S. forces in Iraq, mainly from the perspective of the theater command in Baghdad and the operational commands immediately subordinate to it. It focuses at the operational level of war, exploring the decisions and intent of the senior three- and four-star commanders and how these decisions effected the course of the war over time. This work was built from over 30,000 pages of previously unavailable declassified documents and hundreds of hours of interviews with senior defense leaders. While the Army will eventually publish a comprehensive, official “Green Book” history that describes Operation Iraqi Freedom in greater depth, this study is being released now in order that key lessons, insights, and innovations from this period of the conflict are available to the next generation of Soldiers and leaders to study, learn from, and adapt to ensure the future readiness of our Army and the Joint Force.
  • Topic: War, History, Military Affairs, Army, Iraq War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Joel D. Rayburn, Frank K. Sobchak
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The Iraq War has been the costliest U.S. conflict since the Vietnam War. To date, few official studies have been conducted to review what happened, why it happened, and what lessons should be drawn. The U.S. Army in the Iraq War is the Army’s initial operational level analysis of this conflict, written in narrative format, with assessments and lessons embedded throughout the work. This study reviews the conflict from a Landpower perspective and includes the contributions of coalition allies, the U.S. Marine Corps, and special operations forces. Presented principally from the point of view of the commanders in Baghdad, the narrative examines the interaction of the operational and strategic levels, as well as the creation of theater level strategy and its implementation at the tactical level. Volume 1 begins in the truce tent at Safwan Airfield in southern Iraq at the end of Operation DESERT STORM and briefly examines actions by U.S. and Iraqi forces during the interwar years. The narrative continues by examining the road to war, the initially successful invasion, and the rise of Iraqi insurgent groups before exploring the country’s slide toward civil war. This volume concludes with a review of the decision by the George W. Bush administration to “surge” additional forces to Iraq, placing the conduct of the “surge” and its aftermath in the second volume. This study was constructed over a span of 4 years and relied on nearly 30,000 pages of hand-picked declassified documents, hundreds of hours of original interviews, and thousands of hours of previously unavailable interviews. Original interviews conducted by the team included President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretaries of Defense Leon Panetta and Robert Gates, Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and every theater commander for the war, among many others. With its release, this publication, The U.S. Army in the Iraq War, represents the U.S. Government’s longest and most detailed study of the Iraq conflict thus far.
  • Topic: Government, War, History, Conflict, Army, Iraq War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Julie A. Eadeh
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: For MAAS alum Julie Eadeh, diplomacy is all about human relationships, whether building connections with local communities or helping Americans abroad in times of crisis.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, War, Hezbollah
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Louis René Beres
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: On core matters of peace and security, two closely interrelated questions must be asked: 1. What precisely does Donald Trump have in mind regarding any potential armed conflict with Iran? 2. What might such a possibility portend for Israel, a US ally? Answers to these questions must extend beyond narrowly partisan simplifications. They should be nuanced and subtly overlapping. At a minimum, once a shooting war were underway, the Israeli armed forces (IDF) could become involved, possibly to a substantial degree. In a worst case scenario, clashes would involve unconventional weapons and directly affect Israel’s civilian population. The worst of the worst could involve nuclear ordnance.
  • Topic: Security, War, Nuclear Power, Peace, Israel Defense Forces (IDF)
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America, Israel
  • Author: Daniel Maxwell, Peter Hailey, Lindsay Spainhour Baker, Jeeyon Janet Kim
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Feinstein International Center, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Since 2014, Yemen has been engaged in a civil war between the Houthi group and supporters of Yemen’s internationally recognized government. By the end of 2018, the UN estimated that 15.9 million people—more than half the population—were facing severe acute food insecurity and in need of immediate food assistance. This report analyzes the challenges facing famine analysis in Yemen, including the Famine Risk Monitoring system recently put in place, and the integrated Phase Classification (IPC) system, used globally. The IPC is managed by a technical working group with the support of the food security and nutrition clusters and close involvement of the Yemeni authorities. Following the analysis, the report offers recommendations for ways to improve data collection and analysis on famine and famine risk in Yemen.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, War, Food, Food Security, Refugees, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen, North Africa
  • Author: Neta C. Crawford
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University
  • Abstract: All told, between 480,000 and 507,000 people have been killed in the United States’ post-9/11 wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. This tally of the counts and estimates of direct deaths caused by war violence does not include the more than 500,000 deaths from the war in Syria, raging since 2011, which the US joined in August 2014.
  • Topic: War, Conflict, 9/11, War on Terror, Statistics, Transparency, Iraq War
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, South Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Patrick Martin
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) surged in northwest Mosul in a bid to clear the city prior to Ramadan, anticipated to begin on May 26. Emergency Response Division (ERD) and Federal Police (FP) units joined 9th and 15th Iraqi Army Division units in northwest Mosul on April 28. The combined forces recaptured the neighborhoods of Mushairfa and 30 Tamouz, and are fighting to seize the denser neighborhoods of Harmat, 17 Tamouz, and Hawi Kanisa as of publication. Meanwhile, Counter-Terrorism Services (CTS) recaptured three neighborhoods in western Mosul. ISF are unlikely to clear the city prior to Ramadan. ISIS claimed to launch attacks to retake two Old City gates, Bab al-Jadid and Bab al-Toub. ISIS will also continue to defend the Old City by conducting suicide attacks and attempting to draw fire on civilian gatherings. ISIS will concentrate its defenses around al-Nuri Great Mosque, where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appeared publicly in 2014.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Alexandra Gutowski, Jesse Rose Dury-Agri
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: U.S.-backed forces continue to advance on the major ISIS-held urban centers of Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria. Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have encircled ISIS in Mosul’s Old City. The U.S.-backed, Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) captured Tabqa, a city adjacent to Raqqa that contains Syria’s largest dam. ISIS also lost terrain in southern Syria, as various factions of the Syrian opposition, including some with U.S. backing, cleared ISIS from positions in Suweida and the Qalamoun mountains. ISIS will attempt to offset these losses during its annual Ramadan offensive campaign, anticipated to begin around May 27. ISIS’s campaign in 2017 increasingly resembles its 2013 insurgent campaign; ISIS’s Ramadan plan will likely focus on synchronizing spectacular attacks across different locations for combined effect. Potential targets include religious sites, security forces, and oil infrastructure. ISIS may also conduct ground attacks in Salah ad Din, Anbar, and central Syria where ISIS retains latent combat capability.
  • Topic: War, ISIS
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Chris Kozak, Genevieve Casagrande, Tom Ramage
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Pro-regime basing data accurate through March 21, 2017. Syria Control of Terrain data accurate through April 3, 2017.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Jessa Rose Dury-Agri, Omer Kassim, Patrick Martin
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: The liberation of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sh­am’s (ISIS) urban holdings in Iraq was necessary but not sufficient to secure America’s vital national interests. ISIS has lost neither the will nor the capability to fight, even as it withdraws into desert hideouts and sleeper cell formations in November 2017. Rather, dispersed ISIS militants have begun an insurgent campaign in northern and western Iraq as some of its foreign fighters have returned to their home countries to serve in ISIS’s external operations network.
  • Topic: Islam, War, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Bayram Balci, Juliette Tolay
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales
  • Abstract: While the issue of Syrian refugees has led an increasing number of countries to work on curbing arrivals, one country, Turkey, hosts almost half of these refugees. Yet, far from imposing restrictions, Turkey has distinguished itself for its open border policy and large-scale humanitarian contribution. Turkey’s generosity alone is not sufficient to understand this asylum policy put in place specifically for Syrians. There are indeed a number of political factors that indicate a certain level of instrumentalisation of this issue. In particular, Turkey’s benevolent attitude can be explained by Turkey’s early opposition to Assad in the Syrian conflict and its wish to play a role in the post-conflict reconstruction of Syria, as well as by its willingness to extract material and symbolic benefits from the European Union. But the refugee crisis also matters at the level of domestic politics, where different political parties (in power or in the opposition) seem to have used the refugee issue opportunistically, at the expense of a climate favorable to Syrians’ healthy integration in Turkey.
  • Topic: Globalization, Migration, Nationalism, Religion, Terrorism, War, International Security, Diaspora, Peacekeeping, Refugees, Syrian War, Regional Integration, Transnational Actors
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Middle East, Balkans, Syria
  • Author: Laetitia Bucaille
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales
  • Abstract: Today, the creation of a Palestinian state appears to be a distant possibility: the international community rejected to manage the issue, and the leadership in these territories weakened because of its divisions, revealing their inability to advance. Both the political and the territorial partition between the Gaza strip, governed by the Hamas and the West Bank, under Palestinian authority in line with Fatah, reveal a profound crisis that questions the very contours of Palestinian politics. It also shows that Hamas’ integration in the political game made it impossible to pursue the security subcontacting system. Maintaining the system avoids reconstructing the Palestinian political community, and makes it difficult to develop a strategy that moves towards sovereignty. Since October 2015, the popular and pacific resistance project has been shelved by the return of the violence against Israeli civilians. The Palestinian leadership counts on internationalization of the cause, which has shown mediocre results. Will the replacement of Mahmoud Abbas by his competitors permit to leave the rut?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Politics, Sovereignty, War, Territorial Disputes, Governance, Peacekeeping, Conflict, State
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, West Bank
  • Author: Robert Sedgwick
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Columbia International Affairs Online
  • Abstract: A brief overview and timeline examining the origins and trajectory of the little known terror group that was initially shunned and finally disowned by al-Qaeda as it developed into the world's most feared militant Muslim organization.
  • Topic: Islam, Post Colonialism, Terrorism, War, Counterinsurgency, ISIS, Islamic State
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Fariba Adelkhah, Keiko Sakurai
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales
  • Abstract: As a social institution, the madras must be analyzed in terms of their relationship to social, econmomic and political change and to the public educational system whose bureaucratic organization they have copied. In the case of Afghanistan they cannot be disassociated from the war and its consequences, such as emigration and the reconstitution of ethno-religious affiliations. Financed and run by the diaspora, they enable the Shiite minority, notably Hazara, to reestablish itself in the central State and to provide a counterweight to the Pachtoune domination. They also contribute to the education of girls and children from disfavored social classes. The dependeance of Shiite education in Afghanistan on the Iranian clergy has organizational, theological, financial and symbolique benefits. But it is accompanied by a reinvention of, and separation from, the Iranian model which should, in the minds of the religous authorities, lead to a national schism in Afghanistan of which Kaboul hopes to be the spiritual capital. The asymetric Irano-Afghan interaction illustrates the relevance of the notion of « religous dependence ».
  • Topic: Education, Religion, War, Ethnicity, Anthropology
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iran, Middle East, Asia