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  • Author: Jessica Lewis McFate, Harleen Gambhir
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: The next forty-five days constitute a high-risk period for a surge of attacks by ISIS during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. ISIS traditionally uses Ramadan – which begins on June 6 and ends on July 5, 2016 - as a justification for its attacks and as an occasion to reorient its strategy. This year, ISIS will likely take action to reverse serious losses in Iraq and Syria while expanding its attacks against the non-Muslim world in an attempt to spark an apocalyptic total war. ISIS is still operationally capable in its core terrain and stands poised to expand its operations over the next six weeks, particularly in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan. This forecast will outline the most likely and most dangerous targets that ISIS may seek to operate against during Ramadan
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Frederick W. Kagan, Kimberly Kagan, Jennifer Cafarella, Harleen Gambhir, Katherine Zimmerman
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and the Critical Threats Project (CTP) at the American Enterprise Institute conducted an intensive multi-week exercise to frame, design, and evaluate potential courses of action that the United States could pursue to defeat the threat from the Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) and al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria. The planning group weighed the national security interests of the United States, its partners, its rivals, and its enemies operating in or influencing the conflicts in Iraq and Syria. It considered how current policies and interests are interacting in this complex environment. It identified the minimum endstates that would satisfy American national security requirements as well as the likely outcomes of current policies. The group also assessed the threat posed by al Qaeda and ISIS to the United States, both in the immediate and long term, and tested the probable outcomes of several potential courses of action that the United States could pursue in Iraq and Syria.
  • Topic: Intelligence, International Security
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: A growing body of literature within the social science disciplines has developed over the last few decades around the concept of “state failure.” Initially, the scholarship focused on the poor economic performance of certain states, highlighting their weaknesses in delivering efficient economic growth and fostering development. An emerging developmental discourse, fuelled by the enthusiasm of international organizations that embraced the notion of inherent but potentially “fixable” weaknesses, added weight to this body of scholarship. Aid and assistance programs were implemented on the basis of this idea of state weakness, and on the assumption that these internal “weaknesses” could somehow be mitigated through externally-supported and specifically targeted development initiatives. Bilateral and multilateral efforts were devoted to turning these weak states around, supposedly from the brink of failure, into healthy, viable entities
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs, Fragile States
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: Middle East experts, scholars, and laymen were equally caught off guard by the startling political upheaval that rippled through the Arab world like a contagious disease in early 2011. While the situation is still in flux and one cannot draw conclusions as to what will ultimately emerge, the unexpected nature of these Arab uprisings has certainly provoked debate around some of the existing assumptions about the domestic politics of the region. Over the years, a robust body of scholarship has developed focusing on the durability of authoritarian rule in the Middle East, and the remarkable resilience of the regimes in power. Much of this analysis has been based on the rigorous study of the patterns of socio-political behavior in the Middle East, both at the regional level of analysis as well as that of individual states, and, in particular, on the carefully crafted “ruling bargains” between regimes and their citizens.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Middle East